Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Brooklyn Chili Takedown

On Sunday, my roommates Jane, Andrea, and I entered the Brooklyn Chili Takedown hosted by Matt Timms. My friend Cathy Erway of Not Eating Out in New York gave me the heads up on the seriously competitive cook-off that's held two or three times a year. The second I read her email, my jingle-jangle happy-nerves started buzzing. With someone like Jane on my side, I knew we'd be bringing home a medal for the Midwest (dintcha know? I'm from St. Paul, Andrea's from St. Louis, and Jane's from Kansas City.)

Much to Jane's embarrassment, we christened our team, "Jane and the Kansas City Corn Rows" (rejected by the grace of good taste: "Kansas City Devil-ettes" and "Kansas City Krunk").

Jane's idea-packed emails started flying immediately. At 4:40 pm on Thursday, August 7th, she wrote:

what if we made a 'summer chilli' that was maybe really spicy flavorful ground turkey chili with white beans or something, and then what if we topped it off with some sort of fresh corn and tomato salsa that would be cold (like andrea's AWESOME dip) and sour cream and maybe that yummy white mexican cheese. i think that could be a winner!!!

At 4:41 pm, she added:

and fresh cilantro! love that.

And at 4:46 pm:

i also think that we should make home made crispy tortilla strips to put on top. yum! i hope there are left overs!

And this is almost exactly what we did: a lighter "Summertime Chili" with ground turkey and pork, turkey sausage, white northern and pinto beans, fresh tomatoes, a bit of half-and-half, and a whole mess of secret seasonings.

Our three secret weapons (what another contestant called "the woman's touch") were a sweet and spicy fresh corn relish, cilantro-lime sour cream, and corn strips.

We took special pride in the fact that nothing came from a can. And the effort paid off. We won second place in the People's Choice category (with all due respect to Cathy, who was a judge, this was totally the category of the night.) This was out of 25 entries, some quite excellent, others quite unusual (there was even a crazy-good chocolate chili.) It was such a thrill!

Check out more photos from Andrea and myself, and this video I've put together (much to sweet Jane's embarrassment!):

The Chili Takedown from Nora Leah on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Where is she now?

I'll continue to post updated recipes from my collection of vintage cookbooks, but in the meantime, please stop by 2050 A.D., a blog I've created to explore a wide range of sustainability issues (including food!).

And for your daily Nora Leah fix, check out my personal blog, Thought for Food.