If you live anywhere near the Northeast, you probably spent this weekend the same way I did: sleeping in as long as possible under your down duvet, choosing outfits based on the amount of fleece that can be layered underneath, and sipping multiple cups of hot tea to warm frozen fingers. We've reached a new low here in NYC (literally) and we city-dwellers have responded with ankle-length quilted coats, wool socks, gloves, neck warmers, earmuffs, scarves, hats and hoods cinched tight. There's really no way to beat it, so in the midst of hibernating, social outings for the weekend were limited to things indoors... with central heating.
I saw "Sherlock Holmes" on Friday along with the rest of the Upper West Side who apparently had the same idea of stealing away in commercial warmth. And I have to say, I actually really enjoyed the movie (and the heat of the jam-packed theater)! I think Robert Downey Jr.'s acting comeback has been pretty fab and maybe it's not a theater must-see, but it was totally entertaining. It also re-affirmed my girl-crush on Rachel McAdams and I want to steal her fuchsia dress from the movie and wear it around my apartment. And Jude Law has never been hard to look at ;)
Then last night's plans came together late in the day (I was so far under my duvet that I couldn't hear the phone ring) - but it ended up being the kind of night I want many more of in 2010. The "house party" seems to have been lost as I've gotten older, likely due to growing out of dorms and growing in to city apartments that don't have room to pack 'em in by the dozen. But last night one of my girlfriends suggested cooking "in" instead of braving the cold and going "out" to eat, and we wrangled a couple girls to get in on some chili-making and wine-drinking.
I've been cooking chili for the past few years and it's usually an all-day process with a slow simmer to let the flavors come together, not something you can whip together in an hour for dinner. But part of my chili education a few years ago lead me to a fun chili cookbook that features the best chili restaurant/diner recipes from each state. I've had good luck with every recipe I've tried from the book so when the girls requested a turkey chili, I found a recipe from Bakery Bar in Portland, OR that we decided to give a shot. We gathered ingredients and met at Julie's cozy apartment to cook it up (read: drink 3 bottles of wine and sing-a-long to the "Glee" soundtrack).
The chili was deeeelicious (I'm already planning a weekend chili-making session to stock my freezer with the spicy stuff) and cozying into Julie's poufy couch with a big glass of red wine and some of my best friends within arms-reach was the best way I could have spent my Saturday night. Just goes to show you don't need to spend $100 at one of NYC's finest restaurants to enjoy great food with close friends. And with this kind of chill in the air, I'd rather trek 20 blocks to Julie's apartment than wait for a West Village reservation in the freezing cold. Oh, and the best part? The meal + wine cost us $12/pp, and we each left with a "to go" container ready to re-heat. Couldn't have kicked off 2010 any better.
I wouldn't change a thing about this recipe - it was spicy (but I like spicy) so perhaps tone down the cayenne if you're sensitive to heat.
Bakery Bar Turkey Chili
Bakery Bar, Portland OR