Unusual ingredients

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EliseT
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2003/04/09 17:59:28 (permalink)

Unusual ingredients

OK, what's the weirdest ingredient you know of being put into chili? Tequila and coffee are as weird as I ever dared, but I once had a boyfriend who swore by cigar ashes! He'd stand at the stove, a cigar in his mouth, lazily stirring and tapping ashes into the pot. I just couldn't bring myself to eat it....I might now that I'm older and more daring.
#1

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    jessicazee
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/04/09 18:14:35 (permalink)
    Peanut butter. Hershey's Kisses. Prune juice. Ground raisins.

    The ash thing might be going a little too far.
    #2
    scbuzz
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/04/10 08:20:12 (permalink)
    I have heard of people putting coffee and chocolate in their chili, but the cigar ash addition sure takes the cake !! Interesting !


    #3
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/04/10 08:49:26 (permalink)
    The dude who dumps cigar ash into his chile sounds like he made a mistake and tried to use rationale.

    In my opinion, cooking chile or anything else is really an experiment intrying to creat something that is different and taste good. I know that most every time I do something in the culinary way, I try to vary a little with either sauces or spices. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it don't. Cooking is art and not all artist are successful and in fact very few. Maybe you could say if it smells good, eat it. Maybe the dude who makes cigar ash chile is onto something, but I doubt it.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #4
    mek
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/04/10 09:52:58 (permalink)
    In the book, Chili Madness, you will find an old cowboy recipe that calls for ashes.
    #5
    EliseT
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/04/10 17:33:56 (permalink)
    I always suspected he was just too damn lazy to go get an ashtray!
    #6
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/04/10 18:02:46 (permalink)
    I agree with EliseT.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #7
    jfwest
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/12 13:23:10 (permalink)
    The Greek style chili from the Cincinnati area includes chocolate and/or cinnamon. No Tex-Mex here!
    #8
    KimChee43
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/12 13:36:59 (permalink)
    One of my chili recipes calls for whole raisins and cashews...
    #9
    Mayhaw Man
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/12 13:47:35 (permalink)
    I tried pretty hard, but I couldn't find the recipe to copy/paste, if you want a "weird"chili recipe that is really, really good go to The Silver Palate and make "Chili for a Crowd". AMong other ingredients, this includes cilantro, black olives, and red wine. It is a great recipe, keeping at it's base a really traditional chili recipe (if there is such a thing) involving really good meat and the usual spices.

    I have never served this to anyone (including my Dad, an old papermill town chili parlor kind of guy) who didn't think it was a good dish. Try it out if you have got the book or are a better "googler" than me.
    #10
    KimChee43
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/12 13:59:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by KimChee43

    One of my chili recipes calls for whole raisins and cashews...


    May I also add the following (from the same recipe)...red wine vinegar, a 12 oz. bottle of beer, and allspice. By the way, the recipe is for (dare I say it?) VEGETARIAN CHILI!!
    #11
    1bbqboy
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/12 15:45:03 (permalink)
    I have found that Hershey's chocalate syrup does a great job of taking the edge off the tomatoes and chilli powder. My sister sends me "williams chili seasoning" from KC to use in my mix. I think it's another case of What you remember makes you feel good!
    #12
    jmckee
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/12 17:28:24 (permalink)
    I used to hang out with this crowd that was chili-crazed. Every year they would sponsor this big bash called "The Chili Taste." Their friend, upstate from us Cincinnatian's in Bowling Green, was a regular competitor in chili cook-offs; he never won anything, actually, but that didn't deter him from selling himself as a "champion chili cook." (I have won second place in a pie contest; I do not introduce myself as a "ribbon-winning pie baker.")

    At any rate, Dave would be up early chopping his chilis (jalapeno, cayenne, serrano, and black hunan peppers), grinding his meat, and drinking a lot. We're talking beer at 9 a.m., straight Jack Daniel's by 11. Or tequila. Or vodka. Or paint thinner. Or anything that wasn't nailed down.

    He worked over this chili all morning, with the precision of a scientist in the biochem lab. In addition to the hunan peppers, he included TsingTao beer. And it had to be TsingTao; One year somebody got Sapporo by mistake (TsingTao is, as you might expect, not widely available in staid, conservative, whitebread Cincinnati). He commenced such a tantrum that somebody was dispatched to one of northern Kentucky's better liquor stores--about 40 minutes away.

    He used unsweetened chocolate. Malt extract. Chiles in adobo. Five kinds of hot sauce. And, as he poured more and more liquor into himself (aided and abetted by his wife, who brought him the drinks, a kind, refined soul, of whom I never understood how she put up with this crashing boor), more and more found its way into the four huge pots of chili.

    Result? Something that people oohed and aahhhed over. But you know what? It was reputation, pure and simple. I betcha you couldn't have told his brew from any other chili you've ever been served. When I didn't wax rhapsodic over this stuff, upon my third invitation to this event, I got the feeling they thought there was something wrong with me. Nope. It was them. Too much booze, too many cigarettes dull the palate.
    #13
    KimChee43
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/12 19:03:41 (permalink)
    JMCKEE: There is so much truth in your post about the chili folk you hung out with once! I knew a guy once who reminded me of the "chili champ" in your post, only he was into barbeque sauce. He put just about everything but the kitchen sink in his sauce; everyone oohed and aahed over it, but I thought it tasted like sh*t. Back then, I was a polite young lady and pretended to like the sauce, but nowadays, it would be a different story.
    #14
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/12 19:14:32 (permalink)
    You know someting Jmckee: I have know a bunch of artist in my life and it seems that most of them were a little bit like your chili artist.

    They drink a lot, smoke a lot and sometimes do drugs. However they have a certain talent to create something that is different and good.

    I do not admire their style but somehow they seem to get it right. Culinary creativy is something like that. I ain't a good cook, but some I know can create good stuff out of nothing. They are artist and they can paint some pretty tasty stuff.

    Meanwhile I will go back to my Dr. Atkins diet.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #15
    ocdreamr
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/12 21:42:20 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by jfwest

    The Greek style chili from the Cincinnati area includes chocolate and/or cinnamon. No Tex-Mex here!


    actually the chocolate/cinnamon would be very Mexican!(we're talking Mole sauce here folks) Many Texas recipes call for the addition of one or both these ingrediants! By the way the chocolate is cocoa powder not milk chocolate candy.
    #16
    1bbqboy
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/13 01:48:03 (permalink)
    well,I know what a mole is. However the thread is about unusual ingredients. Hershey's is just one variation I like to try. Much as I was taught to add sugar to tomato based Italian sauces, I find the syrup takes the edge off the tomatoes and isn't bitter as cocoa powder is. I also add coffee at times, but a little goes along way.
    Once the cinnamon or allspice goes in, it becomes Cincinatti chili to my taste buds



    bill
    #17
    ocdreamr
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/13 02:50:36 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by bill voss

    well,I know what a mole is. However the thread is about unusual ingredients. Hershey's is just one variation I like to try. Much as I was taught to add sugar to tomato based Italian sauces, I find the syrup takes the edge off the tomatoes and isn't bitter as cocoa powder is. I also add coffee at times, but a little goes along way.
    Once the cinnamon or allspice goes in, it becomes Cincinatti chili to my taste buds



    bill


    wasn't addressing your post but that of jfwest. I agree that choclate syrup is a bit strange. The use of cocoa powder is to increase the depth of flavor not cut the tomatoes acidity as you use the syrup to.
    #18
    Kristi S.
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/13 09:20:24 (permalink)
    I've heard of using duck. Yuk. Oh, and buffalo or bison meat.
    #19
    4fish
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/13 10:43:38 (permalink)
    I've been doing a chili cook-off each fall for the last four years, a fund-raiser for a D.A.R.E. program in the local schools. There are always a couple of chilis entered that use game, usually venison or wild turkey.

    I did a green chili one year using pork, green chilis and tomatillos instead of tomatoes. I think it was a recipe from New Mexico. Most people looked at it pretty skeptically, but once they tried it they liked it.
    #20
    Mayhaw Man
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/13 10:47:39 (permalink)
    I go to a game cookoff every year and there is a guy who makes chili out of Nutria. It really isn't bad (it is made with love and care, sadly the love and care is going to the cooking of a water rat that was originally a native of SOuth AMerica and has taken over the marsh in South Louisiana), but it is kind of hard to enjoy if you know what you are eating. The same guy makes nutria tacos with grilled nutria meat, and I hate to admit it, but they are damn good
    #21
    KimChee43
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/13 12:44:58 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Mayhaw Man

    I go to a game cookoff every year and there is a guy who makes chili out of Nutria. It really isn't bad (it is made with love and care, sadly the love and care is going to the cooking of a water rat that was originally a native of SOuth AMerica and has taken over the marsh in South Louisiana), but it is kind of hard to enjoy if you know what you are eating. The same guy makes nutria tacos with grilled nutria meat, and I hate to admit it, but they are damn good


    Up north, we can see nutria only in zoos. It's the only animal that really gives me the creeps. I can't imagine eating nutria meat in any way, shape or form...not even if you told me it "tastes like chicken". Glad to hear you like nutria tacos, but count me out. To each his own, I guess.
    #22
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/13 13:16:53 (permalink)
    I have seen several of these Nutria animals in Louisiana. They were imported for their fur, escaped and found Louisiana a very desirable place to live. I understand Louisiana has put a bounty on them at $4.00 each. Apparently they have caused a erosion problem and the only enemies they have are automobiles and alligators. They look like a beaver to me. Pretty good size animals.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #23
    Mayhaw Man
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/13 13:41:37 (permalink)
    Sundancer,
    You are correct on all fronts except they look like a rat, not a beaver. A very large rat in fact, like a huge rabbit without the cute little ears and a long rat tail.

    In fact, they are vegetarians and that is the problem and the reason for the bounty. They eat the plant life that holds together the very fragile (I am not an environmentalist in the true sense of the word, but I have been walking on these coullees and levees all my life and they are soft, gooey and the only thing that holds them together is the plants) land down here and multiply like crazy (or like nutria I guess). Until fur prices fell apart in the eighties they were never a problem because the trappers kept the numbers in check, but when fur ptices went down hill, the nutria rose up out of the swamp and became suburban dwellers.

    The Sherriff in Jefferson Parish (suburban New Orleans on both sides of the river) the colorful Chinese Cowboy Harry Lee has outfitted his deputies with 22's and they hop on trailers in the evening riding up and down drainage canals (which are essential to keep the area, which is below sea level) manageable.

    The state IS offering 4 bucks a pop for these things and this has proven to be very popular with the dinizens of the swamp and has turned out to be reasonably effective at controlling them.

    One more thing and I will end my little lesson on nutria life and politics....they were originally imported by DR McIllhenny, who was an amateur biologist and the founder of the Tabasco Company. His plan was to raise them in captivity for their fur, but they escaped and the rest is history.

    Kimchee, the meat is dark and since they only eat veg. doesn't have much of a gamey flavor. You can buy it in butcher shops here, but I never have. Once a year, just to say I did it, is enough. The rest of the food at the Critter Dinner is usually fabulous. Lots of rest. pros and their friends and family make for a HUGE party. I have had some of the most creative food I have ever eaten there.

    Hope this fills all of your nutria needs.

    Brooks (who will eat damn near anything......once)
    #24
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/09/13 13:54:01 (permalink)
    Way to go Mayhawman. You did a great description on the Nutria rascal.

    I was not aware that the Tabasco folks was the perp.

    I saw a lot of them down in Venic, LA late in the evening.

    The reason I said they reminded me of beaver is when I saw them, they seem to have that hump in the back that I have observed with the beaver. I knew that the tail was round and not flat like a beaver.

    Paul E. Smith
    knoxville, TN
    #25
    EliseT
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/12/01 06:01:57 (permalink)
    Someone on another thread said Nutria and Muskrat are the same thing. Is that true?
    #26
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/12/01 08:03:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    Someone on another thread said Nutria and Muskrat are the same thing. Is that true?



    Nutria and muskrat are not the same. Muskrats are probably found all over the USA and are much smaller than the nutria which can reach the size of a small beaver. Nutria was accidentally and in some cases intentionally released in the USA about 70 years ago. The were raising them for their fur and it was found that they also ate water hyacinth. What was not know was they did terrible damage to plants and dikes. Some people do eat them. I was in LA a year or so ago and noticed that they now pay $4.00 bounty. Nutria does not do well in colder areas and are found around the gulf coast although some are in the water ways of Oregon and Washington.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #27
    lleechef
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/12/01 11:55:21 (permalink)
    Moose meat makes EXCELLENT chili!
    #28
    EdSails
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/12/01 14:12:18 (permalink)
    I put nopalitos (sliced cactus leaves) into my chili. It's got a texture and look similar to green pepper. Always makes a great conversation starter too when I tell them what's in it. And yes------the spines are REMOVED first!" />
    #29
    lleechef
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    RE: Unusual ingredients 2003/12/01 14:55:59 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by clothier

    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    Moose meat makes EXCELLENT chili!


    I've just got to get to Alaska.

    I was being serious! Moose is better (in my estimation and many other peoples') in a lot of ways than beef! SO's brother down in Tenakee Springs AK always goes moose hunting and gives us some. SO tried to moose hunt couple of years ago but that trip was a disaster......now I'm getting off the chili track. " />
    #30
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