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Lewes, Delaware
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October 31, 1997     Cape Gazette
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October 31, 1997

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, October 31 - November 6, 1997 - 53 FO00)D & DRINK Spicy sho00,Mown at 1L[te rock brings out best chili By Michael Short In everything from flower leis to top hats, they came to compete on Saturday. As the smell of peppers wafted on the heavy autumn air, dozens of chili chefs competed in the Lower Delaware State Chili Cookoff at Pot-Nets Park. This is serious business for chili cooks because the top three Delaware winners will compete in Terlingua, Texas, in the interna- tional chili cook-off. Sponsored by radio station WGMD with the proceeds benefit- ing several children's charities supported by Kiwanis, this was the official state championship. There was something here for everyone, ranging from the pair of pink flamingos adorning the cook- ing station of Bruce Baker Vince Beddia, in full chef regalia, of La Rosa Negra, won first place in the show- manship award during the competition. (Flamingo Chili) to the top hat and hot pepper earring of Charles Wal- strom, whose Boomerang Chili won first place. There were husband and wife teams, there were cooks in full chef's hats and there was a chili dog named Becca that adores chili. There was chili with pork chops floating in it (for lunch), "butt kickin' " convict chili, and FOTD Chili, which stands for friend of the devil. There were cooks who dis- cussed the artistry of chili and advertisements for the "Goat Gap Gazette," the journal of both chili and barbecue. There were cooks in Hawaiian shirts draped with leis and chili beer, a blend of smoked chilis and molassses called Smoked Chili Ale developed by Dogfish Head. The crowd, thinned by the threat of rain, ate it up, downing chili by the gallon. "It is the all-American food. It is uniquely American," said Walstrom. As for the perfect recipe, there was no one standard. But most cooks agreed on a few key points. You need good beef and it can not be tough. There wasn't much hamburger here, but there was plenty of rump roast, center-cut chuck and special chili-grind beef. The spices should be good and many order spices from as far away as New Mexico. Cook it slowly. The timing of adding ingredients is often crucial. Beyond that, the variety of tastes was as great as the v.ariety of cooks. Chili is always different and can even be affected by the altitude, according to Bonnie Hob- :9:; ..... . Michael Short photos Saturday's competition was at Pot-Nets, but Texas is never tar away when there's a chili cookoff in progress. Charles Wa]strom and ]Bonnie Hohson of Fort Washington, Md. pose with their chili dog "Becca." "She likes to taste all the chili and we have never found a chili too hot for her," he said. son, whose Bonfire Chili won third place. "You can use the same spices over and over, but it will turn out differently because of the timing," Hobson said. "It takes a lot of work and a lot of trial and error," said Alan Dean of Bel Air, Md. Vince Beddia said chili should be spicy, but not overpowering. "It should not be to the point where it burns your palate," said Beddia of La Rosa Negra restaurant, which is known for its Italian food. Beddia promised, however, that chili could show up on the restau- rant menu. "If we win, it will be on the menu." "The sauce should stick to the spoon and not run off," said Bob Massarelli, dipping a spoon into his El Gordo (fat man) Chili. Walstrom said the food got its start on Western cattle drives. Cooks planted chili peppers on the trail to pluck as the wagons rolled toward the cattle market. With fresh beef and peppers, the first chili recipe was a foregone conclu- sion. Walstrom and Hobson were one of at least two couples cooking against each other on Saturday. They managed to finish first and third, although both use the same official taster. Their dog, Becca, which is short for Rebecca, sam- ples each batch of chili, lapping it up like candy. Massarelli uses special spices from the southwest, spices with monikers like Sonora Sun, Fort Worth L-ight or Tres Oches. His Continued on page 54 There:'s a chili recipe for every occasion Chilly, so it's time for chili. The cook-off having taken place this past weekend, this column is devoted to this versatile dish. All the recipes can be frozen in small portions. But first, the guy is turning 99 and he doesn't need clothes, food or furniture. So his. kids want to give him a birthday present. They decide to give him a "hooker." She shows up and says "Hi, I'm your birthday present and I am here to give you super sex." He says "Thanks very much. I'll take the soup." (You have to say this out loud to hear the humor.) But you can freeze the souper too. Vegetarian Black Bean Chili 1/3 cup olive oil 2 red onions, chopped 1 1/2 Tb. cumin seed 2 Tb..oregano 3 tsp. paprika 3/4 tsp. cayenne 3 Tb. unseasoned chili pow- der 4 cups canned tomatoes, FOCUS ON FOOD red onions and saut6 for five min- utes. Add cumin, oregano, papri- ka, cayenne and chili powder. Saut6 for 15 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic and jalapeno peppers. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the black beans and three cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and sim- mer for 2-2 1/2 hours until beans are tender. Add more water if nec- essary to keep beans Covered. When ready to serve the meal (preferably with a salad and bread), stir in the coriander. Divide grated cheese in the serv- ing bowls. Put the chili over the cheese; top with sour cream. Anne Graham chopped 5 garlic cloves, minced 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded The Best Plain O!' Chili and minced 2 Tb. olive oil 4 cups dried black beans 2 cups chopped red onion 1/4 cup fresh coriander, 1/2 lb. Italian sausage, meat chopped removed from casings 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, 2 Ibs. sirloin beef, chopped grated 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper I cup sour cream 1 6-ounce can tomato paste Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard 1 Tb. salt 1 Tb. dried basil 1 Tb. dried oregano 1 1/2 lbs. canned Italian plum tomatoes 2 Tb. good Burgundy wine 1 Tb. lemon juice 2 Tb. chopped fresh dill 2 Tb. chopped fresh Italian parsley 1 1/2 cup canned dark-red kidney beans, drained 1 5-1/2 ounce can pitted black olives, drained 2 tsp. minced garlic Heat olive oil in a large kettle. Add onions and cook over low heat, covered, until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Crumble sausage and sirloin into kettle and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often until meats are well browned. Spoon out as much fat as possible. Over low heat, stir in black pep- per, tomato paste, garlic, mustard, salt, basil and oregano. Add drained tomatoes, wine, lemon juice, dill, parsley and drained kid- ney beans. Stir well and simmer, uncovered, for another 15 min- utes. Taste and correct seasonings. Add olives, simmer for five min- utes to heat and serve immediate- ly. Garnish with sour cream, chopped onions, grated sharp cheese and parsleyed rice. From the "Washington Post" Food Section several years ago comes "Barbara Told Aretha. Now We're Telling You." White Bean Chicken Chili For the beans: 1 pound white navy beans 1 small red bell pepper, diced 1 small green pepper, diced 1 medium Spanish onion, diced 2 Tbs. olive oil 7 cups chicken stock 2 cloves garlic, diced 2 to 3 tsp. cumin, or to taste 2 to 3 tsp. chili powder, or to Continued on page 55