Wednesday, June 18, 2008

If Stephen King Were Here ...

Once my sister thought she saw Stephen King at the mall eating soup(!). She went up to the man who had been eating with him and said, "Excuse me, was that Stephen King?" And of course the man said "No." But I like to think it was him, perhaps in town on assignment, doing research for a book. Stranger things could happen.

If Mr. King really was in my neighborhood, he'd probably be writing about psychotic, mutant critters, wreaking havoc on the neighborhood, gnawing their way into people's homes and taking over the universe. He could title it Creatures of Wrath. I say these things, because we do have a lot of critters around here. Namely tarantulas, snakes and scorpions. This week, I have found a tarantula on the front porch, a snake in the garage, and a scorpion in my daughters closet. The scorpion was dead, thank goodness. I don't have pictures of these critters - you'll just have to take my word for it. It's a creepy crawler world out there and I get the willies just thinking about it.

Here are some of the less formidable critters we've encountered lately ...

Mr. toad - who crawls out of the pot every time I water the ivy and clings to the edge until it's safe to crawl back inside again. So cute!

This one's hard to see. But Rocky the Flying Squirrel landed on the brick next to the back door after being chased by the neighbors big yellow cat. You can see the cat on the corner of the fence. Would you believe this is the first squirrel I've ever seen in my yard?

I am a fan of Stephen King ... and all books and literature for that matter. There's something so satisfying about curling up with a good book and a steaming hot bowl of soup.

Wonder what I would serve if Stephen ever came for dinner? ...

He's just one of those people you'd love to chat with.

I assume he'd enjoy a nice bowl of soup. Nothing fancy, since it's summertime. I'd probably make some White Chicken Chili. It's hearty, but lighter than regular chili and has a certain freshness to it.

I'm a little worried about the spice, though, as I'm addicted to the flavors of the Southwest. But living in Maine, Mr. Nightmare seems more of a chowda kinda guy. Oh, well. Stephen, if you're out there, you're welcome for soup.

White Chicken Chili
adapted from

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tsp. cumin
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 lb. Anaheim chilies, roasted, peeled and diced,
or 3 cans (7 oz.) whole fire-roasted chilies, diced
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 lb. diced cooked chicken breast
2 cans (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed.
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup cornmeal
Shredded jack cheese, sour cream and lime wedges for serving

In a large saute pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the cumin, garlic and jalapeno and cook for another minute. Stir in Chilies and 4 cups of the chicken broth, then transfer to a slow cooker. Stir in chicken, beans, oregano and cilantro.

Put the cornmeal in a small bowl and slowly mix in remaining 1/2 cup of the broth. Stir the cornmeal mixture into the chicken mixture. Cover and cook in the slow cooker on high for at least 3 hours. Thin the chili with more broth if needed.

Serve with cheese, sour cream and lime wedges.

Note: This recipe was originally for White Turkey Chili - but I subsituted Chicken instead and it turned out great.


DeeJay said...

Wow, I think I'd have to invite you, all of YOUR guests and add the following:

Marc DeCarlo, Candice Olsen, Jon & Kate plus their 8, Jeff Probst, Bill Engvall and Maurice Gibb.

I finished reading Lisey's Story not too long ago. Love SK's stuff but haven't made myself read them all yet. Husband gave me the Harry Potter series and I made myself finish them ALL within a year. Also made myself read the book before watching the movie for it.

We have a squirrel who likes to tease our dogs. We have pine trees and a privacy fence that keeps it at bay a little. I just hope that the yearly shots do what they are supposed to if a fight ever occurs.

Gonna add you to my blog roll now.

Adios Chickie!

Michelle said...

Thanks for stopping by Deejay. I haven't read all of SK's stuff, yet, but the summer I read The Stand when my kids were little is always a fond memory for me.

Michelle said...

I could sure use Candace Olsen to help out with the decor when we have that dinner party.
Also, I'm adding you to my blog role.

rowena said...

First of all, I loved reading about Mr. Toad and Rocky the Flying Squirrel as those critters I will never see here in Lecco's mountains. Honestly, I'd be so delighted to even see a little squirrel, but they seem to end up meeting their fate on the roads. As for the creepy crawlies...WoW! Tarantulas, snakes and scorpions do read like something out of a horror flick and I hope never to be in that movie!

Now about the guests...tough question since I could only accomodate at maximum, 8 guests. I'd want to have Antonio Banderas there to do his impersonation of Puss N'Boots, and then Mike Myers for Shrek -- Eddie Murphy I'll pass since Donkey was always a pain in the a**. Johnny Depp is another one, George Clooney(!) of course, and the remainder would be female bloggers who love food!

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Oh, that sounds good. I too am addicted to the flavors of the southwest. Used to read Stephen King, but as I grew older, he scared me.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Yours is fun and quirky. I like it. Loved your comment about the lady on all fours. I wrote a post about that. "The Soft Light of Evening" I think.~~Dee

Michelle said...

Hi Rowena - In reality, I could only accomodate about 8 or 10 guests as well, but somehow the list keeps growing. Antonio is a good one!

dee/reddirtramblings - Yes, my family gets a little tired of Mexican food, but I never do. Always nice to meet a fellow gal who loves those flavors too.

sara said...

this is a great recipe, my mom calls it "Chilli Blanco". I haven't made this in a while, but need to. Oh that toad is cute!

Michelle said...

Glad you stopped by sara. I went over to your blog and read about wine and Paris. I am so jealous!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Hi Michelle, I'm always looking for a great white chicken chili, I actually like it much better than the red kind, so Thank you! As far as dinner guests I'd love to share some pasta with Frank, Dean, actually the whole "Rat Pack" Oh, the stories they could tell!!

Cynthia said...

I am such a scardy cat, I'd be jumpy all the time :)

Michelle said...

Proud italian cook - I'd be honored to have those guys at my table. And you are right - the stories they could tell.

Cynthia - I scream like a girl when one of those critters gets too close to me.

Bonbon Oiseau said...

nice toad picture and love your list--my list is pretty much the same since you've already said Madelien Albright, Alice Waters, Anthony Bourdain, Julia Child and Mario Batali (who i saw on his little red scooter a few months ago in the West Village-woohoo!)...
I guess I'd add Pete Townsend, Jon Kraukauer, all the nice people who comment on my blog for sure and maybe a few super models to get them fattened up a little.

Michelle said...

bonbon oiseau - you and I would get along great. I love Jon Kraukauer. Into Thin Air is one of my favorite books of all time. So cool that you saw Mario! And I can't think of a more worthy cause that fattening up a Super Model. Good one!

Kitchen Bliss! said...

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog. I just read through several of your posts and I love them. I have always wanted to try making a white chili, as southwest flavors are a huge hit with The Husband - this looks like the perfect recipe, thanks! I'm glad to hear there are some grown us out there who still read SK from time to time. I thought I had outgrown him, but that was before the "zombie fest" my husband and I have been having - reading all sorts of silly zombie books - including SK's The Cell. It reminded me of all the SK books I read during grade school - staying up late during summer vacation!

Michelle said...

Thanks for stopping by kitchen bliss - Let me know how the chili turns out.

Hungry Passport said...

Ya, white chili's the best. And great with tinto de verano, too (glad you liked the idea)!

As for Stephen King, years ago I saw him at Graceland, buying a ticket! I always wondered if we were going to be treated to a story about a haunted Graceland or a crazed Elvis fan, or perhaps Elvis coming back to deal with all those cheesy impersonators. Mmmm, cheese!
Cheers! Carol

Michelle said...

Hi Hungry Passport!
Thanks for stopping by. So cool that you ran into Stephen at Graceland of all places. I'd love to run into him - perhaps in a haunted house on Halloween. I love a good ghost story.

Pat said...

Hi Michelle!

Thanks for commenting on my blog! I don't blog exclusively about food but I do highlight a recipe now and then.

I met Stephen King at a book signing in NYC! He wore a Boston Red Sox cap (a big rivalry goes on between both NY Yankees and Boston Red Sox) He talked about his almost fatal accident ( he had been hit by a car while walking near his Bangor, Maine house) and at the time still looked weak. He suffered writers block for awhile after his accident, but I think he's back to normal. I'm a big fan of his.

Your critters are something! We have squirrels, pigeons, an occasional mole.

I'd love to have dinner with so many! I blogged about George Washington recently so I'd start with him :=)
This chili recipes looks delicious! Thanks!

Michelle said...

Thanks for stopping by Pat. So cool that you met SK. I would love to meet him. I remember that accident and I felt so bad for him. He seems like a nice guy in real life. The kind of guy you'd love to share a meal and some good conversation with.