Chilebrown at home


Let's get Cookin!!!

Friday, December 9, 2016


Are you hungry? This is a fun recipe that was created on the Mad Meat Genius fly. I am sure it has been done before and if you follow sound cooking techniques and use quality ingredients you will have success too. We are working with an inexpensive pork loin that has been butterflied, briefly brined and then stuffed with three types of mushrooms, bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese. The stuffed meat roll is then wrapped in a weave of bacon and cooked in a covered kettle bbq. Let’s cook dinner.

We will start with the pork loin. The loin is approx 3 pounds. Most of the visible fat is trimmed with a sharp boning knife. With the same knife the roast is butterflied. Do not be intimidated by this process because in the end it is all rolled up and any goof-ups will be covered with bacon. Slice the length about 1/3 down the diameter length of the roll and slowly draw your knife to cut almost through. Turn your roast over and slice down the other 2/3. Place on a cutting board and flatten down any unevenness with a mallet, back of your knife or even your hand. The next step is a quick easy brine.
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups of water 
Bring mixture to a boil and let cool. When cool place in container and add meat. Add more water to cover meat. Let rest in refrigerator for 3-6 hours. Remove from container and rinse with cool water. Dry off roast. It is time to work on the stuffing.
  • ½ pd. button mushrooms chopped
  • ½ pd. Portabella mushrooms gills removed and chopped.
  • 2 Tablespoons dried mushrooms chopped. (Re-hydrate mushrooms in warm water before chopping)
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (make your own bread crumbs by toasting some bread and using your food processor)
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Sauté the 3 mushrooms and garlic in butter until mushrooms loose some moisture approx 7 minutes. Season with salt & pepper and turn off the heat. Add your breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and let mixture cool to room temperature.

It is time to assemble. Place your butterflied, brined meat on a sheet of wax paper. Spread cooled mushroom mixture evenly over meat. Roll the meat like a Christmas log. Use the wax paper to help you roll it firm but not tight. Wrap the roll in the wax paper and refrigerator for an hour. This will help firm up the roll. I make a bacon weave while I am waiting and place it in the refrigerator also to firm. Take meat roll out of refrigerator and place in center of bacon weave seam side up. Turn meat roll over and tie strings to secure.

You could cook this in the oven but why not fire up the bbq in the middle of winter? We built an indirect fire. This was achieved by banking approx 30 lit charcoal briquettes on each side with a drip pan in the center. Place bacon wrapped meat roll on center of a well-oiled grill grate and cover with kettle lid. Cook for almost an hour or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove roast for the very important resting time of 15 minutes.

Slice with a serrated knife. I guarantee you will impress with this Mad Meat Genius creation. Cooking in the bbq adds that certain flavor that we love. The pork loin was tender and juicy. We are sold on the brining technique. The filling was rich and decadent. This is a recipe that we are glad to share. I am looking forward to the leftovers tonight. Have fun.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


I am guilty as charged. While sitting in front of the boob tube for hours and hours watching football until my eyes bleed the Burger King commercial hawks their latest burger creation. Behold the "Bacon King". This is supposed to be two 1/4 pound beef patties with six slices of bacon with cheese. For some reason the burgers in the commercials always look better on high definition television. My burger was only one patty and I am not sure if it even had the promised 6 slices of bacon. Was this even bacon but possibly a limp facsimile of my favorite cured pork product? How did it taste? It was not terrible is about the best I can do. You see the same commercial over and over and over again and eventually it seduced me into purchase. I am weak.

Thursday, December 1, 2016


The quest to find the best Chileverde dish continues. In fact it was not even on the menu today at Canasta Kitchen Restaurant. We have been taking advantage of the discounted prices offered by Groupon. We found a coupon for Canasta Kitchen Restaurant and decided to give it a try. We bundled up on this chilly day and traveled to Concord California for upscale Mexican food.

We walked into an almost empty dining area to a chilly bare metal table. Luckily the waiter had a warming personality. He greeted us and cheerfully told us about the restaurant and offered some menu suggestions. The menu was small and had limited but flavorful sounding selections. There were enchiladas, empanadas that our waiter recommended, huaraches, chile rellenos and street tacos that were made with rib-eye steak. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with other Latin influenced menu items. I did make the observation that the prices were on the high side.

We placed our order and immediately received a complimentary serving of a flavorful tortilla soup and a small basket of tortillas chips that had a spattering of black bean puree and a side of tart tomatillas salsa. The tomatilla salsa did not have any discernable heat. We were excited for our entrees because the tortillas soup was very flavorful and warming on this chilly day. Our entrees arrived. The kitchen took pride in their plating. These were fantastic picture taking opportunity plates.

I had chile relleno with rice and beans. I do admit this was one pretty plate. One does eat with their eyes first. This pasilla pepper was filled with carne asada and vegetables. It was pleasant and filling. The beans were lackluster and the rice bland. My overall feeling was this dish was lacking in any heat and spicy seasoning. It was bland. Ms. Goofy had enchiladas with the combinations of red sauce, green sauce and fillings of chicken and beef. She also had a pretty plate but struck out in the seasoning and spice department.

Canasta Kitchen Restaurant takes care in their food presentation and customer service. Our waiter was pleasant and helpful. Our plates could have come out of a food magazine. These food offerings did not excite in the flavor department. The complimentary appetizer of tortilla soup was the highlight of our meal. Canasta Kitchen charges a premium price for these pretty plates and with all the other choices in the Bay Area for Mexican food we most likely will not return.

Canasta Kitchen Restaurant
2118 Mt. Diablo Street
Concord, CA 94520

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


I wondered what happened to our leftover 'trick or treat' candy. We rarely get costumed ragamuffins begging for sugary treats anymore. This produces lots of candy for yours truly. For some reason this years confectionery collection was amiss. Ms. Goofy had stockpiled this assortment to make a "Candy Cake". This was the 'kitchen sink' of chocolaty treats. Oh my, this is one decadent cake. It has Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, M & M's, Snickers, and Milky Way's. Needles to say this cake is delicious. In closing I would like to leave you with an image of the pecan pie Ms. Goofy made for Thanksgiving. Happy Holidays.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


This was too good not to share. The Pt. Reyes Cheese Company is offering their version of pimento cheese. The Pt. Reyes Cheese Company is a regular vendor at many farmers markets in the Bay Area. They also sell a fantastic blue cheese that is Ms. Goofy's favorite. When we saw this, we immediately had to purchase a tub. It was not cheap at 8.00/small tub. It was a treat with its quality mix of cheeses, spices and pimento peppers. Did I say pimento peppers? After further inspection the label stated red bell pepper. It did still have a good pepper flavor distinction. We made some of the best meat loaf sandwiches ever. I wish pimento peppers were is season because this has inspired me to make some pimento cheese of my own.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Sometimes you just get lucky. We were on a Meat Adventure, on our way to lunch in Occidental California when we drove right by a barn with the sign Panizzera Meat Company. I shouted; ‘Go back!’ We did and what a meat treasure discovery. We pulled into the driveway and noticed several white coated, hard hatted butchers scurrying around the property. At first we were not sure that Panizzera was a retail operation. We asked one of the butchers and to our meaty pleasure the fun was about to begin.

Panizzera has been in business since 1914. Constante and Margaret Panizzera, Italian immigrants ran a slaughter facility and small butcher shop to process animals for the local farmers. Josh Cerda and Ryan Taylor are the new owners continuing this local meat company tradition. They make 15 different sausages. They still process local meats with custom processing options. At this time there is no actual retail shop but they had a signboard with meat options. Our butcher/owner Josh told us they had aged beef for sale too. I asked if I could see the products. He said; of course but I would have to put on a smock and hard hat to go into the walk-in. I put on my uniform and saw a display of hanging aging meat that made me drool. I picked out a beautiful T-bone steak that had been dry aged for 60 days. You should have seen the smile on my face.

We made several other purchases including sausage and aged New York steak. I could not wait to get home to try my aged T-bone. The marbling of love (fat) in this steak was spectacular. It was seasoned with salt & pepper and seared over a very hot charcoal fire. I have had a lot of great tasting steaks in my life and this one scored very highly. The beef flavor was so intense with lusciousness and tender to boot. Sometime you just get lucky on Meat Adventures. This was a meat find that made us grin. We shall return.

Panizzera Meat Company
3905 Main St.
Occidental Ca.
(707) 874-9770

Saturday, November 19, 2016


There is never a dull moment in the Chilebrown kitchen; literally. A sharp knife makes cooking preparation easy and safe. Over the years I have had numerous sharpening systems. Most of them take a certain amount of skill and patience to properly sharpen my knives. I have found and purchased a new sharpening device called the ‘Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener. That is a mouthful of a title. Ken Sharp is a legendary hall of fame knife maker and has designed this tool for the Work Sharp Company. It will easily sharpen any and all of your knives. It even has a scissor sharpening function. Let’s sharpen some knives.

This tool comes with multiple sharpening belts with varying grits. Depending how dull your knife is will determine the appropriate belt. The belt slips easily on and off of the machine. Once your belt is loaded you need to set the angle to sharpen. Most kitchen knives are ground to twenty degrees. There is a simple trigger switch that controls the speed of the motor which turns the sharpening belt. You draw the knife through the machine through the appropriate slot. This slots guide your blade at the correct angle. A couple draws for each side of the knife will do. You then change the belt to a finer grit and repeat. This system could not be any easier to use.

I have been sharpening my favorite knives to razor sharpness. My new sharpener is a welcome addition to the Chilebrown arsenal of cooking tools. This tool actually is fun to use.  Now that my knives are sharp it is a simple task to use a hone to keep them sharp.  We will see you next time I am off to sharpen some scissors.