I know a man called Gubba

and he just loves coconut macaroons

He is called Gubba because when his grandson Samuel was a toddler, his version of “Grandpa” was Gubba; and the name has just sort of stuck with him over the years.

Gubba loves my coconut macaroons. And I love him for loving my macaroons.

Lightly browned on the outside, chewy and moist on the inside, what’s not to love about these heavenly little haystacks?

When my stepdaughter Rachel, Samuel’s sister, used to work with me at the bakery www.instagram.com/bakesalesd  she would take Gubba all the leftover macaroons from the case. One of the benefits of working at the bakery was whatever hadn’t sold at the end of the day went home in white paper bags.

I was going through some files this weekend and came across the beloved macaroon recipe and thought, “what a great recipe to share with everyone.” I am hoping that maybe Brian, Gubba’s son (and a hell of a chef himself) will make these for him. The thing is, you don’t have to be a chef or even a baker to make them; they are simple: toss all in one bowl, scoop and bake.

PS: Sometimes I like to stripe them or dip the tops with dark chocolate and make them into my version of Mounds Bars.

 

Gubba’s Coconut Macaroons

 

2            Cups             Sweetened Coconut

1 1/3      Cups             Unsweetened Coconut

1            14 oz Can     Sweetened Condensed Milk

1            tsp                Vanilla

2                                  Egg Whites – Slightly beaten

1            pinch            Kosher or Sea Salt

 

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl, mix well. With a 2-3 ounce scoop, scoop and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

A New Meaning for the Term “Lighten Up.”

Don’t you just hate it when someone tells you to “relax” or “lighten up?”

 

This time of year, avocados are literally dropping from the trees. (I know this because my dog, Larry, has been on a steady diet of avocados foraged from the yard – along with the tell-tail signs of his binge eating all over my grass.) But let’s face it, there comes a time when it’s a race between you and the avocado… can you eat it up before it goes all brown on you? We’ve all been there.

Deemed one of the healthiest fats you can eat, and encouraged in moderation for humans (and probably dogs too), I decided to healthy-up another one of my favorite, go-to, easy weekday lunch or dinner recipes by substituting avocados and yogurt for oil. In this quick and easy interpretation of creamy basil pesto, I substitute slivered almonds for the traditional pine nuts used in most pestos, and I have also used toasted sunflower seeds (a new “superfood”) for them with delicious results. Feel free to play with it.

All ingredients are tossed into a food processor and combined for an easy clean-up, too. It is best served just-warm, room temperature or cold as a salad, so it is wonderful for alfresco dining on hot summer nights. But don’t leave your plate unattended – keep your eye on the dog.

Pasta with Creamy Avocado and Yogurt Pesto

This is a healthy and quick take on traditional pasta with pesto sauce. All ingredients are tossed into a food processor and combined for an easy clean-up as well. It is best served just-warm, room temperature or cold as a salad, so it is wonderful for alfresco dining on hot summer nights.

1          16 oz. package             Dry pasta of choice

½         Bunch (6 oz.)             Basil (stems removed)

½         Bunch (6 oz.)             Cilantro (stems removed)

1          Handful (6 oz.)           Baby Spinach

1          Large                           Ripe Avocado (pitted)

2          TBS                             Avocado or Olive Oil

¼         Cup                            Plain Whole Milk Yogurt

½         Cup                            Toasted Slivered Almonds

2/3      Cups                           Finely grated Parmesan cheese

1          Tsp                              Salt

½         Tsp                            Pepper or more to taste

Cook off pasta and allow cool so no longer steaming. Do not rinse.

Place toasted almonds, basil, cilantro and spinach in the base of a food processor. Pour oil over the top and pulse until nuts are finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until all are combined and has the consistency of a creamy salad dressing. Taste and adjust with more salt, pepper or cheese as needed.

In a separate bowl, toss desired amount of pasta and desired amount of sauce until lightly dressed. Top with additional Parmesan cheese and chopped cherry tomatoes, if you wish.

Recipe courtesy of Terryl Gavre

Proprietor, Cafe 222; Co-Proprietor, BANKERS HILL BAR + Restaurant

Summertime!

Bring on the Corn

Alright maybe it’s a little June-gloomy here is San Diego but it is the start of corn season and I decided to do a riff on my old “Spaghetti with Corn and Garlic” recipe (circa 1992) which headlined my opening dinner menu at Cafe 222.

So… just like everything with 25 years of age on it, it’s time for a little update.  As we all know the trend today is everything healthy… so here is a version where instead of pasta (rejoice all you gluten-free-ers) this dish uses riced cauliflower.  It looks like risotto… it tastes like risotto, it creams like risotto, but it ain’t risotto…so you can dish yourself up another bowl!

Riced Cauliflower and Fresh Corn “Risotto”

 

1          12 oz. bag                  Riced Cauliflower

3          Ears                           Fresh Corn (cut off cob)

2          Cloves                       Fresh Garlic

½         Medium                  Sweet Onion – diced small

3          TBS                           Olive Oil

1          TBS                            Butter

½         Tsp                           Kosher Salt

½         Cup                          Fresh Grated Parmesan or Asiago Cheese

2          TBS                           Water

Heat a large sauté pan over medium flame. Add olive oil and butter, and heat until butter melts and begins to bubble. Swirl pan around to combine the fats and add the cauliflower and onions. Turn heat up to med-high. Stir and cook for approx. 2 minutes, or until they begin to become translucent but not browned. Add corn and continue to cook for 2 more minutes, stirring regularly. Add garlic and salt, and allow to cook for 2 more minutes until the fragrance of nutty garlic and corn becomes evident. Add all but 1 TBS of the grated cheese to the pan along with 1 TBS water and continue to stir so that the cheese melts along with water to form a light sauce. Allow to cook until no water is visible. Taste for seasoning adding more salt (and pepper) if desired. Plate and top with remaining cheese.

Serves 2

Recipe courtesy of Terryl Gavre

Proprietor, Cafe 222; Co-Proprietor, BANKERS HILL BAR + Restaurant

Six Degrees of Strawberry Shortcake

A sure sign of Spring in San Diego is when we see our local farm stands move all their annual produce to the back rows, and move the beautiful, sweet, fragrant strawberries to front and center.

This week I went on the CW6 Morning News (along with my young assistant and official taster, my son Elliott) to share my ideas for fun riff’s on Strawberry Shortcake.

Here are just a few that we shared:

   Traditional Strawberry Shortcake, a sweet biscuit or “shortcake” layered with strawberries, whipped cream and a drizzle of strawberry sauce.

   Shortcake in a Pot, I used vanilla cupcakes for my “shortcake” and layered a little mason jar with cake, strawberries and whipped cream.  Fun for a party.

   Glazed Donut Shortcake, this decadent version uses a plain glazed donut for the “shortcake” which is a proven kid-favorite. (Note, see Elliott in photo.)

   Twinkie Strawberry Shortcake.  This is another kid-favorite… well, I must admit, it’s an adult favorite too.  What could be better than a Hostess Twinkie,  cream-filled sponge cake topped with fresh whipped cream and fresh strawberries?

Good Morning my Sweet Valentine(s)

This year I am spoiling my kids with breakfast in bed

It’s Valentine’s Day, but even if you don’t have a sweetie this year, you can certainly spoil your mom, your dad, or your sweet kiddos with these decadent dark chocolate waffles.  Because they are made with bittersweet chocolate as well as brown sugar rather than white refined sugar, they are not as sweet as one might think.

I have a collection of waffle irons so I always use the heart iron for Valentine’s Day and birthdays. If you don’t have one however, don’t let that stop you.  Before I bought the specialty heart iron I used to just take a pair of kitchen scissors to a round waffle and make it into a heart.

Have fun with the toppings too, in addition to topping them with good ol’ whipping cream, I make “sweet cream” out of sour cream by adding powdered sugar and vanilla.  I like it because it’s not too sweet. My kids happen to favor a dollop of Marshmallow cream straight out of the jar, go figure.

Dark Chocolate Valentines Day Waffles

2    cups  all-purpose flour

½   cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¼    cup (packed) brown sugar

2    tsp baking powder

1    tsp baking soda

1    tsp salt

3    lg    eggs- separated

2    cups  buttermilk

½   cup olive oil

1    tsp vanilla paste

6    oz   bittersweet chocolate – chopped small (like choc chips)

Non-stick vegetable spray for waffle iron.

Preheat waffle iron.

Whisk flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add egg yolks, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Blend with a fork, then gradually incorporate dry ingredients, mixing just until combined.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat egg whites in a small bowl until soft peaks form. Working in 2 batches, fold egg whites into batter just until combined.

Gently fold in chocolate.

Lightly coat waffle iron with nonstick spray. Working in batches, cook waffles until cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet, cover loosely with foil, and keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

It’s Spaghetti for Breakfast

Hey, I like my bacon and eggs and well as the next guy… but after 25 years of serving them up at Café 222, a girl has got to start to get creative in the morning.

Here’s what we have been doing around our house on weekends around 11:30 a.m. Just as the big hand starts to work it’s way up to the 12, and it’s “okay” to have a nice glass of Rose, we start the pasta pot, fry up some bacon and whisk us some eggs. It’s spaghetti for breakfast.

Spaghetti Carbonara

1    lb    Packaged dry thick spaghetti

1    lb    Bacon- cooked to crispy

1    tbs Butter

1    ea   Small Leek (whites only) sliced thin

6    oz   Kale

1    tbs      Salt

8    lg    Eggs

8    oz   Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Cheese

Cut bacon into 1” pieces and cook off until crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Wisk eggs in a large bowl with ¾ of the cheese and half of the salt. Set aside.

Cook leeks and kale in butter and remaining salt over medium heat just until tender.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil (just toss some in this is not part of the 1 TBS)

Add pasta and cook until al dente.

Take a measuring cup and scoop out about 1 cup of the starchy water in case you need it to thin out the sauce.

Once pasta is cooked quickly strain it and toss immediately into the egg mixture, keep tossing as the heat will start to cook the eggs.  While tossing add the kale mixture and the bacon until evenly distributed.

If sauce gets too thick, add a little of the pasta water until it is consistency that you like.

Place in serving container and top with remaining cheese and black pepper.

I like a lot of black pepper, but that’s just me.

My Mostly True Thanksgiving Story

A Little Slice of the Family Pie

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I grew up in Bremerton, Washington. Bremerton is a small Navy community about twenty water-miles from Seattle. It was, when I lived there, nothing more than a town with two high schools, one baseball field and a dozen or so mothballed old battleships littering the water that surrounded it. Bremerton had its 15- minutes of fame back in the 1980’s when they filmed “An Officer and a Gentleman” there. Everybody was proud but me, I found the way they portrayed our town embarrassing.

Growing up I always felt our holidays were pretty typical — or so I thought until I moved away and spent a few holidays with other people’s families.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were great big get-togethers with every relation gathering at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. We, the grandchildren, wore our new holiday duds. I always had a red or green dress, hair in pigtails, leotards and a new pair of patent leathers. My older brother wore a felt vest that my mother made. It had a cutout and glued train across the front of it. I don’t know what he resents more, the fact that he had to wear it back then, or that everybody now looking at the old pictures laughs at him. This might help explain why to this day he doesn’t speak to anyone in our family.

We usually arrived at Grandma and Grandpa’s at around one or two and dinner was always set for about four o’clock. I can’t remember it ever coming off on time, or without a conflagration of some sort. One year the electricity went out, another my aunt Sylvie had a baby, right there on the living room rug.

By the time we got to the two-story brick house my grandma and great-grandma were already in the kitchen. Pots were boiling, the windows were steamy, and Otto, their obese weenie dog, was under foot hoping for a scrap to fall his way. I don’t know why that big fat dog was such a beggar. Every day for breakfast and dinner he was served a big bowl of dog food that my grandmother would mix with baby cereal, cover with gravy and then heat up for him.

Each holiday there were between forty and fifty persons total. Thirteen or so grandchildren (yes, we sat at card tables in the kitchen) and the rest a mixed bag of adults, geriatrics and a few strays that my grandfather brought home from his corner hang-out, The Red Rooster. It seems The Red Rooster didn’t serve a holiday dinner along with all that Schlitz Malt Liquor.

Grandma Donnie (short for Daniela), backed-up by my mother, and a few other women would scold my grandpa out on the back porch in hushed voices: “You do this every year; you bring these drunks to our home.” We (the cousins) were crazy about those loveable and funny characters that our grandmother despised. There was “Shorty,” “Lefty” and “Luther,” all appropriately nicknamed except Luther, whose proper name was Luther. Lefty had a bad limp, and Shorty was…well, you already guessed, not too tall. Luther was spared the nickname, for it would have been far too cruel to call him anything but Luther. You see, somehow he had lost his tongue. My grandpa told us that it happened in the war and we saw no reason to question it.

As the day progressed more relatives arrived, along with more cousins ensuring the promise of a great crab apple fight out back in the alley. While the women migrated to the kitchen where there was a lot of laughing, swearing and wine drinking, the men instinctually took their places in the living room. There the football game, which was turned up way too loud took center stage, Side tables held such appetizers as celery stuffed with olive pimento cheese, smoked oysters and chips with dip. Keep in mind; these are the type of people who thought nothing of double-dipping (something that even as a child I was completely against). With the adults preoccupied upstairs, we liked to hang out in the basement where Grandpa kept the liquor and his Playboy magazines. One at a time we took turns standing watch at he door while the others passed a bottle of Coke spiked with Everclear around.

In grandma’s dining room there was a beautiful oak table extended to seat twenty, and another smaller table which seated about 10. The tables were set with Grandma’s beautiful Spode Rosebud Chintz dishes, her ruby red water glasses and her best silver. There were tapered candles on the table and cut glass bowls overflowing with black olives, sweet baby gherkins and those sweet pickled beets that come in a jar. To this day those beets are still my favorite.

Lefty and Luther sat with us kids at card tables in the kitchen but Shorty was always invited to sit out with the adults. I think it was because every year he gave the blessing. This was usually a long-winded list of gratitude and love that always ended with “Our dear ol’ Ireland.”

The cousins and I liked Lefty and Luther sitting with us. Our mothers did not however, and routinely popped their heads through the swinging doors to check on us. My cousin Eli would fire a litany of questions at Luther (the guy with no tongue) just to get him to talk. We couldn’t understand a single word he said, and we were way too afraid to laugh. After all, he supposedly lost it in the war. We would try and hold our giggles in and if that didn’t work we would pretend that we were laughing at the dog. Another reason we liked Lefty and Luther was because they, too, hung out in the basement. They drank Grandpa’s booze and looked at his magazines right along with us.

And they kept our secret.

The meal was traditional: bird, stuffing, mashed potatoes and all the trimmings. Every year my Aunt Sissy brought her “candied yams with rum.” I’m not sure which contained more rum, the yams or Aunt Sissy. She was an old lady with lots of make-up, the one everyone avoided because she insisted on kissing everyone on the lips.

Dog Wrestling

After dinner the dishes were quickly cleared, the plates scraped and the tables were broken down and put away until the next holiday. The women would go back to the kitchen and the hour-long cleanup would begin. The men, all swell-bellied and half-baked, were flaked out across every available couch, loveseat and bed in the house.

Once again, the kids would quietly assemble in the basement, for it was time for Grandpa to wrestle the dog. After he was sure that Grandma was well into the cleanup process and wouldn’t be distracted, my grandpa would come downstairs and quietly lock the door behind him. We would be waiting for him with big grins on our faces. He would have Otto’s dish in his hand and Otto, of course, was right behind him jumping and snapping at his bowl.

Very ceremoniously, Grandpa would place the dish on a ledge above the fireplace. He would slowly remove his shirt, fold it in half and hang it over the back of a chair. He would carefully take out his teeth and place them on the ledge next to the dog dish. By this time we were all so excited…and so was Otto, snorting and jumping wildly at his dish. Besides, Otto knew the drill. He had wrestled the old man more than a time or two.

To this day I have a vivid memory of exactly how my grandpa looked with his shirt off. Of course, he was all loose and hangy, but mostly he was white—pure white. The man had skin the color of a hard-boiled egg, and it was smooth, too — not a hair on him.

In one quick move, Grandpa would swoop down, grab Otto and throw the drooling dog to the ground. We would almost wet our pants laughing and screaming at them. Grandpa would roll on top of Otto and then Otto would roll on top of Grandpa. It was just like he was wrestling an alligator. Out of breath, he would yell, “get your feet up, kids, watch your toes, get up off the floor.” We would jump to the couch, grab our feet, and clench our knees under our chins.

After two or three more near-wins by Otto, Grandpa would pin Otto with one arm and slap his hand on the mat with the other. It was over! Grandpa once again beat the fat old dog. Otto did however usually get in a good nip or two, and Grandpa would later proudly parade around the room flexing his muscles and showing everyone where he got bit.

“A hundred and eighty pounds of speed, guts and muscle,” he would shout over all our screaming and applause.

By the time it quieted down enough to hear the pounding on the basement door, Grandpa had already put his teeth back in, dressed, and calmed Otto enough to give him his pablum. On the other side of the door would be Grandma Donnie and my mother (her deputy). We all got yelled at and sent outside to calm down. Grandpa would once again get summoned to the back porch for another scolding, and poor Otto had to stay in the basement by himself because he was so worked up.

Oh well, it was time for the crab apple fight anyway.

A few years ago, flipping through TV channels, I stumbled across a World Wrestling Federation match, and I realized how deftly my grandfather executed the fakery and drama required to pull off his wrestling matches with Otto. Since the time I was a little girl I have been told how much I take after my grandfather.

I guess I should have taken a job with the circus when I had the chance instead of being a cook.

[Published 2009, San Diego Metropolitan Magazine]

THE GREAT PUMPKIN

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Some of you under 40’s won’t get this title, but to all of us who grew up in the 70’s one of the best parts of holiday season was how it kicked off with an October 30th television special called “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.”  The next night (Halloween) it was a tradition that my mom made chili for dinner and all of the neighborhood kids would stop in for a bowl, sporting their costumes, for a quick, pre-trick-or-treating dinner.

The recipe for my out-of-this-world, Acme Southern Kitchen Chili is on this blog, do find it and carry on my tradition.

Every year come October my classes at the bakery turn holiday-focused and they start off this month with my favorite class, THE GREAT PUMPKIN, where we make; pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, a pumpkin waffle and this earthy and decadent Baked Pumpkin and Rolled Oats.

It only takes about 10 minutes to put this dish together and I like to make it on Christmas Eve and throw in in the oven right before we are finished with presents in the morning.  It fills the house with smell of Christmas and goes great with some salty-fatty bacon.

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Baked Pumpkin Rolled Oats with Raisins

FOR THE OATMEAL:

2 ¾ Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats    

¼    Cup   Packed Brown Sugar

¼    Cup   Real Maple Syrup

1 ½ Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

½   Cinnamon

¾   Tsp Salt

1    Cup Pumpkin Puree

2    Cups Milk

1    Cup   Heavy Cream or half and half

2    Eggs – slightly beaten

1    Tsp Vanilla

½   Cup Raisins – optional

Method:

Oven set to 350 degrees

Butter an 8-inch baking dish

Toast the oats by placing on a baking sheet and baking until light brown about 8 minutes…. Shake the pan at least once during bake.

Allow to cool, place the oats in a medium size bowl and combine with brown sugar, sugar, pie spice and salt.

Toss the raisins into the dry mixture. And mix to coat the raisins.

In a separate bowl combine the pumpkin, milk, cream, eggs, vanilla.

Stir the dry mix into the wet, pour into buttered baking dish.

Bake until just set about 20 minutes, rotate pan* bake another 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.  Scoop into bowls and top with Greek Yogurt or Whipped Cream.

* Sprinkle with candied pecans or other nuts at this time- optional.

An Apple (Pie) a Day…

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For me, the three best things about fall are; the start of the professional football season, making big pots of chili with cornbread for Sunday dinner, and apples.  Apple season kicks off mid September to Early October and we have already been seeing some great baking varieties at our local Farmer’s Markets.  

There are apples that are good for eating (remember the little Red Delicious apples that were included in the “hot lunch” program when you were in elementary school?) and there are apples that are better for baking like Granny Smith, Fuji and Rome.  Here I use a combination of Granny Smith (firm and tart) along with a Fuji apple or two (sweeter and softer) to make a delicious nice-slicing apple pie.  

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Bake Sale Bakery’s “Easy as Pie Dough”

1 ¼               Cup              AP Flour

1                   tsp                Salt

1 ½               tsp                Granulated Sugar

3                   TBS              Vegetable Shortening (such as Crisco)

5                   TBS              Very Cold Butter diced small.

5-7                TBS              Cold Water

 

  •       For a double crust pie, double amounts and divide into two disks before chilling

   

METHOD:

*cut butter and shortening into small cubes and put in freezer

  1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor
  2. Sprinkle butter and shortening over the dry ingredients and toss to coat .Pulse until the fat is pea sized but not smaller.
  3. Dump the dry/fat mixture into a bowl and add water a few TBSPs at a time. Use a fork to toss the mixture and evenly distribute the liquid.  Continue to add water until the dough, while still shaggy but holds together when pressed against the side of the bowl.
  4. Form the dough into a disk and wrap tightly, let disk cool in the refrigerator for at least two hours but up to 2 days.
  5. When ready, pin the dough out to fit the size of your pie tin making sure it is large enough to hang over the edge.
  6. If you are making a single crusted pie, crimp edges and blind bake your crust.
  7. If you are making a double crusted pie, place top crust over bottom and crimp them together to flute edges and create a seal.

*Make sure to keep the butter and dough cold, do not over work the dough as it will be tough.

 

Early Fall Apple Pie

2    lbs           Granny Smith Apples

1    lb             Sweet Variety (Eating) Apples

2/3 Cup         Sugar

1    tsp           Cinnamon

½   tsp           Kosher Salt

2    TBS         Flour

1    tsp           Lemon Zest

2    TBS         Lemon Juice

4    TBS         Crystalized Ginger

FOR DOUBLE CRUST PIE:

  1. Peel and core apples, cut into ¼” slices
  2. In a medium bowl combine sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon and flour, toss apples to coat
  3. Add zest and juice and combine
  4. Pour into bottom pie crust and top with the second crust
  5. Crimp edges or decorate as you like
  6. Cut vents in top crust
  7. Bake in a 475- degree oven for about 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Rotate pie, then lower the oven to 375 and bake until golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
  8. Let cool at room temperature on a wire rack for about 4 hours.

FOR FREE FORM APPLE TART:

  1.   Same recipe as above except roll out only one large disc of dough.
  2.   Place apples in the center and fold dough up and over to form sides.
  3.   Lightly brush the sides of the crust with whole milk or cream.
  4.   Sprinkle with sanding sugar
  5.   Bake at 475 for 10 minutes, rotate, reduce heat to 375.
  6.   Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until apples are caramelized

ACME Southern Kitchen Chili

“Now that there is some real meaty soup”

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As the weather gets cooler, soup sales get hotter in all my restaurants.

Some argue that chili is not a soup… they can say what they will, but for the sake of the argument, I am classifying it as a soup for this post.

Café 222 has had the same version of Chili Con Carne on the menu for the past twenty-some years and there would be a real riot if I even considered changing the recipe or taking it off the menu and replacing it with another soup. I always run a second soup during the cooler months at the Café but chili outsells any other selection two to one, so why mess with it, right?

When I opened my beloved ACME Southern Kitchen in 2012, I worked for months on a real “Texas” style chili recipe that would be different from the recipe at the Café and yet be equally delicious and popular. What I ended up with not only was equally delicious, it was in fact more delicious (in my opinion) than my Café version. Still, when I tried to run it on the menu at the Café, there was a great big stink. Rest assured my dear Cafe regulars… I swiftly switched it back to the same original recipe chocked full of black beans and corn.

But hey, if you want to try my ACME Southern Kitchen Chili, we run it October through January down at Bake Sale Bakery. This chili has so many layers of flavor. It gets its heat from a combination of fresh chiles and bell peppers, canned chipotles, and dried chile powders. The flavor profile is raised to the next level with the addition of strong black coffee, the stronger the better, and it’s finished off with peanut butter (yes, peanut butter) and then thickened with Masa flour.

Don’t be intimidated by the length of the ingredient list, it is all done in three “dumps,” (that’s Texas cook-speak, ha ha) or three steps once the dicing and slicing is done.

You can omit the peanut butter if you have an allergy, but otherwise don’t you dare. It seems silly, but it does change the flavor profile… don’t worry you won’t be able to pick the taste out of the lineup, it just adds a smooth, nutty layer to the dish.

ACME Southern Kitchen Chili

AKA: The best damn Chili

1 lb          Ground Pork

2 lbs        Ground Chicken

2 lbs        Ground Beef

2 med      Onions Chopped

¼             Cup minced Garlic

1             Red Bell Pepper Chopped (seeded)

1             Green Bell Pepper Chopped (seeded)

1             Jalapeno Pepper Chopped (seeded)

1             Serrano Chile Chopped (seeded)

1             Pasilla Chile Chopped (seeded)

Cook first batch of ingredients until meat is cooked, but not browned.

Add 2 quarts beef stock. Cook for 1 hour, until meat is crumbly.

3 TBS      Onion Powder

1 TBS      Garlic Powder

2 TBS      Dry Chicken Base

3 TBS      Paprika

3 TBS      Dark Chili Powder

2 TBS      Cayenne

1 TBS      Black Pepper

4 TBS      Cumin

1 TBS      White Pepper

1 Sm.       Can Tomato Paste

8 oz         Catsup

2 oz         Canned Chipolte Peppers (pureed)

1 CUP      Brewed Strong Black Coffee

½ CUP     Peanut Butter (optional)

Cook ½ hour more, taste and season as necessary.

Thicken with slurry made with ½ cup Masa flour and ¾

cup water. Allow to slightly bubble for 5 minutes.

Garnish with chopped green onions, a dollop of sour cream, cilantro, crumbled tortilla chips, diced fresh jalapeno… any of your favorite chili toppings.