It’s Chili Season!

chili

As the temperature starts to dip in the mornings, and there is a slight chill in the air in the evenings, I start dreaming about chili.

There’s something about the fall that is so comforting. I love the leaves changing, and the hues of green that slowly morph into browns, yellows, oranges, and reds. I love the cozy scarves, ponchos, and knee-high boots that become a part of our daily wardrobe. And the food? I love that too.

One of my favorite things about the fall is preparing a meal that makes the house smell good all day. Those fall food aromas are heavenly and comforting, and I love being able to walk in from a long day, toss everything in a pot, and enjoy a delicious meal. My White Bean Chili from my cookbook Picture Perfect Parties Rizzoli NY is perfect for this. The flavor combinations are delicious, and there are a few surprise ingredients (like cinnamon) that really make the chili delicious. Prepare a big pot, serve heaping helpings, and let your family or guests top it with just about anything they want, but I prefer a great cheddar cheese and a little sour cream. Enjoy!

This is always the go-to for Halloween, too. Everybody can enjoy before or after trick or treating (or this year, cozying up with a family movie!). 

White Bean Chili
Serves 8

You will need:
– 1 lb ground sirloin
– 1 lb ground turkey
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 small onion chopped
– 3 cloves chopped garlic
– 4 tablespoons chili powder
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon white pepper
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 8 cups chicken stock
– 2 cups canned cannellini white beans
– 2 cups canned pinto beans
– 2 tablespoons dried coriander

On the side:
– Tortilla chips
– Avocado
– Chopped fresh cilantro
– Sour cream

To prepare:

In a stockpot, sauté sirloin and turkey, with a slotted spoon remove cooked meat and set aside. Pour out any excess oil. Place olive oil and onions, garlic into the stockpot, heat on medium and cook until translucent. Add cooked meat, chili powder, salt, pepper and cinnamon and stock, simmer for 1 hour, add beans and coriander Cook for 3 hours.

Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and sliced avocado and chopped fresh cilantro tortilla chips.

xx, Annette

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AJS Team in Quarantine:: Laura Giannatempo

Laura Giannatempo Photo

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Hello, Everyone,
My name is Laura Giannatempo, and I’m Annette’s travel concierge. When you take one of her future workshops, you can ask me for advice about where to go, what to do and where to eat if you want to extend your trip in Italy.

Right now, I’m not traveling, of course. I’m based in Brooklyn, and the hardest part of this quarantine for me has been not being able to return to Italy. I usually travel there several times a year to scout the best hotels, eateries, artisans and small, local businesses that are hard to find on your own.

Since I can’t travel, what do I do? I “dream travel.” I go over old photos of trips I’ve loved on my phone or in photo albums—yes, photo albums. I took some of my earliest trips before digital photography and smartphones, so the memories are captured in good, old-fashioned prints. Reliving these past travels not only brings up great memories, but it also gets my juices flowing for planning future trips for when we’re able to travel again.

Also, I cook. A lot. Short of being there, there’s nothing that channels a country or a region better than to cook something special from there. As you might have guessed, I cook a lot of Italian food. But I also like to dabble in other Mediterranean flavors and South-East Asian-inspired dishes.

I’ve been cooking a lot of Ligurian food, lately. I’m originally from Piedmont, but Liguria is my second home. My aunt and uncle live in Genova, and I used to spend entire summers in a small town not far from Cinque Terre when I was young. I always loved the food: the incredibly fresh seafood, fished just the night before; the creative use of vegetables and herbs, even wild ones; and the ability to create amazing flavors with very few, simple but great-quality ingredients.

One of my go-to Ligurian foods is farinata. With only 5 ingredients, if you count water, salt and pepper, fainata is one of the most versatile and satisfying snacks—and a true Italian street food. It’s hard to believe that mixing and baking chickpea flour and extra-virgin olive oil can turn into something so delicious. if you don’t believe me, you can try it yourself! Here’s the recipe. Buon appetito!

Farinata (Chickpea Flatbread)
Serves 4 to 6

You will need:
– 2 cups chickpea flour
– 3 cups water
– 1 Tbs. plus 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
– Freshly ground black pepper

To prepare:
Place the chickpea flour in a large bowl and slowly add the water, whisking constantly to prevent clumps from forming. You’ll end up with a fairly liquid batter.

Add the salt, stir, and let the batter rest, covered with plastic wrap for at least 4 hours at room temperature.

Preheat the oven at 425F, With a large slotted spoon, remove any foam that might have formed on the surface of the batter and stir well.

Pour the olive oil in a 17×13-inch rimmed baking sheet (preferably nonstick) and pour in the batter. Spread it with the back of a wooden spoon to cover the pan and to incorporate the oil. The batter should form only a thin layer, about 1/4-inch thick.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the farinata turns a nice golden yellow. Let it rest for a few minutes and sprinkle on some pepper. Use a pizza cutter to cut it in slices. Serve warm and enjoy!

Photo (shot on film): credited to Michael Piazza

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Warm Winter Spinach Cauliflower Salad

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This salad is the perfect winter night supper. Smoky, sweet and filling, it’s very satisfying.

It is a vegetarian recipe, and if you leave off the cheese or substitute with vegan cheese, it is a great vegan recipe as well. Enjoy!

Spinach Cauliflower Salad

You will need:
– 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
– 1 can (14 ounce) chickpeas, drained
– 1 cup halved brussels sprouts
– 1 cup raw cashews
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 2 tablespoons chili powder
– 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
– 3 cloves grated garlic
– 1 teaspoon each of kosher salt and black pepper
– 6 cups fresh spinach
– 2 seedless cucumbers, sliced
– ½  cup thinly sliced red onion
– 4 ounces grated high quality parmesan
– 1 avocado, sliced

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Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

You will need:
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– juice of 1 lemon
– 3 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
– 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
– 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
– 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper fullsizeoutput_76a3

To prepare:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Combine the cauliflower, chickpeas, olive oil, chili powder, paprika, garlic, brussels sprouts, and cashews, and salt and pepper. Toss well to evenly coat. Place on a parchment-lined 18” x 13” rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast for 30- 40 minutes, or until fork-tender and lightly charred.
  • Meanwhile, in a large salad bowl, combine the spinach, cucumbers, cheese and sliced onion.
  • To make the vinaigrette. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar or bowl and shake (or whisk) until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
  • Toss the slightly cooled roasted cauliflower and chickpeas, nuts and brussels sprouts in with the spinach salad. Add a little of the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Top the salad with avocado and Parmesan cheese, serve with the remainder of the vinaigrette. The salad keeps well for 3-4 days in the fridge.

xx Annette

 

 

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