Soften the chill of cold evenings by bumping up the heat in your dishes. Add zest to sides and sweets with green chiles and a sprinkle (or two) of cayenne and paprika. Your taste buds will tingle with a bowl of flavorful, beef chili and fluffy, jalapeños muffins. With dessert, complement your meal by keeping the spices subtle to accent the notes in rich, satisfying chocolate.
Beef Chili 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 pounds coarse ground beef 1 large onion, finely diced 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes 2 cups water ½ cup medium chili powder 2 tablespoons granulated garlic 2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons paprika 1½ tablespoons ground cumin 1½ tablespoons ground oregano 1 teaspoon cayenne (less for milder heat)
Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent; add meat and cook until no longer pink. Add all spices, tomato sauce, tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook slowly for 2 to 3 hours, until the meat is very tender, adding water if too thick. Serve with favorite toppings, such as grated cheddar, green onions and sour cream.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Muffins ¾ cup yellow cornmeal 1¼ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled off 1 tablespoon baking powder ½ cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs 2 tablespoons honey ¾ cup buttermilk ½ cup butter, melted and cooled 2-4 tablespoons chopped, pickled jalapenos 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, break up eggs with a whisk. Whisk in honey and then milk. Add milk mixture and melted butter to the dry ingredients. Stir until just blended. Do not over mix; it’s OK if there are a few lumps. Spoon batter evenly into muffin pan, filling each cup almost full. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until tops are puffed, set and golden. Cool muffins for a few minutes in the pan, then serve warm.
Boca Negra Mini Cakes Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens 1 cup sugar 1/3 cup orange juice 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate 1 stick butter 4 eggs 1 heaping tablespoon flour 3 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce 1/4 teaspoon salt Butter Sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter the insides of 8 4- to 5-ounce ramekins and lightly coat with sugar. In a medium saucepan combine the cup of sugar and the orange juice. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add chocolate and the stick of butter, stirring until melted. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Stir in flour, adobo sauce and salt.
Place prepared ramekins in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Divide chocolate mixture evenly among the ramekins. Place baking pan on oven rack. Pour enough boiling water into the baking pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until mixture is set (will not have a clean knife test). Using tongs, carefully remove ramekins from the water. Place on a wire rack; cool for 10 minutes. If desired, invert onto individual dessert plates. Serve warm with Sweet Crema.
Sweet Crema 1 cup sour cream 2 tablespoons orange juice 1 to 2 tablespoons vanilla syrup (we use Monin) 1 to 2 teaspoons orange zest
In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients. Drizzle about a tablespoon over Boca Negra Mini Cakes.