Easy Turkey Chili + My Favorite Corn Bread Recipe

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Do you love chili season? Yes? Great! I have two recipes to share with you today: my favorite chili and cornbread recipe. The chili recipe I now consider my creation. I took a basic Whole Foods recipe and added a couple of twists and turns. The end result is a spicy, sweet and comforting chili that is easy to make and healthy for you! My cornbread recipe comes from The Silver Palate Cookbook. If you don’t own this cookbook run out and buy it now! This is a classic that should be part of any home cooks’ library. The cornbread is slightly sweet and has moist tender crumb. Also, it calls for bacon which you can omit if you choose. Either way you will have a crowd pleasing cornbread to enjoy.

Lets start with my chili recipe. Chili is so versatile. Really you can add anything to a basic chili recipe and it will probably taste good. My recipe includes corn, a red pepper, ground turkey, beer and beans, but I think the key to any good chili is good chili powder. I bought a small jar of homemade chili powder from Formaggio Kitchen in Boston’s South End. This chili powder is spicy and smoky. Without sounding too ridiculous now; it adds a nice depth of flavor. I’m not kidding. I can taste the smokiness and the spice is there, but it is not too overwhelming. Typically, I use McCormick’s chili powder with good results but this chili powder was something special. _KH5I add 3 tablespoons of chili powder because I like my chili with a little kick. If you prefer a less spice, only add 2 tablespoons of chili powder.

_KH19After I cook the onions and garlic and brown the meat; I add a jar of diced tomatoes, a bottle of beer and the spices. The corn, beans and red pepper go in last. Then it simmers for a half hour. I find it best to cook this chili a day ahead because the flavors really meld together. If you can’t wait, don’t worry, the chili will still taste fantastic!

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While the chili simmers, I make my favorite cornbread. This time I made, cornbread muffins. The recipe will make 10 muffins or 1 9×9 pan of cornbread. Note: If you make the chili a day ahead, I would make the cornbread the same day you serve the chili. Cornbread tastes best the day it is made. If you need to make it in advance, reheat it cover in aluminum foil for 10 minutes at 350.

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Yummy!

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Once the chili is ready and the cornbread is cooling; it is time to chop up some toppings. I like avocado slices, green onion, thinly sliced radishes and cheddar cheese. A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt will also taste good._KH84Here I added green onions, grated cheddar cheese and thinly sliced radishes. I ran out of avocados. Next time! After all it is chili season, Bubba’s favorite food season which means lots of chili from now until spring! Enjoy this recipe with a cold beer on a cool fall day. Save the leftovers over for lunch or double the recipe and freeze for a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Kelly’s Turkey Chili

recipe adapted from Whole Foods Turkey Chili

serves 4-6 (4 with leftovers, 6 with none)

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 lb ground turkey (dark meat is best)

1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice

2 cups good beer ( I typically use a good IPA or Pale Ale)

2-3 Tbsp. chili powder (2 if you like it less spicy)

2 tsp ground cumin

just a pinch of red pepper flakes (omit if you don’t want some heat)

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 cups of cooked kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can of corn, drained or 2 ears of fresh corn, kernels removed

1 red pepper, chopped

Kosher Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

In a heavy large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic. Add a bit of kosher salt and ground pepper and cook, stirring often until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add ground turkey and brown it, breaking it apart with the back of spoon as it cooks.

Add tomatoes, beer, chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, bay leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Add beans, corn, chopped red pepper and simmer for 15 minutes longer to blend flavors. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Remove bay leaves and serve immediately with desired toppings and cornbread or your favorite crusty bread. I suggest making it a day ahead to let the flavors blend together. This chili freezes well so make a double batch and freeze the leftovers! Enjoy!

My Favorite Cornbread

Recipe from Silver Palate Cookbook Crackling Cornbread

Makes 9 squares or 10 muffins

Ingredients:

1 cups stone ground cornmeal

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

21/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk

6 tbsp. of unsalted butter, melted

1 egg, gently beaten

Optional: 1 cup diced, cooked bacon

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 400. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners or grease with butter a 9×9 square baking pan.

Stir together, cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Then gently stir in buttermilk, melted butter and slightly beaten egg. Add bacon at this time if you are using it.

Pour batter into muffin cups or 9×9 pan. Place on middle rack in oven and bake for about 20 minutes if making muffins or 25 minutes if making bread. Cornbread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center is clean and the edges are a light golden brown. Cool bread in pan on wire rack or cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes on wire rack and then turn out on wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm with lots of butter!

End of Summer Marinara Sauce

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Summer is coming to an end and I am looking forward to fall. I like to let go of summer every year and remember it romantically. At the start of summer I anticipate picnics, beach time, stargazing and dinners outside. The truth is I spend half of the summer trying to entertain my kids with beach or museum  trips only for them to tell me after an outing “I’m bored.” The second half of the summer I am desperate for some relief so I try to get rid of them with camps and drop off play-dates only for them to tell me again “I’m bored.” By August, I feel burnt out and ready for school to begin. Come October everyone will be happy again because we have a little time apart from each other. Come April we will long for a break from our routine; we will long for summer again. Funny how that works.

Living in New England is a good fit for me because just as I am sick of one season and ready for the next, it changes quickly and quietly. One day the air is different, the light is lower and the leaves hint at what’s to come. My food cravings change as well. Right now I enjoy all of the beautiful summer fruit and vegetables we get in our CSA share every week because I know this bounty is coming to an end.

This week we got tomatoes. Nothing tastes better than a summer tomato. One of my favorite sandwiches is tomatoes, sliced with mayo on multi-grain bread with a little sea salt. This sandwich is simple and delicious. Typically, I throw our tomatoes into a salad or panzanella but I made a marinara sauce instead. This sauce tastes like summer because it is light and fresh. Also, this is a great way to use up tomatoes. Make a double batch and freeze the sauce. Pull it out in the dead of winter when you need to remember summer again.

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Rinse the tomatoes and using a sharp knife put a x on the bottom of each tomato. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes and let them sit in the water for about a minute. Remove the tomatoes and allow to cool slightly. Once cooled, peel the skins and coarsely chop. If you want a chunky sauce leave the tomatoes coarsely chopped. If you want a smooth sauce; puree them in a blender for a few minutes.

_KH10022Sauté some onions and garlic together for about 10 minutes. Do not allow to brown. Add tomatoes and then add…

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a parmesan rind! The rind will add an incredible savory flavor to the sauce. I also added one bay leaf, a teaspoon of dried oregano, a spoonful of tomato paste and salt to taste.

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The sauce should simmer for about an hour. Discard the bay leaf and parmesan rind once the sauce has finished simmering.

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Serve sauce over cooked spaghetti with lots of parmesan cheese. A little chopped parsley or basil sprinkled on top is a nice addition too! Eat with a nice glass of red wine and enjoy!

End of Summer Marinara Sauce

Serves 4

Recipe inspired by Goop’s Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1/4 olive oil

6 medium ripe tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 tsp. of dried oregano

1 bay leaf

1 parmesan rind

1 spoonful of tomato paste

Kosher salt

Directions:

Finely chop one small onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Heat a 1/4 of olive oil over medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the onion and garlic to brown.

While the onion/garlic mixture is sautéing, score 6 tomatoes and pour boiling water over them. Allow the tomatoes to sit in the water for about 30 seconds. Drain the tomatoes and allow to cool slightly before peeling the skin. Remove the skin and coarsely chop. (If you don’t want a chunky sauce, puree the tomatoes in a blender for a few minutes.) Add tomatoes to onion and garlic mixture and stir to combine.

Add 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp. of dried oregano, 1 spoonful of tomato paste and 1 parmesan rind. Allow to simmer on low for about an hour. Remove the rind and bay leaf. Add kosher salt to taste.

Serve over spaghetti with lots of parmesan cheese and a bit of chopped parsley or basil. Enjoy!

 

 

Sweet Corn Soup

_KH10026I love soup in the summertime, especially corn soup. The corn from our farm share is extra sweet now so I decided to make Alice Water’s Sweet Corn Soup. Bubba requested the soup after the excessive heat finally let up. 80 degrees with no humidity felt cool compared to what we just dealt with the past few weeks. I served the soup at room temperature with a salad and crusty bread from our local bakery. The perfect summer meal. Our almost 3-year-old gave it a shot and liked it, but our daughter refused. I wasn’t shocked. I hope her picky stage will end soon!

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The only tweak I made to her recipe is saving the shucked corn cobs and adding them to the broth when the soup is simmering. The cobs added additional corn flavor.

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After the soup simmers for a bit, remove the cobs and puree the soup in small batches in a blender.  You can serve it warm or at room temperature but I bet it tastes good cold as well. As long as you have sweet corn, this soup won’t disappoint you.

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Sweet Corn Soup

barely adapted from Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food

Ingredients

4 Tbsp butter

1 onion, diced

Kosher Salt

5 ears of sweet corn

1 quart of water (4 cups)

Toppings

Crème fraiche (optional) seasoned with savory herbs, salt and pepper

Chives or Scallions (optional)

Directions

Shuck the corn and cut the kernels from the cobs. Set the kernels and cobs aside.

Melt 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, season with salt + pepper and cook until soft about 15 minutes. Do not let the onion brown. Add the kernels to the onions and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Cover with 1 quart of water (4 cups). Add the cobs and bring to a boil. After it reaches a boil, lower the heat to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and puree the soup in small batches. (Be careful when blending hot soup in a blender. Be sure there is an air vent to allow the steam to escape.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add suggested toppings if desired and enjoy!

A Riff On A BLT

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“Perhaps home is not a place but some irrevocable condition.” – James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

We spent the weekend unpacking boxes. We took out the essentials for sleeping and eating and set up the kitchen. We reassembled the kids rooms so they felt like the rooms they slept in for the last 6 years. We spent the weekend desperately trying to feel at ease in a place that does not feel like home.

As I write this post I struggle to understand why leaving our house of 6 years is so hard. I passed it on purpose during my run the other day and almost burst into tears. What is a home really? If a home is really just the people I will be ok, right?

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I think I started a home when I married Bubba almost 7 years ago. Our home grew when we had Charlotte and 3 years later Graham. I think home is a group of people seeking comfort in each other. The house, the walls shelter us. The stuff that we think we need to make a house a home add to our daily comfort or drive us insane.

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After an exhausting weekend of unpacking and adjusting to our new surroundings, I had to make an easy and comforting dinner. A BLT screams comfort to us so I made one with a few twists.

I picked up a loaf of fresh sour dough bread from our local bread shop, Mamadou’s Artisan Bakery. (www.mamadousartisanbakery.com) I like their sourdough because the flavor is not overwhelming. I am not a fan of strong sourdough flavor. I grabbed a locally grown tomato, some bacon, blue cheese, avocado, Romain lettuce, roast turkey and Stonewall Kitchen’s Fig and Ginger Jam. I splurged on the jam but I figure I can use it for marinades as well. The jam adds a nice sweetness which works great the saltiness of the bacon. The turkey is not necessary here but it does work well with the rest of the ingredients. The avocado gives a nice creamy texture. and the blue cheese highlights the sweetness of the jam and saltiness of the bacon. I threw the meal together in no time. We enjoyed the blts with a icy cold beers. Yum! The kids had milk of course.

BLT with Blue Cheese, Avocado and  Fig+ Ginger Jam

Inspired by Two Peas and Their Pod

Ingredients

1 loaf of fresh sourdough bread

1 tomato, thinly sliced

Romaine lettuce, washed and dried

1 avocado, pitted and sliced

crumbled blue cheese

1 lb bacon

1/4-1/2 lb of roast turkey depending on how much you want to use on the sandwiches (optional)

1 jar of Stonewall Kitchen’s Fig+ Ginger Jam

Directions:

Cook bacon on medium heat until it reaches desired crispness and drain on a plate covered with a paper towel. To assemble the sandwiches spread a tablespoon of jam on each piece of sliced sourdough bread. Add bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado and a couple of slices of roast turkey if using. Sprinkle with a good amount of crumbled blue cheese. Slice in half and enjoy!

Mozzarella, Roasted Red Pepper + Basil Sandwiches with Ramp Pepitas Pesto

“Spring drew on . . . and a greenness grew over those brown [garden] beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.”  Charlotte Bronte,  Jane Eyre

I have lived in Massachusetts my whole life and every year I am surprised by how long it takes for spring to return. The winters here are hard and long. I constantly remind myself in the dead of winter that spring will come, it must. One day it does. One ordinary day I look up and I all see is green leaves and bursting flowers. I notice the sun is still up after I put my children to bed. I feel lighter and somehow stronger.

Our food cravings change as the seasons change. Bubba is no longer requesting chicken and white bean stew or pork ragu with fettuccine. For the past two weeks he has requested a mozzarella, roasted red pepper and basil sandwich. This is our go to meal on warm spring and summer nights when we need something simple and fresh. When tomatoes are in season I add them as well. Typically I make the sandwich with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar but I wanted to incorporate ramps after I read this recipe http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Seared-Salmon-with-Linguine-and-Ramp-Pesto in Bon Appetit.  This was my first time cooking with ramps. I went to our local Whole Foods and grabbed a bunch. They are so pretty and they scream spring!

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I adapted the recipe by using pepitas (pumpkin seeds) instead of Marcona almonds because my son has a nut allergy. Also, I added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for brightness.

Here is the recipe for the pesto and the sandwich assembly. This makes for a great lunch or dinner.

Ramp Pepitas Pesto

Adapted from Bon Appetit’s Ramp Pesto

Ingredients:

 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup olive oil, divided

2/3 cup thinly sliced trimmed ramp bulbs and slender stems

1 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese

1/3 cup pepitas

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 2/3 cup ramp bulbs and stems to skillet and sauté just until soft but not brown, for about 5 minutes. (Reduce heat if necessary to prevent browning) Transfer sautéed ramps to food processor. Do not clean skillet. Add ramps, cheese, pepitas, and tarragon to processor and process until finely chopped. With machine still running, slowly add 1/2 cup oil and puree until almost smooth.
Transfer pesto to bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

**Can be made 1 day ahead; cover and chill.**

Mozzarella, Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Sandwich with Ramp Pepitas Pesto

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Ingredients:

1 French Baguette

Fresh Mozzarella

Basil

Roasted Red Pepper (1 large red pepper or 1 large jar of store-bought roasted red peppers, drained)

Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Ramp Pepitas Pesto

Directions:

Roast a red pepper over the burner of a gas stove or a grill turning it constantly. You could also broil it on high for several minutes turning it every so often. Once the pepper is completely charred on the outside place it in a bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. This will make it easier to remove the skin. Once the pepper has cooled a bit, peel off the skin and dice the pepper. Place the diced pepper in a bowl with a bit of balsamic vinegar and sea salt. Set aside. (If you don’t want to roast a red pepper, buy a jar of roasted red pepper. Drain and add to sandwich.

Slice a fresh French baguette in half, spread a couple of tablespoons of pesto on the bread. Add several basil leaves and a few slices of mozzarella. Lastly, add roasted red peppers and season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.