Archived entries for chili

Just out of the ordinary: Aztec Chocolate Cupcakes.

If you’re on this site, you are probably of the same mind as I am, but I’m going to just go ahead and say it out loud: I love the Internet. It’s the ultimate playground for a misanthrope with an esoteric shopping list such as myself. Seriously. It’s where I get my news, my entertainment, my lessons in cookery, my clothing, everything. It’s also where I stumble across such useful articles as this.



I mean, before reading that, I had no idea that my intent was malicious when I brought in delicious baked goods to share with my colleagues. I thought I was just sharing something that I’d wanted to make; thank goodness I have the Daily Mail to tell me that secretly, what I want to do is distend the army of gorgeous women that I work with (and, in the interest of full disclosure, I work with some ridiculously beautiful women)! I feel so much more informed right now. So much more aware of who I am as a human. So full of evil glee. *ahem*


Now that I have revealed my innermost evil to you all, let’s talk about the delights that have formed the most recent weapon in my campaign to infect my colleagues with delicious treats: Aztec Chocolate Cupcakes! Essentially, it’s the gourmet Hostess cupcake of my dreams: chocolate cupcake with cinnamon and chili, topped with a luscious cinnamon-chocolate glaze. It’s a flavor combination I’d been contemplating for some time, enamored as I am with Mexican hot chocolate and all things cinnamon, and this seemed like the perfect vehicle. I was not wrong. The cinnamon and chili took what was originally just a perfect chocolate cupcake, and made it something warm and magical; the cinnamon-infused glaze gave it an unctuous richness.

Now, if chocolate and chili is not your jam, I’d still like to ask you to check out this recipe–omit the spices, and you’ve got what I consider to be a perfect chocolate cupcake base, an ideal canvas for your chocolate flights of fancy. It’s moist, has a lovely, light crumb, and takes to experimenting with enthusiasm. I personally plan to try at least a few more riffs on it in the near future, though I’m not yet sure what form or flavor profile that will take.

I’ll probably end up asking The Internet.

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All the Ways: My Mom’s Lab Party Chili

The chili I grew up with is Cleveland chili—not Cincinnati chili, exactly, but a far cry from a Texas Bowl of Red. Cincinnati chili arrived in Ohio from Macedonia and/or Greece; it’s a modified stew with warming spices of cinnamon, cloves, and chocolate.
My mom’s version was the main course at large gatherings of my father’s colleagues and students—the title of the recipe handed down to me is “Lab Party Six-Way Chili.”

It’s the garnishes—the ways—that make the dish. Cincinnati chili is traditionally served over spaghetti (or a hot dog) but we use macaroni. Kidney beans are non-negotiable for me. Then, cheese on top (cheddar or monterey jack), raw onions, green olives, jalapenos if you want. Sour cream (I don’t like it.) Avocado with a little lime juice if you happen to have it around.

Chili is the right thing when the sky is gray, the stock market falling. It’s cheap, it multiplies well, it’s comforting and filling. It’s forgiving and flexible. You can use more beans and less meat, depending on your preference. Other vegetables too: eggplant, maybe, a canned chipotle in adobo. Pile with toppings and sit in front of the tv. My mom visited this weekend, and left again, which always leaves both of us feeling a little bereft. But now I’m armed with chili in the freezer.

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