Sunday, January 17, 2010
Back to reality
As many of you may know, my relationship with skiing has not been nearly so smooth as my relationship with food, or little else for that matter. However, Vronsky is determined to make a skier out of me yet, and after a little stint in Aspen, I think I finally have gotten to the point where I get a little bit of enjoyment out of this lunacy! Hallelujah!
But as is often the case with ski trips, sometimes the best part of skiing is not necessarily the skiing itself. Sometimes it is the massage or hot-tub after a long day on the slopes, or the fact that the altitude makes it so that you get buzzed off of one glass of red wine, or a blissful mountain-side meal at a little Swiss cabin, as was the case the first time I went skiing. However, Aspen is a bit too refined for such discoveries, but it is still filled with culinary delights. It is home to the "annual Food and Wine classic," as touted on "Top Chef," and several five-star restaurants, including the incredible Piñons and Pacifica.
Yet the one dish that will probably define this trip for me is a steaming hot bowl of chili. It is not the most glamorous of meals, and I doubt one would ever find a fur-clad Aspenite cuddling up to this meaty, spicy, vegetable laden concoction, but it warms my tired, bruised bones like nothing else and is the best thing served slope-side. The new Viceroy Hotel served up a great version, as does Cafe Suzanne and Brother's Grill, all on Snowmass mountain. I am sure there are other great places to score great chili, and perhaps other things as well (apparently Sam's Smokehouse has great baked beans), but those are the only two places I can ski to without killing myself or others.
Every day, as a reward for being one of the top-5 slowest skiiers on the mountain, I would enjoy some hot chili with some nice toasty bread. Seeing as it feels colder here in NYC than it does on the mountain, I see no reason why I should not reward myself for say, sending some emails or not rolling my eyes too hard at the person on the subway who does not feel the need to tell their toddler to stop shrieking as loud as they can for no apparent reason.
My mom gave me a great recipe for home-made chili that is not too spicy (heartburn, anyone?) and chock full of tasty goodies.
You will need: 2lbs of preferably organic ground beef
1 1/2 large white onions
2 cans of tomato sauce
sliced celery and carrots, to taste
dark red kidney beans (canned OK)
Italian seasoning blend
In large sauce pot:
Brown ground beef in olive oil, and add 1/4 cup of sugar as beef starts to brown.
When meat is brown on both sides, add 1/8-1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce, then 1/4 cups of soy sauce.
Continue to browning until sugar and soy sauce are semi-caramelized
Add diced onions and sautee until transparent
Add celery and carrots
Add boiling water to cover meat and veggies and bring to boil
Add diced tomatoes and garlic (to taste) and large dash of Italian
Stir well and bring to a boil
Add 1-2 cans of tomato sauce, depending on how thick you want it
Bring to boil again, add just a pinch of chili powder, and then immediately bring down to a simmer
Thicken with cornstarch if desired, mix, then take off heat
Enjoy with a plain sliced French baguette or corn chips a side of something crisp (a nice salad or perhaps some green peas?).