Saturday, November 12, 2011

Favorite Eats: Cincinnati Chili

As the weather forecast was predicting the first November storm with winds I thought it best to go down to the MV Independence and check things out - make sure the lines are tight, things are stowed away, and whatever else I notice.  The winds blew strong through the marina. You could hear the tell tale sounds of the wind with halyards slapping the masts, and squeaks of fenders as they were pressed against the dock.  Each gust would gently move the MV Independence slightly about in its slip, but I had no worries.  I decided to start the engine and let it run for awhile.  As usual it started right up and that brought a smile to my face.  I slowed the rpms to an idle and put the boat in gear.  The boat surged slightly forward but stopped as the mooring lines held tight.  I commented out loud and to myself, "I'll let you run for a while."  Now I no longer did I hear the sounds of the marina and wind, but the gentle purring of the motor.

While waiting for the engine to warm up, I poured my self a tot of whiskey, sat down, relaxed, and opened the MV Independence log book randomly to a page and began to read.  Like a bible I enjoy reading a past log entry and thinking about past travels and adventures, particularly on a stormy day.  Here's what I read...
5019.9 Monday, 8/25/2003, Day 35
Click on image to enlarge
Left Shoal Bay Marina at 0735.  Skies are heavy and gray as it rained most of the night.  At times heavily.  Now there only some light showers.  Seas are calm.  We made it through the Dent, Gillard, and Yuculta rapids fine, perhaps a bit early but there were no issues.  As usual there was a bunch of other boats going through too.  After the rapids we enjoyed a nice breakfast while continuing our cruise south.  We went through Desolation, passing our planned anchorage – Squirrel Cove at around noon. The boys and I were not in the mood to stop so soon.  The weather was still cold and gray.  Weather Canada was still predicting a SE storm. As we went S the weather seemed to get better.  Light winds were the name of the day.  We went down Thulin Passage, past Lund, and then we were considering staying at Westview/Powell River.  I called to see if the ice rink was open but it wasn’t.  So, we thought about it and then pressed on.  We considered staying in Blind Bay but it didn’t “jive” with the next day's plans of getting through Dodd Narrows at slack.  So we decided to press on to Pender Harbor.  I wasn’t too keen on paying for moorage at a marina so we are trying Bargain Bay which is south of Pender Harbor.  We’re anchored in 35’ at high tide.  Including us, there are 6 boats anchored in the bay.  When entering or exiting Bargain Bay you need to stay close to the East side to avoid a rock.  It’s very peaceful here it's like anchoring in a lake.  We had a nice dinner – Cincinnati Chili out on the aft deck.  Then we sat out and talked long into the evening.
Cincinnati Chili?  I almost forgot how good that is.  We learned about Cincinnati Chili from our good friends Tom & Ann Taylor at Greenway Sound Marina in the Broughtons where it was always on the menu. (Tom was originally from Cincinnati) His wife Ann made an incredibly delicious Cincinnati Chili. Cincinnati Chili is different from most chili recipes in that it some different spices in it and its served atop a pile of spaghetti with a big mound of cheese and onions if you so desire.  Unfortunately Greenway Sound Marina is closed but I'll provide you with a recipe so you can enjoy Cincinnati Chili.

I make two versions of Cincinnati Chili, a boat version - quick and easy, and a home slow cooked version.  Both are good and very hearty and comforting on cold days.  I mean what's not to like you got chili, cheese and pasta.  Here's the quick and easy boat version that we enjoyed that day in Bargain Bay.
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 t garlic powder (or two cloves of garlic minced)
  • 1 can chili con carne with beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I like Rotel - tomatoes with green chilis - if I have it)
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  • 2 t ground cinnamon
  • 2 t ground allspice
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 t Tabasco or red pepper sauce
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 cups cooked spaghetti
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • Oyster crackers
 In a large pot over medium high heat add vegetable oil and get it hot.  Add about a quarter of the chopped onions (about 1/4 cup) and cook until onion is soft about 2-3 minutes.  Next add all the spices of cumin, cinnamon, allspice, oregano, and cocoa powder and saute them for about 1 minute with the onions.  Next reduce the heat to low, add the canned chili, canned diced tomatoes, vinegar, Tabasco sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.  Mix well and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes to ensure that all the flavors develop. During this time you can also cook your spaghetti in boiling water with a touch of salt.

Place a good helping of cooked spaghetti in a bowl, ladle the chili over the top and ask, "You want a one top or a two top?"  If the reply is a "one top" put a big mound of grated cheddar cheese on top.  If the reply is a "two top" place diced onions on top of the mound of cheddar cheese.  The final "coup de grace" is a handful of oyster crackers on top.
Tip! What we do now, to avoid always having to take so many spices on board, we mix the dried spices - oregano, garlic powder, allspice, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and cumin - into a small Ziplock bag, label it, and put it aboard in the larder just in case we want Cincinnati Chili when out cruising. 
Hmmm?  As soon as I'm done here at the boat I think I'll go home and enjoy a big pot of Cincinnati Chili.  Just as I finished my tot of whiskey, I checked the engine and it was fully warmed up.  So I shut the engine down, gave the boat a last check, and quickly hurried down the dock through the wind and rain to get some Cincinnati Chili.  I know I'm going to have a "two top." Enjoy.

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