Thursday, December 03, 2009

In the kitchen, fresh bread and Chili!

I've been doing a bit of cooking this week. First off I tried the 'five minute bread' technique, which I've been hearing so much about. Read about it here if you've missed out. My results have been a little hit and miss.

The first loaf out of the batch was very nice, and the rest of the dough was stored away in the fridge. But when I went to make the second loaf, I discovered the dough had gotten very cold on the bottom shelf, maybe even frozen (sometimes stuff freezes on the bottom shelf). No amount of sitting out on the counter could get a rise out of it, and the resulting loaf was thick and doughy, no air holes at all. Yuk. The chickens enjoyed it though. I have a second batch in the fridge now, on the top shelf this time.

I also made a big pot of chili, using my favorite recipe from cooking light - All American Chili. It's very good, it has sausage and beef in it, and red wine, and it's not too spicy, which is perfect for us. In fact I cool it off with a dollop of sour cream, and of course some cheese sprinkled on top. Dave even finds it tolerable, even though it has beans and he hates beans!

Now when I say I made a big pot, I mean BIG. I used my camp oven, since it's the only dutch oven I have. So what to do with all that chili in that huge cast iron pot which will stay hot for hours? I give it a dip in a sink full of ice water. I occasionally stir it until the chili is cool enough to go in the fridge. I also put ice on top (and the camp oven lid comes in handy with it's lip to keep the ice on top).

The necessity of this is a matter of some debate, because as Dave points out his mom would leave a pot of food on the stove until it cooled down a couple hours later and then put it away, and no one ever got sick. I have to admit that's how it was at my house too.  But I've seen Alton Brown's food safety advice, and I want to make sure I get the food cooled off and put away as soon as possible. What do you do when you have a giant pot of hot food to deal with?


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Mmmm! I love homemade chili! And it's the only way I can get my kidlets to eat beans, so that's another good thing about chili, too.
I make it in a crockpot and I never have leftovers here. With two growing pre-teen boys and a daughter who seems to be going through a growth spurt...and a hubby that is away at least a month at a time...and gets home starving for home cooked is never left-over after I cook matter how much I make. lol!

Don't ya just love chickens? I used to throw away so many failed recipes before we had chickens...and now it all goes to them. :)


StefRobrts said...

Yes, not much goes in the garbage, or even the compost heap! And the chickens are so grateful :)

Mer said...

We had stew and fresh bread yesterday. Yum!

I let the crock cool on a cooling rack while I ate the first bowl. Then I divide it up into smaller containers (so they cool faster) and let them sit on the rack until they are close to room temp. Then I put the lids on and throw them in the fridge.

I've never thought about icing the left overs to cool them down more quickly. Hmmm...