Sunday, January 15, 2012

Turkey Chili

For the last few days my head was in a three-pronged vice pressing on my eye, the back of my neck and the side of my head, i.e. I had a heinous migraine. It was one of the worst ones I've had in a long time. I had to close the blinds, get under the covers and close my eyes for much of the last 2 days. I felt it coming on but did not want to take immitrex because surely heavy-duty migraine meds are not really "cleansing". Big mistake. I should know better. Because once those buggers get a hold of you, they don't let go. By the time I gave in and took the drugs the migraine had taken hold of me and the drugs made only enough of a dent in the pain that I could actually sleep. Despite being drugged up and still in pain I was luckily not too nauseous and still managed to eat leftover beans and some wild rice and roasted cauliflower and a few smoothies over the last few days.

When it was all over, and I was hung-over from the meds and certain that I was basically back at square one in terms of cleansing because now my liver was presented with the task of removing 400mg of toxic brain numbing and delirium inducing drugs from my system, I was craving something SUBSTANTIAL. Like perhaps a hang-over breakfast with eggs and cheese and bread and bacon. But I decided to press on and stay away from all or nothing thinking, which has been my downfall on many occasions, particularly when it comes to health and fitness goals. I used to (briefly) be a runner and afterwards, if I wasn't running 1 hour a day, 5 days a week, it wasn't exercise. If I was dieting it wasn't successful unless I was 100% perfect and was practically starving myself. If I caved in then I'd say forget it "I'LL START MONDAY” and then proceed to pig out or sit on my ass rather than make some less ambitious but still worthwhile effort.

So in the spirit of abandoning these self-defeating and ridiculous ideas I have pressed on. I decided turkey chili was substantial yet would still work on the cleanse, so decided to update my old version of chili, which includes 12 ounces of beer, yogurt, cheese, and tortillas. I wanted to add a depth of flavor that I would lose without the beer so decided to add more flavor via spices. I went with cocoa powder and cinnamon. I replaced the cheese and yogurt and tortilla with radishes and lime juice. Thinly sliced radishes with lime and salt are one of my favorite snacks. A friend’s mom introduced me to this super simple yet very surprisingly satisfying combo. She had it at the Mexico City airport, of all places.

After all of this I got a text from a friend of mine who is an AMAZING chef who is opening a restaurant in Santa Monica called Tar and Roses. I have been eating and loving his food since the late 90's when he was the chef at Axe when it first re-opened on Abbot Kinney. His text said, simply, "soft opening tonight, let me know if you can make it." There was no way I was going to miss this because of a cleanse. Once I got there I realized because it was a soft opening and they were just serving appetizers I was not going to be able to "order" something cleanse friendly. So I just ate whatever glorious creations they brought me. And I had a glass of wine. And today I won’t have wine or tuna conserve with aioli or blue cheese with honeycomb and bread or foie gras topped with yuzu jam. And I won't feel guilty and my cleanse isn't ruined. So there.


2 pounds ground turkey

2 onions, diced

1-28 ounce can diced tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth

1 tbs olive oil

3 tbs chili powder

2 bay leaves

1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

1.5 tsp kosher salt

1.5 tsp. oregano

1.5 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

to garnish:

avocado, thinly sliced radish, cilantro, chopped green onion, lime

Saute onions in the olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add turkey and break up with a spoon until no longer pink. Stir all spices and bay leaves into onions. Add tomatoes and their juices and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Serve with toppings.


  1. hmm, sounds hearty and soulful. Happy New Year!

    1. thanks teryll! try it and let me know what you think ;)