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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Recipe: Douglas' Christmas Chili

A Mess O' Chili - P-a-D 12/08/06Friends recently asked for the recipe to my Christmas Chili that I make each year for our annual Cookie Party Open House. I have never really written down the recipe, as I tend to wing it each year. I have made it enough that I sort of "know" what goes in it. That said, since I typed it up for our friends, I figured I might as well share it with you, as well. The recipe scales up nicely. I regularly make 20 quarts for our party, as seen in the photo.

Douglas' Christmas Chili

2 Tbls Olive Oil
1 Large onion
4-5 cloves garlic
1 lb ground turkey
1 - 12oz package Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage

Finely chop onions and garlic (I use a food processor) then saute until lightly browned in the olive oil
Add turkey and sausage and brown until no sign of pink

Add 1/2 cup red/white wine

Cook until wine is absorbed

(Here is where it goes a bit by look and feel. Add more sauce and beans if you want to make more chili and then adjust the spices accordingly)

Add 5-6 14oz cans of your favorite plain tomato sauce. I get Hunts from Costco, which we always keep around the house.

Add 4-5 cans of black beans

Spoon up the meat, sauce and beans mixture and look at the ratio between the 3. You want to get a good mixture of all three in each spoonful.

If needed, add more black beans

Add splash of vinegar (under a tsp, probably. I have used everything from apple cider to balsamic, It just adds a little "tang" to the final taste.

(again, taste this as you add the spices until you get taste you like)

5-6 Tbls Chili powder (not mexican chili powder, but the traditional one with cumin, etc included)
2 Tbls Dried Basil
3 Tbls Oregano
PInch Red pepper flakes
Small pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp Black pepper

Bring pot up to boil and then turn down to low simmer

Typically, it will cook down by about 1/3. The longer you simmer it, the better it tastes. It also tastes better the second day when you reheat it. (SMILE)

I serve this with extra sharp cheddar cheese. Some people like chopped onions on it.

I usually eat this by itself the first day, then have it over some sort of pasta the next and then chili dogs after that. It freezes well so make as much as you want and then store it away in meal-sized containers for a quick dinners.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Do It Right! LA City Christmas Tree Pickup and Recycling

My friend, Keri Dearborn, over at Animalbytes has pointed out this great information for City of LA residents about Christmas tree pickup, dropoff and recycling.

In the past, many Christmas trees were simply dumped curbside, on lawns or in empty lots. They would often site there for a month or more until someone decided to clean them up.

The best action to take, of course, is to cut up, or chip/shred your tree for use as mulch in your garden or compost pile. While I have the ability to do that here, I realize some other city dwellers might not be equipped for such things.

If you can't mulch or compost your tree, the City of LA has 3 different ways to dispose of your Christmas Tree.

  1. Cut it up and place it in your standard green garden bin

  2. Leave it curbside, if it is too big to fit in the bin (or you are unable to dismantle it)

  3. Take your tree to a long list of drop-off sites around the city incuding various Parks and Recreation and Fire Station locations. This is a limited time option, though. You will only be able to do this on Saturday, January 2, 2010 and Sunday, January 3, 2010.

Here is complete information on City of Los Angeles Christmas Tree Recycling Program. Dispose of your Christmas tree properly!

Photo Credit: Flickr picture by Shira Golding

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Food: Eggnog Cake

I noticed we had almost a half gallon of eggnog left in the fridge yesterday and knew it was probably going to go bad before we drank it. So, I looked into the Bakespace recipe vault and came up with this EggNog Cake recipe.

It was very easy to put together, and I think it looks wonderful baked in our "Cathedral" bundt pan. It smells wonderful, too. We haven't tasted it yet, but I am pretty sure it will taste wonderful, too. Can I say wonderful enough? (SMILE)

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Food: Christmas Morning Oatmeal

The last thing I do before I head to bed on Christmas Eve is put together a batch of what I have come to call, Christmas Morning Oatmeal. This recipe, adapted from one by Alton Brown, worked so well the first year that I made a part of our Christmas for the last 6 or 7 years.

With a kid in the house, having to wait until breakfast is made could make them burst with excitement and anticipation, so this oatmeal allows us to get up, grab a bowl and some coffee and move right on to opening presents. I think this is a perfect compromise -- we get some food and the boy gets to move on with the festivities.

This short video was shot by aforementioned "boy", so it is a little rocky at times, but it gives you all the information your need and a little glimpse of our holiday in progress.

You can find a complete and printable recipe on Bakespace.com - Christmas Morning Oatmeal

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Silent Film Version of A Christmas Carol

While watching today's Holiday Celebration at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion I saw a group perform in front of a projection of an early silent film version of "A Christmas Carol."

A quick Google search turned up the entire film on YouTube and I have embedded it below. Enjoy!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Audio: Live Reading of "A Christmas Carol" - 4th Annual

Yesterday, we held our 4th Annual LIVE Reading of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and the audio is now available for your holiday pleasure.

I think this would be great listening while steaming your Christmas pudding, cooking your Christmas goose or enjoying that refreshing "bowl of steaming bishop!"

Listen to the 4th Annual LIVE Reading of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" from DouglasEWelch.com

You can also watch the video captured live on uStream.tv.

Watch the 4th Annual Reading of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"

I hope you enjoy it!

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's Christmas Light HERO - Game Playable decorations

Update (12/15/2009): Ric's show has gone viral, with over 550,000 views (and counting) on YouTube. KCAL 9 did a segment on him yesterday.

(Watch "Christmas Light Hero" News Segment)

My friend, Ric, is at it again! This year's Christmas Light display at his house is a life-sized, playable version of Guitar Hero! He seems to top himself every year.

Ric says, "What do you get when you mix a Christmas Light show with Guitar Hero? Christmas Light Hero! A real game you play with a wii wireless guitar controller. Optional TV screen is available if you get in trouble, but if you use the screen, you don't get your name in the high score list."

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Places LA - Turner Holiday Light Show 2008

A sample of the Turner Family Holiday Light show and a short interview with its creator, Ric Turner. This is the third year for the show, which changes each year.

You can see the show yourself, live and in person, at 23917 Philbrook Ave, Valencia, CA 91354 (Map Link)

You can see a complete video of this year's show, as well as 2007's, on YouTube.

A complete video of the 2008 show

Turner Holiday Light Show 2007

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Audio: 3rd Annual Reading of Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol

3rd Annual LIVE Reading of Dicken's A Christmas Carol
Sunday, December 21, 2008

Listen: A Live Reading of Charle's Dickens A Christmas Carol

Music courtesy of Incompetech.com

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cookie Baking Begins!

Update: Also made Good Eats Peanut Butter Fudge tonight. Yum!

Today I got started on the 80+ doz cookies I typically make for my annual Christmas open house. We have been doing this for almost 15 years now, so I have it down to something like an art form.

I mix and bake each day, typically completing 2-3 cookies batches each day. This year I am trying something a little different with a few of these early batches. I was listening to an episode of The Splendid Table with Lynn Rossetto Kasper and Jacques Torres about the perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. They suggested allowing the mixed cookie dough to rest for between 24 and 36 hours before baking. Supposedly, this allows the flour to hydrate completely and results in a much better cookie. I usually mix and bake almost immediately, but I was interested to see how this changes the cookies this year. We shall see.

Today I mixed up 3 different batches of cookies. First was a a traditional Toll House Chocolate Chip using the recipe on the back of the Nestle's bag. I made one addition to this recipe of Cocoas Nibs. A friend gave me a bag of these a while ago and the last batch I made with them came out wonderfully. They give a rich chocolate flavor as well as a nutty crunch.

Next were 2 batches of oatmeal cookies (recipe) using the recipe from the Joy of Cooking cookbook. In this recipe I do make a fairly significant change. It is never wise to fool with the proportions of a cookie recipe, so I don't add extra flour or anything. Rather, I change the way the cookie tastes by adding an additional 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/8 tsp of ground cloves. I tried this many years ago and love the way it makes the cookies taste. If I remember correctly, there was a spice cookie recipe next to the original oatmeal cookie recipe and I decided to see what would happen if I added the spices from one recipe to the other.

One batch of these cookies recevied white chocolate chips. This makes them easier to identify from the more typical Oatmeal Raisin cookies. The next batch added raisins but also 2 other dried fruits -- cranberries and blueberies. Rosanne had these in the cupboards for other purposes but they seemed an excellent addition to these oatmeal cookies.

Tomorrow Joe and I will bake these batches and see if they improve significantly over past years. Then we will mix up a few more. I still need to go get more butter, sugar, flour and nuts to keep me going, but it always a good feeling to have the first batch done.

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