Anyone who knows me in real life or follows me on Facebook knows how proudly I support President Obama, but despite the fact that today is a special election day in Massachusetts (please vote!), this post isn't about politics. It's about chili. I found the recipe for the president's chili online, and I have to tell you, I have issues. Well, one issue. Mr. President, I hope you don't think it presumptuous that I've altered your recipe just a little bit. With all due respect, it needs more heat. The flavor is great, and really, I've never used turmeric in chili before, so that was fun. Now, you've got to spice it up! In the recipe, I've called for up to three teaspoons of hot sauce, but that's just a guideline. When it comes to chili, every cook has the right to choose.
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The first time I made this smoky corn chowder, to test the recipe, our friends Bob and Charlotte came for dinner. Bob, a wonderful potter, brought a new soup tureen he'd designed. I proclaimed the tureen a hit, and he ate three servings of soup, which I think qualifies as a hit, too. Here in New England, everyone loves chowder. Clam chowder, fish chowder, scallop chowder -- clear or white or, sometimes, red -- each has its devoted fans. If you don't eat fish or shellfish, you need not be left out of our lovefest; this fish-free corn chowder might become your new favorite. It has all of the heft of seafood chowders, plus added natural creaminess that oozes from the corn. Our season for fresh corn begins in a couple of weeks, and lasts only until early September; during the rest of the year, we rely on good-quality frozen organic corn, or Trader Joe's frozen fire-roasted corn, which doesn't need to be defrosted before you add it to the soup pot.
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Truth be told, I love a good hamburger with drippy cheese, oozing and dribbling down my chin. Turkey burgers don't ooze, and that's something I've learned to accept when I opt for healthy eating. However, this chipotle ketchup can drip and dribble with the best. The smoky chipotle flavor here is quite mild, as the recipe calls for the adobo sauce but not the actual chile peppers. If you like your sauces hot, add a bit of chopped chipotle chile (with or without seeds) right into the ketchup mixture. Greek yogurt keeps the burgers moist, so they can cook through without drying out. It's the same trick I use when I make turkey meatballs, and it works every time. You can make the ketchup ahead, even a couple of weeks ahead, and store it in the refrigerator.
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Until I moved to Rhode Island a decade ago, I'd never heard of johnnycakes (which are also spelled jonnycakes, so let's get that out of the way up front). Johnnycakes, made of cornmeal and gluten-free, are to Rhode Islanders what pancakes are to the rest of the world. Most often they're served just like pancakes, with butter and a glug of local maple syrup. These savory two-bite roasted red pepper, basil and parmesan johnnycakes fit nicely into the end of the day, as a cocktail party appetizer or snack at a barbecue. As with any recipe that has just a few ingredients, be sure to use the best cheese, basil and pepper you can find. Serve them hot off the griddle, and spell them whichever way you like.
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