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Bears star is hot stuff in Chicago


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POSTED: Thursday, November 20, 2008

People everywhere may be digging into bowls of Olin Kreutz's loco-moco-inspired chili.

No, the Hawaii-born, St. Louis-graduated Chicago Bears center is not opening a restaurant, but he has had a chili named after him and the recipe is online for all to enjoy.

Recipe creators Dan and Dawn Howard are award-winning competition cooks, Chicago Bears fans and chili enthusiasts.

Both work in technology, he as a quality assurance software manager and she, as an infrastructure analyst, but they combined passions for cooking and football into a business idea.

“;Dawn had this idea for an NFL chili cook book a few years back, but we hadn't done a lot with it,”; said Dan. “;She put together a few recipes.”;

Over the summer, the cooking techies decided to publish online.

They hope to turn the venture into a business, but until it gets monetized, the site with chili recipes for each pre- and regular-season game is a team- and player-honoring hobby.

“;When we were putting together the recipes, we picked out some Bears that are really exemplary,”; he said, including Kreutz.

“;On the offensive line, it's nice to have a guy right there in the middle that you can count on ... he's just somebody that you want to pay tribute to,”; Dan said.

The Kreutz homage, ”;O.K. Loco Moco Chili”; calls for the loco-moco basics you'd find at any Hawaii plate lunch joint - rice, ground beef, brown gravy and a fried egg.

However, it is a chili recipe, so jalapeno, ancho chili powder and cumin are also among the ingredients.

The Howards once created a gumbo-inspired chili upon hearing Bears running back Matt Forte say he missed the dish made by his mother, but why use loco moco as a chili-basis?

“;Because ham and pineapple is too easy,”; Dawn said.

“;It's to the point of cliche,”; Dan added.

Dawn tried her first loco moco on a trip here with her parents. Still looking forward to his first isle visit, Dan's loco moco exposure came at a Polynesian restaurant in Florida.

“;Everything that we've published, we've made,”; he said. “;We have a stocked freezer right now.”;

So far the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Chili has drawn the most raves, but football season is not over. Recipes for the remainder are planned, though all have not yet been prepared and tried. There will be 40 recipes by year's end.

Recipes created for the playoffs “;may be a little more extemporaneous,”; he said. Maybe they'll get a chance to fill a chili fan's request for a Washington Redskin's chili.

Maybe, just maybe, they'll also get to meet Kreutz.