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Before the Rain

 

A few days ago I saw one of the most beautiful nature sequences I have ever seen in my  life.  When I went outside to take the first picture I had no idea what would happen next. I had no idea I would I would see and experience such a beautiful natural phenomena. It was simply the most exquisite sight I have ever seen.

While the sun was rising in the east dark rain clouds were ambling in from the west obliterating the blue sky as it rolled forward.

It made for a beautiful interplay of light and dark on the trees outside my office window.

I grabbed my camera and ran outside and captured a few pictures.

ABOVE: About 7:20 a.m.: The dark storm clouds do not show up very well in the picture above. They are still in the distant west.

ABOVE: A few minutes later the sun in the east and behind me make it look like the leaves on the trees are shimmering or are aflame. You can see the sky is getting slightly gray now.

I went back inside for a minute or so when the entire landscape changed again. I grabbed my camera and rushed outside again.

ABOVE: Now you can definitely see the gray clouds in the sky as they roll over the trees. The sun behind me is still shining brightly as the clouds have not reached it yet.

This last picture was taken less than a minute before the clouds totally covered the sun. About 10 minutes later the rain came. It was a lovely soft rain shower.

All of these pictures were taken in an eight minute time span.

 

Featured Recipe    Potato and Chili Casserole

I was going to share a different  recipe with you today. But the grocery stores here did not cooperate. I could not find any fresh cranberries for a delicious Cranberry Compote. But as soon as the stores get in their fresh cranberries I will make it for you.

That is why I am sharing another Henry Lewis Creel recipe so soon after the last one, Boston Bean and Stewed Tomato Soup.

I love this dish. I have made a few changes and a few additions to this recipe over the years. I will point those out to you as I go along.

It is kind of like Cincinnati Chili except the chili is poured over potatoes instead of spaghetti.

Also, since you are using potatoes you can use less meat, just half a pound, making this a very budget friendly meal.

Preparation time is minimal. However, the chili takes a bit of time to cook.

But it is SO worth it since the final meal is divinely delicious.

This is what you will need for 3-4 people:

1 garlic clove

4 tablespoons chopped onions (1 small onion)

About 2 tablespoons vegetable oil*

½ pound ground steak**

1 cup canned tomatoes sieved***

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 medium potatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

NOTES:

* I use only one teaspoon of oil and then use cooking spray to oil the casserole. Mr. Creel uses the second teaspoon of oil to oil the casserole.

**I use ground chuck because it is less expensive.

*** Sieved?  Me???? I don’t think so. I am just too lazy. I just drain most of the liquid off the tomatoes before adding to the pot.

I use diced tomatoes. If you use whole tomatoes (And Mr. Creel does not say what kind of tomatoes to use.) it would be necessary to sieve them to break them up. So since I am lazy I just buy diced ones and save myself a step and time.

My Optional Other Ingredients

Spray oil

4 green onions

½-1 cup shredded cheese

Dash cinnamon

 Mr. Creel does not use any of these items. This is my touch.

Flame Tamer or Diffuser

I also recommend (and it is mentioned in the original recipe as well)  you use a flame tamer or a diffuser for this recipe. A flame tamer is a flat metal disc with holes in it. It is designed to distribute heat evenly so that food cooks evenly. It helps to eliminate hot spots on your stove. They are not too expensive.

Mine is VERY old and well used. Not all flame tamers look like this one.

Here is what you do:

Chop the onion. Peel the garlic.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat in a medium pot, and add the onion.

Run the garlic through a sieve straight into the pot. Cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly. Is there any aroma sweeter than onions and garlic sautéing in oil? I think not!!!

Add the meat and continue cooking and stirring until the meat changes color.

Add the tomatoes, chili powder, salt, pepper and a dash of cinnamon.  Mix well. Cook over low heat for 1 hour.

About 10 minutes before the hour is up clean the potatoes and the green onions, of using.  If you want to peel them, do that now. I do not peel the potatoes.

Slice the green onions. Slice the potatoes thin to medium.

Oil the casserole. Do not forget this step. I did once, and the potatoes stuck to the bottom of the casserole. It was not a pretty sight.

Layer the potatoes in the oiled casserole.

Pour the chili over the potatoes and cover. I make an asembly line to do this.

Cover. Simmer over a flame tamer, (or over very low heat) until the potatoes are tender to the touch of a fork, about 20-30 minutes depending on how thick you slice the potatoes.

When the potatoes are tender, place a serving on a plate and sprinkle some of the shredded cheese and green onions on top.

I served mine with some marinated artichokes.

Bon appétit!!!

Cost

1 garlic clove                                   $0.07

4 tbspns chopped onions                   $0.43

2 tablespoons vegetable oil               $0.12

½ pound ground chuck                     $2.45

1 cup canned tomatoes                     $0.72

1 teaspoon chili powder                    $0.06

2 medium potatoes                          $1.23

Salt and pepper to taste

Sub-Total                        $5.08

Optional Items

Canned oil spray                                $0.03

4 green onions                                  $0.40

½ cup shredded cheddar                    $1.64

Dash cinnamon                                  $0.02

Optional Items Cost = $2.09
Total cost = $7.17
Cost per person 4 = $1.79
Cost per person 3 = $2.39

Quote of the Day

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

Herm Albright

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