Friday, January 21, 2011

Menu: Weekend of 1/22

Plan of attack for this weekend:

White Chicken Chili
Garam Masala-Chocolate Gingerbread

Number of Google excursions: 2

I Googled: white beans (to find out if cannellini qualified) and "How do you tell if an onion has gone bad?" Apart from the obvious signs that one in my basket had sprouted not only leaves, but a top complete with jaunty hat. I suppose holding up the nearby fruits for their wallets would also count.

Substitutions: 2 in Chili (and one note), 3 (minor) in Gingerbread

Back, foul onions, back! (Yes, they've definitely gone bad for the purposes of this discussion.) Needing one large onion, I've decided to risk using the medium onion I have. If I cut it and it's obviously bad, then I will have less onion. Say, none. This will not bother me. Upon advice, using appropriate amount of minced garlic rather than cloves. Also chose to use cannellini specifically for the white beans.

I have an indeterminate amount of Dutch-processed cocoa powder and a full jar of what I am assuming is American cocoa powder, though I suppose it also could be Antarctic cocoa powder. It does not specify. Rather than buy more, I am blending. I don't have fine salt, so ... regular salt will do just fine. (I'm starting to hear oldies girl groups in my head: "It's so fine ... oh, yeah ...") By contrast, I have enough garam masala to make a hundred batches of these cookies. Approximately. I have no clue what egg white powder even is, I am not buying way too much of anything just for frosting, and I know that icing will work up just fine with confectioner's sugar and water ... so out that goes.

I've had some issues with bittersweet chocolate being too sour, but I've used Ghiradelli bars in the past and I think those are too high quality for little ol' me. I'm going to try a different brand this time before conceding and going to semi-sweet.

As to why these recipes, this will be the first recipe I've attempted from the Neely's. I watch them often and adore their interactions. I've actually had this chili recipe sitting out as my next cooked dinner since ... before Thanksgiving. I've been stuck in diet limbo ever since, and then I was tricked into buying smaller pants, so then I really didn't have a choice unless I wanted to use a crowbar and some lube (Hi, Faye!) to get into them.

As for the gingerbread, both my mother and I are gingerbread fanatics. I printed two somewhat off-beat gingerbread recipes for this Christmas, both of which she approached like a woman at an octopus petting zoo. (She's also not much for spicy.) We ended up making a mix of ginger cookies that weren't really gingerbread. Tragedy all around. But I've been crazing good gingerbread since, so it's time to unleash the dogs of garam masala ... which sort of sounds like a place in Mordor, if you think about it.

(For the record, it actually means "warm spice" and doesn't refer to a specific blend: every village / region has its own garam masala. I use a brand called Swad: Best Taste In Town produced by Raja Foods. If you use something else, your mileage may vary. Aarti probably intends this recipe to be made with her specific spice blend, available on her site - which I may attempt when I run out of the Swad. In 2015 or so.)

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