We’re only a day away from the U.S. Presidential election, everybodys, and it’s all about Ohio. Let’s throw a gluten-free election party that can help you get inside the minds of those people who hold so much sway over our nation and its future. What makes those good people tick? How do they fuel their voting fingers? So I asked a few friends of mine who hail from the Buckeye State, and holyohmygods, you guys — people in Ohio eat CRAZY stuff. And they’re going to pick our next president! Daaaaamn.
Out of all of the options (tomato juice and chocolate chunks in the middle of your ice cream, anyone?) I settled on three: Skyline chili, buckeyes, and the purple cow. Ohio, you’re kidding me.
Let’s start with the purple cow. My Okie grandma loved a good Coke float, but I understand if root beer floats are much more popular nationally. This immediately allowed me to relate to those Ohioans from Geneva as they pour on the grape soda over ice cream during the Geneva Grape Jamboree every year. Except, when my local showed up he explained it’s actually GRAPE JUICE people pour over ice cream. Umm, I’m sorry but that’s gross. I say, as I finish my carbonated purple cow for breakfast.
As an expert pretzel buckeye maker, I was also shocked when my Ohio friend, Abe, came over and sadly told me that real buckeyes are only the peanut butter mixture covered in chocolate. That whole pretzel thing is just fancy-ing it up. Sigh. So while I thought I was nailing a couple of Ohio traditions, I was actually butchering them. Abe insisted I was improving on the two, but he’s just one nice fella’. Maybe like all of those Ohioans? Who love health care and hate curtailing women’s rights? I hope?
All of the input I received from Ohioans explained that Skyline chili is an acquired taste, yet one that is insanely popular around the state and beyond. As a Texas chili cooker my snob-o-meter went off when I read about some of the ingredients in this all-beef tomato based recipe. We’re talking cinnamon and chocolate, people. But that’s not even the biggest shock to those of us who grew up on chunks of beef and jalapenos. After the chili is all cooked, it goes on top of spaghetti, is smothered in cheddar cheese, chopped onions (optional), and crumbled saltines. CRAZY. Crazy, good, actually. Which is what I said after shoving some in my gullet. This much -
Yes, this is what your table should look like tomorrow night if you want to feel what Ohio is feeling. Personally, we already ate it up because we live in California and the election will be decided before we even finish our commute home from work. Still, get out there and vote people! May the best Democrat win.
Gluten-Free Skyline Chili
adapted from food.com
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 1 hour 45 minutes
2 lbs ground beef
2 onions, chopped
16 ounces tomato sauce
4 cups gluten-free beef stock
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate or 2 3/4 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 bay leaf
1. Brown ground beef and onion together in Dutch oven.
2. Drain beef, and add beef stock and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for one hour, uncovered.
5. Remove bay leaf, and skim excess fat from the top.
6. Serve over gluten-free spaghetti, cover in shredded cheddar cheese, and crumbled gluten-free saltines (I like Glutino’s table crackers). Add chopped onions if desired.
Makes: 12 servings