Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November, Chili Weather

Spaghetti squash with chili topping
It is one of the first mornings when I wake up and the floors are cold, the rooms have a bite. as I begin to brew tea, the warm steam makes clouds of condensation on the windows. Leaves are wet so they no longer tumble; they hug the deck boards, the windows, the now empty flower pots for dear life knowing well winter is coming for sure.
Foggy windows and a gentle nudge to the thermostat make me think of soups, chowders and chilies. I rarely follow a recipe for chili. Instead I use what I have handy, and my chili is like vegetable soup, a new mix and a new creation each time. Everyone has a favorite chili, and choices reflect regional tastes. I grew up with lots of chili powder and cumin in my mom’s chili, but DH thinks salt and tomatoes with beans is chili.
Here in town the Catholic Church has an annual chili feed as a fund raiser. They always set bowls of saltines and dill pickles on the table. Pickles with chili was a new one for me. (Remember I am the one who thinks pickles go with pancakes!) The Episcopal Church here makes chili for congregational dinners, but the present priest doesn’t care for it. Local chili is too mushy he says. He likes his with meat not cooked to death and with chocolate…a sweeter chili. And then there are those that put beer in their chili as it cooks.
My mother always crumbled up crackers in her chili. I tried it but never cared for it. I loved crackers WITH my chili as a child, not crackers IN the bowl. But we all put vinegar on our chili and never thought it odd at all. However, when I went to college, an English prof ridiculed the practice. He was a rigidly proper Brit who never liked paper napkins and refused to go into a place that used plastic tableware. He said he had eaten all over the world, but he was aghast when he came to Southeast Kansas where people poured vinegar on their chili! Ah, I never knew there was another way.
Then there are the beans…or beanless chili maybe. Does one use pinto beans, navy beans, white beans, kidney beans or what? I like them all, and now I love to use Anasazi beans too. These are mild bean grown in New Mexico, spotted like a pinto horse.  They are touted to be sweeter and less gassy, but I do know they are good.
And what about the bread accompaniment? Is it cornbread or crackers? I like both so it isn’t major issue for me on chili days. Topping, is it cheese or catsup?
So how do you eat YOUR chili? Vinegar for you?

Spaghetti squash topped with chili...a new chili idea.


Rebecca said...

Oh, definitely vinegar! (I never attributed it to my Kansas roots....but maybe so?!)

I stick with a pretty basic recipe since I discovered it years ago when I was on Weight Watchers. It calls for tomato juice - but sometimes I substitute in cans of diced tomatoes. I also like to mix up my beans :) Maybe 2 cans of dark/1 can of light...and sometimes even a can of black beans.

Which reminds me of a black bean chili that we also like. No meat.

I want to try some white bean/chicken chili one of these days. It sounds good every time I hear about it.

My husband likes bread and butter pickles with his.

Marylin Warner said...

Speaking as a true southeast Kansas former resident (of Ft. Scott) my parents would vote for both ways: my dad crunched crackers in his chili; my mom added vinegar as she was making the chili. She also added garlic--thanks to our Italian neighbors--and lots of green onions and fresh tomatoes.
Makes me want to go make a batch just thinking of it.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Here in the South we like cornbread with our chili. Being GF I miss it! I've never heard of vinegar in chili, but I'll have to give it a try now!

Sioux said...

Claudia--I'm with Lisa. I've never put vinegar in my chili, but I am going to have to try it.

I love cornbread more than crackers, to accompany chili.

Sioux said...
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Linda O'Connell said...

Never tried vinegar. I like my chili with crushed crackers, but also like cornbread with chili, cheese and onions baked on top. chicli and pickles? That's a new one. recently had delicious white, chicken chili.
Now I am hungry.

Susan said...

Hello dear Bookie...No, no vinegar here.

I like plenty of chili powder and cumin. No black beans, though. Kidney or canneloni beans.

Also, I like chopped onions and avocado on chili! And a good dollup of sour creme. ha haha

Cornbread is good with chili, too, and a glass of beer. Mmmmmm

Got caught up on your blog posts. Lovely photos in your travel posts. Glad you got out with hubs before the snows come.

So glad the little grandbaby was born healthy, too.

Take care Bookie and thank you SO MUCH for all your faithful visits to my blog. Susan