Beka To Basics

Real Food Cooking

Archive for the tag “Beef”

And the moment you’ve all been waiting for…


Yes, that’s right.

Chili since its chilli outside.

But first, I have to tell you about Wednesday.  It’s probably my favorite day of the week (well, not really, but almost). Why?  Because it’s milk day!!!  I pick up milk, come home, change into some PJs, and pour a giant glass of delicious milk.  Now that I’m all settled, milk in hand, I’m ready to tell you about Chili.  So, pour yourself a glass and take a seat.

I am not afraid of eating hot foods all summer. In fact, as everyone knows, I’m not even afraid of soup in the summer. I rather enjoy it.  But that’s already been established.  There are a few things, however, that I just don’t make until Fall has started and I don’t make them after Spring has begun.  I’m talking about the Autumnal Equinox and the Spring Equinox.  This is serious and I mean it.  Ask anyone who has requested one of these dishes in the middle of the summer.  They’ll tell you.  The answer is, “Wait until the Fall.”

I don’t know why I’ve established these rules, but it just feels right and now it’s a mini tradition.  Plus it’s fun to make people wait for it.

Chili is one of those dishes.  It’s one of my specialties.  Seriously, this isn’t the best chili ever.  It’s not even a real chili, in the traditional sense.  I guess it’s a type of American Chili.  I’ve been debating on whether or not to even share the recipe since it’s one of my favorites to make for friends and family.  But, I’m feeling giving today 😉 so here you go!

One more thing, the ingredient list is a little bit daunting. I know that. Use what you have and forget what you don’t.  It’ll still be good.

Beka’s Chili

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup baked beans (wanna make your own?  Don’t worry, I’ll have a recipe soon)
  • 3 cups kidney beans
  • 3 cups pinto beans
  • 1 1/2 cup corn
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or tomato paste

Are you ready for the seasonings?  I did warn you this list was long…

  • 2 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tbsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • dash Nutmeg
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick – Broken in half
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Ok, now let’s take a breath.

Ready? OK.

Chop the veggies and saute in olive oil until they are almost soft.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add the spices, except for the Vinegar and saute a little bit longer.  Add the tomato sauce.  Add all the beans and corn and a little bit of water or stock to loosen everything up.  Simmer this mixture while you cook and drain the beef and then add the beef in. Taste it and add salt and pepper as needed and maybe a little bit more of anything else it might be lacking.  Stare at your spice cabinet (ahem, wall) and something will jump out at you that just has to be added 😉  At least that’s usually my method.  Add a splash of Vinegar.

I recommend making this AFTER you’ve eaten dinner and waiting until the next day to eat it.  It’s much better that way.  Still good fresh, but better after a day.

So, there you have it! The Chili I make people wait for. I hope you like it as much as they do!

And a Kitty Cat picture, just ’cause I think she’s cute!


Of Milk and Meat

Mountains Peeking

A few miles West of my house in the “city,” farms are everywhere.  Anyone from Virginia can tell you – if you drive far enough away from the cities, you start to see mountains peeking up in the distance and the roads get just a little more windy.  Drive even farther and you will start to see farms on either side. Farms with corn, farms with cows, farms with an eclectic mix of livestock and vegetables.  It’s one of my favorite things about where I live.  The sad part is, a lot of the food you get from the grocery store, isn’t from here.  It’s shipped from California or Mexico or farther.  Virginia is, however, know for a few things like peaches, apples, beef and peanuts – those you can find in our grocery stores if you look.

I spent the day out on farms today.  First, I went to visit my milk cows.  I have to tell you about my near obsessiveness with dairy. I

She is actually pretty friendly for a milk cow. Apparently Jersey’s are known for being curious.

know there is a huge debate about whether or not people should actually drink milk after they reach a certain age. I don’t have the answer for that, I just know that I love it.  I’ve also heard a bit about how some groups of people developed having the enzyme that makes it possible for them to digest dairy.  If that is true, then I believe I am one of those people.

Back to my obsessiveness.  I drink milk all the time.  I have some with dinner. I have more before I go to bed. I eat yogurt every day. I put cheese on many things.  I think you really have to know me and witness this to fully understand my love for dairy. So, I went to visit my cows. Without cows, I couldn’t have milk.

The goats were so friendly. They jump up on you like a dog if you let them. Just watch your belt-loops and hair, they are nibblers!

The lady who cares for them is really great.  She walked us around her farm and showed us all that she does and she does more than just milk cows.  She also has goats, pigs, vegetables and kids (the human kind, not goat kind).  We spent a good two hours walking around, talking and enjoying the scenery.

They look so happy basking in the mud.

I was also really close to my meat farm, so I stopped by their farm store.  They have a beautiful place too, but they ask you to schedule time with them if you want to take an actual tour, which I neglected to do, so I just got the quick drive through, stop at the store and chat with one of the farmers for a minute or two tour.

And of course, I stopped by G’ma’s farm to say hello.  It’s not a working farm so much anymore, but my family has started a small vegetable plot, so I got some goodies.

G’ma’s House

Come see me and many others at Fat Tuesday and Fight Back Friday!

We’re getting fancy

I don’t know why, but anytime I hear the word braised, I think fancy.  I know its not, or at least doesn’t have to be, but it makes me think fancy.  Maybe it’s because we didn’t really have anything braised while I was growing up or because I feel like it’s just a giant pain to braise something.  In reality, braising is just about as easy as making a soup and putting it in the oven.  Seriously, it’s that easy.  The catch for me is – I have cooking pots for the stove and I have cooking pans that go into the oven. So, to me, braising is a pain.  Sear meat, remove from pan, saute veggies, add liquid, remove everything to another pot that DOES go in the oven, cook for a few hours, take it out and pour the liquid into another pot that goes on the stove, reduce, serve over braised meat, wash the 5 million dishes you made dirty while preparing braised meat.

I forgot that I have cast iron, which can be used in the oven and the stove top.  I used to use cast iron for very specific things (bacon, corn bread), but I didn’t really use it for every day cooking.  The more and more I cook, the more I tend to use it for everything. Recently, I pulled out the back up cast iron for every day use, so now I have two 🙂

Back to the fancy meal for tonight.  I bought some short ribs that I am finally going to braise.  Here we go…

  • Short Ribs
  • 1 Carrot
  • 2 Celery Ribs
  • 1/2 Onion
  • Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 or 2 cups of water or stock

Preheat the oven to 350. Season and sear the short ribs in a little bit of olive oil and remove them from the pan.  Add the veggies, season and saute for a few minutes, then add some wine and water or stock.  Bring the liquid up to a simmer and add the ribs back in, cover and put it in the oven for a few hours until the meat is cooked through an tender.  AND, if you don’t have a lid for your cast iron… No worries!

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