Crazy Santa Ana winds and blackout chili.

The other night we were hit with some SERIOUS winds.  I’ve never experienced anything like it.  The Windy City isn’t actually that windy and even Hurricane Irene this summer didn’t feel nearly as bad.

Giant trees knocked down in Pasadena via NYTimes.

Apparently, our side of town got hit the hardest.  We were woken up in the middle of the night by the loudest wind I’ve ever heard.  There are doors to the deck in the bedroom and the wind kept flinging them open.  We couldn’t keep them shut!  It was terrifying.  I kept picturing the giant tree in the front crashing through our floor to ceiling windows and crushing us in our sleep.

Needless to say, I slept very little that night.

The next morning, the wind had died down.  Thankfully, apart from the leaves and dirt that had swept in from outside, everything seemed normal and nothing was damaged.  However, at some point during the day our entire block’s power shut off and we’ve been without electricity since.  Fortunately, we have a gas stove , so I was able to cook us some “blackout chili”, now aptly named because I was cooking in the dark.

I did all the prep work while the sun was still out so I didn’t lose a finger, but the cooking I did by the light of a single candle.  I felt very Laura Ingells Wilder.

Blackout Chili

adapted from Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals cookbook

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 chopped yellow onion
  • 3 T chili powder
  • 1.5 T cumin
  • Red Hot sauce
  • 1 chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 can black beans
  • 1/2 can kidney beans
  • 1/2 bottle of beer
  • 1.5 C beef broth
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  1. Brown beef in a deep pan or pot with some olive oil.  Drain the fat.
  2. Add onion and garlic.  Cook until onion gets translucent.
  3. Add chili powder and cumin and a bunch of shakes of Red Hot sauce.  Mix.
  4. Add the peppers.  Cook until starts to get soft.
  5. Add the 3Bs: beans, beer, and broth.
  6. Bring to a boil and then simmer covered until you’re ready to eat.  The longer the better.
  7. Add salt & pepper & more hot sauce to taste.
  8. Serve with raw diced onion, shredded cheese, and crushed tortilla chips

No idea what my blackout chili looked like, so let's just say it looked like Rachael's.

A super easy chili that was hearty and hot and a perfect meal to eat by the fireplace.  We each had two big bowls and there are probably 2-3 more servings left over.  I only simmered it for 30 minutes, but I imagine simmering for longer would help make it more flavorful.  It’ll probably be better today, but I’ll be scared to eat the leftovers if the power doesn’t come back on soon.

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