Mom makes chili
One of the best things about participating in Eat with Leland is reading the comments readers make on our posts and having the opportunity they afford to enjoy blogs I would otherwise never even hear about. This was the case recently, when a comment on Leland’s Black Olive-Pesto Pinwheels led me to this well-written and beautifully designed blog. Grant has some delicious-sounding recipes here, with great photography, and I particularly like the way he photographs his mise en place.
I have had a few disasters lately involving leaving out crucial ingredients, reference the gingerbread debacle of a month or so ago (I’m not sure I confessed that in addition to underbaking the darn thing I had also left out the sugar initially and had to scrape the batter out of the pan and stir it in at the end, after I had put it in the oven – well, I didn’t stir it in in the oven but you know what I mean). This is more likely to happen with recipes I have been making for a long time than with something new, since I tend to think I know what I’m doing and get careless.
But my point, and I do have one, is that it’s always a good idea to assemble your ingredients first, as Grant shows us on his blog and even experienced chefs do it. When I worked as an apprentice at the Watergate Hotel back in the 70s it was the job of the other apprentices and myself to gather all the equipment and ingredients we would need for that day’s specials at the beginning of our shift, so Chef would have everything he needed at his fingertips. The effort you put into assembling your mise en place pays off in time saved later, when you are actually cooking. Plus you avoid having to scrape cake batter out of pans so you can add missing ingredients; this is never good for the cake.
While I was reading WELL FED I came across a recipe for a chili made with chicken and sweet potatoes that sounded intriguing. I wasn’t sure my husband and son would like it because it doesn’t have tomatoes in it and it’s somewhat heavy on beans, but I really liked the flavor combinations and decided to try it anyway. For the recipe go to the WELL FED website, or click on the word “chili” in this paragraph. Do try the yogurt/chopped green onion topping because it’s really good on there. Anyway, the guys loved it and Calvin said, as he took a second helping, “You’ve made good dinners all week, Mom!”