In Kansas there aren't a lot of mountains to ski on, but we do have Snow Creek. It's a series of 7-10 small ski runs on several tall river bluffs along the Missouri River. This is where I first learned to ski ... on a river bluff with more ice on it than snow.
My parents did later take us to Jackson Hole to ski the Grand Tetons, which was incredible (thanks guys!). But we were a hiking/camping family, not the snow resort kind.
When I met Mr. McC, a snowboarder from Arizona, he convinced me to try strapping both of my feet to one plank. I wasn't a great skier, so I figured, why not try it?
It was terrifying.
When you have grown up with handy tools like the 'snow plow' for braking, the idea of using your 'toe edge' to slow down or pointing your board straight down the mountain in order to turn is just crazy.
But Mr. McCormick was a patient coach and teacher (thank goodness he loves me or he would have abandoned this as hopeless long ago). Time on the mountain to practice over the past 10 years has been inconsistent, but I've steadily gained some serious skills. I can now proudly:
- Get on and off the chair lift without falling. This is huge. I can't tell you how many times Mr. McC. had to drag me out from under one in the early days.
- Link turns from toe edge to heel edge consecutively. Again. Huge.
- Make it through the relatively flat areas without having to unbuckle my board and walk like a novice. For your skiers with poles, you have no idea what I'm talking about.
- Handle the blue runs. I am very happy to stay there. I have no intention of ever doing a black diamond. Ever.
Essentially, I'm boasting about doing what I see 6-year-olds accomplish in their first day of ski school.
Food-dreaming on the mountain
At about 2pm up on the cold, snowy mountain, with my fingers numb and backside a tad bruised ... I start to daydream. About food.
Images of hot cocoa, chai lattes, s'mores, hot butternut squash soup and Irish coffee begin to take over. I start to fantasize about anything warm, savory and lasting.
Around 2:05pm I text Mr. McCormick that I will meet up with him later and head straight to the ski village coffee shop to fulfill one of these wishes. He usually rolls in to meet me about an hour later. It's a good system we have.
I started daydreaming about a healthy but filling Super Bowl turkey chili the first morning we were in Tahoe. Our good friend, Pete, was with us in the mountains and I knew it would need to be hearty enough to be man food as well.
This version from Food52 is easily adaptable to your own tastes.
The best part? One of the instructions in making this dish is to finish your beer.
1 pound ground turkey
1 medium yellow onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
28 ounces can crushed tomatoes
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1 small can green chiles
1 can white kidney beans rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 fresh jalapeno pepper diced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 bottle of beer
Ground paprika, salt and pepper to taste
In a large stock pot or dutch oven heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on high heat. Add onion and garlic. Stir until onions are translucent. Add turkey and sprinkle liberally with chili powder. Stir and break meat apart until brown.
Add half bottle of beer and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a rolling boil and reduce heat to low. Add beans, green chiles, chili powder, cumin and cayenne. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Cover and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Go watch the first half of the big game and the most important step of all ... DRINK REMAINING HALF BOTTLE OF BEER.
At halftime (or after a couple hours) serve with some or all of the following: sour cream, green onions, cheese, tortillas, hot sauce.
We came off the mountain around 3pm on Super Bowl Sunday, giving this dish plenty of time to simmer away until Bruno Mars came on. We also devoured the homemade cracker jack during the first half. So good.
When I finally got myself a bowl of this chili, I was most impressed by the heat and spice. What a great addition the green chiles are.
The boys paired their chili with a couple Negro Modelos, while I enjoyed it with a nice glass of Cab. Too bad the game wasn't nearly as fun as our meal.
But did you see this Cheerios commercial? It made my day. An amazing message of love.