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applesauce cake

adapted from Gale Gand's Applesauce Cake 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature 2 cups brown sugar (dark or light), ...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

olive oil granola with fresh cranberries

sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? olive oil in granola? fresh cranberry sauce baked into granola? how? why?

why olive oil? actually, you're food-savvy; you probably heard of it before I did. granola made with extra-virgin olive oil is rich, delicious and deep -- a perfect combination of sweet & a bit salty; totally addictive. there are quite a few recipes going around the interwebz; Melissa Clark's recipe for Olive Oil Granola with Dried Apricots and Pistachios from the New York Times is excellent, and possibly what started the trend back in 2009. so then, you may ask, why cranberries, Diane, why??? simple: I had leftover fresh cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, and I wanted to use it somewhere I could taste it, because I love cranberries. they're very good in this granola; so good that I made a new batch of cranberry sauce just to refine/test this recipe. of course, if you don't have leftover cranberry sauce hanging around, or if you'd prefer a different berry, you can substitute raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, etc. -- just use a bit less sugar to compensate for sweeter fruits. you can also leave out the fresh fruit entirely, and just add plenty of dried fruit at the end. you can easily leave out the coconut and/or nuts and it still works; this is one of many delicious variations. by the way, if you've read this far, leave me a comment to let me know. if you can make it through my verbiage, I'll at least name a recipe after you. anyway...

however you make it, I highly recommend you try making olive oil granola. then be prepared to lock it up tight, because it will disappear at an alarming rate. it's that good. this recipe will yield about 6 cups of granola.

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant, not steel-cut -- only old-fashioned rolled oats will work for this recipe)
  • optional: 1 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut (I don't like the combination of coconut and cranberries, so I left it out, but I'd definitely use it with just about any other fruit)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey (you can substitute 1 cup maple syrup for the brown and/or white sugars and water, or substitute 1-1/4 cups maple syrup for the sugars, water and the honey)
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2-1 cup leftover (or freshly made) cranberry sauce, however much you have
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used reduced-sugar dried cranberries; just about any kind of dried fruit will work here, as long as it's somewhat soft -- no leathery un-sulphured apricots or the like, but just about anything else will work)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 4 ounces toasted nuts, such as chopped pecans, sliced almonds, roasted shelled pistachios, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds -- whatever combination you prefer
place the oats (and optional coconut) in a large bowl. combine the brown sugar, white sugar and water in a medium/deep saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. after your sweetener has cooled a bit, whisk in the honey , olive oil, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cranberry sauce, and combine thoroughly. pre-heat the oven to 275 degrees F. pour the sweetener/olive oil mixture over the oats in the bowl and mix in completely. oil a couple of baking sheets and spread the granola out into even layers and bake for 60 minutes or so, until golden brown and crunchy, stirring gently/rotating trays every 15 minutes. remove to racks and allow to cool a bit. n.b. don't let the granola cool in the pans unless you *really* enjoy soaking & scrubbing -- otherwise, tip it out while it's still a bit warmwhile still a bit warm, scrape the granola off the baking sheets into a large clean bowl, allow to cool completely, and mix in the dried fruits (and optional toasted nuts). taste for seasoning, and add a pinch more salt or cinnamon if you'd like. whatever you do, don't break up the big clusters of granola that form -- you know those are the first pieces you're going to eat! I don't know why, but they're the most desirable pieces of granola, so let them happen. seriously: every time you break up a cluster of homemade granola, somewhere a tiny kitten cries. so just don't do it. store this granola in large jars in the freezer (it will get stale in the fridge), except for the jar from which you're currently munching -- that can be kept safely at room temperature for at least a few days. if it lasts that long. 

eat over greek yogurt and fresh fruit, with milk, or any way you like granola. I must confess: I ate every bit of this granola plain, pouring myself small cups full as snacks/desserts. it's definitely that good!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving dressing (the good stuff): UPDATED for extra deliciousness

like many of the best holiday dishes, this is an amalgam of recipes from family, friends, things I learned in my former life as a chef and a few twists of my own. and like all the best recipes, it changes just a little every year. dressing is extremely malleable and customizable, so don't be afraid to change it up, add/subtract ingredients, make it your own. that said, I suppose I should give you a recipe rather than just the general notion "hey! make some stuffing or dressing!", so here's what I'm doing this year (including comments re: what I may do differently next year).

start by baking three different breads (my recipes are linked below):

  1. buttermilk cornbread, made with brown butter (see the brown butter batter bread recipe notes for directions to make it) in which I sauteed about 1/4 of an onion, plus a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh sage, 4-5 good slugs of Tabasco and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  2. brown butter batter bread
  3. biscuits (one day I'll publish my own recipe, but today I made them with Pioneer Buttermilk Biscuit Mix, and they were wonderful. just promise me you won't use canned biscuit dough, if you can avoid it -- the baking mix is just as easy and bakes pretty great biscuits). I made a batch from 3 cups of baking mix and 1 cup of milk.
hmmmm... buttermilk cornbread, brown butter batter bread & biscuits -- that's awfully alliterative, isn't it? unintentional, but mildly amusing. I am easily amused. so! after you bake each kind of bread, cool it, crumble coarsely and toast in baking pans in an oven heated to 400 degrees F for anywhere from 15-25 minutes -- you want to dry it out a bit (to avoid soggy dressing -- ew!) and get the crumbles golden brown. I do all of this -- baking and toasting -- the day before. dressing actually works a bit better when the bread is a day old.

by the way, baking all that bread will give you enough stuffing for an enormous crowd, but it doesn't make sense to bake a half loaf of bread, so once I got to this point, I took out about 3 quarts of the bread crumbs and froze them for future batches of dressing/stuffing. next year, I'll bake fewer biscuits, and maybe a smaller loaf of batter bread. or maybe I'll do it exactly like this again. I'm not sure yet. one new thing I did this year that I will continue to do -- make extra bechamel/veloute, and you'll have the base for your turkey gravy all ready -- all you'll have to do is add turkey drippings after you roast the bird; no hassle at all! and it's *good*. okay, here we go.
  • 3-4 quarts of the aforementioned crumbled, toasted breads -- about half of the total if you bake full batches of all the breads
  • at least 1/4 cup of fresh parsley (don't even think about using dried -- it's worthless); more if you'd like
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons schmaltz (!!!) yes, rendered chicken fat! your turkey's not cooked yet, or you could use the fat from the drippings. and if you don't keep schmaltz around in your freezer (I skim it off the top of my chicken stock when cooled, or do the same with refrigerated drippings after roasting a chicken), well, I think you should, but you can also just use the rest of the stick of butter instead. I just love schmaltz -- so much flavor -- like the poor man's duck fat.
  • 1 large or 2 small yellow onions, chopped finely (shallots would be lovely here, too)
  • 4-6 stalks celery, chopped finely (yeah, I forgot to buy celery this year -- d'oh! it would have been better with it, but was still good)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage (or 1 teaspoon dried, rubbed sage), chopped finely
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme), chopped finely
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon dried poultry seasoning, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 medium carrots, peeled and diced finely
  • 1 bunch green onions, cleaned and sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
caveat: I'm still working on these proportions; I may adjust them tomorrow -- I'm fairly sure about the amounts of bread, herbs and veggies, but may need to adjust the amounts of butter, liquids and/or eggs. *update: OH, the changes I made! well, nothing huge, but enough that it's made quite a nice difference (including the surprise bonus of getting the gravy base done at the same time) -- this is now the best dressing I've ever tasted... so far! some measurements have been nailed down, while others are still a bit... fluid, but with good reason! additions and explanations are indicated in bold throughout (except in the main cooking instructions below, because I changed so much that it would just be silly to bold it all).

that said: combine the breads in a large bowl, stirring together lightly (don't smash them up; keep it a bit fluffy). use 3 tablespoons each of the butter and schmaltz (or 3 tablespoons of just butter, if you're not using schmaltz) to saute the onions and about 1/3 each of the sage and thyme until tender, translucent and golden brown, seasoning as you cook with a bit of freshly ground black pepper and some poultry seasoning. when done, set aside 2 tablespoons of the sauteed onions in a small bowl, and scrape out all the rest of the pan into the bowl of breads. in the same pan, do the same with the celery, sauteeing w/the same amount of butter and schmaltz (or just butter), 1/3 each of the sage and thyme -- everything you did with the onions, including adding 2 tablespoons of the sauteed celery to the bowl with the reserved onions, then adding the rest to the big dressing bowl. add 3 tablespoons more butter/schmaltz and cook the carrots and green onion together with the remaining sage and thyme and cook just as you did the yellow onions and celery, seasoning as you go, setting aside 2 tablespoons of the cooked carrots/green onions with their yellow onion and celery friends, pouring the remaining carrot mixture into the dressing bowl. now, add 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan, place over medium heat, add the reserved sauteed yellow onion, celery, carrots and green onion, and saute for just a couple of minutes. then add the flour and mix into the fat -- it should combine to become approximately the texture of peanut butter. add more fat -- butter or schmaltz -- if it's too dry. lower heat to medium low and cook the veggies and roux, stirring/scraping the bottom of the pan constantly, for about 5-6 minutes, allowing the roux to darken a bit (adjust heat accordingly if it starts browning too quickly or doesn't brown/bubble at all). when the roux is done, whisk in 3 cups of the chicken stock and cream, and add the bay leaf and a pinch of nutmeg. raise heat to medium and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened -- it should coat the back of a spoon nicely; a bit thicker than a regular white sauce. season to taste with salt, pepper and perhaps another touch of poultry seasoning, and then ladle about 1.5-2 cups into the dressing mixture, and stir to combine. you want to add enough to moisten it all, but not soak it. some of the larger chunks of bread will still be a bit dry in the center, but it will hold together fairly well. taste and make your final seasoning adjustments. but what about all that lovely sauce you didn't use, and the extra cup of chicken stock? yep, you've got it! strain that sauce through a chinois or a fine metal mesh strainer (throwing away the solids), add the chicken stock to the sauce and bring back to a simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened -- this time, it's the right thickness for gravy! so when you finish roasting your turkey, add in the turkey drippings (excess fat removed, of course), and your gravy is done! magic! back to the dressing: whisk the eggs in a bowl with the baking powder, and fold it into the dressing mixture. spoon it (without packing it down too much) into a 9x13 buttered baking dish. cover with buttered foil or parchment (butter-side-down) (you can prepare it a day ahead at this point -- just refrigerate, then take out from the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to bake it, so it can come to room temperature). bake the dressing covered for 30 minutes, then remove foil or parchment and continue baking another 15-20 minutes, until top is nicely browned and crisp.

things you could add to or change about this stuffing that would be delicious (just don't do them all!):
  • a moderate amount of fresh, finely chopped rosemary
  • 1-2 peeled, diced apples, sauteed in butter with the onion, celery, etc.
  • a container (I think they're usually 8-10 ounces) white button, cremini or baby bella mushrooms, cleaned, quartered and sauteed in butter/schmaltz like the other veggies
  • 1/2-3/4 cup dried fruit, plumped in just a bit of hot water or chicken stock -- cranberries or cherries would be especially good
feedback on this recipe particularly welcomed!

brown butter batter bread

adapted from smittenkitchen.com's fantastic recipe for white batter bread -- easy, retro, so comforting and addictive -- try it! my adaptation consists mostly of adjusting the amounts/proportions to create a nice, high loaf in a 9x5 loaf pan, and a little twist of using brown butter* to add a bit more dimension to the flavor. browning the butter isn't essential; it's still delicious with just melted butter as an ingredient, but brown butter (a.k.a. beurre noisette) is magical, and makes it just that much more... mmmph. yum. etc.

  • 1.5 cups whole milk, warmed to approximately 110 degrees -- not hot; you don't want to kill the yeast; just warm enough to provide an ideal temperature for the yeast to do its job
  • 2 teaspoons (a bit less than one envelope) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown butter*
  • 2.5-3 cups all-purpose flour
combine the milk, yeast, sugar and salt in a bowl. add the brown butter after it's cooled for a few minutes, then stir in 2 cups of the flour and beat the batter for a few minutes with a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment of an electric mixer. anywhere from 2-5 minutes is fine -- get it totally smooth and activate the gluten a bit. add another half cup of flour and mix in, then keep adding flour, tablespoon by tablespoon, until it reaches a texture somewhere between a pourable batter and regular bread dough. you should still be able to stir it by spoon (don't add so much flour that it must be kneaded), but not too easily. the best description I can come up with is that the batter should be "scoop-able;" sort of able to hold its shape as you scoop it out with a spoon, but still sticky, and by no means stiff. 

so! scoop it out into a buttered 9x5" loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for an hour. when it's time to bake, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake for 40-50 minutes; until the internal temperature reaches 190-205 degrees F (I know Deb calls for the bread to be baked to 210 degrees F, but I found it just a bit too dry. I am also aware that her recipes instructs you to lower the heat to 375 degrees F after putting the loaf in the oven, but I prefer the crustiness that develops when baked at 400 degrees F.)


*brown butter (or beurre noisette) is just butter that's been heated slowly, so that the milk solids brown and undergo the Maillard reaction, which creates a whole new world of more complex, toasty delicious flavor. to make it,  just place unsalted butter in a saucepan or saute pan, and heat over medium-low heat until the milk solids in the butter cook and change color, deepening to somewhere between golden brown and deep, rich (but not dark!) brown. "noisette" is French for hazelnut, and the color of the hazelnut is pretty much the color you're aiming for when you brown the butter. keep the heat medium-low, and as soon as you reach the desired color, take the pan off the heat and pour directly into your recipe, or into a container to stop the cooking. burnt butter is not what you want. on the off chance your butter smokes and/or turns deep brown/black, throw it out, clean the pan and try again. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

brussels sprouts with brown butter and parmigiano reggiano

the key to making delicious brussels sprouts is simple -- cut them in half so they cook quickly, parboil them for ~3-4 minutes until just almost tender, cool quickly in ice water to stop the cooking, then re-warm them in butter to serve. to make them sublime, brown the butter (the French call it "beurre noisette" -- which means "hazlenut butter," referring both to the color and the flavor).


  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, rinsed, outer damaged leaves removed, core end trimmed and cut in half vertically
  • large pot of boiling water w/a pinch of salt
  • large bowl of ice water
  • 1/4-1/2 stick of butter (depending upon how much butter you like -- I use the larger amount, but I like butter a LOT), cooked over medium heat in a large saute pan until deep brown but *not* burned -- remove it from heat as soon as it's done and set aside
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 ounces parmigiano reggiano, finely grated
drop the trimmed brussels sprouts into the boiling water (use lots of boiling water, set over high heat, so that it comes back to a boil quickly), and cook for 3-4 minutes -- until the brussels sprouts are tender, but a teeny bit less done than you want -- they will finish cooking in the butter. as soon as they're done boiling, drain them and immediately plunge them into the ice water to set the color and stop the cooking -- they should be bright emerald green and beautiful. while you're cooking the brussels sprouts, brown the butter as instructed, then removed from the heat. drain the sprouts when they're cool, and place them in the butter in the saute pan. return the pan to medium heat, and toss the sprouts in the hot butter until warmed through. season with salt and pepper, give a final toss and turn out into a serving dish. top with the finely grated parmigiano and serve.

brown butter and parmigiano perform some sort of magical alchemy on almost any green vegetable, turning them into ambrosia. trust me on this.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lynell's maple-glazed sweet potatoes

I've put this recipe together in response to a request from my friend Lynell, who wants to make a Thanksgiving sweet potato/yam dish with maple syrup, butter and pecans -- no brown sugar... and knowing Lynell, no artificially-flavored marshmallows, faux low-fat ingredients -- she likes *real* food, as do I!

this should make about 6 cups total. I highly recommend using true sweet potatoes rather than yams -- sweet potatoes usually have smoother skins. while I love the texture and flavor of white sweet potatoes (usually found in Asian markets and some larger grocery stores that cater to a Hispanic market), they don't contain as much vitamin A as their richer, sweeter orange-fleshed counterparts, and they just don't have that classic flavor you're looking for at Thanksgiving. so look for some nice, smooth-skinned sweet potatoes with deep orange flesh (the peel is really no indication of the inner color, so it's worth it to ask the produce staff for their suggestions).

  • 1/2-1 cup pecan halves
  • 2-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into one- to two-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon or rum (try Eagle Rare Bourbon or Myers Rum), OR 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice (closely related to black pepper, but sweeter in flavor)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated (or pre-ground) nutmeg
  • optional: a pinch or two of ground cinnamon, if desired
  • kosher salt to taste 
preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes, until fragrant (err on the side of under-done, if needed -- you don't want them burnt! and they will cook further in the dish). pour the pecans out onto a cutting board to cool, then chop finely. butter the same baking sheet and arrange the potatoes in one layer. in a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, butter, bourbon OR rum OR lemon juice, spices and a big pinch of salt, and heat over low heat until butter is melted. whisk together, taste and add more salt if desired -- it should taste a bit salty, as it needs to season the sweet potatoes, too. pour the syrup mixture over the sweet potatoes and toss to coat evenly. cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. remove foil and continue to bake, stirring occasionally, until tender and beginning to brown. add the chopped pecans and bake 15 minutes longer.

if desired, you can prepare the dish a day ahead -- just place in an oven-safe serving dish & refrigerate. reheat the next day at 350 degrees, for 20-30 minutes, until hot all the way through.

Friday, November 16, 2012

quite tasty Texas chili

I combined several chili recipes, then adjusted them together to my taste and added the things I want in chili, and came up with something really good. note: sometimes I make "fancier" chili -- using stew meat (hand chopped), soaking and grinding dried pasilla, ancho and chipotle chiles -- this is not that kind of chili. this is a good, basic, easy-to-make recipe; the kind that every Texan (or honorary Texan!) should have in their repertoire. you're welcome to make this one your own, and of course, I'd love to hear how y'all do it. and speaking of "recipes" -- this is not so much a recipe as a set of guidelines. you can change many of the steps and/or ingredients: use all ground beef instead of a beef/sausage mix, or stew meat instead of either; soaked and ground dried whole chiles instead of chili powder (if you do this, use a little less chile and add a bit more ground cumin, oregano, salt and black pepper to compensate & balance the flavors), leave the small amount of tomato sauce out entirely or substitute Rotel or a similar tomato/green chile sauce, leave out or increase the green chiles (or use fresh, roasted & peeled green chiles)... the possibilities are almost endless.

Texas chili does not contain beans of any sort (unless you're making a vegetarian version, of course, which makes more sense than you might think -- with all these seasonings, the meat is not really the star). but if you wanted to make this into, say, Cincinnati chili, you could include some kidney beans, add a pinch of cinnamon, and serve over noodles, with optional toppings of grated cheddar, chopped onion, etc. in fact, except for the noodles, those toppings are fairly universal. try making it into a Frito Pie by pouring it over some Fritos (only Fritos will do!), either in a bowl or right in a single-serving bag, and top with cheddar, onions & jalapenos.


I could go on, but I think you know how to eat chili if you're looking at this recipe. so without further ado, here's how I made it today:



  • 2 tablespoons oil (cooking oil or EVOO; whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 smallish (or 1/2 large) chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 pound ground chuck (80/20, as in 80% lean, 20% fat)
  • 1 pound hot pork sausage (I used Jimmy Dean, but almost any kind will do, as long as you avoid wildly clashing flavors)
  • 30-32 ounces low-sodium beef broth (I only had chicken broth on hand, and it did just fine; veggie would work, too)
  • 1 bouillon cube (beef, chicken or veggie), crushed
  • 1 8-ounce can El Pato Salsa de Chile Fresco (or 1/2 can of Rotel Tomatoes w/Green Chiles, or 8 ounces plain tomato sauce, or salsa, or... you get it; whatever's on hand)
  • 2 4-ounce cans chopped, peeled green chiles (or a similar amount of freshly roasted, peeled & chopped green poblano or Hatch or Anaheim chiles
  • 2-3 tablespoons ground paprika (hot or sweet, but not smoked -- that would be too overpowering here, though you could add a pinch of smoked paprika if you like)
  • 1-2+ tablespoons chili powder (the kind that includes chiles, oregano, cumin, etc. OR use 1.5 tablespoons straight powdered chile, and add more oregano, cumin and black pepper to taste)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon Mexican oregano (start w/less, add more near the end if needed)
  • 1-1.5 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina, (if you don't have any masa flour on hand, do what I did -- tear a few fresh corn tortillas into quarters and throw into the chili, allow to cook ~15 minutes or so, until disintegrated), to thicken chili to your taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar, to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (or whatever you have on hand -- just not super-fruity raspberry vinegar, nor straight white vinegar -- something mildly acidic, as a flavor counterpoint) or lime juice, again, to taste
  • whatever else you like to add to your chili: I tossed in a couple of small bits of Mexican chocolate, but NOT much; you could add a pinch of cinnamon here, more oregano, cumin, black pepper, chili powder, garlic or onion powder (the only reason those last two items are in my kitchen are for chili -- they're traditional in Texas chili, and they just taste good in it -- just be sure you're using onion or garlic powder, not onion or garlic salt!), chopped canned chipotles -- whatever you like, except for salt! with all the bouillon cubes, pork sausage and regular chili powder, it's likely this chili will be quite well salted. however, if you think you want to add some, please finish simmering before adding salt -- you'll probably need less than you think.
in a large Dutch (Lodge cast iron) or French (Le Creuset) oven, or similarly large, heavy pot, heat the oil and lightly brown the chopped onion over medium-high heat. when translucent and browned to your liking, turn the heat to medium-low and add the minced garlic. continue to cook for a minute or two, then scoop it all out into a large bowl. put the pan back on the heat, and brown the ground beef, then drain off the fat, and scoop that into the bowl with your onions. then do the same with the sausage, breaking the pieces up. after pouring off all excess grease, add the onions, garlic & browned meats back to the pot, and pour in the El Pato sauce (or other tomato sauce) and broth (you can use two 15-ounce cans, or a 32-ounce carton -- or a similar amount of homemade) and bring to a boil. reduce heat to a medium boil and add the canned green chiles, 2 tablespoons of the paprika, 1 tablespoon of the chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon of the oregano, 1 tablespoon of the cumin and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper, and cook, covered, for ~45 minutes. then taste, and add the remaining paprika, chili powder, oregano, cumin and/or black pepper to suit your taste (if it's not hot enough, add a bit of cayenne pepper if you want -- but only after all of the various chiles have been added and have simmered for a bit). you can add another clove of minced garlic also, if you'd like. reduce heat to a simmer and cook another 20 minutes, then taste again and adjust heat/spices, and add the masa harina (or corn tortillas -- whatever you have on hand -- even regular cornmeal will work, but the flavor's best w/masa or corn tortillas), brown sugar (try adding a teaspoon at a time, until the right balance of flavor is achieved), a bit of vinegar, and simmer for 10 minutes. taste and  add salt if needed (mine didn't need any additional salt, which is surprising, because I'm a salt fiend!). serve with rice, macaroni noodles, saltines, Fritos, cornbread, sourdough -- however you like to eat your chili. top with shredded cheddar, sour cream (or crema mexicana), chopped white or green onion, sliced jalapenos, salsa -- again, however you like it. ENJOY.