Profile: Healthcare Manager Casey McGuire
Casey McGuire is a very good cook. “I tend to make stuff that’s bad for you,” he said recently about his approach to cooking. “I like cream sauces, steaks with pepper sauce, stuff like that. Then I feel guilty and poach a fish.”
Casey grew up in Detroit with a businessman father and a mother who didn’t love cooking—“although I still make her cheesecake and Thanksgiving stuffing.” They ate out frequently, which was a good way for Casey to learn about food. When he was 15, he spontaneously cooked a full French menu from his favorite cookbook for his grandparents: French onion soup, chicken Provençal with scalloped potatoes, and chocolate mousse. “They loved it!” he remembers.
Casey studied languages in college—he’s fluent in French and German—and worked at Berlitz (an international language school with over 70 locations around the world) for 18 years—first as a freelance translator, and then in management. This job took him to Frankfurt, with frequent trips to Paris and Ireland, and later he moved to Houston. All were great places that honed his palette and informed his cooking repertoire.
Currently, Casey lives in Los Angeles, works in healthcare, and cooks and bakes about four times a week. Among his favorites are barbecuing, spaghetti carbonara, lavender ice cream (he grows his own lavender), and mocha cookies. “I’m big on chocolate,” he adds.
Age 60 — Hometown Detroit — Where do you live? Los Angeles — Occupation Healthcare — Signature dish I don't think I have one — Who taught you how to cook? I just picked it up on my own — Favorite kitchen tool Immersion blender — Always in your pantry Olive Oil — Go-to snack Trader Joes' five seed almond bars — Favorite cuisine French — Do you diet? No — Food addictions Chocolate — Food allergies None — Food fad pet peeve Menus full of words diners don't know — Who’s your sous chef? I'd rather do it myself — Drinking while cooking? Days no, evenings yes — What’s for dinner tonight? Pork loin — Do you ever cry over spilled milk? No, I just pour another glass (of the milk, or of wine, whichever will be more effective at dealing with the problem) — Best meal you ever had Recently, at Wild Fish in Little River, CA
Chili Con Carne
This unpretentious dish takes only minimal work—cut the meat, chop some veggies, open a few cans, and throw it all in a pot—but the end result is a satisfying, robust stew with plenty of character. Flavorful chunks of beef, earthy mushrooms and creamy, plump beans are punctuated by a bright tomato sauce with a hint of spiciness.
“It was my father’s recipe,” says Casey. “I just kept adapting it over the years; this might be the 15th version. Red wine isn’t usually used in chili con carne, but I like it in it.”
He makes it once every couple of months and serves it with cornbread and beer.
- Serves 6–8
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1½ pounds stew beef (chuck or rump roast), cut into half-inch cubes
- ½ cup onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup green pepper, chopped
- 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained
- 1½ cups cremini mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, including juice
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2½ tablespoons chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat, and brown the meat on all sides. Add the onion and green pepper, and sauté until soft, about 4–5 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients, and cover the pot with a lid. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 2 hours. Remove the bay leaf and serve.
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