The Sky is Dark and So’s the Beer in My Chili (Or How to Make Simple Stout Chili)

I love love love thunderstorms. And thunderstorms are incredibly rare in LA. In my 11 years here, I can remember maybe six of them. Total. So, you can imagine my excitement when I awoke to an ominously black sky today — particularly when it was accompanied by a few claps of thunder and a light drizzle.

This sort of thing almost never happens here.

Sadly, the storm hasn’t really materialized in the way I wish it would, but we still have newscasters talking about “flash flood warnings.”

Flash floods.

From about a ¼” of rain.

So, I find this patently ridiculous, but I’m happily embracing the gloomy day. And fantasizing about lightning.

Couldn’t you picture some bolts of lightening here? We really should have lightening. It would be better with lightening.

Because today’s dark sky also brought the first hint of fall temperatures yet, I decided it was the perfect day to make a pot of chili.

This chili is easy to make, and it’s perfect for a dark and stormy night. Or a dark and sorta stormy night.

Simple Stout Chili
1 lb of ground beef
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
16 oz can of Murphy’s Irish Stout, or other dark stout
2 15 ounce cans of pinto beans, with liquid
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T chili powder
1 tsp cumin
¼ C jalapeno slices, finely diced, with liquid
14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes
15 oz can tomato sauce
6 oz can tomato paste

Brown the meat in a large, heavy pot over medium high heat, about 3-5 minutes. Remove excess fat from the meat, if you wish. Add onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until onion is slightly soft.

Add remaining ingredients, and allow the chili to simmer for at least 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sometimes It’s OK to Be Stupid (Or I Put Cornstarch in My Chocolate Chip Cookies)

Sometimes I do stupid things. Like try to hike near the Griffith Observatory the day Endeavour is flying over LA. Or secretly date someone my boss knows because that sort of thing never ends badly. Or bake chocolate chip cookies from recipes I find on the internet.

Sometimes these stupid things turn out well, but not usually. The parking situation at Griffith Park was stupid annoying this morning. And that breakup? It’s a great story now, but maybe not so much at the time. There might have been a moment when I had to hold back tears while rolodexing the contact information for the actress said boss was setting said ex up with. Or there might have been more than a few awkward incidents at premiere parties where everyone present was secretly wishing for a swift and merciful death.

So, anyway, the internet cookie recipe? It’s for chocolate chip cookies. And it uses cornstarch. I feel like absolutely everyone pinned this recipe at some point and then forgot about it. I decided to try it today because the curiosity was killing me.


I’m pleased to report it’s not an internet hoax: the cornstarch actually works, and it does produce fluffy, delicious cookies. There are a few tricks to keep in mind if you’re going to make the cookies, though. They won’t spread out on the baking sheet like traditional cookies. They remain kind of blob like unless you press the dough into discs before baking.

Plus they still look doughy on top even when they’re done baking so you just have to trust the baking time in the recipe otherwise you will probably burn them.

See how the top still looks like dough and the bottom is starting to turn golden brown? This is how the cookies will look when they are done. You just have to trust the baking time in the recipe.

I think these cookies would be great for ice cream cookie sandwiches and I plan to use them for that purpose this weekend. I’ll get back to you on that experiment next week.

Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a shot. I think you should. Just don’t bake them when you’re really hungry or you might eat too many.


I just did another stupid thing.

Sometimes the internet doesn’t steer you wrong. The cornstarch in these cookies makes them super soft.