Fall is definitely in the air here in the North Carolina mountains. I look out our sunroom window and fall completely in love with where we live all over again.
and then my mind turns to another love.
I know a lot of people - me included - associate certain memories with music.
But I'm bad to associate way too many memories with food.
Mention a particular food or drink and my mind will invariably flash to a particular restaurant or dinner party. I could/should write a book about this oddity. Except I'm thinking it's really not so odd - I think this is a group who loves food, so you probably do the same thing, huh?
When Donald and I start reminiscing and remembering trips we've taken, we seem to gauge how good the were by how well we ate.
Sort of like playing "Remember the Best" game - "Best Month (May), Best Year (1985/2013 - a toss up), Best Concert (a constant debate, yet to be settled). "
My favorite take-off on this is "Remember the Best Meal" game - "Best Oysters (a restaurant on Lady's Island, SC thirty plus years ago), Best Anniversary Dinner (Savannah, GA), Best Pizza (still looking and having fun doing it)."
Back in 1985, I was working at Georgia Tech.
In the Tech Tower - up there under the "T E C H" letters - in the Office of the VP for Facilities as the department secretary.
One of the departments that my boss, Dr. Clyde D. Robbins (who is now, by the way, right here in Boone, NC - - - a small world story!) was over was the Physical Plant.
The Physical Plant had a Chili Cook-Off every year and we were invited to participate. We all put our heads together, and our campus architect, David Savini, had the brilliant idea of drafting out a recipe like he might draft blueprints for a building. He took all our favorite chili recipes and started working on combining them to come up with the best chili recipe ever. I hope someone saved the blueprints and spread sheets - it was a masterpiece of creative design and brought us all hours of delight.
And come up with the best chili recipe is exactly what he did! Or at least, I think he did. And so did the Physical Plant chili judges 'cause we won first prize.
The other thing that happened that day is that I met a sweet man.
You may have heard me mention him from time to time.
His name is Donald.
Donald fell in love with the chili, mistakenly thought that I could cook and the rest is history.
And for those of you who love fall foods, Chili in particular, here's the recipe. (Notes #1 - The original recipe had beans, but I do not like beans in my chili and neither does Donald, so you won't find them in this recipe, but feel free to add them back in. Note #2 - This recipe can easily be halved. Note #3 - Play with the recipe and change it around to your heart's content, I've never been one to believe a recipe needed to be carved in stone).
The Day I Met Don Barley Chili
3 ½ lbs. Boneless chuck roast cut into 1/4" cubes
4 lbs. Ground chuck
3 lbs. Extra lean pork loin cut into 1/4" cubes
5 medium sized onions (chopped)
1 medium sized bell pepper (chopped)
6 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Tbsps. Salt
2 tsps. Ground pepper
4 dried chili peppers (chopped fine)
2 Tbsps. Cayenne
1/3 cup chili powder
2 Tbsps. Paprika
3 Tbsps. Ground cumin
2 Tbsps. Oregano
1 Tbsp. Mole paste or powder
little Worchester sauce
1 10 ½ oz. Can beef broth
1 12 oz. Can of beer
1 stick of cinnamon
Sauté each meat separately in a little butter flavored crisco or oil. Throw away the liquid and store meats overnight in the refrigerator.
Sauté onions and bell peppers in butter.
Place everything in a large pot, add tomato sauce to get your chili to the consistency you want.
Bring to a gentle boil, turn down to simmer. Simmer for at least a couple hours before serving.
How 'bout you, Reds, do you have a favorite recipe that you attach to a favorite memory? Care to share??!