Monday, January 30, 2012

Food for When You've Run out of Gas - Weekend Adventures

It was a long weekend of good company, tools, 1911's, antique shops, music and board games. I arrived near Chicagoland with books, homemade bread and fudge in hand.

HOTR White Chocolate Fudge. Mix 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk and 2 packages (six squares each) of white baking chocolate. Cook at 50% power in the microwave for 2 1/2 minutes. Remove and stir until chocolate is melted. Add in 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1 Tablespoon orange zest, a cup of toasted and sliced almonds (dusted with a tiny bit of dark cocoa powder before toasting in the oven), 3 dashes of Vietnamese cinnamon and a drop of Mexican vanilla. Spread on foil in 8 x 8 pan (with foil overlapping edges). Chill 2 hours, remove foil, then remove fudge and slice. Yes, I brought enough to share as well as some dark chocolate and chili fudge that Midwest Chick made (her blog has the recipe a few posts back). And some more books to add to what's already out.

What's that bookmark? Ahh, worthless Communist currency. Yes, that IS fitting.

Now that I've got a few things unloaded, it's time to go explore. The firearms for Non LEO's got left behind, (the muggers, thugs and rapists, of course, are carrying) but thankfully we were exploring a great little area and people were out and about enjoying the sunshine and we enjoyed the day unbothered by anything other than the cold.

First some antique shops and lunch at an Irish Pub.

The fish and chips, enjoyed before a warm fire, were as good as any I've had in Dublin.

Then, after a drive to take some photos, back to the house to warm up and play some music and games of luck and skill. Let the games begin!

Running a fleet of Mexican Trains does tend to build the appetite. Pretty soon, lunch had worn off and everyone was running out of gas and ready for supper.

Let's see what is in the fridge to make a meal. What to make? It's cold, it's trying to spit snow, so a hot supper does sound good. There's not a lot of Aurelio's Pizza left from yesterday. Hmm. There's a half a pound of burger, some hot peppers and spices, a few canned goods, bread, cheese eggs. Oh this will be easy! We don't need no stinkin' cookbook!

Chicago Chili with Cheddar Toasts (click to enlarge photos.)

This was sort of created as I went along. It was a very thick, hearty chili, with a bit of heat and a lot of flavor. Normally, I add a square of unsweetened dark chocolate to my chili, but as we didn't have any, in went a square of Midwest Chick's cayenne fudge (dark chocolate with a touch of ancho and cinnamon). Perfect. With the chili, squares of gooey, crunchy cheddar toasts and some cold beer.

Perfect for a snowy Illinois day with friends.

Law abiding citizens may not be allowed to carry, but the chili packs some heat!


  1. Irish Times is one of our favorite places. The food and atmosphere there is always terrific.

  2. Chip - it was really good. I'm going to try the Shepherd's Pie next time.

  3. I greatly enjoy your blog. I rarely comment, because I would just be echoing the other positive comments. However, I can't let this one pass.

    Undoubtedly, Chicago Chili is a great tasting dish. However, it is NOT chili. Real chili is forbidden by tradition and rule to contain foreign substances such as beans.

    No beans, pasta, rice or other similar items are allowed.

    Love you, love your blog, but please ... no beans.

  4. CenTex - the great chili debate again. Egad! :-)

    Whatever you call it, it WAS good.

  5. The fish and chips look really good!

    Would Mystery Stew work as a name for the last dish?

    That name usually works when hubby asks "What is it?" about an impromptu entree invented on the spur of the moment from whatever was available at the time. If the diners can identify all of the ingredients without any clues from the cook they might even get a prize.

  6. Looks like MORE good times and good food, if it was just a 'tad' warmer (like 30 degrees)... sigh...

  7. I guess the things you don't discuss among friends are:

    best caliber for...
    and beans in chili

  8. "Course if yer in Kali, an' all of the menus in messican restaurants offer chili con carne, whos's to argue? 'Course we don't know anything bout messican food since the 1845 honkies said "whacha got to eat?"
    Love it with, or without, but my superbowl chili is so killer, I have to take reservations.
    Just sayin.

  9. LOL! Brigid you know how to draw a crowd!!! Love that fudge and I've never had any like that before.

  10. Mexican Train addicts, UNITE!!

    It is played in our family, a lot!

    Gonna have to try that HOTR White Chocolate Fudge. The dried cranberries look especially good in it.


  11. Cen Tex Tim - when I make "Texas Red" I don't use beans.

    When I make my signature chili I use beans.

    It's all good!

  12. Now if you want to talk about putting chocolate or anything sweet into chili...

  13. Um... yum! That chili looks amazing. And chocolate in chili? I think I just died and went to heaven. I am trying that next chili round.

    Sounds like you are having a good time in "Chicagoland."

  14. I finally perfected some cookies you might enjoy, and posted the recipe.

    And as my shoulder continues to improve, I can start retraining my right hand with a lovely used RWS/Diana spring air pistol in .22!

    Progress is good; progress with cookies is even better!



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