Day 18: Thank an Aztec

I woke up ready to have anything but a veggie omelette for breakfast.

People on the Whole30 Recipe Exchange group on Facebook have been chatting about this pumpkin souffle.  I was ready to try it with ingredients I had on hand.  Viva la substitutions!

Large scoop pumpkin (probably 1/3 cup) 1/2 roasted sweet potato
2 eggs
Pumpkin pie spice cayenne, cinnamon and salt
Generous scoop of almond butter or coconut butter coconut cream
Smashed banana, the riper the better 1/2 mango

Speaking of mango, this is my favorite mango trick. (I only have one mango trick.)

I mixed everything up in the Ninja and then went with 4 minutes in the microwave instead of baking.  I think baking would have been better.  I liked the flavor, but the souffle was too wet, like a watery flan.  I might also add a spoonful of almond flour next time.

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I might not have been my favorite breakfast, but it was pretty.

Lunch was the last of the chicken tikka masala and some salad.  Pretty uneventful, except I dropped the container and got tikka masala sauce all over my chair, my pants, and the floor in the break room.

Dinner was this fabulous chocolate chili topped with jicama chips, served with a green salad and broiled yellow squash.  I’ve always been a fan of extra-spicy chili with lots of beans, so I wasn’t sure if I’d dig a not-spicy chili with no beans.  I digged!

I wanted to use my gramma’s orange earthenware casserole.  Now before you get an image of a sweet old lady an apron, that was not my gramma.  My gramma immigrated to the US when she was four, landed in New York City and stayed there her whole life.  In gramma’s eyes, if it wasn’t New York, it was crap.  I didn’t learn how to cook chicken and dumplings from my gramma. I learned how to eat sesame bagels with cream cheese, hummus and baba ganoush.  She had this tiny galley-style kitchen in her apartment and I have no memories of her cooking in it.  I do remember having gefilte fish during passover.  That’s not a fond memory.  I cried.

And somehow in my early 20s I ended up with this Mad Men casserole dish.

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My gramma’s casserole.

I grabbed my casserole (with two hands because it’s heavy) and my first thought was, is this big enough?  Of course it is!

I started with two cups of onions, which took up about 1/3 of the space.  I eyeballed my tube of ground beef and made a mental calculation prayed that everything would fit.  The meat barely fit.  No problem!  It will all cook down, I said.

Then I made this spice mixture.  If I wasn’t going to blog about it, I would have just thrown it all  in the pot without measuring.  A lot of seasoning goes into this chili.

A handful of dirt or a magical blend of cocoa, cumin, chili powder and allspice?
A handful of dirt or a magical blend of cocoa, cumin, chili powder and allspice?

This is how full my casserole got after I added the spices and tomatoes.

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Oy vey.  I still have to add a can of beef broth and a cup of water.  Should I grab a bigger vessel to cook this?  Of course not!

For the next hour, I let this simmer down and added the beef broth, a tiny pour at a time, every ten minutes until I emptied the can.  It looked like this the whole time.  I skipped the cup of water.

No one with a shred of sense cooks like this.
No one with a shred of sense cooks like this.

 I committed a horrible act of unsafe food handling and let this sit on the stove while I was at work.  It’s supposed to simmer for two hours and it barely got one.  I figured letting it cool down slowly was better than throwing a bubbling pot in the fridge.  I was also really afraid of spillage.

My house smelled amazing when I got home and all I had to do was put a salad together, bake some jicama chips and put a few squash slices under the broiler.

I thought it was a great dinner but hubs found the chili too spicy.  It wasn’t spicy.  But he did not pick up on the cocoa.  In his eyes the worst meal I ever made was a cocoa-rubbed steak.  If I told him the chili had cocoa he never would’ve tried it.

He ate about 3 bites of dinner.  I think this means more leftovers for me.

I’m not complaining.

So why thank a Aztec?  Back in the day they used chocolatl as a savory ingredient.  Those crazy Aztecs were geniuses.


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