Saturday Night Chili and Games

Saturday night we invited a few people over for a pot of turkey chili (finally finished up the leftovers from Thanksgiving!) and some games.  In my mind, there’s nothing more fun than an evening spent playing board games and cards with a group of friends, supplemented by a simple and satisfying meal and a few bottles of wine.


Left to right: Tawn, Darrin, Kobfa, Si, Matt, Ken and Chris.  Chai, unfortunately, was off in Cambodia so couldn’t make it.

P1130955 The menu was simple: turkey chili, a loaf of “almost no knead bread” (recipe from Cooks Illustrated – I wanted to compare it to the NY Times’ recipe for “no knead bread” I made a week ago), and a large green salad.

The bread looked beautiful and wasn’t as wet and sticky as the NY Times’ recipe.  But the crumb was more even and didn’t have those gorgeous large bubbles inside.  Somewhere between the two lies the perfect “no knead” bread recipe.  I’ll continue to experiment.  Kudos, though, to Cooks Illustrated for having some helpful techniques that kept me from burning my fingers this time.

P1130966 The pot of chili was good but I ran out of cumin, which I consider a key ingredient in the flavor profile of a “pot of red”. 

Also, I didn’t have any masa farina – corn flour – and the handful of polenta didn’t add the same flavor or thickening that I’m used to with masa. 

Most important note with chili, one I failed to heed this time: make it a day in advance.  the flavors are so much better after they’ve been able to mingle.

P1130979 While seven people made the seating at the table a bit tight, I completely agree with Nina Garten when she says that small tables that are a bit crowded always feel more cozy.

After dinner we broke out the Aggravation, which Si and Matt brought.  Fun game but since only six could play and we were seven, we switched to Uno afterwards.  Uno is a fun game in a crowd and we played seven hands before calling it a night.  Right, the money is hidden so we’re not in violation of any Thai anti-gambling laws.

P1130971 Along the way, we had some dessert: homemade chocolate cake (Stephanie’s recipe – the absolute moistest cake I’ve ever eaten) with raspberry coulis and some of Si’s homemade strawberry ice cream, which was utterly fantastic.

Certainly an enjoyable and inexpensive Saturday night.  Next time, maybe homemade pizzas?  Actually, I’ve been thinking of trying to make my own pita bread.

News of Tawn.  While in the US, Tawn picked up some rubber boots for when it rains.  Or maybe just for when he “gardens”.


Above, Tawn in his gardening outfit, tending to the plants in the hallways outside our front door.  He looks like he should be pruning roses (or taking tea) in an English garden, no?


35 thoughts on “Saturday Night Chili and Games

  1. Tawn needs a straw hat and gardening gloves to complete the “outfit”. I’ve never added thickening to chili…where did you learn that? The bread looks delicious. I’ll have to try the CI recipe. Will Stephanie share her chocolate cake recipe? Is Darrin living in BKK now? We met him when we were there, I believe.

  2. Turkey chili plus the bread, then the salad and the yummy chocolate dessert *rubbing stomach* Next time I’ll bring some board games over and join the fun!Tawn looked as dashing as always…nice colour matching!

  3. ryc: nope, I just use the rice flour, didn’t use starch. I realize that they are actually the same as wheat flour, I just got the dough too wet so it was hard to work with… see

  4. the bread looks beautiful and the cake looks amazing. yummy ice cream and sauce. well played my friend. max wants me to make another one now. good for him valentine’s day is just around the corner. lol xoxo

  5. We love to make personal pan pizzas… We make the crusts ahead and then have every ingredient known to man in small dishes on the counter. Everyone is in charge of their own. Then its into the oven for 15 -20 min. No one can complain and they are just how they like them. We did have a problem with the garlic so we switched to galric in the jar. 

  6. @Just2Tyght – Thanks.  The thing about this style of baking – cooking it inside a pre-heated dutch oven set inside a 500 degree oven – is that you get the necessary heat to really give is that professional looking crust.  Makes all the difference in the world.

  7. @christao408 – Depends. I have about 12 aluminum (old-fashioned) pie plates. I can make the deep dish or thin crust. I also have 5 12″ aluminum pizza pans for “couples” pies. Again works for either depending on the thickness of the crust. The double crust is just not something I care for so havent done that. With big groups (family get togethers) I make the crusts and pop them out of the pans and then place them on cookie sheets after they’ve been “decorated”. It makes it more compact in the oven – just have to remember who has which pizza!

  8. @christao408 – so i stacked them without any difficulty. i did have the cake rest for many hours though. it was completely cooled when i layered the cake. (-: for valentine’s day, i bought 4 ceramic heart shaped muffin cups to bake the cake batter in. for the boys i will use a dairy/egg free recipe because of their allergies. i’m going to dust them with powdered sugar with a scoop of ice cream on the side. can’t wait! happy valentine’s day.

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