I love to cook and I love to eat good food.  Alas, the fact that I work 9-5 means that I can't do either as much as I would like, and like many I am often stuck at my desk during my lunch "hour".  My solution is to try to bring my lunch to work as much as I can.  This is my collection of recipes, all made quickly the night before (either as lunch or as dinner with leftovers that can be taken in).  Happy eating.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Chilly day Chili

Did anyone else experience the apocalyptic weather known as the nor'easter that blew in on Saturday? I had to go outside to go to work (boo hiss) and do some errands. Far from being productive, I spent most of the day huddling in doorways, afraid to step into the gale. More than once I did the full revolution in the revolving doors, convinced when I began to leave that it wasn't as bad as it looked, got a little taste of the wind and rain as I got to the 180 degree mark, and kept going right around back inside where it was safe and dry. The mangled bodies of umbrellas littered the streets. People greeted each other like survivors of some team-building ropes course that really didn't look that bad when they started out but quickly showed them they were not the boss. I made the mistake of trying to go into my building through the back entrance, which I had forgotten is a wind tunnel on the best of days. I kid you not when I say I was thrown from wall to wall and pinned against the gate until I could get it open.

So I ordered delivery for dinner.

But that's not what this is about. This post is about chili, which is what I would have made on that Saturday evening had I had the faintest inclination to leave the safety of my apartment again. Mmmm... chili. It really is one of my favorite dishes. I sometimes make variations on it -- anything with beans, tomatoes, chili and cumin will do -- but this recipe is my master recipe. Another one handed down from parent to child, both my brother and I left home with a copy in our hot little hands. I remember my brother visiting from college when I was living in my first apartment and had barely started to cook. We made chili. (And buttermilk cake.)


olive oil
2 lbs. ground turkey
1 14-16 oz. can whole tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 C. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans drained pinto beans
1 can drained kidney beans
1 C. water
1 T. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt

Brown turkey, onion and garlic in olive oil in a dutch oven or other large pot. Once turkey is browned and onion is soft, chop tomatoes and add them to the pot along with their juice. Add tomato sauce, water, spices, kidney beans. Set aside 1 C. pinto beans, add remainder.

Bring to a boil, simmer 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water if the chili dries out.

Mash reserved beans and add to the pot, mixing well. Simmer 5 more minutes until chili comes together.

Serve with sour cream, cornbread, or just enjoy straight up.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Betty Robertson's Buttermilk Cake

After showing off my bee-yoo-tiful Kitchenaid in the last post, I decided I needed to do some actual baking with it. A little house-warming, too, was in order. I have heard that real estate agents put cookies in the oven or leave vanilla out to make the house smell warm, inviting, and homey. Even though most of my possessions are still in boxes, and my items of furniture have yet to be counted on more than one hand, I thought that a cake, warm from the oven, wafting its scent of vanilla, butter and sugar, would transform my little apartment into my new home.

The cake would have to be the one that I grew up eating and one of the first I ever baked myself. This recipe came from Betty Robertson, long-time friend of my mother's family, who baked it for them. My mother got the recipe when she was in high school, I started baking it myself about the same age, and I in turn have passed it around to friends. It's just a good cake: moist, delicious, pretty much foolproof and failsafe. It's practically perfect on its own, and when berries or peaches are in season it's gilding the lily.

Surprisingly, it came out well even though it was the first thing I baked in the new oven. Golden on the outside, smelling of home, it tasted great even eaten off the cardboard box I have functioning as a table.

And, by the way, the Kitchenaid was amazing. I made the cake in record time. I even took pictures, but fortunately for you all I accidentally erased them. You might indulge in cake, but surely wouldn't indulge me in too many photos of my mixer.

Betty Robertson's Buttermilk Cake

1 C. butter
2 T. shortening
3 C. sugar
3 C. flour
1 C. buttermilk
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
5 eggs

Butter and flour a bundt cake pan. Pre-heat oven to 325.

Cream butter, sugar, and shortening. Add eggs one at a time. Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk, then add the buttermilk and flour slowly to the mix. Add salt and vanilla.

Bake at 325 for about an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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