I’m lucky enough to live close enough to several branches of In-N-Out that I don’t have to go that far. But as I was musing on Super Bowl recipes (gross out food) and In n’ Out Animal Style Fries (also gross out food) I hit on the idea of a dip that recreates the experience of a Double Double, Animal Style. Only with crackers. What’s not to love about that? [...]
I hate to say that I don’t care about the Super Bowl because it’s such a lame girl thing to say. On the other hand, I don’t really care about the Super Bowl. And I am kind of a lame girl. In my defense, L.A. hasn’t had a pro football team in years, so I can’t exactly root for the hometown. But the truth is, I’m just not really a pro football kind of girl.
Football food, however, is something I can get behind, because I am an appetizer kind of girl. Salty, spicy bite sized morsels? Yes please. Creamy dips with crunchy chips? Absolutely. I remember a highlight of my college dining hall experience being Super Bowl Sunday — in addition to the regular Sunday night fare like lentil tortilla rollups or Salisbury steak (this was before Alice Waters reformed my college dining hall) the chefs would provide an array of traditional Super Bowl nibbles for students to take to the buttery or back to their rooms to watch the big game. Things like nachos and hot dogs were popular, but what I looked forward to every year were the delicious crunchy spicy cheesy bites of goodness — the jalapeno poppers. My roommate and I would load our plate and head back to our room to read poetry (our freshman year, when we were intellectuals), listen to Tori Amos (sophomore year, when we were angsty) or watch girly movies (junior and senior year, when we were cool). OK, so we were kind of lame girls. But we were lame girls with jalapeno poppers (and our Caribbean themed spa party that took place during the Super Bowl senior year was super fun. We made blue cocktails and cranked up the heat in our room and gave each other pedicures).
Now I’m married to a boy who did not grow up in Los Angeles and does not have that as an excuse, and he likes watching the Super Bowl to boot, sadly without pedicures, which means my only consolation is the snacks. (And the commercials). Oddly enough, jalapeno poppers can be tough to find here in L.A. (which is usually a city where jalapenos are ubiquitous). Fortunately, I’ve managed to recreate the creamy spicy crunchy goodness in an easy to make dip form, which has the added bonus of tortilla chips. [...]
I don’t come from a place where chili is a thing. Heck, I’m from California — we put barbecue chicken on pizza. We don’t have things. What this means is that I don’t have firm and fixed ideas about what should and shouldn’t be in chili, and as a result, I’ve tried many a chili recipe over the years. I’ve tried white chicken chili, turkey chili, chili con carne, chili without beans, vegetarian chili, what was supposed to be Cliff Huxtables super spicy chili from the Cosby Show, and even a really weird one from epicurious that had green olives and raisins (which wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t chili. I may not be a firm con carne or con frijoles person, but I feel about chili the way the Supreme Court feels about pornography — I know it when I see it).
I never really settled on THE chili — the one that becomes my go to recipe, that I make again and again — until I found this chili. It presents a mild heat without bowling you over with spiciness, it has beans, which I like, and meat, which I also like and it has tomatoes without being a tomato stew. Best of all, it is easy as pie to make and can be made in the crockpot, which means all I have to do is chop an onion and brown a little ground beef in the morning, dump it in the crockpot with several cans and spices, and I have a nice bowl of chili waiting for me when I get home. It’s also great for a Super Bowl party — hearty and warming, and there’s no last minute fuss to prepare it when your guests arrive. [...]