Readers of this blog will have noticed that a man called Ross has crept into recent entries.
Since I am about to introduce him properly – and to share his excellent recipe for chili – I’ll spill the beans.
I met Ross Whitney in February, 2009, over an excellent pizza at Pazzo in downtown Stratford. The introduction was made by my hairdresser Julie whose husband Dave was the drummer in the same blues band for which Ross played electric bass.
“A musician with a job!” exclaimed my friend Mary-Margaret, referring to Ross’s day-job at RIM and jumping up and down with glee when I told her of my new romance a few months later.
And indeed the man I call my boyfriend for want of a better term (paramour, insignificant other and fiance – a term Ross did once use in reference to me, the short woman wearing a leopard coat further down the aisle, while talking to an employee at Canadian Tire – seem even more inappropriate) has been just that for more than 18 months.
That pizza, Ross’s endearing smile, his brilliant mind and an amazing, intangible soul-mate connection that has bonded us – a country boy from Milverton and urban Jew from all over the place (see my bio on this site) – was just the beginning.
Having struggled, to no avail, with feeling comfortable in the rural small town of Stratford, I now live back in Toronto’s Kensington Market – my old favourite neighbourhood that feels like home – and Ross is making plans to move in.
Meanwhile, we’ve both put our former homes up for sale. On a visit to his place to move the dining room table, Ross served me this chili as a light supper – it is intensely flavoured and delicious. Almost as good as his other specialty: French toast stuffed with cheese and bacon done on the George Foreman grill.
He makes this whole recipe and freezes it in individual servings.
Ross’s Ultimate Chili
1 lb (450 g) lean ground beef
One packet Old El Paso chili seasoning mix
19 oz can Aylmer Accents CHILI tomatoes (seasoned with onion, celery, sweet green peppers and chili spices)
Two 14 oz cans Heinz Chili Style beans (a blend of pinto and red kidney beans seasoned with chili spices and peppers)
14 oz Compliments Fireball chunky salsa (available at Sobey’s, Foodland, Price Chopper, IGA)
Brown and crumble beef in a large pot over medium heat. Drain fat.
Add remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly. Hint: Use an empty bean can to measure salsa.
Reduce heat to medium-low and heat chili to a slow boil, stirring occasionally.
If desired, garnish with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and/or finely snipped fresh cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips. Makes six 12 oz servings.
Note for the timid: Feel free to substitute mild or medium salsa if less heat is desired.
Note from Marion: The “timid” would include moi.
Note #2 from Marion: Surprisingly, the hot, original version of this chili prepared recently by Ross had no untoward after-effects.
Those with delicate constitutions will know what I mean.