Salsa Mucha Muchacha AKA Salsa Macha

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This is one of my salsa obsessions. In the chile kingdom and its spice scale, this Mucha muchacha salsa has the best flavor and intensity in my opinion. Chiles are one of my dearest ingredients because by preparing them in different ways they transform and have multiple flavors and textures to offer far beyond simply spicy and hot. The level of spiciness can be tamed by the cook and by combining different chiles one can create new flavors. From smoking, toasting, roasting, frying, charring, grilling, steaming, boiling, its an endless combination that ends with a delicious result and the best accent for a meal.

Like this salsa.

This salsa will make your heart sing, and speak in tongues.

This recipe has a back story from my single years. I had a neighbor who became one of my best friends, Ultiminio. Yes, that was his name; he was such a great friend and had a great charisma. We lived in a four level small building. Bottom floor for a small retail area top tree levels for three little apartments. I lived at apartment No.3 and Ultiminio lived on the first level. On the weekends we used to scream at each other from our little balconies: ~Vecina!, Vecino!Whats for breakfast?…
We knew Sundays were for refrigerator inventory. So in less time than you imagine, we were gathering ingredients to make breakfast happen. Usually I had beans and he had one egg and I had another egg, a piece of cheese, a lost potato, tostadas or tortillas… and Coffee always was in both pantries. You get the picture, but this salsa, THIS SALSA always brought everything together. Ultiminio taught me how to make this salsa with chiles Moritas from his hometown Chiapas. It was absolutely fantastic and we would eat endless pots of beans and totopos, eggs, orange wedges, cucumbers, jicama, soups, you name it, this salsa was the excuse to prepare anything and everything. I remember dearly those days because no matter what we had we always ended up with a delicious breakfast and this salsa was always on the menu.

Later on, I adapted the recipe using my favorite chile, Chile de arbol and a hint of Morita. I always remember making this salsa and my tastebuds salivate every time, its my ultimate craving.

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The flavor on this salsa its like no other, is intense chili, smoky and nutty. The spicy notes from the arbol bring depth and a settle spiciness, then just when you think your mouth its gonna be on fire, the chile Moritas hit you with their bright, sweet spicy almost like cherry flavor and all starts to mellows down, following by the hint of sharp garlic, salt and nutty notes from the oils. It is Like a roller coaster. Afterwards, a tamed pleasant spice lingers on your tongue and warms up your tastebuds leaving you wanting more.

Please do not be alarmed when you read the ingredients on the recipe, I know 64-68 chiles can be excessive, but this is exactly the type of salsa preparation that shows the versatility of chiles and the multiple spectrum of flavor versus heat, that chiles can offer. Bare with me and follow along, you are a few steps from salsa heaven.

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Salsa Mucha Muchacha AKA Salsa Macha

Makes 8-10 oz Jar

50gr. About 64-68 dry chiles de arbol, between 3.5” to 4” long approx.
3-4 chiles moritas about 2” 3″ in size
¾ cup corn oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons roasted salted peanuts
2 large garlic cloves (I used Ajo Criollo, its mild and very aromatic)
1 – ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

1. Remove all the steams of the chiles. In a medium size pot place the ¾ cup oil and warm up the oil over medium heat. Place all the Arbol chiles and carefully toss constantly until all chiles look dark mahogany red but not burt. If you see some of the chiles getting darker faster than others, remove promptly and keep frying the rest.

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2. Remove pot from heat and take out all the fried chiles to cool down a bit.
3. Return the oil pot into the stove and add the 3 Morita chiles watch carefully, because this Moritas tend to inflate like balloons. Once they are dark red, almost black, remove chiles from the oil and let them cool off.

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4. Place the pot with the oil on a safe place to cool off for about 3 minutes. Then add the toasted peanuts and sesame seeds, into the oil and toss. Wait for another 3-5 minutes until the oil is at a luke warm temperature.

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5. Place the fried Chiles the arbol, The chiles Moritas, garlic cloves, salt and carefully poor all the oil with the sesame seeds and peanuts on the glass of a blender a small food processor or for best results use an immersion blender, and Puree everything until a lose paste.

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6. The salsa should look smooth enough but have some texture left from the seeds. Keep salsa on a air tight glass jar on the refrigerator. The chiles and oil tend to separate, just shake or mix well with a spoon before using. This salsa will last about 2-3 weeks if you are lucky. This salsa gets better and better every day. Enjoy!

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A few suggestions on how to use Salsa Mucha Muchacha,

Its very versatile. It can bring to life any fried egg, avocado toast, creamy soup, or broth. It is specially good on black beans, quesadillas, tacos, aguachile, seafood and it is amazing on this Mariana’s Mexican Sashimi. It is also great on any stew, steak or roasted meat. Also as condiment fora roasted chicken, or use it as rub or marinade with a couple of tablespoons of vinegar.

Lately, one of my favorite ways to use it its when sautéing  greens, like Kale, Chard, Spinach, Purslane, Dandelions, even broccoli!.

Here is how it goes: Quick saute some kale, chard, or spinach in a little bit of olive oil add some onion slices, toss week until edges of the onions start getting cooked. Then add the greens, add one or two teaspoons of this salsa toss quickly until bright green and right before turning the pan off add a little splash-arooh of apple cider vinegar or a squeeze of lemon , toss briefly and serve over brown rice, quinoa, farro, beans, serve with slices of avocado add a dollop of greek style yogurt. Put an egg on it and there you have it, an unforgettable quick lunch that will make you crave your greens. Enjoy!

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Music pairing: Esquivel – Mucha Muchacha

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Braised Short Ribs in Pomegranate and Tempranillo

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Perhaps you are the kind of person, like myself, that loves and cherishes the wonder that is a cut of perfectly braised beef. If you have inhaled the Parisian air in October and experienced the fragrance of succulent Beef Bourbignon from the plate resting on your table then you know it can surely be counted as one of the great culinary blessings in life. If you have not yet had a truly fine plate of braised beef or if , in fact, you simply must prepare it for yourself then this recipe shall more than satisfy. Short ribs provide a fantastic cut to which this treatment can justly be applied, having a sufficient richness and flavor.

Find some excellent day, perhaps New Year’s Day, a day with a few spare hours for the kitchen and a fine chill in the air and you have the only justification required to prepare this most auspicious dish. The quality this Braised Short Ribs in Pomegranate and Tempranillo offers is of great exception and nothing short of the concentrated essence of a fine wine married to the heavenly juice of seared, seasoned, and slow cooked beef. It is so aromatic, tender, juicy, and rich that the slightly acid pomegranate proves the perfect fruit of contrast. So both the juice and seeds are introduced to further elevate a wondrous braised cut into the most exquisite beef you can imagine serving. Plate a couple ribs with their fantastic gravy and garnish with pomegranate seeds and some cauliflower parsnip puree and you will have served a plate worthy of great New Year’s exaltations and you will likely be served in return, by anyone fortunate enough to share the meal, an ample portion of gratitude and thankfulness.

To all of you who love, follow, and support us and Yes, More Please! ; our friends, family, and sponsors: Happy New Year!
And Thank You. We look forward to an amazing and exciting 2016.

Mariana & Ian

Pomegranate-Tempranillo-Braised-Short-Ribs_ingredients

Braised Short Ribs in Pomegranate and Tempranillo

Serves 4 renegade reinders on New Years eve.

8 short ribs french cut style cut in halves.
2 tablespoons grape seed oil or any neutral oil to start the searing
A few dashes of all pour pose flour
Salt & fresh cracked black pepper to season.

2 cups Tempranillo, I used 2012 Tineta Ribera del Duero, Spain.This wine has cherry, blueberry, spices, and a hint of licorice and chocolate, very aromatic and good level of acidity to cook with. Great price also from $15-13.00 dlls a bottle.
2-1/2 cups Pomegranate Juice
1 to 2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3-4 Rosemary fresh sprigs
2 dry bay leaves
4 garlic cloves
1/2 up to 1 teaspoon salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Garnish with:
1 fresh pomegranate, worth of kernels.
Rosemary sprigs

Preparation Method:

1. Pat dry the short ribs. Season all sides with kosher salt and fresh black pepper. Then sprinkle some all purpose flour until all sides are lightly covered. re season lightly with salt an pepper.

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2. Tap excess flour and heat up a heavy bottom roasting pan or cast iron enamel pot. Drizzle a little grape seed oil and sear every rib all sides. Do not crowd the pan. Depending on pan size and rib size sear 3 or 4 at the time, all sides until each sides develops a crust and its one tone above golden brown.

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3. Set them aside as you go until you have seared every short rib. Save a couple of tablespoons of the fat on the pan, discard the rest of the oil and any of the heavenly burn bits on the bottom of the pan. U can use a paper towel and carefully wipe off the pan.
4. With the pan wiped off, add 2-3 tablespoons of the reserved fat into the pan and arrange the seared short ribs, bone side down into the pan on a single layer.
5. Place pot into stove on a medium high heat. Add wine, pomegranate juice, beef stock. Make sure the sum of liquids just cover the ribs, if needed ad more pomegranate juice, or wine. Add herbs, garlic cloves and re-season with salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil cover with a lid and transfer into the lower third of the oven at 300F to 325F temperature (depending on your oven, electric like our Mildret 325F V.S. Gas or Convection 300F) For about 1 hour and 45 minutes, Lid on. After that time, remove the lid and cook with lid off for another 15-20 minutes, depending on tenderness of the ribs. Test with a fork, it should be easily inserted. If that is not the case, give them 15-20 more minutes.
You also can braise your ribs on the stove top, just be really careful to set the temperature to a very slow simmer. Cook with Lid on for about 1-2 hours and lid off for 20-30 minutes.

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6. While short ribs are brazing… Make your Cauliflower-Parsnip Mashed or Mashed Potatoes. Here is a quick recipe…
1 small medium califlower, two parsnips, 3-4  tablespoons butter, one drizzle extra virgin olive oil, a dash of cream or milk, salt and pepper to taste. Cut your cauliflower into mini florets, peel and cube the parsnips, steam florets and cubes on the same pot until soft and tender. Remove from steamer, place them in a pot, add butter, salt pepper, extra virgin olive oil and a dash of milk, almond milk or soy milk what ever you prefer. With an inmersion blender whip until creamy and fluffy. A food processor will work well to.
Set aside and keep on a warm place until ready to serve.

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Back to the ribs:

7. Remove pot from oven and place ribs on a baking tray,cover with aluminum foil to keep them warm and juicy. Turn off the oven and place your serving tray into the oven to warm up until serving. This is a great little step that will help you keep them warm for longer when they are ready to serve.
8. Remove most of the fat on the left over juices. Strain juices trough a fine colander. Smash those garlics through the sieve and pick up the mashed bits from the outer part of the colander, they will help to intensify the flavor and thicken up the sauce. Add about 1/2 cup of the rest of the pomegranate juice, and check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. Place sauce back into pot, bring to a boil and reduce until desired consistency. I like my pomegranate sauce like a lose gravy, not to loose, not to thick just with enough body to hang into the ribs.Pomegranate-Tempranillo-Braised-Short-Ribs_Degrease-and-strain-the-juices-to-create-the-pomegranate-saucePomegranate-Tempranillo-Braised-Short-Ribs_straining-the-saucePomegranate-Tempranillo-Braised-Short-Ribs_making-the-sauce

9. Place some blips of your mashed of choice and place the ribs on platter, drizzle some of the pomegranate sauce and sprinkle some pomegranate kernels. Place the rest of the pomegranate sauce and kernels for extra garnish when serving. Serve immediately.

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Happy New Year!

Its New years eve and everybody needs some great music to finish this fun and crazy year…

Akira Miyagawa shows us with his genius musical creativity, that everything can be done!!!

Music Pairing: Akira Miyagawa’s Beethoven’s Symphony No.5 and Mambo No.5 Combination

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Chocolate Avocado Coconut Mousse

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Chocolate, who can’t resist chocolate specially at this time of the year?…Dreaming of luscious chocolate desserts, this Chocolate Avocado Coconut Mousse recipe it’s the ticket for a simple crowd pleaser dessert. You would not believe how free of everything this mousse is. It should be called “Chocolate Freedom”. The truth is, If you want to make a dessert suited for all guests, taste good for all palates, and diverse diets you are at the right place.

For me, Chocolate Mousse is the perfect ending dessert for a dinner party. You can prepare it ahead, its no fuss, looks gorgeous, and suits all crowds. This recipe, especially suits guests with diverse diets: dairy-free, gluten-free,  sugar-free, nut-free, grain-free, egg-free, all free diet situations. I feel people with food sensitivities are often neglected, or end up with fruit as a dessert, why not go the extra mile? On the other hand for the cooks at home its always a little stressful to think or trying to cook or bake with un-familiar ingredients, well I got you covered, this recipe is also easy on the Cook. Simple ingredients, a few simple steps and your guests will appreciate you going the extra mile. Its is always nice to make the effort to make a happy ending dessert for everyone especially during the holiday season.

Read the recipe very carefully, and please, do not make faces; yes I can see you from here frowning about avocado and chocolate. I was one of those people as well. Now I’m converted. To be honest, once you try this combination I know you’ll be converted too. Let’s talk a little about it.

Avocado is a natural source of creaminess and good oils in combination with the coconut cream and the chocolate gives this dessert all the lusciousness by mimicking the texture that cream, butter, and eggs give to a more traditional mousse recipe.

Avocados only mission in this recipe is to give a light body and creamy texture to the mousse. It imparts no discernible flavor. Next ingredient: the coconut cream, which adds that velvety silky soft texture that is characteristic of any mousse. And of course the main ingredient: Chocolate. Almost all the success on this recipe will depend on the chocolate quality you choose. That is what shines: Dark, rich, chocolate. Be splendid and generous when buying your chocolate, choose at least a good 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate. I have some suggestions for you at the end of the recipe.

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In other recipes you could place almost all recipe ingredients into a food processor and be done but I went ahead and added just a few steps that make this recipe dreamy.  Like, sieving the avocado to make it creamier and remove any fibrous treads. Also by folding some whipped coconut cream at the end, which for me makes a huge difference, giving this mousse a cloudy silky texture.

And last but not least, another great “free” quality about his mousse, is that I used Svetia. Svetia it’s a Natural sweetener made with the Stevia plant. An all natural sweetener. A little of this powerful Svetia Sweetener goes a long way, I like my mousse lightly sweetened and using this calorie free sweetener completes the dreamy dessert, for those guest with sugar sensitivity.

If you are ready to try something new this season, and make your special guests happy! Give this Chocolate Avocado Mousse a chance and surprise all your guests, by revealing the ingredient at the end of the dinner. I bet you they would not even believe that an avocado was incorporated. And on the other side of the table your vegan, dairy free, gluten-free and sugar-free guests will be really happy and gratefully ask for the recipe.
Enjoy
Happy Holidays!

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Chocolate Avocado Coconut Mousse

Serves 4- 8 servings depending on scoop size.

10 oz fresh ripe Avocado Hass flesh*
1 can coconut cream unsweetened,** I used Chaokoh Thailand brand
2 teaspoons Walnut oil or coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch kosher salt
2 Svetia sweetener envelopes or 2 tablespoon of any other alternative sugar option like coconut sugar, date sugar, or maple syrup.

8 oz of at least 70% Cacao Bittersweet chocolate bar, roughly chopped, melted and slightly cooled. I used Green and Blacks Organic Dark Chocolate.***

1 can coconut cream to make whipped coconut cream

3-4 Sugar free-gluten free Candy Canes to crush and garnish.
You can use fresh berries to garnish, cacao nibs, toasted coconut or toasted nuts in case of no nut allergies.

Important Notes:

*Since avocados differ in size and amount of flesh depending on avocado types, please weigh the avocado flesh, and make sure you buy avocado Hass which are the most creamy and less fibrous.

**When buying coconut cream, I prefer any brand from Thailand, whole foods or Traders Joe’s, because they have the best richness and creaminess. check and read the labels.

***Other vegan bars:Theo 82%, Madecasse 80%, Scharffen Berger 82%
I found an article on line about Green and Blacks Organic Dark Chocolate label in which I read that it does not have any milk powder or solids on the formula, but it is made adjacent to a facility that makes milk chocolate. So by regulation, they had to specify that on the label.

Preparation Method:

1. Cut avocados in half, remove pits, and place flesh on a scale, you need 10oz of avocado flesh. Then on a bowl and holding a fine sieve, mashed the fresh avocado fresh through the sieve until smooth.
2. With a hand blender or on a food processor add the sieved avocado, and purée until smooth and frothy. You should have a silky and lump free avocado purée.
3. To this avocado pure add 1 can of unsweetened cream of coconut, salt, cinnamon, walnut oil and vanilla. Whip until smooth, frothy, and pale green using a hand mixer. Set aside.

Chocolate-Avodado-Coconut-Mousse_sieve,puree,-sweeten-and-puree 4. Melt all the chocolate on a double boiler until warm and smooth. Set aside to cool down.
5. Once chocolate has cooled down a little, add melted chocolate to the avocado coconut mixture. Mix well until smooth and room temp. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes to an hour, or until firm to the touch. It should feel like cold frosting on a cake.
6. Meantime, place the second can of coconut cream on the freezer for at least 30-45 minutes. Make sure the can is standing up. After 45 minutes, Open the can carefully and by now the coconut solids have separated. The coconut fat will rise to the top, leaving the coconut water on the bottom. With a spoon collect all coconut fat and place on a small bowl. Save the coconut water for another preparation, or discard.
7. If coconut solids are to frozen wait until they are soft and cold enough to whip them. When ready to whip Add some Stevia or any other sweetener of your preference and using a hand mixer whip until soft picks form. Reserve some of this Whipped Coconut Cream to garnish.
8. Remove Chocolate mixture from the refrigerator. Whip mixture with hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. Using a spatula, gently fold in the coconut whipped cream into chocolate mixture using up and down folding movements until all the whipped coconut cream is incorporated, and the mousse looks light and fluffy.

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9. Chill some glasses, and using an ice cream scooper, scoop one or two servings on each glass or ramekins. Keep mousse refrigerated until time to serve.
When time to serve, add a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with crushed sugar-free candy canes. Enjoy!

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This post was sponsored by SVETIA.US
The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*

Thank you SVETIA! for providing the product and sponsorship.

Music Pairing: Love Actually- Christmas its all Around Us.

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Yankee-Mex Bison Chili

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Probably this recipe may offend a few of our Texas cooks. Please don’t let the title of this recipe scare you away… Bare with me, you, dear Texans.

This chili with beans recipe is what results of a marriage, between a South Mexican girl and a Northern Michigan boy. My chili has to have beans. As you know we live in Texas, which I believe there must be a written law somewhere about no beans in chili. We hope we don’t get into trouble, but if we do, with all your respect, heck yeah!, I want a pot of this trouble for any given Texan winter night.

I’m using Ground Bison full of rich meaty flavor, lots of character and the right amount of fat. To complement the ground bison, I used a type of black bean called Rio Zape. They are a bit larger than black beans, meatier, creamy and with a very earthy flavor, than when cook it produces the most delicious cloudy broth. I love this bean flavor win combination with all the chili spices. A dash of Apple cider vinegar to brighten up the chili powders it’s must. Garnish with sour cream, onions, and Colby cheese. A side of freshly baked cornbread is the perfect accomplice. This Yankee-Mex chili has a great depth of flavor, from the ancho chile, a bright mild spiciness from New Mexico chili powder and a hint of lingering spice from a dash of cayenne pepper. Its well balanced flavors and the right consistency will warm up your inside out. Let’s cook!

Yankee-Mex-Bison-Chili_ready-to-serve!Yankee-Mex Bison Chili_Bison the other great meat

Yankee-Mex Bison Chili

Serves 2-4 Yankees and maybe 1 exiled Texan.

3 tablespoons corn oil
1 large white onion diced
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 lbs. 90%-10% lean Ground Bison
4 dashes Worchershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mexican comino
2 heaping tablespoons Ancho chili powder
3 heaping tablespoons New Mexico chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dry mexican oregano
2 pinches mexican cinnamon powder
About 2 teaspoons grated piloncillo*
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
2 cups beef broth, sodium free.
2-3 cups Rio Zape or Black beans cooked*
2 cups of the Bean broth. If you cooked your beans reserve the broth. If you are using canned beans, rinse the beans discard the liquid and substitute for 1 cup of beef broth, sodium free and 1 cup water.
2 tablespoons corn masa harina, diluted into one cup of the broth above.

For Garnish:
Sour cream, Colby cheese shredded, green onions or red onions diced, fresh sliced jalapeño or serranos.
Serve with Skillet Sweet corn Bread. Recipe follows. Or this Corn bread muffins or this honey-jalapeño corn bread.

Preparation Method:

1. In a cast iron enamel pot, sauté the diced onions until translucent. Add finely chopped garlic, sauté until fragrant.
2. Add Ground Bison, break the ground beef into small pieces with a wooden spatula. Add worcestershire sauce, comino a bout 1 cup of the beef broth, salt, and pepper. The liquid will help the ground beef to separate into smaller pieces. Stir constantly until liquid has evaporated in half.
3. At these point the meat looks juicy, lose ground texture and glistening. Sprinkle the ancho, New mexico, and Cayenne chili powders evenly. Stir until the ground bison has a dark red and all meat its well covered into the chili powder, add the tomato paste until well incorporated. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add dry oregano, cinnamon, grated piloncillo, vinegar, and toss well briefly.
4. Add the 2 cups of bean broth, bay leaf, toss well, bring to a simmer and let simmer for 8 minutes. Toss every now and then.
5. Dilute the corn masa harina into one cup of beef broth until no lumps. Add this mixture to the chili, while stirring to avoid clumps. Simmer gently for another 8-10 minutes stirring now and then.
6. At last add the cook beans, add a little more beef broth if needed. Taste and adjust salt. Simmer for another 5 minutes until beans are warm and the consistency is like a lose gravy. At this point you decide if you prefer a more lose chili or a gravy like consistency. Cover with a  lid and Keep chili warm, let all the ingredients talk to each other. before serving. Meantime start baking the corn bread! Recipe follows…Yankee-Mex-Bison-Chili_Step-by-Step_Yes,-more-please!

Quickie Skillet Corn Bread:

Serves 4

1- 6″ cast iron skillet.
2 tablespoons corn oil

Dry ingredients:
1 cup corn flour
1 ear of sweet corn kernels
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar, or honey
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup Colby cheddar cheese shredded

Wet ingredients:
1 cup whole milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, corn oil or melted butter

2 extra teaspoons of corn oil for the pan

Directions:  Preheat the oven at 400F, Add 2 teaspoons of corn oil into the skillet and place the skillet on a baking tray, in the oven to heat up.about 5 minutes.
Mix dry ingredients, Mix wet ingredients and combine, mix well. Carefully open the oven, slide the baking tray and add the cornbread batter into the skilled as fast as you can. Spect splatters. Close the oven and cook for about 17-20 minutes, until center springs back and golden brown top. Sprinkle some smoked paprika to taste. Serve while is warm.

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7. As soon the corn bread its out of the oven, Serve Chili on warm bowls, garnish with sour cream, colby shredded cheese, green onions.

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Eat . Warm up . Repeat . Enjoy!

Music Pairing: Devotchka – You Love Me

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