I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A "Chili" Day in Painted Post N.Y. Sponsored by H&R Block

A day filled with activities, balloons, baked goods , face painting, Kyle The Clown
made animal balloons and played with the children. Kinder-printing was also available. Drawings were held for various prizes, including a free income tax return and free second looks.

H&R Block Painted Post, 90 Victory Highway sponsored its 1st Annual Chili Cook-off between the volunteer fire departments of Bath, Savona and Coopers Plains Long Acres on March 27th, 2010. All proceeds of the event being directly donated to those volunteer fire departments that participated

              Steuben County Legislator Carol Ferratella and Julie DelMastro making the rounds.

All winners will be selected by a panel of judges and the public. Joining the celebrity panel of judges this year were: Frank Coccho, the former mayor of Corning; Matthew Fregoe, H&R Block district manager, Julie DelMastro, owner of Noshtalgia Food Blog and Steuben County Legislator Carol Ferratella. Unfortunately Jeevan Vittal of WENY-TV news reporter got called away on assignment and was unable to join the judge's panel.

Being such a cool day tasting piping hot bowls of chili was just the ticket for warming things up. Each of the three fire departments came up with very different recipes for their chili. All three were quite good with very distinct flavors, textures and aromas.

Coopers Plains Long Acres chili captured that traditional taste that I think most of us can associate with. It was very flavorful with a nice mix of meat and beans that left you with a very mild tickle of heat at the back of your throat. Bill and Byron, the Chili Chefs for Coopers Plains had admitted to watching the Foodnetwork and learned that presentation is important. So the guys added a nice presentational touch with the addition of a little shredded cheese and chive garnish

Bath's chili was delicious and hearty with a nice bit of kick; it was definitely the chunkiest of the three chili's entered. This chili had loads of bell peppers and something you don't often see in chili; big pieces of celery. I have to say the celery was a nice addition and just added to the textures and flavors. Bath's team also made mini corn muffins to accompany their chili and also offered a garnish of shredded cheese and sour cream.
I asked their team who was responsible for cooking the chili and they insisted it was a team collaberation along with the help of their spouses and children.

Savona's chili was quite different from the others; their chili was actually quite sweet. It mainly consisted of meat and beans and some of us thought we detected a hint of cinnamon or some other unusual spice. It was really quite good and we appreciated that they stepped outside the box a little in terms of flavors. Dawn Phenes, CSP for H&R Block Painted Post shopped for the ingredients while Joe Rotsell, Volunteer Firefighter did the cooking.

Even though we (the judges) loved each of the chili's that we tasted, we were quite unanimous when it came to the chili that we felt stood out as being the best.....And the winner was....Congratulations to the Bath Volunteer Fire Department.

Karen Buck, Office Coordinator of H&R Block Painted Post and Matt Fregoe, District Manager of 
H&R Block presenting the award.

FYI - This blog is all about food and tradition and I just wanted to let everyone know a new tradition has been formed. That's right, mark your calenders because March 26th, 2011 get ready for the 2nd Annual Chili Cook-Off, sponsored by H&R Block.
Firefighters start your burners!

Kicked Up Con Carne
This is not one of the recipes from the chili cook-off but I am sure it is one you will enjoy. 

2 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 bunch celery, diced
2 lg. onions, diced
4 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced
2 green peppers, diced
2 red peppers, diced
1 Yellow pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. liquid smoke flavoring
4 oz. chili powder
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 (1 lb.) cans tomato puree
1 lb. can ground tomatoes
2 cans dark kidney beans, drained
1 can red beans, drained
Salt and pepper to taste

In large pot sauté onions, all peppers, and garlic in small amount of oil until tender. Add beef and pork. Stir around until cooked. Add flour to meat juices and mix well. Add 3 ounces chili powder, cayenne pepper, and liquid smoke and stir together.
Add tomato puree and ground tomatoes. Mix all together and simmer slowly for 1 1/2 hours. After 1 hour, add remaining chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. Also add drained beans and finish simmering for 30 minutes.


Katy ~ said...

I just made chili, using the prepackaged 2 Alarm Chili product. Love it! Someday I'll get over myself and make chili from scratch.

Julie said...

I have used those prepackaged chili products before Katy, I think some of them are quite good.