Food for Thought: Troubleshooting chili

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week: Make the perfect chili

Looking for the perfect pot of chili? Here are some tips:

- If your chili is too think, dilute it with some chicken or beef broth to maintain flavor. Even beer will work.

- If your chili is too thin, add some tomato paste. Mixing a small amount of cornstarch in water and then stirring it into the chili also works.

- Use fresh spices. Prepackaged spices might be full of salt and preservatives. Keep in mind that spices that have been sitting on your cupboard shelves for a while may lose some flavor intensity.


The Dish On …

“I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas” by Marcel Desaulniers

With “I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas,” Marcel Desaulniers has created the ultimate holiday baking book for chocolate lovers everywhere. The chocolate treats and desserts you'll find inside are guaranteed to draw oohs and ahhs from your family and friends, and many are also straightforward to make — which means you'll have time to enjoy Christmas, too.

If you've ever dreamed of an all-chocolate Christmas, this book can make your dream come true. Desaulniers gives you 72 recipes for every holiday occasion — delectable gifts, tempting treat platters, dreamy breakfast nibbles, and, of course, lots of decadent desserts.

Desaulniers and his elves tested all of the recipes in a home kitchen using ordinary equipment and supermarket ingredients to make sure that each one is foolproof. So whether you've been naughty or nice, you can tackle any of these recipes with confidence.

Easy recipe: Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Dip


3/4 cup peanut butter

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Combine all of the ingredients. Cut apples, bananas and other fruit into bite-size pieces to serve with the dip.

-- University of Illinois Extension

Did You Know?

A nutritionist in Nigeria says malnutrition and iron deficiency in schoolchildren could be reduced in her country by cooking with snails as an alternative to beef.

Would You Buy It? Betty Crocker Decorating Cupcake Icing

Details: The vanilla buttercream icing-in-a-can frosts 12 standard cupcakes and comes with 4 decorating tips. Colors are white, yellow, pink, orange, green, blue and, for the holiday season only, red and green.

Comments: We tested the red and green and found the nozzles really hard to press. We thought a pastry bag, although messier, would give much more control. The taste is OK, similar to any canned icing. The holiday colors are intense and stain whatever they touch, including fingers. If you let kids loose with a can, be prepared for some cleanup.

Would you buy it? Perhaps in a pinch, but for everyday cupcakes, no.

-- State Journal-Register

Food Quiz

There are many varieties of almonds. Which one of the following is not one?

A. Chandler

B. Harvey

C. Non-Pareil

D. Peerless


Answer is at bottom of column

Wise to the Word: Caesar salad

Italian chef Caesar (SEE-zar) Cardini created a salad in 1924 that became so popular, it assumed his name. A proper Caesar is made from romaine and other greens, tossed with a garlic vinaigrette dressing made from Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice. The garlic and anchovies are pressed and mixed in the bowl and the dressing, grated Parmesan cheese and croutons added.

Cardini’s original recipe called for a partially cooked egg, but health concerns have excluded this. Cardini Foods still markets his dressing.

-- The Repository

Number to Know: 11

Grams of protein in 1 cup of soy milk. –

From the Beer Nut’s Blog: Seasonally spiced beers

Winter seasonals are my favorite of all seasonals, particularly if they’re done right. If a beer is overspiced to the point where you can’t even tell it’s a beer anymore, I don’t want it.

One of the first winter beers I buy every year is Anchor’s Our Special Ale. It’s a classic that has stood the test of time.

Sam Adams has a pair of winter favorites – Old Fezziwig, which is a classic winter warmer, and the Winter Lager, which is a dark lager. I’ve already had a few of the Winter Lagers on tap the other night, and it never disappoints.

Do you have a favorite winter seasonal?

To read more from the Beer Nut, visit

Food Quiz Answer

A. Chandler

GateHouse News Service