Friday, July 20, 2007

Chocolate and tomatoes..what!?

"Dapper Dressage Dapple" ACEO can be bid on here.
Copyright Rita Woodburne

Yup, you read me right yesterday, chocolate and tomatoes.
This recipe is for Meg Lyman who had a request in my comments from last week’s gardening post. I suspect that she didn’t really think that I’d find any recipes that involved such an initially gut wrenching combination, but I did! (Sorry, no chocolate and cucumber...I’m still searching)

I figured this would be the ideal recipe for Meg because, in case you haven’t clicked the link to her blog or website yet, she’s a beer afficionado as well as being one heck of an illustrator/ artist (is there really a difference??). Although I don’t eat the stuff much myself, the Other Half loves it and so I make it from time to time to accompany his beer, the “stuff” in question being chili. So, without further ado, the recipe that involves both chocolate and tomatoes:

Look! A tomato!

Cincinnati Chili


* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1/2 cup chopped onion
* 2 pounds ground beef
* 1/4 cup chili powder
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/2 (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate
* 2 (10.5 ounce) cans beef broth
* 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
* 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
* 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cuo of the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 6 minutes.
2. Add beef, in batches if necessary, and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned.
3. Add chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, cloves, bay leaf, chocolate, beef broth, tomato sauce, cider vinegar, and red pepper. Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
4. It is the best if you now refrigerate overnight.
5. Remove the bay leaf. Reheat gently over medium heat. Serve over hot, drained spaghetti. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and the remaining chopped onion.

I made this once before and, although I’m not a big chili fan, I have to say that it actually was quite tasty and that I would make it again. My amendment? I added chunks of chopped tomato because I have so darn many of them. I like the texture and flavour the tomatoes add. but they're optional. I’m told this recipe isn't “authentic” Cincinnati chili, but pretty darn close. A nice winter dish for those times when only chili featuring chocolate will do. I will also say this: it tastes good even if you don’t hail from or live in Cincinnati.

Also submitted to me was an easy- peasy recipe for a quick summer salad by Lisa Bachman. I had this with dinner the other night and it was indeed easy to make and tasty! I love simple ways to use up masses of veggies and dishes that taste just as good a day or two later.

Lisa’s Easy Veggie Summer Salad

Into a bowl, cut:
into bite size pieces.

Toss with Kraft Zesty Italian salad dressing. Place in fridge and marinate for 2 hours. Toss ingredients again and return to fridge for 2 more hours. Done.

See? Easy! She wasn't kidding folks. The only amendment I made to this one, again because I have too many veggies and not enough people willing to take them from me, is that I added some baby corn and cucumber. Colourful and tasty. I suspect that I may also make this one to take camping/ art fair-ing with the Other Half and I next week-end because it tasted awesome the day after as well!

So that’s the gardening post for today, using up Summer’s bounty in new and unusual, as in chocolate and tomato unusual, ways. Next week I’ll only be doing one post (maybe two) as I have a 3 day art exhibit at Bon Echo that I’m participating in... it’s also an excuse to go camping. So, there’s lots of prep still to be done for that as we’re leaving on Thursday evening and won’t be back until Sunday evening, I can’t afford to forget to pack something.

Have a great week-end!!


Lisa B. said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the salad. I'll bet the corn and cucumber added some wonderful flavors.

Tomatoes and chocolate, woo-hoo! You're an adventurous chef, aren't you?

Have a wonderful vacation! Toast a marshmallow for me?

Rita said...

It tasted great! Truth be told, I'd add baby corn to just about everything if I could, and it did add a nice flavour to the salad.

Come Thursday evening I'll be sitting by a campfire with my marshmallows and hot dogs so I'll be sure to have a marshmallow for you! :D

Meg said...

EEeeee thanks for the links and the recipe! I can't wait to try it out!

I've never been a big fan of Cincinnati chili, having lived there for 4 years, but everything is better homemade. This sounds delicious.

I think the reason I didn't like it was the fact that the restaurants that served it fried everything - you left smelling like a vat of used cooking oil.

Rita said...

Meg, I hear ya on the frying of every piece of food (YUK!). I actually can't eat a lot of fried/ greasy food so I try to avoid that kind of stuff. I also try to avoid chili but this one was actually really good.

I'm still trying to find a chocolate cucumber recipe, even if it tastes crappy then just for the novelty of it. :D