Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gastronomy: Everyone Loves a Good Chili

There are many preparations for America's favorite half-time meal, chili. People discuss it the way they do New York vs. Chicago pizza and everyone has a very personal opinion. There are television shows devoted to it and cook-offs all over the country where judges argue over whose is the best. Heck, I have several renditions of the famous dish myself. This particular recipe is made with beans, beer, and chunks of browned beef stew. I can't be the judge of whether it is the best chili, but it is easy, comforting, and a mouthful of love in every spoonful!

Browned Beef Chili

2 lbs stewing beef cut in ¼ inch pieces
1 large shallot, diced
3 minced garlic cloves
1 T dried oregano
3 T chili powder
2 T olive oil for browning meat
4 15 oz cans tomato sauce
1 12 oz beer (preferably a brown beer)
2 cans beans (I use kidney and pinto)
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and chopped chives for garnish

Pat meat dry with a paper towel and season with sea salt and fresh pepper. Heat olive over medium heat in large Dutch oven. Add meat and begin to brown, turning over pieces every few minutes. This process takes about 20 minutes. When all water has evaporated in the pan and meat begins to brown, add shallot and garlic. Thoroughly mix together and let shallot sweat, being careful not to burn the garlic. Deglaze pot with the beer. Reduce by half. Add tomato sauce, oregano, and chili powder. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about three hours. Add beans, cook another thirty minutes. Garnish with a little sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese and chives.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gastronomy: Irish Blond's Have More Fun

If you’re not a fan of beer, why not try Dale DeGroff’s Irish Blond for this Saint Patrick’s Day? “For each petal on the shamrock, this brings a wish your way. Good health, good luck, and happiness, for today and every day.”

Irish Blond Cocktail

2 oz Irish Whiskey
3/4 oz Orange Curacao
1/4 oz Fino Sherry
1 dash Orange Bitters

Add ingredients to a mixing glass or shaker; add ice. Stir or shake to chill and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an orange peel. Happy St. Patty's Day!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Gastronomy: Weekday Lamb

Our parents were never very fond of lamb. Naturally, I assumed that I wouldn't like it either and I managed to successfully spend most of my early culinary adventures avoiding any dish that featured this meat. It wasn't until my dear friend served a succulent lamb stew that my biases were challenged. This lamb was flavorsome, tender, juicy, and, quite frankly, love at first bite. Now, whenever I run across a lamb recipe or lamb on a menu, I'm both alert and ready to try replicating it at home.

With spring just around the corner, what better way to kick-off grill season than with sisters Jewels and Jill Elmore's lamb kebabs. I first discovered this recipe in Sunset Magazine: It's easy, delicious, and great served alone or with a soft bun or warm pita. Accompany with a side of cucumber salad and some roasted potatoes and this meal is sure to please everyone at your table, even those who traditionally shy away from lamb.

Lamb Kebabs

3 lbs ground lamb or sirloin (I often use a blend)
1 small yellow onion, very finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 c flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish, finely chopped
1 T fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 large egg
2 t ground cumin
1 T paprika
1/2 t garlic powder
2 t kosher salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
2 T tomato paste
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Using your hands, mix all ingredients together in a large bowl just until combined (do not over-mix).

Gently squeeze meat around metal skewers to form log-shaped kebabs, each about 8 inches long. Put kebabs on baking sheet. Cover sheet with plastic wrap; chill 30 minutes.

Prepare grill for high heat (approximately 500°). Grill kebabs, turning twice, until grill marks appear and meat feels firm; 8 minutes total. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

To make ahead, prepare kebabs and chill up to 1 day; grill when ready to eat. Also, this recipe is great for hamburgers and can be used with beef only! Serves 8.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Style: Fabric Horse, Bringing Back the Spat

MCM declared Fabric Horse “Best in Show” at our most recent Renegade Craft Fair. This Philadelphia-based duo designs and hand-stitches a line of “urban gear” made almost entirely from recycled materials. Their collections include iPhone and iPod pouches, utility belts and packs, and a series of pragmatically funky bags—all durable, water resistant, and eco-conscious.

The design that managed to really put a step in our walk, however, was the Fabric Horse urban-spun spats. Yes, you read correctly, "SPATS!' Inspired by a pair of ol’-time military gear, Fabric Horse has created a stylish, modern twist to a standard, service issue. Made with a waxed canvas, recycled bike tubes, and hearty, cotton laces, a pair of Fabric Horse spats manage to transform a common pair of loafers into a very-hip (and comfortably protective) boot. Details:

Adventure (26) Gastronomy (38) Obsession (39) Style (26)

About Mod City Mom

After becoming mothers, sisters Sarah Romine and Leah Weyandt wanted to marry the activities and interests that they experienced before motherhood with their new found lives with children. This was not always an easy task—traveling to obscure places, shopping at off-beat boutiques, and sipping lazy-afternoon cocktails doesn't always fit neatly with parenthood. Stemming from their frustration, they meticulously searched, and continue to search, for activities, establishments, and entertainment that they take pleasure in and their families benefit from. The result? Mod City Mom.

About Sarah

Sarah is a passionate cook, fashionista, writer, actor, and mother. Like all actors, she ended up working at many-a-restaurant to make ends meet and shopping at countless bargain boutiques to maintain her sense of personal style. Her culinary journey, love affair with fashion, and desire to remain true to herself after becoming a mother are the inspirations for this site. Sarah lives with her husband and two sons in Chicago.

About Leah

A polymath wannabe, Leah loves books, films, music, cooking, and travel. After co-starting a writing and editing shop in 2002, Leah has spent her spare time frequenting her favorite cities, hangouts, and haunts. Her obsession with finding the new, innovative, and quirky is the impetus behind this site. Leah lives with her two sons and husband in North San Diego County.
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