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I always seem to have to find this over and over again.  So here’s one just for my archive and sanity.  I keep thinking I’ve posted this before.




3.5 – 4 lbs of grass fed chuck roast cut into chunks and salted (you can use stew meat or any roast cut into chunks, but Chuck is the best)

12 oz roasted red bell peppers

1/3 cup Hungarian Paprika (Cooks Illustrated swears by the Spice House brand)

2 TBS tomato Paste

4 large onions diced (these dissolve to create the sauce)

5 carrots cut into 2 inch chunks

2 beets, cubed

2 tsp sea salt

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup plain organic goat yogurt

2 tsp vinegar


Key Tip: This recipes is all about the paprika and you need to use a high quality variety that is still fresh and flavorful.  The brighter, more vibrant the color, the more likely it’s higher quality.  We get ours from the farmer’s market, but you can always go by Cook’s Illustrated’s test winner which is the Spice House Blend.


  1. Cut your roast into stew sized chunks, salt, cover and set aside. 
  2. Blend the roasted red bell pepper, paprika, tomato paste, and vinegar in a food processor or blender and set aside.
  3. Put a large cast iron skillet on the stove over medium heat (a quality cast iron dutch oven is a must have pot in your kitchen. they cook fantastically, brown beautifully and clean up is a dream.  This one from Amazon featured to the right is a good deal).
  4. Add some cooking oil, add the onions, some salt and cook them for about 10 minutes.  DO NOT let them caramelize.  You’re just sweating them.  The paprika will bring all the smokiness you need. 
  5. Next add your blended mix of roasted peppers and paprika.  Stir it in and cook  the mixture for another 10 – 15 minutes until the sauce starts to stick to the bottom of the pot and form a gummy paste.  This is creating flavor!
  6. Add the uncooked beef to the pot.  Notice, unlike most recipes, you do NOT sear or brown the meat first.
  7. Add in the carrots, the beets and one bay leaf.  Add some kosher sea salt, and then mix everything in.  Cover with a lid and place in a 325 degree oven for 2 to 2.5 hours. Notice that we are not adding any liquid at this time.  That’s because the onions provide plenty of liquid as they slowly cook down.
  8. After the 2 – 2.5 hours, remove from oven and add no more than 1 cup of beef broth.  Mix it in, cover again and put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the pot from the oven, take out the bay leaf and then add 1/4 cup of plain goat yogurt and a splash of vinegar. Stir to mix thoroughly.

Serve this over potatoes or noodles.  The color is vibrant and bold, but the flavor is surprisingly mild, yet rich.  The first serving is great, but the leftovers are even better because the spice penetrate even further.  

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Here is the chili recipe that I whipped up the other night.  Sorry to all my friends and family down Texas way, but this isn’t Texas chili (no beans), nor is it competition chili (1/4 inched diced cubes of steak, instead it uses ground beef to keep it inexpensive).  This is just standard, cheap and spicy chili con carne for a cold day.  It goes great with your grilled cheese sammies.  Lucky isn’t so hot on spicy foods, so if this is for everyone, I will remove or reduce the amounts of chipotle peppers used.

Four Pepper Chili con carne


2 – 2.5lbs ground beef – 3 – 4 patties

1 medium onion

1 Green Bell pepper – 1/4″ dice

1  Ancient Sweets Red Pepper – 1/4″ dice

1 Poblano Pepper – 1/4″ dice

4 chipotle peppers from a can of Chipotle in Adobo sauce – whole

2 cloves garlic – pressed

3 tbsp Dwain’s not-so-secret spice mix

1 sm. can of tomato paste

1 box Kitchen Basics Beef Broth

1 med. can of Brook’s chili beans

2 tsp cocao powder

2 tsp dried thyme

Salt – to taste

Pepper – to taste

Heat a large pot over high heat until just smoking.  Sear the meat patties until brown, then break up into desired size.  Lower heat to medium high and add in onion.  Salt and pepper as desired.   Cook for about 1min, then add in all peppers except the chipotle.  Stir and cook for 2 minutes allowing the vegetables to begin to soften.  Add in 2 tbsp of Dwain’s-Not-So-Secret-Spice mix, thyme, cocoa powder and garlic.  Stir to incorporate and cook for 1 min.  Add in tomato paste and mix to combine.  Cook until tomato paste begins to carmelize, approximately 4 minutes.  Add half the beef stock and stir.  The tomato paste acts as the thickening agent for the soup, so we add in half and stir to determine the desired consistency.  Add in more beef stock if desired.  Add in Chipotle peppers, add more peppers if you like more spice!  Turn down the heat until the chili is just simmering and allow the chili to cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.   Add in the chili beans and stir to combine.  Check the consistency and add more beef stock as desired.  Add in the final tbsp of spice mix.   Allow beans to heat through.  Stir, taste and adjust seasonings.  You can remove the chipotle peppers if desired or mash them into the chili.

Makes about 8 – 10 servings

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After our recent trip to Chicago to see a friend and partaking of some Sangria at Cafe Iberico, I decided to do a riff on Sangria of my own.

Red Sangria

1 bottle 750ml Red Wine – cheap is good, in this case I used Sutter Home Zinfandel  which was a whole $6 at the County Market
1/3 cup. Orange Juice
1/3 cup simple syrup w/ kirschwasser (Lucky’s choice sprinkling on her cakes)
1/3 cup Triple Sec
1/3 cup Brandy / I used Calvados because it is what I had

1 cup white grapes split

1 cup blue berries

1 cup strawberries split

2 plums sectioned
1 lime sectioned
1 cup cherries split
1 long sprig mint
2 sprigs basil
3 whole star anise
Seltzer water *we just used Faygo flavored water for top up

In a large pitcher combine all fruit;blueberries, strawberries, grapes, plums, limes, cherries and herbs (mint and basil) and spices (star anise).   Pour in 1 bottle of wine and other components; triple sec, brandy, syrup and orange juice. Stir to combine. Put in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.
To serve, portion some fruit into a glass, then pour the glass 3/4 full. Top up with seltzer.

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Recipe to follow… 😉

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I work from home, so that enables me to cook my lunches most days. The key is fast and easy. So here’s a riff on thai curry panang I came up with today. I’ve been traveling for work and dinners were very heavy on the meat content.  So, I’ll be trying to cut back a little this week. That means, trying to be creative in a low-meat kind of way.  My go-to meat substitute is eggs.

Breakfast doesn’t usually go off at the home front without eggs. Usually, I just put a couple fried eggs on top of whatever left over is available and call it breakfast. Same idea here for lunch. Though, I thought I’d seen a similar idea on a cooking show.  All else, I know the Japanese love their eggs over rice bowls.  I just prefer mine a little more cooked.

The basics of this dish is make a quick curry with veg on-hand, then bring the sauce to a low simmer and crack the eggs into the sauce. Let them poach until firm.

Thai Curry Panang (Dwain-style anyway)

1/2 cu of coconut milk (solids from can)
1 small onion halved and sliced fine
1 clove garlic
2 tsp. thai red chili’s (mine were from the store-bought jar)
1 tsp. lemongrass (squeezy bottles in stores are great for this)
1 tsp. ginger
1/3 cu. carrots diced on bias
1/3 cu. celery diced on bias
2 tsp peanut butter
1 tsp. Soy paste
1 tsp Fish Sauce
1/4 tsp thai basil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup Chicken stock
Sriracha to taste
Cilantro for garnish (optional)

Over medium high heat, in a wok or sided saute pan, place coconut milk solids. Let solids melt and bubble until most of the water is removed, essentially making it coconut oil, about 1 min. Add onions, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, thai red chili and cook for 30 seconds while stirring. Add celery and carrots, toss to coat and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add peanut butter, soy paste and fish sauce to pan and stir into sauce. If sauce is too thick add chicken stock to thin to just coating the back of a spoon consistency. Lower heat to medium, allowing the sauce to simmer and soften the vegetables, approximately 2 minutes. Add thai basil, stir to incorporate. Thin sauce as required with chicken stock again. Crack whole eggs into sauce, allowing for space between. Allow eggs to cook, spooning sauce over egg yolks occasionally. Cook to desired hardness.
To plate, Spoon sauce and vegetables into a wide bowl, being careful not to break the eggs. Add steamed white rice in a mound in the center. Carefully plate the eggs over the rice. Garnish with cilantro and a little more Sriracha.

Note: additional veg, if I’d had it on-hand, would’ve been sliced sweet red peppers.

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Trying to blog from my trip via my handset. This ought to be interesting. At least you know the posts will be short!

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I’m not one to put a lot of stock into oracles of any kind, however, for some reason, I’ve had a penchant for saving my fortunes from cookies recently.  I’m easily amused, perhaps, but the random prophecies have been eerie as of late. 

I offer you the following sage bits (lucky numbers not included):

1 – “Your example will inspire others”

2 – “You will never be last in line, you will always excel!”

3 – “Sometimes traveling to a new place leads to great transformation.”

I interpret these in the following way…. 

The first is a pat on the head that leaving my old job was a good idea and others would see my (belated!) wisdom and find a new path.

The second gave me a push to continue to seek new opportunities and not always believe that I would “always be a bridesmaid” (although I’ve never truly been one, but I digress….)

The final one tells me that my new daily journey to the mall will create a new and improved ME! 

It’s a lot like any other writing…..  it’s all in the interpretation. 

Back to regular programming.

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