I absolutely adore chili. Usually filled with tomatoes. Big plump, juicy tomatoes. But as I've mentioned in posts pasts, my significant other cannot stand them. So as much as it pains me, I have created a recipe for tomato-less chili. I find this chili to be really good, despite it's lack of tomatoes. I use tomato paste to get some tomato flavor in there without having the actual tomato pieces in there. I think this recipe is perfect for someone looking to de-tomato-ize their chili (not sure how many of you exist!) You can also make this a more traditional chili by adding 2-3 fresh tomatoes :)
Oh y'all I'm addicted... I have a serious obsession with my pressure cooker. I've been wanting one ever since I taught the pressure cooking class at Williams-Sonoma back in the fall! I finally got myself one and I'm in love with it. You can find one here. I sincerely wish I had one of these to give away to you, because they are seriously amazing... Maybe Cuisinart will hear my plea, and offer one up but no pressure (LOL pun totally unintentional but awesome so I'm keeping it)
So it's the day after Christmas! Actually it's almost the day after the day after Christmas because it's almost 11 on December 26th so I'm getting dangerously close to missing the "Christmas post" window... or maybe I already have...who know's I'm new to the blogosphere. Anyway, I had a really wonderful Christmas and I hope that you all did as well (or a happy hanukkah or whatever your celebration of choice may be!) I truly hope it was a happy one filled with laughter and family.
Family is what Christmas is all about to me. This year was a completely different Christmas than we are used to. It was our first Christmas without our beloved Mimi, who always reminded us what the true spirit of Christmas was all about. This was also the first Christmas in I don't even know how long that our whole family has not been able to be together for the holidays. We had planned to go to West Virginia to see the whole family, as we did for Thanksgiving, but unfortunately sometimes life does not permit those things to happen.
My Uncle J, with whom I'm very close, has been battling cancer since 2006. He's a stubborn man though and he's been fighting the fight so well. He's still doing okay but had to be admitted to Johns Hopkins last week, and so, the family would be split up for Christmas...half of us in NC and half of us in MD. We still spoke on the phone and we are going to have a January "Christmas" once everything calms down, but we are all certainly hoping that next Christmas we will get to be together again.
When I was a kid, one of my au pairs, Anna, was from Sweden. She used to make these phenomenal Swedish meatballs for me and I have been itching to cook these ever since I launched this blog. Whenever I see Swedish meatballs in restaurants, however, they are meatballs covered in gravy... definitely not the way Anna used to make them. she and I are still quite close and so I finally asked her if I could have the recipe. She sent me a link to a general recipe and gave me some suggestions as to substitutions. She used to serve these with mashed potatoes but Matt isn't too wild about mashed potatoes so I decided to bake them in the oven in "coins". They were crispy and delicious, but some mashed potatoes would have also been a nice addition as well (you could also do both!). So here they are: real Swedish Meatballs!
Meatball Recipe adapted from Gretchen Cooks (Recipe for Potato coins follow the meatball recipe):
Yesterday was Matt's birthday. I won't tell you how old he is, but I will tell you that one of his absolute favorite meals is spaghetti with meat sauce. He makes it multiple times per week. Truth be told, this is actually why I started cooking. I don't like to eat the same thing over and over again and I thought I could find new things that he would like. So far, it has worked pretty well. What I did tonight was his favorite, pasta with meat sauce, but with an upgrade (in my opinion). Upgrade meaning that the sauce isn't Ragu and simmers for over an hour instead of being zapped in the microwave for 20 seconds (the pasta also isn't angel hair and the meat sauce involves more than just ground beef). But if it makes him happy, he can eat pasta with meat sauce the way he wants, I just thought we should change it up.