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Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 233
Location: Canton, TX USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:00 am    Post subject: spinach & artichoke gratin Reply with quote

I'm almost embarrassed to post this. Typical of retro cuisine, it doesn't have a fresh ingredient in it. But it takes about 10 minutes to put together (if spinach is thawed). Good stressed-out weeknight side dish.

1 lb/454 g frozen cut spinach, defrosted & drained well
1 13.5 oz/390 g can quartered artichoke hearts in brine, drained, rinsed & chopped
1 10.5 oz/298 g can condensed cream of celery soup
Dash of cayenne pepper
2 handfuls crushed saltine crackers

Combine veggies & condensed soup. Season to taste. Tip into shallow baking dish & top with crushed crackers. Bake in a moderate oven until hot & crackers are beginning to turn color. Serves 4-6.
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Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, brighidsdaughter! Thanks so much for taking the time to post the recipe. No need for embarrassment regarding the recipe; people's taste buds are the TRUE judge of whether a meal is "good" or not. No matter how HIGH a cuisine that I make for parties and friends, sometimes it's just plain cookin' that folks love and appreciate. One of my most requested dishes is a casserole from the 60's that involves NOTHING that's fresh: the entire thing is canned. But, how are you going to argue with your friends and loved ones?

I mean, for most families, isn't that green bean casserole with fried onions on top one of the most beloved and eaten dishes? Sometimes, you can just 'gild' the Food Lily a little too much and you lose sight of the simple beauty of the flower.

I'm looking forward to making this au gratin soon. Thanks again.
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Joined: 29 Jan 2005
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Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 10:45 pm    Post subject: An Ode to Pie Reply with quote

A darling friend of mine called me last night for this pie recipe, which got me thinking of my Quest for Pie. I have no memory of ever tasting buttermilk pie at my Grandmother's house. She made a wickedly perfect custard pie, which I still feel is the best one that I've ever eaten, but buttermilk...uh-uh.

In fact, I had never even heard of buttermilk pie before I tasted my first one. I was newly married, didn't cook yet, (Husband loved to go "out" for meals. Expense account, ya know?!) , and we were on vacation in the Northern Woods of Minnesota, around Ely.

We stopped at one of those wonderful Blue Highway joints, the type that I don't even know if they exist any more: knotty pine paneling, wobbly tables with matchbooks stuck under the legs to stabilize them, and oil cloth on the table tops. We were starving, saw the mass of cars around the place, and both of us thought, "This place HAS to be good!"

It was.

Along with the freshest fish this side of still living, this wee place was locally known for Minnie's pies. That's right: Minnie. She of the Blue hair, be-floured apron and orthopedic stockings on her swollen legs. Minnie made pies and the locals and occasional straggler were only too obliged to help rid her of her wares.

The chalk board menu listed a complete Baker's Dozen of varieties to choose from: Chocolate Cream, Rhubarb, Mixed Berry, Mile High Lemon Meringue, etc...and Buttermilk. THAT was what I had to have, thinking it about the strangest thing to make a pie out of.

Minnie and her minions bustled around the place, sliding steaming orders of perch and fries onto the table tops, whisking them away when emptied and replacing them with her confections. When our time came for plate replacement, I ordered my buttermilk and Selma, our waitress, had to check to see if any was left. "That's one of our best sellers," she said, "Ya gotta get here early to get a piece of buttermilk."

I waited in anticipation, as Selma walked to the pie case and did an inventory of it's wares. She moved pies around, bent over, craned her neck, moved some more pies around....and then came back to our table with...the last piece of buttermilk pie! "I guess Sam didn't eat it all!", she proclaimed, explaining that Sam was one of the locals that always came in each day for a cuppa Joe and three pieces of pie, usually buttermilk.

As she left to attend to others, I gazed in wonderment at simple perfection: butter-yellow in colour, flecked with freshly grated nutmeg on top; it was almost too beautiful to cut into. But, hunger overcame aesthetics so fork went to pie and pie went to mouth and you know the rest. Had there been another piece, or better yet, an entire pie, I would have/could have eaten it all. Beautifully smooth, the slightest *tang* on your tongue when tasting it...the pie disappeared so fast, I had to check under the table to be sure it hadn't fallen off of my plate.

Sam, wherever you are, I know how you could eat three pieces in one sitting.

Soon, those plates were whisked away, the coffee refreshed and the tab set on the table. As I said earlier, this was wa-a-a-y before I baked on my own pies, equating them with something Grandma did, not something that I would do. We paid, we left, and we headed up to Thunder Bay, Ontario.

But, as some people's hearts are left in San Francisco, my stomach was left in Minnie's Cafe.

The pie haunted me. I wanted to have my husband turn the car around. I no longer cared about amethyst mining or hiking, damn it! I wanted MORE pie, specifically buttermilk pie!

The recipe for Buttermilk Pie became my Holy Grail.

When we returned back home, sadly via a different route, I began to look in my two cookbooks for the recipe. Nothing. Of course, these were "modern" cookbooks and nothing as quaint or simple as this pie should grace and sully their pages.

So, I went to bookstores. This was so before the Internet that your only hope of finding a recipe was to buy the book that it came inside of. That quest launched my Pie Book fetish. Thirteen books later, and thirteen pies later, I had found what I remembered Minnie's pie to taste like: simple, rich, with the only other taste to be nutmeg.

Oh, there were imitators, to be sure. They were the buttermilk pie recipes that were ashamed to be "buttermilk". Nefarious intruders like lemon peel, lemon juice, lemon slices were added; did these bakers have Lemon Meringue 'envy' so that's why they would try to disguise their Buttermilk pies purity?

There were currants and raisins and thing-a-ma-bobs galore added to their recipes. Ya know, sometimes, you just WANT something simple. Something NOT complex. Something so perfect that you didn't have to play a guessing game with the ingredients.

And I had finally found what I was looking for, in a Lutheran Church Ladies Recipe Collection, dated 1947. Hidden among the Jello molds, the Macaroni and Pea salads, and the endless Tuna Casseroles with "Surprise" toppings, was this simple recipe, served in a cornmeal crust.

Ya gotta love the Church Ladies. They know that not just the Good Book is necessary to survive, but, Man (and Woman) MUST eat P.I.E.

I have made this recipe literally hundreds of times. It is always a delight, to serve the unaware this treasure of simpler times. I've passed this recipe on to whoever requests it and it currently delights countless new devotees of a taste long forgotten.

So, to all the Minnie's and Sam's, to all the Mom & Pop cafes with knotty pine paneling and red checkered curtains and oil-skin table cloths, this recipe is dedicated to YOU.

Love, Bee


1-9” unbaked cornmeal pie crust

2/3 Cup of Sugar

3 Tablespoons of All-Purpose Flour

3 Large Eggs, separated, yolks slightly beaten, not whipped

Dash o’ Salt (that is EXACTLY what the original recipe stated!)

2 Cups of Buttermilk

½ teaspoon of Vanilla

1 Tablespoon of Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

Dash o’ Nutmeg (see above)

3 Egg Whites, (optional, if you want a meringue topping)

Combine all filling ingredients except egg whites. Beat well, but NOT until foamy. Strain through a mesh strainer as you fill your pie shell. (this eliminates bubbles).

Bake in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Shake pie gently to check for doneness. There should be slight movement but not quaking.

Let pie cool.

At this stage, you can serve it as is, or you can top it with a meringue. Depending on my mood and time allowances, I’ll do either.

If topping with meringue, bake in 325 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until meringue is slightly browned.

Perfect Meringue for 9” pie:

3 Large Egg Whites
¼ teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
¼ teaspoon of Salt
½ teaspoon of Vanilla
6 Tablespoons of Sugar

Have egg whites at room temperature to obtain greatest volume. Place them in a medium-sized bowl with cream of tartar, salt and vanilla.

Beat with an electric mixer or by hand beater, at medium speed, until entire mixture is frothy. Do NOT beat until eggs stiffen.

Add sugar, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Do NOT under-beat. Beat until sugar is dissolved, to help prevent brown beading. To test, rub some of the meringue between your fingers to see if it’s still grainy, to touch. The grains are un-dissolved sugar.) Continue to beat until stiff, pointed peaks form when you lift the beater slowly.

Place spoonfuls of meringue around the edges of the pie filling, spreading it so it touches the inner edge of crust to seal it all around. This prevents shrinkage. Pile remainder of meringue in center of pie and spread to meet meringue around the edge. If the filling is not completely covered, the oven heat will cause the pie to ‘weep’.

Bake in a moderate oven 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until peaks are golden brown.


1 Cup of All-Purpose Flour
½ teaspoon of Salt
½ Cup of Yellow Cornmeal
½ Cup plus 1 Tablespoon of Crisco
¼ Cup of Ice Water

Sift together the flour and salt; stir in cornmeal.

Cut in shortening until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Sprinkle ¼ Cup of ice water over the mixture gradually, mixing lightly with a fork or pastry blender.

Shape into a ball; flatten between 2 layers of waxed paper. Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness.

Dust flour on bottom of 9” pie pan; line the pan with the crust.

Bake as recipe requires.
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Joined: 15 Feb 2005
Posts: 13
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 4:42 am    Post subject: Re: Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Soup Reply with quote

Dairy_Queen wrote:
Hooray, Lisa! I'm presenting you with the Tireless Chef Award!
I'm so glad that my recipe inspired you, and that you and your friend had such a yummy night of it! And I'm glad that the grapefruit worked out so well, too.

Today was Soup Day for me. I made three of them for the remainder of the week. The first is a Chicken-Sweet Potato Soup; the second is a Stilton-Apple Bisque and the last is a Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Soup. I don't know how long your friend is in town, but you might want to try this one. It falls together so fast, it's almost obscene. And the taste: so rich and so good. Very filling. I served it with sauted spinach with garlic oil and an apricot pie.
Are you willing to post the recipe for the Stilton-Apple Bisque?

1/2 stick of Unsalted Butter

4 Cups of Pureed Pumpkin (I just used the canned stuff)

2 Cups of Pureed Sweet Potatoes

1 Cup of Smooth Peanut Butter

6 Cups of Chicken Stock

1 teaspoon of Salt and Pepper

Garnish: Snipped chives and sour cream or plain yogurt

1) Melt butter in a medium-soup pan over medium heat. Stir in the pumpkin, sweet potato, and peanut butter.

2) Add chicken stock, pepper and salt and stir will until smooth. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

3) Before serving, garnish soup with chives and sour cream or yogurt.

Serves 6
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Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:27 am    Post subject: Stilton-Apple Bisque Reply with quote

cynthiaLW wrote:
Are you willing to post the recipe for the Stilton-Apple Bisque?

I couldn't figure out what this quote was doing here, all by it's lonesome. It was only after reading it twice, Cynthia, that I found your teeny, tiny request buried in the text! Phew! Almost missed it, C.

Since I've made this soup last week, I've shared it with 4 friends and 3 of them have already made it and slurped it down. That's gratifiyin; not because I gave them the recipe, but that they got to have a wonderully exotic soup, in minutes.

How would you like a soup so good and so sensual that you felt like you needed a 'smoke' after eating it?! That's what this soup turned out to be like.

It goes together in 12 minutes flat, start to finish. It calls for Stilton, but I've used Danish Blue, Stilton and a new one I used yesterday: Rosenborg Noble Blue. I really liked that cheese because it came in a pre-packaged 6 ounce amount, which is what the recipe calls for. Make sure that your apples are varieties that DON'T reduce down, like McIntosh does; Ida Red is good, so is Granny Smith. It also will look like it's curdled (and I suppose it has) but when presented, it's beautiful to look at and even better to eat.

It is best served piping hot; the blue cheese becomes over-whelming when it cools to room temperature. I have served it with Carr's Pepper Crackers and also a delicious baguette, with Danish butter and Sea Salt sprinkled on top.

************************************************** ***
1 Tablespoon of Butter, Unsalted
2 Apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 Cups of Milk (I used Whole for this)
6 ounces of Blue Cheese, pre-crumbled by hand
Salt and Pepper, to taste

1) In a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the apples until very soft but they still hold their shape.
2) Add the milk and lower the heat. When the milk starts to scald around the edges of the pan, begin adding the cheese, bit by bit, stirring constantly. The milk will begin to curdle at this point, but just keep adding the cheese and stirring.
3) When all the cheese has been incorporated, add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 2
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Joined: 18 Oct 2004
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Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have every ingredient, I think this will be dinner!
"It's watery....and yet there's a smack of ham."

"It's hot ham water."
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Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erin, you will be blown away by this recipe; even typing about it is making me ache for it, so I might have to make an unscheduled trip to the grocery store today.

Part of my scientific bent is to 'time' things; it's a quirk I have that I love to do. So, when I whipped this up, I set the timer as I opened the cookbook and shut it off as I was bringing the bowl to the dining room. I was Shocked when I saw how short a time it took.

I have forgotten just how fast a meal can be made from scratch, 'cause I grew up in the old days of Half-Day preparation meals. This is just simple, cost effective, surprisingly exotic and wonderful when you have a taste for blue cheese but you don't want it on crackers...again.

Let us know how it turned out for you and what you thought.
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Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 6:04 pm    Post subject: Spinach and Mushroom Frittata Reply with quote

My partner in crime, Sally, is a picky eater. Well, not necessarily "picky", but she has prejudices about food.

"Custard" is cold and sweet.
It doesn't matter that I've told her that her beloved quiche is a custard which is hot and savory; nope, custard is custard and quiche is quiche.

So, when I asked her yesterday if she'd like some hickory bacon and spinach timbales for breakfast, her nose wrinkled up and she asked, "What's a timbale?" I explained that it was a spinach custard....and the explanation went no further. She adopted her best 4 year olds face and stuck out her tongue.

"Custard is COLD and SWEET!", she huffed!

So, knowing that she likes my frittatas (please don't tell her they're a custard!), I turned my favorite spinach timbales into a spinach frittata.

I went very, very light on the seasonings, because this was a pure experiment. When served, Sally went wild for it, proclaiming that she liked it even better than the prosciotto one that I made weeks ago.

You can adjust the seasonings to whatever intensity you'd like, but I have to agree with Sally; it was just plain nice to taste just the spinach and mushrooms for a change. I doubt that I'll alter it one bit.

I served it with cornbread and maple butter with steaming cups of French Pressed Blue Mountain coffee.



Spinach and Mushroom Frittata

1 ½ Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter

1/3 Cup of Finely Minced Shallots or Vidalia Onions

1 Cup of Chopped Mushrooms, either Portobello or Oyster

6 Large Eggs, beaten slightly

½ Cup of Finely Chopped, cooked Spinach

1 Cup of Grated Cheese blend, split into ½ cup measures.( I used Sargento Italian Mix: Mozzarella, Smoked Provolone, Parmesan, Romano, Fontina and Asiago)

½ teaspoon of Tabasco Sauce

½ teaspoon of Dry Mustard

½ teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce

Dash of Mace

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Preheat the broiler.

Melt the butter in an oven proof 10” skillet; when it has stopped foaming, add the shallots and chopped mushrooms. Sauté only until onions are transparent and mushrooms soft.

Set aside ½ Cup of the grated cheese for topping frittata.

Reduce heat to medium flame.

Meanwhile, combine ALL other ingredients, whisking them together until well blended. Add to the sautéed onions and mushrooms, stirring mixture swiftly until all combined. Cover frittata with lid until edges are set and middle begins to bubble.

Top frittata with remaining cheese mixture and place under broiler. Cook just until the frittata is sizzling, puffed and set, about 2-3 minutes.

Remove, cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Serves 4
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Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The LATimes Food Section had an article on quiche cum custard this past Wed. Seems no less a personnage than Thomas Keller is on the same wavelength as you. He's doing quiches that are at least 2" tall so that he can preserve the custardy texture of his.,1,6665257.story?coll=la-headlines-food&ctrack=1&cset=true
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Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know who was channeling who, but Thomas Keller and I sure were on the same wave lengths. Excellent link, Rainey; I've not only bookmarked it, but printed everything out. Thanks soooo much!
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Joined: 02 Oct 2004
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Location: Canton, TX USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The late, lamented Highland Park Cafeteria used to make "broccoli souffle", actually a light vegetable custard made with almost-pureed broccoli. I used to get a double portion with cornbread for lunch.

This discussion of savory custards makes me want to get in the kitchen and create a reasonable facsimile. Savory veg custards (and recently, gratins) are favorite cool-weather lunches for me.
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Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yum-m-m-ee...broccoli souffle! Now that does sound good! I made some nice corn bread this weekend, with corn kernals tucked inside; it was so comforting. Ate what I could and froze the rest to enjoy later.

Hope you find your way into your kitchen soon, bridhidsdaughter!
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 1:37 am    Post subject: parsnip tart Reply with quote

I mentioned this in a comment on Clotilde's blog entry for March 4, 2005: "Gateau de Panais au Chorizo". Clotilde said she'd like to see the recipe, so here it is:

Parsnip Tart
Pastry for 8-9 inch/20-23cm pie or tart tin
1lb/scant 1/2 kilo parsnips
3 slices peeled fresh ginger
3 oz/100g mild soft cheese, such as cream cheese
2 small handfuls soft breadcrumbs
3 large eggs
1 small spoonful honey
salt & white pepper to taste
Peel, core & chop the parsnips. Boil with ginger until very tender. Drain & cool to room temp. Puree with breadcrumbs, eggs, cheese, and honey. Add salt & pepper to taste. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Line tin with pastry, add parsnip filling, and bake until golden & knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp. If you want the filling to be more colorful, use a combination of parsnips and carrots.
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Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:01 pm    Post subject: PARSNIP MAPLE PIE WITH PECAN CRUST Reply with quote

bridhidsdaughter: If there was ONE vegetable that I covet/love/adore/lust's parsnips! Any chance I can get to stick them into a stew or soup or tart or pie, I'll do it! This savory tart sounds wonderful! I think I'll give it a go this weekend, as I have my usual pound of parsnips in the frig.

Clotilde: If you'd like another recipe for All Things Parsnip, here is a recipe for a sweet parsnip pie that is OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!! I won't tell a soul what is the main ingredient until they eat it, and then when they pass out from bliss...I'll share with them the main ingredient. So many people are so ignorant of vegetables other than potatoes and carrots that they can't imagine something this good coming not only from a root vegetable, but from the ignored parsnip.

I make these as 4" tarts with the crust recipe I'm including; the flavour and taste are like nothing else in the world!



1 Cup of Pecans

2 Tablespoons of Sugar

1 1/2 Cups of All Purpose Flour

6 Tablespoons of COLD, Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces

1/2 teaspoon of Salt

3 Tablespoons of Ice Water

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a food processor, pulse the pecans with the sugar just until coarsely ground, then transfer to a bowl. Without wiping out the processor work bowl, blend together the flour, butter, and salt until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the pecan mixture to this, along with the ice water.

Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch deep-dish pie pan, crimping the edge decoratively with your fingers. Prick the crust all over with a fork and chill it for 30 minutes.

Line the crust with foil, fill with dried beans or rice, and bake the crust in the middle of the oven for 7 minutes. Remove the beans or rice and foil, and bake the crust for 5 minutes more. Let cool before filling.


2 Pounds Parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch diced pieces ( I never peel vegetables, but you may, if you like)

1 Cup of Half & Half

3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 Cup of Pure Maple Syrup...NO SUBSTITUTION!

1 teaspoon of Cinnamon

1 teaspoon of Powdered Ginger

1/4 teaspoon of Ground Cloves

1/4 teaspoon of Ground Mace

1/2 teaspoon of Salt

On a steamer rack set over briskly boiling water, steam the diced parsnips for 12-15 minutes, or until they are very, very tender. Remove the steamer rack and allow the parsnips to cool and dry. Force them through a ricer or food mill into a bowl. You should have about 2 1/2 Cups of puree. [The parsnips are so tender, at this point, I can whip them with a manual egg beater. But, if you like ricing things, do that, instead.]

Whisk in the Half & Half, eggs, maple syrup, and spices and salt until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Pour the filling into the crust, smoothing the tope with a rubber spatula. Bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 40-50 minutes or until it is just set in the middle. Remove and let cool on a rack. Serve slices of the pie topped with whipped cream and drizzled with maple syrup.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:24 pm    Post subject: BEE'S BLUE RIBBON CHILI Reply with quote

I'm leery about sharing a chili recipe, or meatloaf recipe or any recipe that has 10,000 variations on a theme. Everyone who makes spaghetti, chili, beef stew, etc., absolutely-positively believes that their's and their's alone is THE BEST ______ IN THE WORLD!

They're probably right, for their family.

With that said, I'm sharing my version of chili, which won me a Blue Ribbon/1st Prize for my 4H project. It won both at the Anoka County Fair and the Minnesota State Fair back in 1972, and it's the only recipe for chili that I've ever made or wanted to make.

So, it has an interesting history, and you might enjoy sharing it with your family and friends. And like anything like this, it always tastes better the next day and freezes superbly!

NOTE: I do not like to brown meat in a deep stock pot, because of the trapped heat burning my hand when I'm browning it. Therefore, I brown the meat in a large skillet and then transfer the mixture to a large kettle or stock pot.


1 Large Spanish Onion, coarsely chopped

1 Large Green Pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

5 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1 1/2- 2 pounds of Ground Beef or Ground Sirloin

2-3 Tablespoons EACH of Worcestershire Sauce and Soy Sauce

1) Combine all ingredients in a large fry pan, and saute until beef is nicely browned. If using sirloin, you do NOT need to drain for grease.

(Transfer above mixture to a large stock pot of soup pot.)


3-4 Stalks of Celery, chopped

2 Tablespoons of Dried or Fresh Parsley

2 Tablespoons of Italian Seasoning

1 teaspoon of Ground Pepper

1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar, tightly packed

2-6 ounce cans of Contadina Tomato Paste (MUST BE THIS BRAND)

2 teaspoons of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

2 15 1/2 ounce cans of Kidney Beans or beans of choice

1 28 ounce can of Whole Tomatoes

1 teaspoon of Tabasco Sauce

1 12 ounce can of Beer (I use Miller or another light tasting brand)

Stir all ingredients together; cover and simmer for at least 2 hours.
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