Saturday, October 31, 2009

. . . and sometimes, cooks

When I first started this blog, I promised that topics would not be limited to sewing; and, yet, thus far, they have. Today, that changes.
The truth is: I haven't done much sewing lately. As the result of the snowball effect of wedding preparations on my sewing room; now that the wedding is over (it was lovely, by the way), I cannot get any sewing done, until I diminish the HUGE pile of ironing that is all over the ironing board, sewing table, sewing chair, etc.
But not today.
Today, although Saturday -- a typical day to catch up on all neglected things domestic -- I am felled by a hideous virus. [I dare not name it "flu" lest it knows the power it has over me.] Symptoms include, but are not limited to: fever, irritability (I know it's not really the sickness making me bitchy -- I just like having an excuse), body aches and congestion! It is for the latter that I offer the following recipe for a real, honest-to-goodness, down home Texas Chili, loaded with vegetables (for the anti-oxidants), and aromatics (for the congestion). I give you:

Sarahbelle's Snot-Bustin' Chili

Please note: all amounts given are approximate -- I don't actually measure much, here -- and should be considered a jumping-off point for your own tastes.

1 medium onion
1 poblano pepper, roasted
3-6 cloves garlic
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. coarsely ground buffalo
1 lb. fresh venison sausage
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin powder
1 heaping tsp Lawry's salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 10oz can Ro-Tel tomatoes, drained
1 15oz can stewed tomatoes, drained
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can Jalapinto beans, drained
1 15oz can pinto beans, drained
1 15oz can dark red kidney beans, UNdrained

If you have an electric coil stovetop, the poblano can easily be roasted by turning an element on 'high' and placing the pepper straight on. Turn as soon as one side starts to smoke. If you have any other kind of stovetop: a cast iron skillet should be placed on the element, and the pepper roasted in it.
Place the peeled onion, peeled garlic, and roasted pepper in the bowl of your food processor with chopping blade. Pulse a few times until desired size.
In a large, deep cast iron skillet heat oil until it begins to smoke. Saute chopped veggies in hot oil until onion is translucent, and pepper is limp. Add meat, cook until browned. Drain meat. Season meat mixture with salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin. Transfer to slow cooker. (Note: In the absence of a slow cooker, cook it all in a 14in blackpot. [cast iron Dutch oven] In fact, the chili is excellant cooked outdoors in a Dutch oven, over coals.)
To meat mixture, add beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Cook on 'high' for 20 minutes.
Stir. Taste. Add more seasonings, as desired. Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer as long as you like, it's basically done now, but time will only improve the flavor.
Serve with grated sharp cheddar, chopped scallions, or sour cream.
Wonderful with cornbread, and iced Dr. Pepper.
If you see someone eating this with crackers, and red wine -- know that that person is a Yankee. Serve him/her an extra bowl of chili with your pretty smile. One deserves credit for trying.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Moving on

The Wedding Gown is finally done, and in the mail. I shall post pictures next week, after the wedding. Now: I need to (hurriedly) sew my outfit!
I decided to wear a skirt that I made 3 years ago that I don't get to wear all that often. I am making a new blouse to wear with it. The skirt is my own design, made of a teal silk/wool gabardine. The design/construction of this skirt was precipitated by an article in a prestigious sewing magazine about replacing back slits with pleated insertions. The article warned readers to only attempt square or rectangle pleated insertions, as triangular pleat inserions couldn't be done. Oh, really? To be fair, I started off with a rectangle, pleated it, marked the triangle I wanted, basted the markings and serged off the excess. Still, I got a pleated triangle.
The blouse is to be made of an eggplant-coloured silk charmeuse. I plan to use La Fred's new design: Athena II. I have made the original Athena twice, and love the simple lines, and interesting details. Here's one: the sleeve is a classic Chanel-style eased into the armsceye at the top, but is squared off in right angles at the bottom of the armsceye. Warning: do not attempt the afore-mentioned French seam construction with this sleeve. Trying to get perfect right angles on the second stitching is nearly impossible - if it's not a sharp angle, it ruins the effect.
Now that I have thrown down the gauntlet, and said it couldn't be done: someone, please, prove me wrong and do it. I should love to see how it is done.
A word on the fabric(s): a few years ago my husband was working in Iraq, and I joined him in Dubai for some R & R. We saw some great historical sites, rode camels, ate wonderful food, and went shopping. The best bargains were to be had in the Souks. The ancient market place, where dickering rules, but not with women. The very traditional male shopkeepers would lose face if they bargained with a woman. I set my feminist sensibilities aside, and let my husband do the dickering. Later that night, when David calculated the prices for my Customs Declaration forms, I realized that I had paid the US equivelent of $3-4 /yd for the same quality silk I was paying $28-35/yd for in Houston. We went back to the Souks and bought more fabric.
This piece is the last intact piece of fabric from that shopping trip, and I think you all agree, that this can only mean one thing: it's time to dust off the Passport, and search Expedia for good prices on flights to Dubai. Right, Honey? Honey? I'm sure he agrees.
Who want to watch my cat?