Monthly Archives: November 2009

Baking is fun

So I decided to bake a whole bunch of things today. I needed to practice the dinner rolls for thanksgiving to see if I should make them from scratch or just get the ones from the frozen department of the store. I also put together a pecan pie, from scratch as well as cranberry scones! Everything came out awesome so far. I have to remember that when I put something on the bottom rack of the oven, it tends to burn the bottom of whatever it is I am baking. The recipe for the scones is up first since I have made it twice now. The first time I made it, I added fresh blueberries. The scones ended up deflating and spreading instead of puffing up like they were supposed to. This time, I used craisins and they ended up coming out PERFECT. I am VERY proud of these.

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Prep Time:
15 min
Cook Time:
15 min
1 dozen


* 2 cups flour
* 4 teaspoons baking powder
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 4 tablespoons butter
* 2 tablespoons shortening
* 3/4 cup cream
* 1 egg
* Handful dried currants or dried cranberries


Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix well. Cut in butter and shortening. In a separate bowl, combine cream with beaten egg then add to dry ingredients. Stir in fruit. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Roll dough out and cut into biscuit size rounds. Bake for 15 minutes or until brown.

For this one, I followed the recipe exactly as written. I try not to deviate from things that I have never made before.

I also made a pecan pie for the very first time. It looks amazing but I haven’t tasted it yet.

3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup corn syrup

2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell [I mixed up a batch of my Great Grandmother’s pie crust]

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place pie shell in a 9 inch pie pan.
2. In a medium bowl, gently beat eggs. Stir in sugar and flour, then the syrup, butter and vanilla. Fold in pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes; knife inserted in center of pie should come out clean.

I made some dinner rolls from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice book that Bean recommended to me but they have just gone into the oven. I am hoping that they will work for Monkey bread. My mother in law loves Monkey Bread. Not sweet, but savory. I made something up with frozen bread rolls last year and I wanted to see if making them from scratch will be worth it.

Here they are rising for the last time.

Finished baking:

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Posted by on November 12, 2009 in The Bakery!


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Bean’s Texas Chili

I am going to post a friend of mine’s Texas chili. Most of you know Bean from Shacknews. I made the chili following his recipe as exactly as I could. I don’t know if it is right yet because I am still simmering it! I also have pictures of each phase (except Phase 1). Maybe he can tell me if it looks the same as his!

UPDATE: This is the best chili I have ever had. I can’t wait to make it again. We invited my BIL and his gf to eat with us and they said the same thing. Thank you Bean!!

Bean’s Texas Chili
(Has no beans, because beans in chili are like little cancer pellets full of Super AIDS)

for Morgin and Vantage

– 2 TBsp olive oil
– 2 medium yellow onions (sweet), diced
– 5 cloves garlic, minced

– 3 lbs meat, cut into 3/4″ to 1″ cubes or ground (Can be whatever. I usually mix beef tri tip or skirt steak, pork loin, and hot italian sausage)

– 4 roma tomatoes, peeled and diced
– 1/2 cup tomato paste (one of those little cans)
– 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
– 2 TBsp chili powder
– 1 tsp cumin, ground
– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

– 3/4 cup dark beer (Shiner Bock is “traditional” down here)
– 3/4 cup beef stock (broth is fine too)
– 2 TBsp apple cider vinegar

– 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
– 1/4 cup fresh oregano, minced
– 1/2 tsp pequin pepper (or cayenne if you can’t find pequin)
– pinch freshly grated nutmeg

– salt and pepper to taste

(Use a wooden spoon to stir throughout this process for the authentic Texan experience)

1. Put PHASE 1 ingredients in a large (6-quart or larger) enameled cast iron dutch oven, or other large cooking vessel that can hold heat evenly for a decent length of time, and turn the heat to medium-low. Start cold and allow the oil to come to heat (you will start to hear sizzling), and then simmer for about 5 minutes until the onions become translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

2. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add PHASE 2 ingredients in small batches so that you brown all the meat effectively. Take your time, you are making flavor here (do not worry about cooking the meat through, that happens on the long simmer, just get brown). Get that meat nice and brown all over the outside. About 10 minutes, depending on how much surface area you have in your dutch oven.

3. Reduce the heat to medium and add PHASE 3 ingredients and stir it all up. You want to mix together all the spices, get them all over the meat, brown the tomato paste, release the essential oils, and all sorts of good stuff. Your kitchen should be smelling AWESOME at this point. About 5 minutes.

4. Add PHASE 4 ingredients, stir vigorously to distribute everything, and use your spoon to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the dutch oven and dissolve them back into the mix for maximum flavor. Allow the mixture to come to a light boil. Once it gets up to temperature, drop the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes.

5. Add PHASE 5 ingredients, stir to distribute, and simmer for 15 minutes.

6. Adjust seasoning of the mixture at this point (PHASE 6), add more liquid (water is fine) if needed, etc… final tweaks to get it the way you want it. Then simmer for another 15 minutes.

7. Take off the heat and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Finishing suggestions below.

– Serve:
A) with a dollop of sour cream and minced fresh chives, OR
B) with roughly shredded sharp cheddar or colby jack cheese and a bit of diced red onion, OR
C) ladled over a nice slice of corn bread (just use Jiffy corn bread mix in the 40-cent blue box, fuck you zakk, srsly)

* Note – I backed off the heat in this recipe to account for the fact that most of you probably aren’t used to true Texas Firehouse heat. The heat level of this recipe is moderately high, and is the way I make it when I have a mixed audience, especially one including yankees.

If you want to truly have this chili the way I make it for myself: use 3 TBsp chili powder in PHASE 3, and 1 tsp pequin pepper in PHASE 5 and once you add the liquids to the mix in PHASE 4, drop in a whole habanero pepper that you have perforated with a fork (remove the habanero before serving).

I took the recipe directly from his post exactly as he wrote it. For the meats I chose ground beef(80/20) – which i would use something with less fat next time prolly – a pound of top sirloin steak cut into cubes, and a pound of hot italian sausage taken out of the casing. Hopefully I did that right. I am going to have to use dry oregano in the last steps because I don’t have any fresh and couldn’t find any at the store. **I added another Tbsp of Chili Powder and another 1/4-1/2 tsp of cayenne to it at Phase 6 to make it a bit more spicy**

After simmering!

My bowl with cheese, sour cream, like 3 diced onions and some cilantro:

Carter’s bowl with nothing.


Posted by on November 1, 2009 in General Food, Meals!