Hey blog world! Today I went to the library. As I was looking through the shelves of books, I found Michael Smith’s “Back to Basics” cookbook. I love watching him on TV! All the things he makes look so yummy! I decided to borrow the book. I also decided to blog my experiences with the book! Today I decided to try his recipe for fresh chili.
I first got out all my ingredients. I liked how the list was very simple, almost everything on it was in my kitchen. There was nothing too complicated or exotic that I didn’t know where to get or that I hadn’t heard of before.
I had to play a game of Where’s Waldo to find all the spices! I have several spice racks in the kitchen and so have to spend what seems like hours looking through them to find the spices I need! Also, we inherited one of the racks from my Nanny Weir and she has barely anything labeled! I don’t use that one because I don’t like playing guessing games when it comes to food.
I used mostly everything that Michael had listed, but I was missing a few ingredients so I made substitutions because I am a starving artist and need to save my money and I didn’t have a ride to the store. I used tomato sauce in place of tomato juice and garlic powder instead of cloves. I also opted out of using jalapeno pepper because I can’t handle spicy things! No one in my house can. I also added ground beef. The recipe is vegetarian and I wanted to keep the recipe the way it was, but mom told me to add meat. (just a note, I love meat, but wanted to try the chili without just out of curiosity.)
Next of course came cooking the dish. Again, it was very simple. Chef Michael has written each step clearly in a way that’s easy to understand and he doesn’t use big, complicated chef words. I thought that was perfect for a kitchen novice like myself.
I began by sautéing orange and red bell peppers in a pan with garlic. The second I started, my nose was hit with an incredible smell! The garlic and the roasting peppers coming together was just heavenly!
Things were going well until I had to add the tomato sauce. This is where I found a small flaw. The recipe only called for one cup of tomato juice so I poured one cup of tomato sauce into the pot and it seemed like barely enough to feed the four of us! I added in three more. Also, the recipe called for the juice of one lime. I had lime juice in a lime-shaped bottle but didn’t have an actual lime so I just winged it. It would have been helpful if Michael had written down exactly how much juice was in a lime so that people like me with bottled lime juice won’t have to wing it.
This is what it looks like in the book
And this is how mine turned out
I’ll admit his looks prettier, but I tried my best!
My family and I just finished eating it. You can see the bottom of the pot!!! That’s always a good sign. Mom had the first bite. I anxiously awaited her to swallow so she could tell me how it was. She said it was pretty good. That’s her way of saying excellent. I was glad she liked it. I was also glad that my 11-year-old Niece who is the picky eating princess ate it and liked it!
I filled my bowl and sat down to eat. I was really impressed! It was delicious! The lime juice came through in every bite and added a nice bit of sweetness to the chili. The recipe called for corn, which I had never added to my chili before. I thought it worked really well in the dish and from now on will always add corn! Also, it had just the right amount of spice. I was really happy about that. Along with the spice rack, we inherited a bottle of chili powder from my Nanny Weir. Mom put half a teaspoon in once and just breathing near the chili made us choke! It was way too spicy! This time, I only added a little pinch and it was perfect. I loved everything about this dish. Mom and I both went back for seconds! I also asked her to photocopy the recipe for me so I can continue to use it. I think that from now on this will be my go-to for chili.
I wouldn’t recommend this for a busy night when you haven’t much time to cook because it takes a few hours. The chili needs a long time to simmer. If you haven’t got anything to do in the evening and can take your time to cook, I highly recommend this dish.
This recipe gets 4 stars. As I said, there were a few flaws in the recipe in my opinion, but other than that it was easy to follow and understand, very simple and the end product was absolutely delicious!
Come back next week for more of my adventures in the kitchen! I will be trying out more recipes from this book on my days off, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday! Bon appetite!