chili {perfected}

Holy snow Batman! I thought I’d have to wait until the fall to share this one with y’all, but round three of ‘the vortex’ begged me to reconsider.

Since the beginning of our journey to eliminate processed foods, I’ve had a vice. My ultimate comfort food is my mom’s chili and my mom’s chili is what it is because of the chili seasoning she uses. The chili seasoning she uses comes in a little yellow packet and along with the usual suspects there were lots of extra man-made chemicals and processed corn product in there as well. I pretended they weren’t there.

Of course we couldn’t get it in Germany, but my mom would supply me with packets regularly in the mail and it was like a little taste of home every time. I had to get honest. Deep down I knew that little packet was exactly what we were trying to vanquish from our house and if there was ever a time to learn to make my own it was then.

So we ate chili, lots and lots of chili, and eventually, I nailed it. I know that chili can be a heated topic of debate. Some folks might object to my bean-filled pot, and that is fine—I object to your bean-free concoction. To each his own. If you are in the chili-with-beans camp though, and even if you aren’t {come over to the dark side y’all}, I promise this rezept won’t disappoint.

Every family seems to have their own chili recipe. I’m curious, what kind of chili did you grow up eating? 

{perfected} Three Bean Chili from Kiwi and Peach

Three Bean Chili

{makes about 6 servings}

for the seasoning:
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon

for the chili:
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 medium white onion
1 clove of garlic
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 (big) can diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
2 cups of stock {Chicken, veggie, or beef will do. Beer works well too.}

{If you are a dried bean user, measure out about 1/4 cup of each type of bean. Go ahead and soak them overnight and cook them for about an hour before you add them to the chili.}

Mix up your seasoning in a small bowl. This recipe will make about 4 Tbsp of season and you will use all of it in the chili.

Start heating up your skillet on medium heat. While it’s getting hot, dice your onion and get the garlic ready to press. Once the skillet is hot, crumble your ground beef into it and give it a stir. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the seasoning over the meat and work it into the meat. Once a little of the fat has cooked out of the meat, add your onions and press the garlic into the mixture. Stir well and let it cook until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are soft, about 7-8 minutes.

Once the meat and onions are to your liking, transfer them to a 4 qt stock pot on medium heat. Add the beans, the whole can of tomatoes which you’ve crushed by hand—liquid and all, tomato paste, and the rest of the seasoning.

Stir everything in really well making sure that the tomato paste has dissolved and is completely incorporated. Add the stock and bring the whole shebang to a boil. At that point, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for at least an hour but up to 3 hours. The longer you can leave it, the longer the flavors will have to get to know each other. If you want to leave it for longer than 3 hours, just add a bit more liquid.

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The Leaving Party {the eats}

There is a lot of pressure being a food blogger when you’re hosting a party. Aside from the usual logistics of cramming lots of people into a tiny urban apartment, there’s this: people expect the food to be out-of-this-world good. And rightly so, I mean I write about this stuff all the time, I should be able to deliver, yes?

Well, I didn’t want to disappoint, but let’s be real. The party was just a few days after we got back from Hong Kong and in the midst of a friend arriving to stay with us for the week, a blogger meet-up, meetings with the consulate, and organizing a move.

If I was going to be able to deliver, we had to keep it simple.

Delicious, but simple..

With that in mind, we decided to go with a seasonal taco bar, full of our favorite fall stuffings and heavy on the roasted veggies. I mean, who doesn’t like tacos?!

{If you have no interest in throwing a similar shin-dig, I give you permission to skip this next paragraph. It might be a bit, eh, boring.}

Logistics wise, the prep really couldn’t have been simpler. The day before the party, I prepped the mole seasoning and made the steak marinade, salsa, a batch of quinoa, the oreo truffles, and the cake. If you’re organizing a shin-dig these thing could easily be done more than a day in advance. That is just how it worked out best for us. On the day, I roasted the sweet potatoes, crisped the quinoa, and iced the cakes. I was going to let early guest help out with the skewers, but I ended up having a bit of extra time so I went ahead and did it. The Kiwi whizzed together the guacamole and prepped the cheeses. Shortly before folks arrived I whipped up the cider {recipe below}, and as they were arriving, the Kiwi put the steaks on so they’d be nice and hot.

The whole thing ended up being a breeze to throw together which was exactly what we needed. We needed to have time with our friends. We needed to have more time to focus on the reason we were there–letting all these fabulous people know how special they are to us and just how wonderful they have made our time here in Munich

And, if I do say so myself, it was a huge, huge hit. Every last bite was  gobbled, and I say that’s a mark of success.

Thank goodness.

Fall Taco Party

{I’m the worst at remembering to take photos at parties, especially my own, so I didn’t get a single picture of the whole spread. Schade. Picture a white tablecloth with craft paper runner, cutlery in mason jars, moroccan bowls, white china, these precious little place cards for the mains, and labels for the toppings scribbled in sharpie on the craft paper. It was beautiful while it lasted. All of these photos were taken at another time.}

for the starter
date, prosciutto and baby mozzarella skewers {kiwi+peach}

for the mains
mole roasted sweet potatoes and crispy quinoa {naturally ella via a house in the hills}
carne asada, for the meat lovers {kiwi+peach}
…with freshly pressed tortillas  and tortilla chips from the mexican grocery down the street.

Fall Taco Party from Kiwi and Peach

for the toppings
roasted tomato salsa {naturally ella}
guacamole {kiwi+peach}
spinach
sour cream
goat cheese, crumbled
feta, cubed
aged cheddar, shredded

for the sweets
oreo truffles {recipe from my friend Caitlin, remind me to tell you this story later…}
mini whiskey carrot cakes with cream cheese icing {the kitchn}

Mini Whiskey Carrot Cakes from Kiwi and Peach

for the drink
Augustiner beer {a Munich must}
Hot Caramel Apple Cider with dark spiced rum for spiking {recipe below}

Hot Caramel Apple Cider from Kiwi and Peach {recipe}

Hot Caramel Apple Cider

The Cider
2 liters apple juice
2 Tbsp mulling spices

The Caramel
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp cream {we use soy cream}
pinch of sea salt

Place a large pot on medium low heat and pour in the apple juice. Tie the mulling spices up in a bit of cheesecloth and drop it in the pot. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until its properly warm.

In a separate pot on medium heat, melt your butter. Whisk the brown sugar in and then add the cream and sea salt. Continue whisking constantly for about 5 minutes or until the sugar has completely melted and the caramel just begins to thicken.

Remove the mulling spices and whisk the caramel into the cider.

Serve as is, or spike it with some nice spiced rum if you’re feeling festive.

The Stinky Burger

A couple of months ago the Kiwi and I were in Zermatt. And while we were in Zermat, we were introduced to the worst smelling, most fantastic burger we had ever put in our mouths.

The, aptly named, stinky burger.

Sound appetizing?

I thought so.

But really, it combines some of the tastiest {and stinkiest} ingredients like garlic, onions, and stinky, gorgonzola cheese into one burger that will blow your mind.

Naturally, once we got home after the trip, I set out to recreate this puppy and now, it’s a staple. {It’s one of the Kiwi’s favorites!} It’s the perfect dinner after a long day of hiking around the Matterhorn or, you know, just playing in these gorgeous, crunchy fall leaves.

The Stinky Burger from Kiwi and Peach

The Stinky Burger

{serves two, inspired by a meal at Brown Cow Pub in Zermatt}

The Toppings
drop of olive oil
1/2 of a medium sized onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
about 1/2 cup of gorgonzola cheese {or whatever stinky cheese you have on hand}

The Burger
10 ounces {300 grams} grass-fed ground beef
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tbsp worcestshire sauce
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper

The Buns
2 buns {I like it best with kaiser buns with sesame seeds or with a pretzel roll fresh from the bakery.}
smidge of butter for spreading

Start heating up a pan on medium heat. Slice the onion and mince the garlic {or put it through a garlic press}. Once the pan is hot, drop a bit of olive oil in the pan and add the onions and garlic. Give it a stir then cover and let cook for about 10 minutes or until the onions are nice a soft. Once the onions are finished transfer them to a bowl and set aside. Return the pan to the stove top and turn it up to medium high heat.

While the onions are cooking, roll up your sleeves because we’re going to get a little messy. Add all of your burger ingredients to a bowl and get your hands in there. Mix all of that goodness together well making sure it’s evenly mixed. Divide the meat in half, form two patties, and drop them in the pan. Give it about 4-5 on that side and then flip.

Take about half of the onions and top the burgers with it. Cover each burger with the gorgonzola, put the lid on the pan, and let it cook away for another 4-5 minutes.

While the cheese is busy melting, slice your buns and butter each side. Turn the broiler in your oven on pop the buns in the oven on the top rack for about 3-4 minutes or until their lightly toasted. They should be done about the same time as your burger and then we can get started with the assembly.

Here’s how I layer it. Bottom bun, rest of the onions, burger, top bun. Done!

Take a big wiff and enjoy!

Oh, you might want to make sure your significant other eats it too.

What about you? Do you have any home adaptations of a favorite vacation meal? I want to hear about them!

Blue Cheese Burgers

Happy Memorial Day friends!

We aren’t letting the fact that we haven’t seen the sun for a week or that today isn’t a holiday in Germany stop us from a little celebration. So if you need a little last minute inspiration, we are here to help.

It doesn’t get much more American, food wise, than burgers and baked beans, so that is what I’m throwing together tonight. Only, being the sophisticated American that I am {stop laughing}, any old burger and beans just wouldn’t do. This burger is stuffed with blue cheese and the beans are full of apples and maple syrup bacon. While grilling for us is out of the question due to the lack of a grill and the downpour that is happening outside right now, I bet these would be amazing on the grill. Try it. Please? Then you can tell me all about how the smokiness of the grill and the blue cheese went together like peas and carrots–because that is what is happening in my head and its making my mouth water {not the carrots obviously}.

Blue Cheese Burger

{adapted for two from Simply Recipes}

The Burger
1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 of a sweet onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp whole grain sweet mustard
1 tsp whole grain spicy mustard
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

The Bun
2 fresh buns {I used a pretzel roll or, auf Deutsch, ein Laugensemmel}
1 Tbsp butter
lettuce, tomato, onions for dressing your burger up

Start heating up your pan on medium high heat.

In a medium sized bowl combine all of your burger ingredients except the blue cheese. Once they are all mixed together, pat out 4 thin patties {about 1/2 in}. Pile the blue cheese crumbles in the middle of two of the patties and then top with the others. Pinch the sides together so that none of the blue cheese can escape once it starts melting. Put them in the pan and cook until they are at your desired level of doneness {about 10 minutes on one side with the lid on and like 3 on the other without the lid for us}.

While the burgers are cooking, slice your bun and butter both sides. Once the burgers come out place your buns in the pan to toast them for a bit. Then load your bun up with the burger and whatever toppings and condiments you like. I used lettuce, tomato, and leftover apple salsa from the baked beans.  Grab a glass of tea {or a shandy} and enjoy.