The party started around 1:00 P.M. when Leslie came over on the ferry from Seattle. I met Leslie through Camp Goodtimes West. She has been a staff member there for a number of years, and we just "clicked." Leslie is one of the sweetest, kindest, most mature, compassionate, independent - and wickedly funny - young women I know...and she's gorgeous, too!
|Leslie, by Paul Dudley|
|Mooselips & Pineapple (Camp names)|
|Mooselips & Chad, a.k.a. "Putt-Putt"|
This is one of my favorite photos of Paul. It was just chili, I promise!
I'll even share the recipe with you. This recipe is the only thing I kept from my first marriage (my ex was kind enough to share it with me after we split). It's my favorite chili - more meat than beans, with a velvety sauce. I took liberties and improvised widely with it on Friday, which I'll describe to you here. But first, the basic recipe:
TL's Chili (now that I think about it, this was LC's Dad's Chili, originally)
3 lbs. sirloin (or stew meat)
2 TBSP. oil
2 - 3 cloves garlic
4 - 6 TBSP. Chili powder
2 tsp. Cumin
3 TBSP. flour
1 TBSP. oregano
2 cans beef broth (13+ ounces each)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 can pinto beans (15 oz.)
"Brown the meat first and combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook at least 3 - 4 hours, until the meat is very tender. Add the beans about 1 hour before cooking is complete. Enjoy!"*
Reading through this, I realized that I always improvise on the recipe. So here's how I do it:- Cut the meat into bite-sized cubes. Brown it in the oil. Put the meat, spices and beans together in the crockpot.
- I always use at least 4 cans of beans, and I like variety - red beans, kidney, black beans, etc.
- I use "Better Than Bouillion," a hearty paste (available at Costco) to which you add water, rather than canned soup.
- I used fresh oregano this time - about 3 TBSP. of it.
- I don't like cumin, so I use half of the amount in the recipe.
- I omitted the salt and pepper - unnecessary, with the salt in the canned beans.
- I added cinnamon and allspice (can't recall how much).
- This time, I put in about half a bar (2 oz. or so) of dark chocolate. I used "Lindt Excellence Chili Dark" and "Ghirardelli Premium 100% Cacao Unsweetened Baking Chocolate." Oh my goodness, it made all the difference to this recipe - it gave the chili a rich, velvety-smooth quality, without sweetness. Reminded me of a mole sauce.
* It's more delicious if you serve condiments with this chili: lime wedges, shredded cheese and plain yogurt (or sour cream).
You could combine different types of chili powders. I'd want to learn more about their qualities before I did that, but it's an intriguing idea.
I made cornbread (Bob's Red Mill) and honey-butter to go with the chili. Heidi made a wonderful bibb lettuce salad and TWO desserts: pear tart with pear-brandy whipping cream and a molten chocolate cake - both utterly delicious.free of charge for the patient and a sibling, by the way), we now have these wonderful, precious young people in our lives. There are many more staff from camp who are dear to my heart, and we'll have to do this again, and include as many of them as possible. They are a rowdy, freewheeling, compassionate bunch, and I treasure them.
I'm grateful to God for Camp Goodtimes West, and for good times with good friends!