Welcome to Cooking at Home With… , a new series where we go behind-the-scenes with some of our favorite personalities to see how they get busy in their own kitchens. This week, we head to the East Village apartment of Megan Massacre, a tattoo artist at Wooster Street Social Club and star of TLC’s America’s Worst Tattoos and NY Ink, to make vegetarian chili.
Where are you from?
I guess you could say Reading, PA. I lived close to Birdsbourough and close to Douglasville, but kind of in an in-between zone. Let’s say Reading.
How do you define your profession?
I’m a tattoo artist. I tattoo on two TV shows on TLC: NY Ink and America’s Worst Tattoos. I’m also a model and a DJ. I do a lot of things.
How often do you cook at home?
I cook at home [asks her boyfriend, Joey, for confirmation] two or three times a week…dinner. Joey makes breakfast. I make dinner three times a week even though I’m really busy at work. I love to cook. I’m a vegetarian, so it is always easier to make than find food.
Is this chili your signature dish?
My boyfriend would say it is my signature dish, because it is his favorite. I really like it to. When I was young, chili was one of my favorite things that my grandmother made. I’ve been vegetarian for four years now, and one of the first things I thought was, “Ugh, no more chili what am I going to do?” I started experimenting with recipes and basically, after going through a few different ones, I came up with this.
What is on your cooking playlist?
Anything by Gwen Stefani/No Doubt.
Imagine your dream dinner party. Who are the guests?
I would like Tim Burton to be there. Gwen Stefani, of course. My boyfriend, Joey. Dexter Morgan, in character. I would like Fiona from Shameless to be there. I’m a big Shameless fan. I want Danny Elfman to be there as well—he scores all the Tim Burton films.
Do you have a go-to drink with your meal?
Water is basically it. I quit soda. I drink juice once in a while, but it is often too sugary. I try and be as healthy as possible. I’m always reaching for a water. For alcoholic drinks, I go for Jameson and ginger.
Do you have a favorite cookbook?
I never use a cookbook. If I don’t know how to make something, I just go to Google. I figure out how to make things my own. There are also a few recipes my grandmother passed down to me. I grew up with my mother, but we lived in my father’s parents’ house, which is kind of weird. My grandmother was a stay-at-home mom, raising six kids, and she cooked all the meals. Everything from scratch. It was intense. She made the best potato salad. So, sometimes I’ll call and ask her how she did it.
Imagine you’re having a dinner party and your guests are lingering a little too long. How do you get them out?
I wouldn’t. I’m one of those people pleasers. I try and be overly nice. I’d fall asleep before they left…or I’d make Joey do it. I have a hard time telling people no.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 (12oz) packages of veggie ground beef crumbles
- 6 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans
- 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
- 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn
1) First I like to brown the burger crumbles in a frying pan with some olive oil, and set them aside.
2) Next in a sauce pot (I use 6QT), heat the olive oil at medium heat. Stir in the onion, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, red and green bell peppers, jalapeno pepper, and garlic. Once the vegetables are heated through, mix in the vege ground beef crumbles. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and let simmer for 5 min.
3) Mix in the tomatoes, then season with chili powder and pepper. Next stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and let simmer, covered, for 45 min. After, stir in the corn, and let simmer another 5 min.
*I like to garnish the chili with shredded cheddar, monteray jack, or pepper jack cheese and sour cream. I also like to serve it with fresh bread and butter.
VEGAN: This recipe is vegetarian, but can easily be made vegan by using vegan ground beef crumbles, or by omitting the crumbles all together. Also the garnish can be replaced with vegan sour cream and cheese substitutes, or by omitting them as well.