Feeling Nostalgic

My mom always had a bowl of nuts in their shells on the table during the holidays. This year, I was feeling a bit nostalgic and decided to continue the tradition. Got home and wondered if I even had a nutcracker. Lo and behold, I did! A Christmas miracle.

Copycat Chili Beans

I’ve been looking for a recipe that would duplicate my favorite brand of chili beans. The only recipe I found was in a Youtube video that presented a pressure canning recipe to put up a batch of chili beans. I adapted that for a small Instapot trial run. I started with 2 cups of small red beans and too much water. I poured in 6 cups – which is 2 cups too many. I used 4 Tbs of the seasoning mix, that could be cut down to 2 Tbs or 3. The beans got 50 minutes in the cooker and a further reduction on the stove top until they looked ready for a corn starch finish. The beans I had were pretty old and could have cooked longer under pressure but are OK as is. The batch totaled 4 cups, or about two 15.5 oz cans and is hotter than the store bought version but has the same flavor profile. Looked for a copy/paste recipe on the video page but ended up transcribing it one ingredient at a time: 4 Tbs chili powder, 4 tsps cumin, 4 Tbs paprika, 2 tsps black pepper, 2 Tbs coriander, 2 Tbs garlic powder, 2 tsps crushed red pepper, 2 Tbs salt, and 2 Tbs oregano.

I used three different chili powders, the dark commercial blend, ancho, and chipotle. The crushed red pepper was from last year’s cayenne crop. These, plus the fresh ground black pepper will determine the heat of your seasoning mix.

I think the next batch will start with 2 cups dry red beans, 2 Tbs, seasoning mix, and 4 cups water or broth. I’ll cook them for an hour at pressure and see where they’re at.

Air Fry Tuesday

Not that Tuesday is set aside for air frying or anything, it just came out that way in my head when ‘Air Fry’ looked like it needed a kicker.. These breaded shrimp are bigger than popcorn shrimp but not by a whole lot.

Chicken Noodle

The bread machine is getting a workout this week. The bread is a plain white bread recipe that came with the device:

  • 1-1/3 cups water (320mL)
  • 4-1/4 cups bread flour (544g)
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar (46g)
  • 2 Tbsp. dry milk (8g)
  • 2 tsp. salt (11.2g)
  • 2-1/2 Tbsp. butter (35g)
  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast (5.6g)

The Second Half

Here’s the rest of the brisket after smoking and chilling. I decided against using the slicing machine and went with a cleaver.

The first half sliced easily when it was still warm but it was a bit stiff when chilled.

I ended with about eight pounds of sliced pastrami. The portions went into vacuum bags for freezing. The ends were bagged for eventual hash dishes. I have them tucked away into various spaces within the two freezers we have in the kitchen because there is no joy in rediscovering a bag in a frosty recess while browsing if they are all in the same place.