Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Winners One and All


It is snowing here.  Again.  I swear this winter is trying to kill us.

So, the winner of the cookbook title contest is Yours in Good Taste.  I submitted all three to my editor. And the official name of the cookbook is....


Stacey Ballis’s Most Awesome Simple Recipes

Now you may be noticing that the only thing this has in common with ANY of the titles we all sent over is my name.  Welcome to publishing :)  I have all the creative control in the world when it comes to what lies between the covers of my books, and none at all when it comes to their titles and cover art. The nature of the business.

But I adore you all for helping and playing!  And I would like the contributors of the three top entries to please send your shipping addresses to me at staceyballisinfo (at) gmail (dot) com, so that I can send you all a little something.

The good news is that now we have a title, and I am working hard on getting it together for you, and it will be out in October, in time for holiday cooking.

But I thought, since the whole Throwback Thursday thing is in effect, I would share a retro recipe with you.  One of our dear friends didn't grow up in the States, and as a result, every once in a while there is a food he just never has tasted.  A couple of weeks ago he expressed a curiosity about Sloppy Joes.  So I said I would make a batch the next time the four of us got together for one of our movie nights.  Charming Suitor was not happy about this, since Sloppy Joes do not invoke happy memories for him, but he was willing to take a bullet for his buddy.

Here is my updated recipe for a more grown-up Joe.  Not cloyingly sweet, like so many, but a good balance of savory and sweet.  No green bell peppers which make your house smell like an armpit and make everything they touch taste like a foot.  CS called them definitively the "best Sloppy Joes" he had ever eaten...and then requested I never make them again.  

Any childhood food you've been craving an update on?

Stacey's Sloppy Joes
Serves 6-8

3 lbs ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken and pork all work fine)
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
1 sweet onion, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into 2 inch chunks
6 serrano chiles, seeds and ribs removed, minced finely
2 cloves of garlic, minced fine
½ c tomato paste
¼ c water
3 T grapeseed or canola oil
1 c ketchup
½ c bbq sauce (I use homemade, but use whatever bottled sauce you like)
½ c chili sauce
1 t Worcestershire sauce
2 T dark brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

In your food processor, pulse the carrots, celery and onion until you have a coarse paste, with about the same texture as the ground meat. 

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, and add the oil.  Sauté the vegetable mixture for about 6-8 minutes, letting the water evaporate and some good browning should occur.  Add in the tomato paste, and water, mix well and continue to cook, letting it brown a bit more, about another 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the minced garlic and Serrano chilies, and cook about 2 more minutes, and then remove the mixture from the pot.  Add the meat to the pot, and break up with a potato masher or spatula and cook until well-browned.  Drain the meat, reduce the heat to medium low, and then return it to the pot with the vegetable mash. Stir in the ketchup, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, bbq sauce and brown sugar.  Cook for 10 minutes to let the flavors blend, and then taste for salt and pepper.

It is best made the day before, and then reheated in a low oven or a slow cooker the day you want to eat it.  Freezes beautifully.


  1. You didn't mention anything about lentils. :-)

  2. LOL - the world of publishing. Congrats on being one step closer to publication!

  3. I posted Yours in Good Taste, but I think someone mentioned it before I did.

  4. The childhood food thing! I was JUST discussing with a co-worker how about once every 5-7 years I get a craving for that horrible LaChoy chow mein. You know the stuff in the two cans that are taped together? One can has the "meat" and gravy, the other can has the processed to hell n' back "Chinese" vegetables in it? And you serve it over the crunchy chow mein noodles?

  5. Thank you for a recipe for the Sloppies that doesn't include green peppers.

  6. I've tried several of the recipes from your novels so am looking forward to the cookbook. The sloppy joes recipe sounds like a keeper and I would love to replace my husbands "Campbells tomato soup" version form his childhood.
    Do you have a good BBQ sauce recipe?? I've tried quite a few and haven't found a keeper.
    Jackie N

  7. I love the tittle!

    I was complaining about the NY winter until I went to your fair city on Sunday for work! OMG! I never felt such cold…. Walking on Michigan Ave I felt as if my eyebrows were going to freeze. But one of my co-workers had the best line Sunday night as we walked to the hotel from dinner "It is so cold that my gloves stopped working"

  8. This is too funny. Last week literally, my friend sent me an updated version of sloppy joes and then casually mentioned it to my English boyfriend (not thinking anything of it). He replied what is a sloppy joe? So, I had to explain it to him, which is hard. The best thing I could come up with is if a hamburger and chili got together to make a baby, sloppy joe would be that baby. He kept focusing on the fact that it looked like chilli and I was like no, there's mustard and tomatoes and worchestershire sauce and things you would put on a hamburger. Now he wants me to make them when he gets here.

    I may try out this recipe, too.

  9. Your CS is a riot! I too have tried some recipes with my spouse, he gamely chomps his way through them, but never again for most. We are products of our environments, and his was different from mine. Celery was never allowed in his house, and it is a staple for me - cooked, raw, in dishes, alone with a slather of peanut butter.

    Come to think of it, I've never made sloppy joes for him ... and probably never will.