When it’s cold out, Chili warms you up.

There are probably a million chili recipes out there, it isn’t a particularly difficult dish to make, and mine is even easier because it uses a store bought mix.

Packaged chili mix!? Sacrilege! Cheat! Unfollow! Unfollow!

Relax chili snobs, there is nothing wrong with pre-mixed seasoning packets. They stay fresh in their hermetically sealed pouches and stop you from replacing those jars of spices you never finish before they loose potency.

But, but, they’re full of chemicals and stuff I can’t pronounce!

No, they’re not. In addition to the spices the one I use (from an ancient Texas city) has nothing more than corn starch and powdered vegetable oil to thicken the chili, and Silicon Dioxide to keep it from clumping.

Aha! Silicon Dioxide! Bad chemicals!

It comes from beets, alfalfa, brown rice and oats.

Oh…. still… cheating!

Continue reading “When it’s cold out, Chili warms you up.”

made cauliflower cheese soup

A few years ago I was at the ROM and had lunch in their cafeteria. There wasn’t much there, but they had a cauliflower and cheddar soup. I’m not a huge fan of cauliflower, but I like the broccoli cheddar soup at Quiznos, and I so decided to give this one a try. I really liked it, and thought I’d try making my own at home. It turned out well and is pretty popular around here.

  • 1 medium Cauliflower
  • 4 cup Chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup Chopped onion
  • 2 Cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup Butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup All-purpose flour
  • 2 cup Milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Pepper (white if you don’t want to see black flecks)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cup Grated medium Cheddar cheese

Cut the cauliflower into chunks. Use the trunk too, there is a lot of cauliflower flavor in there and when it’s cooked it’ll get pretty tender.

Roughly chop the onion and garlic.

Put the vegetables and garlic in a pot and add the chicken stock. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until the cauliflower is tender enough that you can push a knife into the thick parts easily.

Take it off the stove and let it cool for while but do not drain, 30 minutes should do.

Place the cauliflower, onions, garlic and stock in a blender and let it go until it gets to the texture you prefer, some like a smooth purée, others might like it a little chunky.

In a pot (either the one you just used or a new one, I don’t care you’re the one doing the dishes) melt the butter on medium heat, then add the flower and whisk until it is smooth. You want to cook gently to cook out the flower taste, but you don’t want it to change colour.

Add in the milk slowly, whisking well to avoid forming any lumps.

Then pour in the cauliflower mixture, and season with the salt, pepper and spices. Adjust to chili levels to your preference.

Bring it to a simmer, as the temperature rises the flour/butter mixture (called a roux) will thicken the soup.

Melt in your cheese (I used cheddar, but feel free to experiment with others) and cook until it is the thickness you like.




Ps. It’s nice topped with croutons.



Made meatloaf

I don’t really remember what made me look for a meatloaf recipe, because it was never one of my favorite meals. Must have been something on a TV show that inspired me to do one for the family’s Sunday meal.

The original recipe comes from Alton Brown at Food network. I made a couple of changes and everyone seems to really like it.

  • 170 grams of garlic flavored croutons
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1 kilogram mix of ground beef, pork and veal (that’s 1kg total, not of each meat)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 largish carrot
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Pre-heat the oven to 325 F


In a food processor combine the croutons, black and cayenne pepper, chili powder and salt. Pulse until you get a fine texture, but not so much that it all turns to powder.


Dump that into a bowl, then add all your vegetables to the food processor (and the garlic) and get it finely chopped, but not puréed. Then add the vegetable mix, the meat and egg to the bowl with your crouton crumbs and mix well. I like to use the stand mixer for this as it mixes it nicely, but when I make a large batch it won’t fit, so I put on some latex gloves and mix it all by hand.


Get a backing sheet and line it with a Silpat or lightly greased aluminum foil. Dump the meat mixture onto the baking sheet and form it by hand into a loaf shape. I like this method instead of a loaf pan for a few reasons. It allows some of the fat to render off and out of the meat and, the cooked loaf is less dense than cooking it in a pan and lastly, with the meat in the pan, you can only coat the top with the glaze, the backing sheet method allows me to cover all but the bottom in glaze.


Cook time is about 45 minutes, but the best way to be sure it is cooked through, but still juicy and not over cooked, is to get a digital probe thermometer (they are very inexpensive now, I saw one a the grocery store for $14.99 yesterday) and set it for 155F, stick it in on an angle, far enough that the tip is right in the centre. The angle is really just so that you have enough meat around your probe that it won’t fall out, the tip being in the exact centre is the important part.


For the glaze, combine the ketchup, cumin and honey in a small bown. Add a dash or two each of the Worcestershire and hot sauce to your taste and mix well. Start basting about 10 minutes into the cooking. I’ve substituted maple sirop when out of honey and it tasted great too.




PS, you can make it without the pork if you don’t eat it. Just do half and half beef and veal. I used lean ground beef, but you can go medium. I wouldn’t go the other way and use extra lean, I think it might make the meatloaf too dry.