Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chili with Chipotle and Chocolate


  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups diced onion (about 1 large)
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/4 pounds lean ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce, minced (or 3 or 4 if you dare)
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • Chopped green onions (optional)


Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and chicken to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until meat is browned and vegetables are tender. Add sugar and next 9 ingredients (through chipotle) to pan, stirring to blend; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Ladle 1 1/4 cups chili in each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream. Garnish with green onions.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I made my first wedding cake last weekend for my high school friend, Sarah Wilkinson.  The wedding was in Nashville, so Ryan and I went up on Friday night and stayed with the beloved Aunt Sue Sue in her sweet, cozy cottage in West End. We went to dinner at one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Cafe Nona, located in West End on Murphy St. Incredible. Erin, I'm still going to take you there someday. Since this is more of a 'food blog', if you will, i'll expand: It's the tiniest restaurant you've ever seen - just like the ones in Italy, where you go and stay for hours. We each had delicious pasta dishes, and I knocked back a hearty glass of cabernet sauvignon (much needed after 4 straight hours of wedding cake stacking and icing). McCabe's Pub was our next stop, right across the street from Nona. Sue Sue's favorite hang-out. Fun people watching. 

The next morning I wake up early to finish the cake. 1st disaster of the day: coffee maker breaks. No coffee = No function. Major problem. So I'm half asleep, trying to cover up this dark brown cake with ivory icing - no small feat, friends. Meanwhile, I discover that I'm really not that good at decorating with icing. Great. I'm flustered.

{Note: I haven't taken a shower in who knows how long, i have powdered sugar all over my pants, and I realize I don't have time to shower before I take the cake to the church. Oh well, I'll just run the cake over and come back and shower before the wedding.} 

Decades later, Ryan finally wakes up from his peaceful slumber and helps me build a flimsy ghetto box out of cardboard and duct tape, and we successfully make it to the church. Ready to do the final touch-ups!...Not so fast. I can't do the final touch-ups until I have the silver platform. The platform is not here. The platform should be here in a few minutes. Minutes turn to hours. While I'm waiting, I realize I've forgotten the 3rd bow - it's back at Sue Sue's. Ryan is telling ridiculously funny stories to keep me from crying. Approximately 2 hours later, people start arriving for the wedding. I start seeing friends I haven't seen in forever... and here I am, in my powdered sugar-covered jeans and t-shirt, with heels on because i forgot to pack my flats, with my hair in a nasty bun on the top of my head. No makeup. The platform arrives, hallelujah...aaaaand what do you know, it's too small, and it's round. The cake is square. Fantastic. Well, we'll have to make do. At this point, i'm just laughing. 

Everything ended up being just fine. Missed the wedding, but made it back for the reception. Sarah was beautiful and happy and loved the cake. That's all that matters :) 

After reading this, no one is ever going to want me to make their wedding cake. haha. Maybe with good reason. 

the cake