Let me introduce you to one of the NFL's most surprising fans: me. I barely know the rules of the game, but I am a total sucker for anything political, poignant, or scandalous about big league sports.
This year I'll be cheering Eli Manning and the Giants— and the special note to my teeny tiny Super Bowl party, as usual, will be the food.
I know how to make a chili for people who hate chili. —A chili for vegetarians that the meat-lovers will demand for seconds. —A chili you can make in minutes but will make everything believe you toiled for hours. You can cook it as picanté as you like, but I know how to take all the heat out of it, and still make people feel rambunctious. And... my guacamole is the best.
These are not idle boasts. Here is my recipe, rudely adapted from Molly Katzen's Still Life with Menu. It's good for any winter day you wanna feel like a winner!
Black Chili with Pineapple Salsa
Sweet Plantains, Crazy Cuke Sauce, & The Best Guacamole
Ingredients on Hand:
Canned back beans
Salt and Pepper
Small jar of diced jalapeños, or one fresh pepper
Any other peppers you like
Canned chunk pineapple
Bananas or plantains
2 big cucumbers, at least
2 bunches of mint leaves
Put three cans of black beans, with their water, in a saucepan, Slowly heat them up.
In a skillet, on medium heat, sauté three or four minced garlic cloves in olive oil with a
little butter. For faster results, just spoon it out of those brilliant jars of crushed garlic.
(I told you this was going to be fast!)
Add in one of those small jars of diced jalapeño peppers. They’re perfect.
(You can also cut up a fresh one if you like. If you go with the fresh, and you want to
subtract the heat, be sure to remove all the seeds, and wash your hands with hot water
and soap afterwards).
If you want a hot chili, get out the Poblanos and Anaheims and go for it.
To your sauté, add 3 T. of chopped up fresh basil, 2 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. oregano, salt,
pepper You’ll get a nice hot paste with the peppers, until they’re wilted and soft. Add
the juice of one lime towards the end.
Add this mixture to the beans, along with a cup of any tomato, or marinara sauce, or—
the Trader Joe’s roasted pepper and tomato soup in a box.
Let that warm on low heat, while you make the salsa.
Get your Cuisinart out. If you don’t have one yet, sell some plasma and get one. It’s a
critical as a wooden spoon.
Pour in a can of pineapple chunks, a couple tablespoons of diced fresh mint, a couple
more spoonfuls of diced garlic, a pinch of the cumin, and salt. You can add chilis of
course, if you want this to be hot, too.
The mint is the one part of this operation that has to be fresh. It comes in little
bunches and is easy to chop that way. Don’t use the whole bunch in the salsa… you
need at least half of it for the Crazy Cuke Sauce.
Pulse the food processor a few times until the salsa is shredded and mixed well. It’s
nice to have a few chunks of pineapple bobbing around. Put it in a serving bowl in the
fridge to chill.
Peel and coarsely chop up two cucumbers for your Cuisinart. Add 4 T. of chopped
fresh mint, a couple T. of chopped red onion and a cup or two of plain yogurt. Salt and
pepper! Buzz it up good, and then pour it into a serving pitcher or cup to chill in the
Put these on before you make the guacamole so they have enough time to caramelize.
Get any kind of banana you like. Slice them in half length wise, and then maybe in half.
Melt butter with a little olive oil ( so it doesn’t burn) in your skillet, so you have a fine
Place the banana slices in the pan, and slowly cook them on medium low heat, turning
over when one side gets streaked with dark brown. In other words, you’re slowly burn-
ing them, and the sugar’s coming out.
When they’re done, turn the heat off and let them sit in the skillet until you serve them.
They taste great with sour cream or the Cuke Sauce.
Get the best avocados you can find. Perfect ripeness. That’s the magic part.
Peel the green fruit out of their skins and drop into your serving bowl. Now add the
juice of one lemon per three or four medium avocados. This is what gives it the kick,
like it was just born.
Chop up a little cilantro, and smash it all up with healthy shakes of salt and pepper.
Use a fork for this part, not the food processor.
Yes, you can gum it up with hot sauce, onions, tomatillos, tomatos, sour cream— but
please taste it in its virginal stage and tell me if you aren’t quivering.
Grate or crumble up some of your favorite cheese. Yum goat cheese. Yum cheddar.
Scallions, peppers, sour cream, chopped up tomatoes, that sort of thing.
Pour the hot chili ( which will have been gently simmering for a half hour or so) into
Drizzle Crazy Cuke Sauce over it, scatter some cheese, put a spoonful of Guacamole in
the center, festoon it with Pineapple Salsa. Get the chips out. Anything goes at this