Burt Reynolds was funny in those 70's movies, damn. Speaking of smoky, I made my chili recipe yesterday, and decided to crack open a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I've heard a lot about these things but never tried them, and I figured if they tasted "smoky", the flavor should go really well with the chili.
Chipotle peppers are simply jalapeno peppers that have been dried, smoked and then rehydrated. You can buy them in a can in "adobo" sauce, which is a red sauce, in most grocery stores, and certainly in any Mexican markets.
I cranked the can open, dipped my finger in for a taste...wow! Very warm but smokey heat, just like you'd expect from a smoked jalapeno. I blended a couple for two seconds, mixed it in to the chili, and it really added a new dimension of richness & thickness.
Alas, I was missing tomato paste, which I realized after yesterday's chili adventure is absolutely necessary to enhance the "richness" of the chili; you really can't do without it. I also tried substituting shallots for yellow onions (because I have a big bag); it worked fine, but I think onions have a bigger, brighter, "louder" flavor than do shallots. Still, it tasted very good.
On another note, I tried a recipe for Lithuanian rye bread from a cookbook I bought in Lithuania and it turned out abysmally bad. I think the failures were the following:
1. The yeast may be too old. I didn't proof it, but I think I need a new jar, as I remember from my prior pizza making experience.
2. Too much rye flour makes the dough too thick & gummy. Without wheat flour & gluten, it's too dense.
Well, cooking as always is a learning experience.