Red hot chili cook-off

It’s that time of year again…when we enthusiastically pull out our slow cookers, grab our spoons and gather together in the kitchen for our annual chili cook-off! This year’s competitors included a Queso Chicken Chili, Vegetarian Chili and Spicy Chorizo Butternut Squash Chili.

chili cook-off 2017 allchili cook-off 2017 veggiechili cook-off 2017 tastingchili cook-off 2017 chorizo

We loaded up our bowls with chili and piled on the toppings: cheese, green onions, cilantro, sour cream and avocado. And of course, there were plenty of chips for dipping! As we stuffed our faces sampled the chili, we debated the merits of chips vs. cornbread (both awesome) and had a hearty discussion about which Fritos are better: regular or scoops (scoops, obv).

After we had all enjoyed seconds and thirds, we cast our votes and went back to our desks to take Tums wait for the results.

And the winner was…Kelsey’s Queso Chicken Chili!

This cheesy white chili is packed with chicken, beans and chili peppers for a Mexican twist. It’s flavorful, but not too spicy – chili perfection! Another successful chili cook-off in the books, and another great chili recipe to add to your collection. Try it for yourself and you’ll thank us later.

queso chicken chili

Kelsey’s Queso Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 2 poblano peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cans Great Northern beans (2 cans mashed, 2 cans whole beans)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chiles
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 8 ounces queso cheese, shredded

 

Directions:

  • In large stock pot cook chicken in butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Remove and let cool. When cooled enough to touch, shred with two forks and set aside.
  • In same pot, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté onion over medium heat until softened. Add poblano peppers and garlic; sauté until onions are browned.
  • Rinse and drain beans. Mash 2 cans of the beans, leave 2 cans whole. (The mashed beans give the chili a wonderful creaminess!)
  • Add beans to the pot, along with the chicken stock and spices; simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.
  • Add shredded chicken, green chiles and lime juice; simmer for 20 more minutes.
  • Add queso and stir until cheese is melted.
  • Top with your favorite fixings!

 

Topping suggestions:

  • Sour cream
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Tortilla strips
  • More shredded queso!

 

 


Candy Talk, Episode 18: Custom Candy Bars

What if you could create your own candy bar from the ground up? Would you use that power for good…or evil? In this episode the Candy Talk team morphs into chocolatiers and takes the build-a-bar challenge.

Join us as we reveal the sometimes peculiar history of chocolate bars (which classic candy bar was forced into an unholy trinity with mayonnaise and tomatoes? are you appropriately worried about avoiding neck gauntness?) and then alternately surprise and horrify each other with our haute couture concoctions. Which bars did we expect to like but didn’t?  And which one was the surprising winner supreme?

chocolate lab chocolate bar

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White Mountain Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream

Before Ingredient, I didn’t bake. The precision and patience required to complete a bake drives me mad. And then there’s the chance you won’t know something is a disaster until the end. Hard pass. I’ll stick to cooking thankyouverymuch.

Not baking at Ingredient was a non-option. The remedy: I started a pie club with a couple of friends outside of work, and at work, baked through recipes like this and this and this.

My pre-bake routine

  1. Playlist on
  2. Recipe read fully. Twice.
  3. All ingredients prepped exactly as listed, both weight and temperature

My latest adventure in baking was to tackle BraveTart’s (aka. Stella Parks) White Mountain Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream. *gulp* Three layers. Okay. Homemade frosting. I can do this. Oh, you have to make homemade marshmallows for the frosting first?! *gulp*

The reviews made it worth it…

“It tastes like wedding cake.”

“It’s so light.”

“The frosting is delicious. I was expecting it to be sweeter, but I like that it isn’t.”

“It reminds me of angel’s food cake.”

White Mountain Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream slice

White Mountain Layer Cake with Marshmallow Buttercream

Ingredients:

The buttercream

  • 1 packet (2 14 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin powder
  • 14 cup (2 ounces) cool tap water to bloom the gelatin
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract and/or 
1 vanilla bean
  • 34 cup (6 ounces) water for the sugar syrup
  • 34 cup plus 2 tablespoons (10 ounces) light corn syrup
  • 2 cups (14 12 ounces) sugar
  • 12 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (half as much if iodized)
  • 5 sticks (20 ounces) unsalted butter, soft but cool–about 65°F

The cake

  • 4 cups (16 ounces) bleached cake flour such as Swans Down
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, pliable but cool—about 65°F
  • 23 cup (4 ounces) virgin coconut oil, solid but cream–about 70°F
  • 14 cups (16 ounces) sugar
  • 12 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 34 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (half as much if iodized)
  • 1 cup (8 12 ounces) egg whites (from 8 large eggs), brought to about 70°F
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) cultured low-fat buttermilk, brought to about 70°F

Directions:

  • To better synchronize the downtime in both recipes, start the Marshmallow Buttercream before the cake. First, make the marshmallow base: In a small bowl, mix the gelatin with 2 ounces (14 cup) cool tap water and vanilla extract, if using. If using a vanilla bean, split lengthwise with a paring knife, run the flat of the blade down each half to scrape out the seeds, and add to the gelatin without stirring. (Reserve the pod for another project.)
  • Combine remaining 6 ounces (34 cup) water, corn syrup, sugar, and salt in a 3-quart stainless steel pot and set over medium heat. Stir mixture with a fork until bubbling, about 5 minutes, then increase heat to medium-high. Clip on a digital thermometer and cook, without stirring, until the clear syrup registers 250°F, about 8 minutes.
  • Transfer thermometer to the bowl of a stand mixer and pour in the hot syrup all at once, scraping the pot with a heat-resistant spatula. Cool to exactly 212°F, about 8 minutes, then add gelatin. With the whisk attachment, mix on low speed until the gelatin is melted, then increase to medium-high and whip until thick, snowy white, roughly tripled in volume, and beginning to ball up around the whisk, about 10 minutes. Scrape into a greased 4-cup container, cover tightly, and let stand at cool room temperature until thick and firm, at least 2 hours, or up to 1 week.
  • While the marshmallow cream is resting, start the cake: Adjust an oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 325°F. Line three 8-by-3-inch anodized aluminum cake pans with parchment and grease with pan spray; if you don’t have three pans, the remaining batter can be held at room temperature for up to 3 hours. (The cakes will brown more and rise less in 2-inch pans.) Sift the flour (if using cup measures, spoon into the cups and level with a knife before sifting) and set aside. Combine butter, coconut oil, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to moisten, then increase to medium and cream until fluffy and light, about 5 minutes, pausing to scrape the bowl and beater halfway through. With the mixer running, add the egg whites one at a time, followed by vanilla and almond extracts.Reduce speed to low and sprinkle in one-third of the flour, followed by one-third of the buttermilk. Alternate between the two, allowing each addition to be roughly incorporated before adding the next. Once smooth, fold with a flexible spatula to ensure it’s well mixed from the bottom up. Divide among the prepared cake pans, about 22 ounces each.
  • Bake until the cakes are firm but pale, browned only around the very edges, about 40 minutes (or 210°F). A toothpick inserted into the center will emerge with a few crumbs still attached, and your fingertip will leave a slight indentation in the puffy crust. Cool until no trace of warmth remains, about 90 minutes.
  • While the cakes are cooling, finish the buttercream. Transfer marshmallow base to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whipping on medium speed, begin adding the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting for about 5 seconds after each addition. The fluffy creme will cling to the whisk at first but loosen as the butter is incorporated. Once combined, scrape the bowl with a flexible spatula and whip a minute more. The buttercream should be light and creamy but thick enough to hang upside down from a spoon. If it seems stiff or dense (feeling greasy rather than melting on your tongue), scoop a cup into a small bowl and microwave until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Return the melted buttercream to the bowl and whip 15 seconds on medium-high. Conversely, if it seems loose or gooey, refrigerate the entire bowl 15 minutes, then whip 3 minutes on medium-high.
  • Loosen the cakes from their pans with a knife. Invert onto a wire rack, peel off the parchment, and reinvert. Crumb-coat and frost with Marshmallow Buttercream. Serve immediately or store under a cake dome or an inverted pot; the frosted cake will keep for up to 24 hours at room temperature. After cutting, wrap leftover slices individually and store at room temperature for up to 2 days more.


Candy Talk, Episode 17: Candy Corn

Halloween’s just around the corner, baby!  And because we court controversy, in this episode we feature the most divisive Halloween candy in recent times, Candy Corn.

How sweet can a candy be before it can no longer be measured by modern science? Does molding candy into the shape of actual food make it more wholesome? And what mystery ingredient can you add to candy corn to take it to the next level?

Schedule a preventative dentist appointment and join us!

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Candy Talk, Episode 16: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

In this episode, our chocolate gets all up in your peanut butter with an iconic American candy, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Stick with the Candy Talk team as we harshly judge each other’s Reese’s-eating techniques, marvel at how many ways Reese’s can sell us chocolate + peanut butter, and debate if size does in fact matter*…

*get your head outta the gutter, ya perv.  

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Candy Talk, Episode 15: Muji

Candy Talk is going global again, and this time we’re introduced to candy from the intriguing Japanese company Muji.

Listen as our crack team samples a variety of Muji candies and discovers which has a taste you can feel in your nose, debates just how toasted is too toasted, and encounters a candy (pictured below) that made us so uncomfortable that we we won’t speak of it again just forget about it back off ok? [curls into fetal position]

muji

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Candy Talk, Episode 14: Dark Chocolate

Welcome to the dark side. In this episode of Candy Talk, we delve into the flowing silk rock ballad of the candy world: dark chocolate.

Is dark chocolate the ailment-punching Captain America of health foods? Which brand is the gateway dark chocolate? And at what percentage of cocoa does the bar start to absorb all available light?

Wrap yourself in an afghan and join us.

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Candy Talk, Episode 13: Pointless Nostalgia

Turn up the White Snake and synchronize your hypercolor Swatch, in this episode the team indulges in some pointless nostalgia and delves into 80s candy.

Which flavors we loved as children now cause us to cringe? Why did 80s candy try so hard to introduce children to smoking? And which iconic 80s candy was so good we BROUGHT IT BACK FROM THE DEAD?

Hang on, we’re about to hit 88 miles per hour.

Check out the awesomeness of this Big League Chew commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCawfG0CFvo

“Bar None” Recipe

bar none

Ingredients:

  • Voortman Chocolate Wafers
  • Finely chopped peanuts
  • Chocolate candy coating

Directions:

  • Set wafers on cooling grid, attempting to keep 2 wafers connected.
  • Melt candy coating per instructions on package.
  • Spread a bit of coating on top of wafer and sprinkle peanuts, pushing down so they stick. Allow to dry for a few minutes.
  • Pour candy coating over top, gently spread with offset knife to get complete even coating.
  • Allow to dry, then refrigerate.

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The Great Ingredient Pie Bake-Off

Before the ink was dry on The Great Ingredient Brownie Bake-Off trophy, someone shouted: “What’s next?”

“Cookies?”

“Nah, we already did chocolate chip.”

“Something savory?”

“The hot dish bake-off was kind of a flop.”

“Plus, we do chili in the fall.”

“Sweets seem to draw more entries…”

“Pie?!”

“YES! PIE!”

We kept the rules loose for the 1st annual Great Ingredient Pie Bake-Off. Sweet or savory. Pie, tart or galette. Baker’s choice.

  • Total entries: 6
  • Sweet: 6
  • Savory: 0
  • Pies: 5
  • Tarts: 0
  • Galettes: 1

 old fashioned blueberry key lime sour cream apple blueberry peach galette

It was a fierce competition, but in the end, Emily Tritabaugh’s Salty Honey was awarded the tarnished-pie-server trophy.

pie bake-off voting trophy salty honey pie

Salty Honey Pie

From Melissa and Emily Elsen of Four & Twenty Blackbirds

The crust

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8-10 tablespoons ice water with cider vinegar, or more as needed (combine 1 cup cold water, 1/8 cup cider vinegar and ice)

Directions:

  • Whisk the dry ingredients together and blend with a hand-held pastry blender the chopped, cold butter, being careful not to overwork during this step. The butter should be in pea-sized chunks, not too big, but not completely incorporated.
  • Slowly add the ice water and vinegar mixture and bring the dough completely together by hand, again being careful not to overwork. Aim to create a marbleized effect, so that the butter is still visible.
  • Divide into 2 discs, wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour or more before use.
  • Roll one disc of crust out to fit a 9-inch pan, about 1/4 inch thick. Place in a buttered pie pan, and crimp the edges as desired. Allow to rest and cool in freezer or fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  • Line the rolled-out crust with tinfoil or unwaxed parchment paper, add pie weights or about a cup of dry beans if you don’t have pie weights. Distribute them evenly.
  • Bake in a 375 F oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before filling with custard.
  • Freeze second disc for another day

The filling

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons flake sea salt for finishing (Maldon is a good choice)

Directions:

  • All of the mixing can be done by hand, or with an electric mixer.
  • Melt butter and combine with the sugar, salt and cornmeal to make a thick paste. Add the honey, vanilla and vinegar and mix together. Fold in the eggs, add the cream and blend.
  • Pour the filling into a pre-baked pie shell and bake at 350 F for 45 to 60 minutes. The filling will puff up like a marshmallow and the center will be just slightly wobbly. Once cooled (at least one hour), finish with a sprinkling of flake sea salt. Slice and serve with freshly whipped cream.

MPLS Dog: Behind the Scenes

One of the great things about working at Ingredient is getting to see the behind-the-scenes of how the recipe and content development sausage is made.  

And in the case of the MPLS Dog, here we’re talking literal sausage. (Tee-hee.)

Coming up with the idea is only half the battle; we then have to bring that idea to life and put our money where our mouth is (sorry, that’s the last bad food pun, promise) to create something that is both fun and delicious.

Luckily, fun and delicious is Ingredient’s specialty. So we rolled up our sleeves and hit the Ingredient kitchen in full mad scientist/Doc Brown mode.

Every component of the MPLS Dog went through rigorous testing:

What’s the perfect consistency of the hotdish?

 mpls dog hotdish

Which cheese will make it through our intensive Cheese Trials? (Sometimes you just gotta blow torch things.)

mpls dog cheese trials mpls dog blow torch

Just how many tots should adorn this bad boy? (The correct answer is *all* the tots. Whatever you got, pack it on.)

mpls dog tater tots mpls dog ketchup

Once we’d perfected the recipe, it was time to get the MPLS Dog styled for its close up. Because sometimes, looks actually do matter.

mpls dog styling mpls dog pedestal

The end result? We nailed it.

mpls dog beauty

Our reward? The whole company gathered and we ate. We ate our work, and it was delicious.

mpls dog team lunch

At Ingredient, this is what we’re all about – we love food, we love food culture, and we want to create and share those experiences.

We won’t share tots, though. So don’t even ask.