Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jay Sycip's Tequila Chili Pasta

Jay Sycip pictured on the right

This is not a GeWilli foodie post. I am NOT a foodie. I eat good food but do not obsess about it. Not that there is anything wrong with that. So back when I went from an editor of a magazine to being a stay at home dad in full freak out mode with a colicky baby I got into cooking. I watched a ton of Jaques Pepin with a baby sleeping on my chest. I learned a lot. And I got into it. But like everything I do I tend to go "full Chip ADHD auto" in the blink of an eye. What is full Chip ADHD auto? You clearly haven't spent much time with me if you have to ask that. Its the old kill em all and let god sort them out approach to the Zombie apocalypse. Full auto is never a good thing. All it does is jam your AK and leave you without ammo...
Children of the Night. Jay keeping the zombies at bay

But back to my transformation from hellion to stay at home dad. So yeah we were alone out in SF in a 3 bedroom condo with a new baby. We hunkered down cause we had no family back up and really only one babysitter. So I cooked a lot. Jacques is an amazing teacher. His shows were like Zen to me. Even though I was in full on daddy day care mode I was still a biker. We lived right at the base of Mt Diablo. It is like a dream or past life to me at this point. But dear god there was some sick riding right out my front door. Again I had made a pretty rapid change in my life. We had just moved from San Francisco. I had left the bike industry. Or the bike industry kind of folded all around me would be a more accurate description. People really have no idea how bad the job market was when my wife and I got out of school. It was a disaster. But we lived a good life. Never complained. Didn't try to occupy anything. So here I am in the 'burbs. Beautiful 'burbs mind you. But it wasn't SF, or Marin or Santa Cruz where all my friends lived. But we made the best of it. I still rode. Stayed in touch with my Sycip teammates etc.
Jay now works for Chris King and as you can see puts his culinary talents to work on their gourmet century. Jeremy Sycip is pictured to the left in the center

So when they called me and asked me if I wanted to be on a 24 hr mountain bike team I got pretty stoked. I told them I hadn't been riding that much. They said they didn't care we were just gonna hang out and camp and ride bikes and drink beer. Wow. That is like offering water to a man in the desert. So I kicked it into gear. What is funny is I had no idea that I was basically already training for it. I had no need for sleep at this point. My baby woke me up every 2 hours. She never slept. At all. Well that isn't totally true. She would sleep on my chest for 2 hours then wake up screaming for food. But I also started riding the trainer at crazy ass hours. I figured it would be hour laps or so. So I would do four hours on the trainer throughout a 24 hour period.

I had no idea but for some reason 24 hour racing really works for me. I think its the team format. I am not really competitive by nature. I don't have a killer instinct. I can be aggressive and won't back down from a battle but I really like the comraderie of racing more than any other part of it. Well and the riding in the mucky muck. That really gets me going. So I met my Sycip teammates at Laguna Seca. Totally unprepared as usual. I had some Top Ramen, a loaf of bread, some cereal and PB&J. And a ton of beer. Classic Chip. I think I had a sleeping bag but I might have had a blanket. But it was June in Norcal so it certainly wasn't cold. We had a great tent city. I was on a 5-person coed team with Jeremy Sycip. Jeremy's brother and business partner at the time Jay Sycip was along for support. Thank. God. He basically kept me fed for the whole 24hrs. Pancakes, lunch, coffee. The man has a gift. Around midnight he started cooking chili. God it smelled so good. At first I thought chili? At a 24 hr race? I held off at first thinking this could end poorly. But then our solo guy came in. Just blown to pieces. He had gone non-stop for 12 hours. He asked me to help him take his jersey off. That is how wrecked he was. He sat down and Jay gave him a bowl of chili over spaghetti. The guy inhaled it. Then got kitted up and took off. The stuff was rocket fuel. I was starving at that point. Jay looked at me. Do you want some he said? Hell yes. I had a huge bowl. My teammates started dropping like flies through the night. The sleep deprivation started catching up to them. I rode through the night and had the greatest lap a 24 hr racer can ever have. The COD lap...Crack of Dawn. Going out in the pitch blackness and then seeing the sun rise over Laguna Seca was amazing.

So here goes Jay Sycips Tequila pasta. Basically its just a normal chili recipe. I like beans. My good friends from Texas would disapprove. And I like two types of beans. I also like meat. For the tequila we used Sauza Commemerotivo. But you can use anything. I assume it cooks off but I forget. Maybe I was slightly buzzed and that helped the laps go by faster. Put it over some thin spaghetti top it with Parm cheese and voila!

This recipe is a mix mash of a bunch of good ones:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 lbs ground beef (or not for veg)
2 cups chopped onio
4 chopped carrots
4 chopped celery stalks
1 16 ounce can peeled whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can red kidney beans
1 can black beans
2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
Cayenne pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups of water
Tequila to taste. Maybe a couple of shots. I wouldn't use too much. Make it once and see how you like it.

Heat oil in large pot

Throw in veggies. Sautee with the tequila. You want to infuse the taste and burn off the alcohol. Or not I suppose. If you wanted to get your guests drunk you could add the tequila to the chili after you put the tomatoes in the pot.

Pour tomatoes in bowl. Crush by hand. Its ok to use your hand its your best kitchen utensil

Add in crushed tomatoes, the water and spices to the pot with the sauteed veggies. Turn up heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer

In a separate pan cook the meat. Some add the spices to the meat. It works well both ways. Once the meat is cooked add to the pot with the two cans of beans.

Let it all simmer. You want to stir the pot a lot with a wooden spoon so it doesn't stick. Add the tomato paste. Sometimes I add a jar of hot salsa in. It gives it a little extra kick

To add punch you could chop up jalapenos.

I cook some nice Barilla thin spaghetti. Then I serve the chili over the top of the pasta with some nice Parm cheese on top.

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