Alex’s chili.  The only modifications were I added a whole mess of minced garlic, used fresh rather than canned diced tomatoes, did not add the black beans (one can of beans is more than enough for me!), and I felt the sauce needed a bit more “oomph” so I added about 1 tbsp. more of chili powder and garlic powder, each.  I also added a bit more tomato paste than called for, because the sauce was a bit runny for my taste.

The result was very tasty, very oomph-y and very thick.  Good autumn, stick-to-your-ribs food, especially served with grated cheddar and soft spinach bread.

One thing I learned:  when tasting to determine if you need to spice up the seasoning more, do not do it directly after adding the beer.  Because it will taste like beer and weird.  And you will question Alex’s sanity.  But if you wait 30 minutes, after everything has mellowed out, you will realize he actually has some.  😉

Also, I had a revelation the other day.  I think the reasons that my ill-fated baked beans turned out so poorly wasn’t the recipe itself (though that doesn’t necessarily absolve the recipe either).  It was the fact that the dried beans I used were of unknown age and they just wouldn’t rehydrate.  I set a cup of kidney beans out all night in preparation for the chili and they were still as hard as rocks the next day.  Not a good sign at all.  According to a website I found,, that’s known as HTC (hard to cook) Defect.  Age and improper storage will cause this.

Now I have a nice pound of pie weights, for the next time I make pie.  However, with the giant fit I threw over my last pie attempt, it might be awhile before Martin lets me break out the butter and Crisco.  Whoops.