Frito Pie via The Pioneer Woman. Recipe HERE.
Life's Lesson N° 7: Getting Back to My Roots.… Rasta Style.
My best friend Jenny asked me the other day what I would like for her to bring to Paris for me next week when she arrives. My answer: Fritos. Yes, that is my request. Why do I need Fritos? Because I have to make Frito Pie! If you do not know what Frito Pie is…1. I feel bad for you and 2. Don’t worry because I’m going to tell you what it is.
Today’s blog is all about chili. Not to be all self-righteous but I am a near expert at chili. Let me tell you why… First of all, I was born in Texas. Secondly, I have attended at least 15 years of the Malibu Chili Cookoff. Thirdly, I spent my youth eating Frito Pies.
People get a little crazy about their chili. Everyone has their own secret chili recipe that they all think is the best. I understand… Chili is personal. Everyone has their own idea, preference, rules about which meat to use (if any), which spice is best, beans or no beans, tomatoes or no tomatoes, what kind of accoutrements etc. There are even arguments about the origins of chili … Is it Mexican, Spanish or Texan. The only aspect I can see that chili lovers agree on is that chili needs patience and love allowing the flavors to meld and become rich.
If you are not doing a Frito pie, don’t forget to make cornbread with salted honey butter. Making chili in Paris is not a walk in the park. Trying to find a packet of chili seasoning powder, cheddar cheese or sour cream ain’t easy. Luckily, my friend Elizabeth sent me a whole care package of chili seasoning powder.
Side note: you may know my friend Elizabeth as La Contessa. My friend RJ calls her “All CAPS Contessa” as she distinguishes her writing with perfectly placed capitalization that I love. I have to tell you, this woman is quite remarkable. She is quirky, kind, generous, loving, interesting, forthcoming, a true friend, and is an absolutely magically unique woman. She has a charming blog that you all should check out: www.vintagehenhouse.com
Okay, let’s start with some secrets to a superb chili from the experts…
Have a rich, complex chili flavor that combines sweet, bitter, hot, fresh, and fruity elements in balance.
Don’t rush your chili. The best chili is cooked all day over a low heat.
Don’t use ground beef. Go the extra mile and use a bone-in Chuck roast, cooking it for hours like a pot roast, cut it up and add to the chili.
Sear your onions over high heat quickly to achieve a caramelization effect.
Use an assortment of chilies… Mild, hot, fresh and diced
Add pork fat for flavor.
Add a bit of stout beer or dark ale.
Add a bit of dark chocolate or Aztec cocoa.
Add a shot of coffee.
Use a combination of chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste.
Ready for some recipes? Here we go…
One Pot Cheesy Turkey Taco Chili Mac via skinnytaste.com. Recipe HERE.
Chuck wagon chili via Emeril Legasse. Recipe HERE.
Voilà! Chili… Mastered.
*Something you don’t know about me? I decided I’m going to attempt to become a stoner. I texted Gracie and said, “Mommy is going to become a stoner.” Gracie responded, “It’s about time.” Previously, and by previously I mean last week, I was opposed to the use of marijuana. My problems in the past with pot are the following… Primarily, it makes you a retard. I have seen this firsthand. All of my friends who smoke pot on a regular basis are… Slow and have arrested development. It’s the truth. Secondly, I am afraid that if I smoke pot I will freak out and have to go to the hospital. Remember, I am the girl who is afraid of aspirin and Band-Aids. Now, I have changed my mind. In my fifth year of ALS I don’t give a shit anymore. So what if I become a retard. It’s not as if I’m trying to get a job or impress anybody. I can be as stupid as I want. No matter how much pot I smoke, I will still be smarter than everyone on Fox News combined. So what if I have to go to the hospital? I’ve been to the hospital so many times in the past five years that it hardly even fazes me anymore. Let me state for the record though that if Gracie ever even considered smoking pot, I would slaughter her.
When I was growing up in Malibu through junior high and high school the main pastimes were going to the beach, listening to reggae music, eating burritos and smoking pot. It was Malibu for God sake. I did all of that except the smoking pot. I know I don’t seem like the type of girl who listens to reggae music, but I am. I have been to so many Reggae Sunsplash festivals, I’ve lost count. I have been front row at a Jimmy Cliff concert and I wanted to marry Ziggy Marley when I was in high school. Black Uhuru, Steel Pulse, Peter Tosh… Loved all of it. But then I grew up and moved on. Now, I think it’s time I got back to my roots. Yep, I’m going to start smoking pot in Paris, sing karaoke reggae, eat take-out Chipotle burritos, drink a green juice and for your enjoyment I am going to strap a GoPro camera to my forehead to document the whole thing. This should be fun. I’m not guaranteeing that I’m going to be a successful stoner, but I’m going to give it a good shot.
Let me explain my reasoning for becoming a stoner. ALS is a nerve disease. My nerves are shot, they are probably dead, they are exhausted, they are stressed and they have quite literally just given up. For my entire life, I have been a Type A personality. Here’s a quick description of someone with a type A personality: The theory describes "Type A" individuals as ambitious, rigidly organized, sensitive, impatient, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, anxious, proactive, and concerned with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving "workaholics" who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence. Behavior is expressed in three major symptoms: (1) free-floating hostility, which can be triggered by even minor incidents; (2) time urgency and impatience, which causes irritation and exasperation usually described as being "short-fused"; and (3) a competitive drive which causes stress and an achievement-driven mentality.
This describes me to a T. Can you imagine my exhaustion from living like this for 44 years! So, you have to think, “This girl needs to smoke some pot, tout de suite!” I’m going to invite a few friends over to join me but I can’t tell you who because they have a reputation to protect. I don’t. My reputation was lost years ago when I fell out of that taxicab on Fifth Avenue and landed face down into the gutter. So, wish me luck and stay tuned…