Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chili, Cheese, and Curling

As of late there have been so many blogs about football playoffs and the food people serve while watching the games. While we do get to watch football games North of the border, and many people are oh so interested in the games, and yes, the Superbowl is a highly watched event up here as well, I have to unabashedly admit to being a curling fan.
Curling may not be as exciting to watch as football, if you do know the ins and outs of the game, it is a very interesting game to watch, trust me. Last night while the Boy was getting ready for bed he actually tried to slowly make his way back into the living room to see how the game was going. Yes, we do watch curling on TV. No, I am not embarrassed to admit that. Really....Honestly.
The basics of curling:
  • The goal of curling is to deliver a rock down a sheet into the house. The rocks closest to the button get the points....WTF does this mean??
  • It is played on a long strip of ice 146 ft long called a sheet.
  • Each end of the sheet has a play area called the 'house'.
  • The house consists of concentric rings, each named for their diameter.
  • There is the four foot, the eight foot, and the twelve foot ring.
  • The very centre of the house is called the button.
  • Two teams, called 'rinks', each made of 4 players play
  • Each player throws, or delivers by sliding, a 'rock' to the other end of the sheet of ice.
  • Players each throw two rocks for a total of eight rocks per team
  • A rock is a smoothly polished piece of granite weighing in between 38 to 44 lbs a piece with a handle fixed to the top.
  • A curler can control the rock by adjusting the speed, or weight, of the rock as well as by the direction and amount of spin placed on the rock
  • A rock 'curls' as it travels down the ice. That is it has movement from left to right or from right to left.
  • A rock in motion can also be helped by sweeping the ice directly in front of it as it travels.
  • Sweeping reduces the friction between the rock and the ice helping the rock to keep moving straight. Sometimes it seems as though the sweepers are dragging the rock behind them.
  • Sweeping also helps keep the rock from curling too much. (moving left or right)
  • Sweeping is hard work.
  • The rocks closest to the button score points. If there is a rock of another colour placing second closest it does not score, only the first rock scores. On the other hand, if there are 3 rocks of the same colour closest, that team scores 3 points.
    In all honesty, there really is more to curling than meets the eye, and no it isn't just because every curling club has a bar attached to the ice barn....well okay, perhaps that helps with the popularity of the sport. There is an old saying North of the border: "My drinking team has a curling problem" All joking (and drinking) aside, our fair city has many a curling club. It is a game of camaraderie and is a very social outing for those who play. Let me also assure those of you that think you don't get exercise from playing that this can be a strenuous game. If you have ever had trouble with ALL of your muscles the day after an intense workout, then you know people feel after the first game of the season. (Especially the drinking teams!) Between sweeping and the stretching of your body when you deliver a rock...your body can take a beating!
    Read more about the sport by clicking here. It can be confusing. The easiest way to get past the confusion is to get out there and play! Click here to see another neat site about curling. Of course I must add the link to for the Canadian Curling Association Currently the Continental Cup is playing. This is a tournament that pits North America vs the World in curling and is currently being played is St. Albert, Alberta. Today is an absolutely frigid day, perfect for curling making chili and watching curling on TV! The crock pot is a great tool for this dish! Once again, I do not have a standard chili recipe. It is a bit different every time I make it. Continental Cup Curling Chili Ingredients - chili is one of those wonderful things that can use so many different combinations of veggies. Only have half of a pepper? use it! Mushrooms need to be used? Throw 'em in! Want to use tofu instead? Grate up some firm tofu and use it!
    • Ground beef (or turkey, chicken, bison.....any ground meat....but stewing meat also works wonders)
    • large onion, diced
    • green pepper, diced
    • red pepper, diced
    • yellow pepper, diced
    • celery, with leafy green parts, diced
    • jalapeno, diced (remove veins and seeds to reduce heat, if desired)
    • chili powder or spice mix of your choice
    • frozen corn
    • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
    • 28 oz can diced tomatoes (use low salt if you can find it)
    • can of beans in tomato sauce
    • can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed (today I used white kidney beans but I was looking for the soy beans.)
    • can of black beans, drained and rinsed
    • a healthy pinch of dried chilies
    • Anything else in your fridge you can think of.... I have added diced potatoes before.
    • This is a great opportunity to empty your fridge of all those items left over from other recipes!
    Brown the ground beef breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks.
    Transfer the cooked meat to the slow cooker Give the veggies a quick saute in some melted coconut oil (or olive oil), then transfer to crock pot
    Open the cans of beans and tomatoes and add them to the crock pot
    Add chili powder to suit your tastes Stir it up, put on the lid and turn it on to high.
    The wonderful thing here is if you are not cooking it now, but you are making this the evening before so you can plug and go in the morning then simply put the crock in fridge until morning. Just remember to turn the crock pot on AND plug it in in the morning! Let the crock pot work its magic for a good 6 hours or so. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving. Serve with garnishes such as sour cream, grated cheese, and chopped green onions.

    Fresh pretzel rolls go well with chili.
    Corn chips go well with chill too!
    So do hot dogs.


    The Boy's chili cheese dogs

    Now it is time to kick back with a spicy bowl of chili and watch some curling! (Or any sport really)  It is just too darned cold outside for anything else!

    3 comments:

    1. I didn't know anything about curling! Thanks for sharing!!! :D

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    2. My mind is on chili! Perfect time for me to read your post......we have a chili cook off next week. I'm trying to pull together different recipes and then create my own. This looks great! I love a good chili dog:)

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    3. Yum....excellent chili. It looks delicious. ;) I do enjoy curling. Very entertaining game.

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