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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Turkey Chili and Buttermilk Biscuits

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I think this is my new favorite chili recipe. I bought a bag of frozen turkey meatballs at Costco, they seem to be a favorite food of Leia’s at the moment. Usually when I make meatballs in the crockpot it’s a BBQ recipe, then I pile them onto a toasted bun with a side of crisp coleslaw, yum. When I decided to try them in a chili recipe I went to Pintrest and started searching for pictures that looked good. Recipe searching on Pintrest is great, it filters through all the clutter and lets you pick something based on how it looks when someone actually makes it.

I used this recipe from Everyday Food (thanks Martha). I didn’t have some of the ingredients (sigh, no bacon), and I adapted it to use in my smallish crockpot. Her recipe is meant to be cooked on the stove, combining different ingredients at different times. If you have the time and interest in doing it that way, great. I am partial to soup/stew recipes I can throw all together at once.

  • 20 frozen turkey meatballs
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with chilis (I used fire roasted tomatoes with green chilis from Trader Joes), not drained
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground corriander
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine or broth
  • 1 tablespoons unsulfured molasses (if you don’t have molasses, use brown sugar)
  • 1 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Dump everything into your crockpot and give it a stir. Cook on low for 8 hours. At the 7 hour mark I took some of the sauce and used it to dissolve 1 tablespoon of constarch, then mixed it into the chili to thicken it. I also left the lid off for the last hour for the same purpose. Serve with shredded cheese and green onions, or whatever you enjoy with chili. The meatballs get so tender they fall apart in your mouth – no more chili with chewy ground beef.

For the biscuits I wanted a recipe that could be frozen. Obviously Leia and I can’t eat a whole tray of biscuits. Well, I could eat a whole tray of biscuits, all the more reason to keep the dough frozen. Since I had buttermilk and yeast available I decided to try this recipe from Food.com.

  • 1 packet yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening (oh good, I can use up the butter flavored shortening I bought and never use)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (no buttermilk? add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk and let sit for 10 minutes)

The recipe didn’t mention adding the sugar to the water that dissolves the yeast, which seems like a mistake. Everything I’ve read about proofing yeast says to add sugar to the water, so that’s what I did. Add the sugar to the warm water and stir to dissolve, then add the yeast and stir. Set aside and wait for it to thicken. Combine dry ingredients and use a pastry blender or two forks to incorporate the shortening. Add the yeast and buttermilk and stir until just combined. Cover with a towel and let it sit for an hour. Scrape the dough (it will be very sticky) onto a generously floured surface, knead a few times and roll out to 3/4″ thickness. Cut into squares or use a cookie cutter.

At this point you can lay the biscuits on plastic wrap on a cookie sheet in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. When they are set, wrap tightly and put in a freezer bag for later use. They can go straight from freezer to oven.

I baked a few immediately (skipped the step to let them rise, oops). First I brushed the tops with a dab of melted butter and a sprinkle of salt. Then into a 400 degree oven until the tops were brown (about 15 minutes).

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They were soft and fluffy with a little crunch on the outside. Nice flavor. Overall a very good biscuit, but not the big flakey buttery biscuit I was craving. Maybe they needed to be cut thicker? Or allowed to sit and rise for 20 minutes before cooking? I think my next biscuit attempt will one with cream cheese and fresh herbs.

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Dad

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Today is his birthday, he would have been 57.

A handsome man can pull off red swirls on a denim shirt. He could also pull off bike shorts at the desert (ask anyone who camped with us!)

Two years ago my sister and I went to his house to celebrate his birthday. We brought a carrot cake that my Grandma made for him, from scratch, his favorite. We ate pizza, played pool in the garage. He took pictures of Racheal and I together, showing off my pregnant belly. We talked about the baby shower planned for the following month. We talked about his upcoming trip to the desert. When I went home I gave him a hug, told him I loved him and that I’d see him soon.

Poor Dad, this was 1982 and without digital cameras to review the shot no one knew his head was cropped out.

That was the last time we spoke. The last time I hugged him. I miss him every single day. It’s true that with time the anger about unfairness subsides, the pain from his absence dulls. It never really goes away, but making peace with his passing was easier because we had the time together for his birthday.

Dad and Racheal.

When Leia was born I felt him there with us. The first Christmas without him I knew he was watching over us. When my Grandma passed I knew she was joining my Grandpa, and they are there with him. I’m not a Christian. I don’t know if I believe in a heaven as biblically described. But I do believe there is a something somewhere that holds their spirits among us.

My Mom always tells us how my Dad couldn't get the cloth diaper with the pins on so he just sat me on a blanket until she got home.

Today my sister and I watched our kids play together and my Mom told us how proud he is, and how funny he must think little Leia and John Robert are. There are so many memories of my Dad that I want them to know about – his love for camping, riding, baseball and football games, playing pool, the way he took pride in everything he owned and worked hard for, spaghetti dinners when we spent the night at his condo. I remember him for his compassion, his silliness, the way he beamed with pride at my college graduation. He was borderline OCD when it came to folding his clothes, and keeping his truck clean – traits I didn’t inherit, I’m a slob in comparison, sorry Dad!

My brother's pants are pretty epic. This is one of my favorite pictures of us.

I love you and miss you so very much.