All-American Chili

It has been freezing cold in Chicago, the perfect weather for hearty meals.  This is by far my favorite chili recipe.  Don’t let the long list of ingredients intimate you.  My shortcut is to chop all the ingredients, combine all of the spices, rinse the beans.  I put the tomatoes in a bowl and gently squeeze them and crush with  my hands.

For a heartier meal, I cook some pasta — usually elbows or any other kind of small pasta and serve with the chili on top.

As with many chilis, it is tastier the next day.  This recipe was enough for two meals for 4 people (3 hungry boys and moi).

I like to sprinkle ours with shredded mozzarella cheese, chopped green onions and if you like, a dollop of sour cream.  Yum!

Here is a link to the recipe and complete list of ingredients .  Bon Appétit!


Easy peasy Ginger Fried Rice

I love this rice when I absolutely don’t feel like doing anything too complicated.  I always have left over rice which I freeze.  Yes, rice freezes well up to a month.  The best time to store the cooked rice is when it’s just finished cooking.  Make sure to pack the rice with steam and cover the lid immediately to trap the steam and moisture (I usually save in on a pyrex glass container).  When the rice has cooled, store in your freezer.  The quality will stay well up to 1 month. You will need to reheat it before using.   If you will be using the rice within a couple of days then no freezing is recommended.

If you don’t have any left over rice and would still like to make this easy recipe, you could cook the rice early enough to let it cool down completely, even refrigerate for a bit if possible.

I am including the link to this recipe from Mark Bittman whom I absolutely adore.  A couple of notes:  1) Make sure not to overcook the ginger/garlic or they will be bitter — it needs to be crispy and brown (not black!).  2) I didn’t have leeks so I used shallots and it turned out just as yummy — I understand scallions can also be a good substitute.   I would NOT use regular onions as they may be too pungent.


Watercress Salad with Radishes

Shhhhhh…I am in love with Watermelon radishes. Its flesh is tender-crisp, succulent, and firm. Its flavor is mild, only slightly peppery with almond-sweet notes.  It can be eaten raw or cooked.  It is an heirloom Chinese Daikon radish, member of the Brassica (mustard) family along with arugula, broccoli and turnips. Watermelon radishes are most commonly available during spring and late fall, since they are a cool season crop.

The original recipe calls for watercress and I have made it that way but this time I had to substitute with Arugula and still loved the results.     While at Wholefoods, I had to research substitutes for watercress — sometimes you just have to improvise!

Attention: don’t add the watercress or arugula until the salad is ready to serve as they will wilt.



2 watermelon radishes thinly sliced

4 regular radishes (you can add black or white wines for color)

4  cups Watercress or Arugula

1 medium tart firm apple thinly sliced  (Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, or Braeburn) — unpeeled and seeded —

3  lemons  –  1 thinly sliced —

4 spring onions thinly sliced into rings

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Step 1:  use a mandolin — if you have one — to slice the radishes and the apple or use a regular knife — feel free to include the core as it is eatable.

Step 2: quarter the apples and the watermelon radishes so they are bite size

Step 3: Slice the lemons as thinly as possible and remove seeds

Step 4: Put everything in a bowl and squeeze the juice of one lemon, add pepper and salt to taste and massage the ingredients.  I mean massage not just mix with spoon — don’t feel afraid to show all the ingredients some love :-).   Marinade for 10 to 15 minutes.

Once you are ready to serve, add the watercress or arugula, spring onions and mix.  Add olive oil, squeeze 1/2 of the left over lemon (or the whole lemon depending on how lemony you like the salad).  Taste for flavor and add more salt as needed.

Finally — I tend to like my salads on the lemony side.  If you don’t,  you may want to be more conservative with the use of lemon.  When it comes to cooking,  it is easier to err on the side of not enough as it is alway easier to adjust by adding.

Hope you enjoy!

Recipe found at: