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Chile Oil and Chili Vinegar

Two recipes for using dried chiles to make a condiment.

The restaurant critic for the New York Times, Pete Wells, announced on Twitter last week that his newspaper has changed their style guide’s spelling for hot peppers to “chile” from “chili”. I don’t always perfectly land the proper execution but the debates that involve spelling are catnip to me. (more…)

Beer Cooler Chili

My entry at 86'd Monday and the thematic beer cooler (smaller than the one I used for the cooking)

I like competitions. Hell, who doesn’t? I especially enjoy opportunities to be competitive while cooking instead of having to run or throw balls which is often (though not always) a losing proposition. So I was more than happy to say “yes” when Ivy Knight asked me to participate in the 86′d Monday Chili Cook Off at the Drake.

The chili pendulum swings between two extremes. The vast majority of cooks include beans, some other protein, and a reddish-brown sauce. But while some purists won’t allow any other vegetables into their recipe, others take chili as an opportunity to empty their fridges and freezers of such diverse ingredients as eggplant, ground turkey, and peanut butter. For my entry I wanted my creation to be solidly between these two extremes.

Out of curiosity and because I think it delivers better results I cooked the three elements–beans, beef, and sauce–separately. By preparing the sauce first it’s already reduced and concentrated so the meat can be cooked in it in a closed container. (That last point and the post’s title should make for some pretty obvious foreshadowing.) The beans benefit most from the separate cooking because tomatoes and molasses contain acid that would slow their cooking. (more…)

Chili by The Numbers

Right up there with grilled cheese sandwiches and scrambled eggs, chili is a recipe that even the most hapless bachelor can handle. One pot, some ground beef, a can of tomatoes, a can of beans, powdered spices and maybe some beer as a “secret ingredient”.

When Ivy Knight asked me to participate in a chili cookoff as part ¬†of the 86′d Mondays events at the Drake my inclination was to go in the exact opposite direction of this bare bones proto-chili. I won’t give too much away but I will say that my chili combines:


Excellent beef shoulder generously provided by Sanagan’s Meat Locker in Kensington Market,