Blog Archives

Heaven on a Bun

Monday was a balmy 60 something degrees. I spent the entire afternoon outside, going for a run and then walking another hour and a half. Knowing what was coming later in the week, I wasn’t going to waste the sunshine and warm air. As I was walking, I was getting really hungry. I couldn’t get the thought of a juicy burger with melting cheese oozing from between the layers of a potato bun. Later when I stopped at the store to get what I needed, I did a quick search of the gourmet cheeses. I rarely go for the mundane American or plain old cheddar. I found a morel mushroom and leek jack cheese. Oh yeah! There is a small shop ( The Savory Gourmet )that sells cheeses and other snacky kind of foods in Lititz, PA that used to have a mushroom cheese (first introduced to us at Waltz Vineyards-excellent wines.  My favorite is their Fusion).  Eating that cheese was like eating a choice cut of beef. Awesome with red wine. This cheese that I found in the grocery store was pretty close.

When I got home, I mixed into 1 and a half pounds of chuck (gotta have chuck, 80/20-need that fat to keep the flavor and juices and keep the burgers from drying out) powdered garlic, minced onion, a splash or two of Worcestershire sauce and a big splash of red wine vinegar or red wine. I formed 5 relatively equal patties, giving them a little indention in the center (see Simple Backyard Burgers for more on burgers). The patties went on the grill with a hot fire, coals evenly spread out. I had very few flare-ups. Not sure why, but that is a good thing. Near the end of cooking time, I moved the burgers to the sides, no longer over the coals. Slices of cheese were added, the lid went on for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese and voila! Juicy, cheesey heaven on a bun! The burgers were perfect-just a bit of pink in the middle and the mushroom and leek cheese was an excellent complement to the touch of Worcestershire and red wine vinegar.

Sorry I don’t have pictures-just didn’t get them this time around.

Until next time, Grill Baby, Grill!

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Baked Chili

Baked Chili This isn’t what it started out to be. My mom used to make this recipe she calls Chuckwagon Beans, which I will be posting sometime in the future. That is what I was thinking I was going to make for dinner. Turns out, I had one 16 ounce can of pork and beans, meaning I wasn’t making my Mom’s recipe. It was one of those days I was not planning to go anywhere and I was not changing the plan. So Baked Chili is what happened. And I mean, what happened. I started pulling things out of the pantry and the veggie drawer and this is what I came up. All of these ingredients are available in my house 90% of the time.

Although I baked this in my oven, it will easily translate to the grill. A cast iron skillet or a Dutch Oven on the grill or a Dutch Oven over an open fire or with coals will make this recipe even better than it is baked in the oven in the house. Adding natural smoke flavor to any dish such as this improves the overall taste-so pull up your stump around the campfire for this one.

This recipe makes a lot. It will be good for a potluck or when you have a crowd. Of course, you can cut it down 1/2 or 1/4 easily enough. The end result filled a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. To prevent a mess in my oven, I laid a sheet of foil on the shelf below the chili to catch the inevitable drips.  Also, plan ahead.  This will need to bake about an hour and a half.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Brown 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of hamburger in a large pot.  Drain and set aside.  In the same pot, saute 2 medium to large cloves of garlic, pressed or finely chopped, one large diced green pepper and one large diced onion, about a cup and a half each.  If you don’t like that much, cut the amount.  I love peppers and onions.  For a bit of heat, you could add a diced chili pepper.  Saute the pepper and onion about 5 minBaked Chiliutes or so, just until crisp tender.  They will cook further in the oven.  Baked Chili

 

 

 

 

 

 

my favorite brand of beans

 

Add the cooked hamburger back to the pot and stir all together.  Next, you will be adding 3 undrained 16 ounce cans of chili beans, one 16 ounce can of baked beans,one undrained 16 ounce can of kidney beans,one cup of beef broth or stock (veggie works well, too), 1 tbsp dried cilantro or 2 tbsp chopped fresh, 2 tbsp ground mustard, 1 tbsp cumin, 2-3 tbsp chili powder (to your taste).  Stir well.  Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake in the oven (preheated to 375 degrees F) for one and a half hours.  After taking it out of the oven, remove the foil  and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.  It will be very hot!! 

right out of the oven

right out of the oven

In my house, we have cornbread with our chili and sometimes a bit of shredded cheese over the top (sometimes for my husband and myself, every time for my daughters).

When I eventually bake this outdoors, I will prepare the chili completely in my Dutch Oven.  I can brown the hamburger, saute the veggies and stir it all together in the same.  Over an open fire, I use my tripod and keep my fire pretty hot, adjusting the hanging level of the oven with the chain (for more on Dutch Oven cooking, see Heaven and Earth/Himmel und Erde).  On the grill, I will start with a hot fire and keep up the heat, spreading the coals around the perimeter of the grill, placing the Dutch Oven in the center (after removing the cooking grate).  The way cast iron holds heat, I don’t anticipate any issue keeping the chili hot enough to bake as completely as it does in the kitchen oven. 

This is a different kind of chili.  A little off from the chili I make in a pot, but it’s a keeper.  No tomatoes, no tomato sauce, really thick and meaty.  It was good.  I hope you enjoy it.

Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!

Pumpkin Pie Tip

Getting an unbaked pumpkin pie into the oven can be quite tricky.  But, it doesn’t have to be!  I don’t have any spectacular pumpkin pie recipe to share with you, just this tip.  I use the recipe off of the can of Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie blend) and never vary the recipe.  It’s too good of a recipe to alter.  I really enjoy a simple custardy pumpkin pie, no bells and whistles.  I even eat pumpkin pie for breakfast.  It’s healthy enough. 

Here’s how I get my pies in the oven without making a big mess.  Mix up the custard and place the empty pie shells on the pulled out rack in the oven.  

Then pour the custard into the pie shells.  Since I make two pies at once, I measure out one cup at a time until I can pour the custard directly into the shell.  No mess on the kitchen floor and no mess on the oven door or oven floor. 

Carefully push the rack back into the oven and bake as directed. 

Enjoy!  And until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!