Cold weather drives people to bake, I’m convinced after viewing a number of blogs and friends’ Facebook posts this week.
When we can’t stand to heat up the kitchen in July, a baker is happy to contribute to a home’s warmth in midst of a polar vortex.
My Beloved even got in on the act earlier this week when he drug out the bread maker that’s been taking up space in the pantry for three years, the last time he touched it. He put together a pretty good loaf of honey wheat to go with our split pea soup on Sunday.
Me? I’m no baker. Though I’ve fantasized in the past couple of days about a couple of baked goods recipes — I received some gluten-free ingredients for Christmas and there’s a bunch of dates that need eatin’, I just didn’t summon the energy.
For me, the cold weather brings out the chili lover. I considered a good pot o’ chili yesterday until I discovered I didn’t have enough staples in the cupboard, relatively bare due to the fact I hadn’t gone grocery shopping since before Christmas.
I finally ventured out into the great outdoors to go to the mega-supermarket today, but instead of a standard American chili, I got the wild idea to use the garam masala in my spice rack. I’ve had Afghanistan in the back of my mind recently as I’ve been watching the temps in Kabul, near where an American soldier I know is serving. He’s experiencing high temps in the 30s and 40s, which surprises me. It’s not always 110 in the shade there, I guess.
The combination of ideas led me to a recipe for Afghani chili, aka aush.
I’m warning you: It’s not one of those easy 4-ingredient dishes and it’s supposed to simmer on the stove 3 to 6 hours. But it’s worth it.
FYI, I used a half box of linguine instead of a whole box of fettucine, and instead of one 28-ounce can of tomatoes, I used two 14.5-ounce cans and one of them was canned with jalapenos. The spicy result offered a creeper heat, which is perfect when the temps are in the single digits.
The lesson here is: If you’re cold, get thee into the kitchen to make something to stick to your ribs.