I will admit, sometimes I get caught up in weekend stuff and don’t focus on writing my column on a Sunday night. The leisure of a Sunday lets my mind wander and it is always a great day to write.
But Monday, that’s a pressure day. As I finish my work day and start to form my column ideas, my wife makes it easy for me. She cooks up maybe the best chili I have ever had. It was sublime. I asked her, “What did you do to get this flavor?” The sauce was sweet yet spicy and deep in umami. She just knocked it out of the park, or since it is Monday night, she kicked a field goal from 50 yards to win the game!
It was one of those half-hour chilis. A pound or so of hamburger, a Tex-Mex chili packet that may have been a bit heavy on the MSG, her usual can of petite, diced tomatoes and chili beans in sauce. But she said she added some ketchup, maybe a quarter cup, a pinch of this, a dash of that, some beer, some water and some brown gravy, which explains the umami.
I asked her, “Could you re-create that?”
“Not a chance” she replied.
This is how great chili happens. There was some magic in there that made the perfect sauce, which is the key to a good chili. I have won a few chili competitions, but I will admit it here in print, my wife makes the best chili in the family, especially her chicken chili.
Her tip is, “add a can of corn and also green chilis to your chicken chili. Most recipes don’t call for it, but it makes a huge difference.” I agree.
So, I ate this perfect chili while watching the Browns play the Jets, recreating the first Monday Night Football matchup from 1970, but this time in New York and with Browns winning again! And then it came to me: football and chili belong together. At this point, my wife reminds me that I have certainly written about chili enough over the past four years.
“But chili is important,” I say. It really is. Of all my favorite foods, this is number one. Chili is my happy food, my go-to food for watching a football game. It has everything you need, a complete meal, and is actually quite healthy. This time of year when chili peppers, green peppers and tomatoes are plentiful in gardens, chili is the absolute perfect thing to make. A fall harvest feast. If you are fortunate to have a neighbor like mine who has a table on the tree lawn with free peppers and tomatoes from his garden (thanks), then you are steps away from fall’s quintessential meal.
“But Karl, there are so many other football foods!”
Yes, yes there are. Hard to argue with chicken wings. I asked my friends at The Galaxy in Wadsworth what was on their game day menu. They serve up Sriracha ranch chicken wings. They also have Coney dog sliders (a nod to chili, good start), bourbon barbecue meatloaf sliders and pulled pork sliders. I am sensing a theme here. These are all great football foods that would improve any game day. When I saw the mild blistered shishito peppers on the game day menu, I knew I had to try them – maybe with some chili on the side.
Burgess Cellars Wine Dinner at The Galaxy
I have said it many times: I love special event dinners. Wine dinners, beer dinners, bourbon dinners, they are the perfect combination of a chef putting out his own choice menu that moves you into items you may not otherwise try, with a nice sampling of high quality beverages.
On Wednesday, Sept. 25, the Cellar Room at The Galaxy will host a special wine dinner, featuring wines from Burgess Cellars of Napa Valley. The Cellar Room is one of my favorite rooms, overlooking the amazing glass-walled cellar holding The Galaxy’s extensive collection, one of the best in northeast Ohio.
This will be a particularly cool night because the owner of the winery, Steve Burgess, will be joining. The Burgess family, originally from Ohio, was one of the first Napa Valley wine pioneers to establish a Napa Valley hillside winery.
This five-course meal will be $95 per person, plus gratuity, and will certainly make for a memorable evening. Reservations can be made online at www.GalaxyRestaurant.com or by calling 330-334-3663.