Chili con Carne

Chili con Carne
The other day I made a Chili con Carne and when I sat down to eat, my plate looked so appetizing that I had to take a photo and share it on Facebook.
I got a lot of positive feedback on the picture and someone asked me for the recipe.
Here it goes, my Chili con Carne.

1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
250 g minced meat
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 Madame Jeanette (hot!) pepper, finely chopped
1 16 oz/454 g can of barbecue beans (discard the liquid)
1 8 oz/227 g can of tomato sauce
1 Madame Jeanette pepper, whole
salt, freshly ground pepper, paprika powder to taste
optional, 6-8 white mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons spring onions, green and white, chopped
olive oil

Preheat your skillet and heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Add the onion and garlic and 1 finely chopped Madame Jeanette pepper and immediately season them with some salt and freshly ground pepper.
Sauté them for about 5 minutes.
Season the minced meat with salt, freshly ground pepper and paprika powder.
Add the minced meat and brown the minced meat with the onion and garlic. If necessary, add some more olive oil.
Brown the meat for about 5 minutes.
Add the diced bell pepper.
Add the beans and the tomato sauce and bring to a soft boil.
Add the whole Madame Jeanette pepper for aroma. Be careful not to break it.
This time I had mushrooms, which I decided to add to increase the volume of food.
Usually I don’t add them, they were a good addition though.
Sauté the mushrooms in a smaller skillet in some olive oil until golden.
Add them to sauce.
Let the Chili con Carne simmer another 5 minutes for all the flavors to blend.
Taste and adjust if necessary. Before serving discard the whole Madame Jeanette pepper.
Finish by sprinkling the spring onion on the Chili.

I ate the Chili con Carne with a small tomato and avocado salad.

2-3 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 avocado, large diced
very thinly sliced onion rings
3 teaspoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper

Mix all ingredients just before serving.

And I added some grilled salad buns topped with garlic butter.

Garlic Butter

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
about 100 g butter at room temperature
Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 tablespoon finely chopped spring onions

Mix all ingredients well.

Heat a grill or broiler.
Cut the salad buns in half.
Spread some garlic butter on each half and broil for a few minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy your meal.

There are lots of recipes for Chili con Carne. I think I make a different version every time, depending what I have in the fridge.
Tell me your version. What special ingredient do you add to make it so truly yours?

My Christmas Brunch 2012

I’m having my brothers and sisters over for Boxing Day actually and I’d like to share my menu with you.
Just in cases you need some last minute inspiration.
We are having Brunch, that is easy, it’s during daytime so you don’t go to bed with a full tummy and you can go easy with the alcohol, although a glass or two of Champagne will always go down well.
I start with my Puff pastry sticks with sesame seeds and this time I’ll cut out stars and sprinkle them with sesame seeds, poppy seeds and pine nuts, making three kinds of savory cookies.
One of my favorite dishes for Brunch that I have been making since 2002 is this Baked Eggs and Mushrooms in Crisped Ham. I found the recipe in Bon Appetite or Gourmet magazine, cannot remember which one, and this recipe still rocks.
Baked Eggs and Mushrooms in Ham Crisps.
baked eggs with crisped ham from Epicurious.com

You can prep it ahead of time and start baking just before your guests arrive.
Looks awesome and tastes delicious. Yummi.
I will also have a whole glazed ham and serve it with piccalilli, Curaçao style. In Curaçao we love to eat piccalilli with our Christmas ham from the oven.
I have two pages full of recipes here for you from Martha Stewart Living. You pick your ham.
My 6 nieces will also be my guests and I will be making one of these cute appetizing looking dishes for them. Get some inspiration from this picture that I found on Facebook. No recipes, have a look at the pictures and let it be an inspiration. It is mostly bread with eggs, cucumber, tomato and some greens. Make it with your small guests and have some fun in the kitchen.

appetizing plates
Brunch at Christmas time or any other time is a great way to entertain.
I’ll serve smoked salmon with bagel and cream cheese. Easy and delicious.
Here is a recipe for the smoked salmon served as an appetizer.
Norwegian-smoked-salmon-canapes-with-cream-cheese-reduced
Next dish is a small open sandwich I make with sun dried tomato spread topped with rucola and Serrano ham.  You make the spread by mixing one 8 oz/224 g package of cream cheese with roughly 3 oz/84 g of sun dried tomatoes in a food processor until you have a smooth spread, mix 3-5 minutes. You don’t have to add anything else to it. You get the sweetness of the sun dried tomato, the peppery taste of rucola and the saltiness of Serrano ham, I think a great combination.
Serrano Ham with rucola and sun dried tomato spread
The spread keeps for 3 days in the refrigerator and can be used as a filling for choux puffs or as a dip with crudités.
To finish we’ll have a fruit salad of mango, watermelon, kiwi and black grapes, Christine’s Lemon Wrath Cookies on the side and some ice cream.
I hope my menu gives you ideas and inspiration for your entertaining menu. Enjoy.
I wish you happy Holidays and a happy and healthy 2013.
Let me know what you are making for the Holidays.