Chilebrown at home

Sunday, November 17, 2019


A fundraiser for the San Jose State University Women's Softball brought us out to judge our last bbq competition of the year.The weather could not of been nicer. The temperature was in the low 70's which made for a great atmosphere for bbq fun. We would like to share a few images with you.

Today's competition was three categories of pork ribs, tri-tip and the mystery meat. The mystery meat was an unusual meat of canned Vienna Sausage. This challenged the cooks to take a fancy titled hot dog and wow the judges. I do admit they did a pretty impressive job. One cook made a pastry crusted pot pie. We had tacos , jalapeno poppers, fried and numerous creative renditions of this pedestrian meat selection.

The latest trend is the cornhole competition. It seems this sport (?) has been showing up at numerous events. When we entered the event we had to maneuver around bean bag tossing players. When we left five hours later the contest was still in full swing. It actually looks like fun but I would have to set my rib down to toss, or would I?

The public had an opportunity to purchase bbq foods to support the Women's Softball. Women in their uniforms helped serve the public. There also was a silent auction benefiting the team. This was a fun cause that we were happy to help out with. Of course we do love to judge bbq.

Today was a bitter sweet bbq contest. It is always a little sad knowing it it the last bbq contest of the year but the turn around will be short. We have a contest scheduled in January. We had a blast today and had fun helping the Women's Softball team.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Happy Veterans Day

This is a photo of my father who severed in the Army during the Second World War. Today, Veterans Day (formerly known as Armistice Day) we honor vets and thank them for their service. Thankyou

What does Ms.Goofy's key lime pie have to do with Veterans Day? Not much but it sure tastes good.

Thursday, November 7, 2019


I collect Buck 110 pocket knives. Vintage, custom and unique are in my congregation of bright shiny knives. This particular engraved knife caught my eye as being fun and who does not like steak? It was made several years back. (1981-19860.I never knew there was an actual product called 'Steak-umm' till today. In the name of research for my few Mad Meat Genius readers we are going to try a box of Steak-umm.

Steak-umm is an inexpensive frozen steak product. It is 100%beef, "All Natural' and promises, on the box, to be 100% delicious. The box also tells me it has been chopped, shaped and thinly sliced. The box is open to reveal 6 paper thin frozen beef slices separated by parchment paper. The cooking instructions are to fry a minute on each side. I cooked each slice with some peppers and onions. I have to admit these beef slices did not look very appetizing frozen or in its cooked form. I chopped the beef into bite size pieces and mixed it with the peppers, onions and made a sandwich.

One eats with their eyes first and my first impression was reinforced with an actual bite of this product. While this beef was not terrible it is not very good. To me it had a slight metallic taste (?). It was easy to prepare and cheap. Enough said. To look on the bright side. I have a fun, bright shiny and new/old Buck knife.

Monday, October 28, 2019


Last summer I visited David Yelowhorse on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. I picked up a native food item that I had never heard of or experienced. This product in the Navajo tongue is called Neeshjjizhii. (Dried Steam Corn) What actualy is Neeshjizhii? Here is a description that I have cut and pasted from the World Wide Web.

To prepare Navajo steamed corn, one must build a fire in an adobe oven and have it heated throughout the day. Clean out the ashes and place the ears of the corn, including the husk. Pour ½-of-a-bucket of water into the oven. Seal the oven with mud and a rock. Let the corn steam in the oven all night. In the morning scrape the kernels off the ear and dry in the sun. Dried corn can be used in many different dishes once it is prepared. The most popular dish is hominy stew

 Finding a recipe to use this dried corn was not so easy. I asked the Navajo Indian who I bought the grain and he basically said boil it for hours. I did some research and this recipe was confirmed. I opted to use a crock pot and added some water, vegetables, pork, salt & pepper and bacon later in the cook. I cooked it on low heat. When you take the the grain out of the bag it has a slight smoky aroma and this smell was reinforced throughout the cook.

I served my Dried Steam Corn in a small bowl as an accompaniment to my meal. It still had texture but was soft tot he bite after a 10 hour cook. I would compare the flavor and texture to hominy with a smoky component. I am glad I added the vegetables and pork to add a little more flavor. There was a wonderful corn flavor with the added bonus of smoke. This was a comforting and filling dish. One fun thing was this dish brought back memories of my Navajo Nation visit last summer.

Thursday, October 24, 2019


The Great White Hunter "woke" from a long slumber and decided to join us on a Meat Adventure. We were operating on a hot tip from our friend the butcher Angelo to visit Giacomo's Ristaurante in Petaluma California. The hot tip was a two edged sword because Angleo also told us Giacomo's is in the process of changing owners. It was our duty to experience the old Giacomo's before this happened.

The Great White Hunter was driving today so Parking Karma did not come into play. Even though Giacomos was not very crowded and is located in a small strip mall we had to park at least 20 parking spots away from the entrance. It was good to walk a little to work up an appetite. Giacomo's' is a family run Italian restaurant that has been around for 26 years. Where have we been? The interior was bright and comfortable. There was Italian kitch on the wall and side shelves. The menu has many familiar favorites..Just scanning the menu made you hungry and you just got the feeling it was going to be good.

We started out with some very nice fried calamari. It had the right amount of crunch of crust and a slight tender chew of the calamari. You had a choice of soup or salad. The Great White hunter enjoyed his house made minestrone that was hot and full of vegetables. My salad was fresh and probably the most healthy thing I have eaten in weeks. This was served with french bread and bread sticks that were flavorful

My ravioli and meatballs was just what the doctored ordered. The waitress brought out a small container filled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese to put this dish high on my comfort food scale. These little meat pillows were tender and meaty which put a smile on my face. The Great White Hunter ordered some sort of carbonara/fettuccine (?)  dish which he devoured and grunted his approval at the end of the carnage.

I wish we knew about Giacomo's 26 years ago because we would definitely be regular customers. I am not sure how much longer Giacomo's will be around for. Thankyou Angelo for the intel. I hope we can return before the transition.

Sunday, October 20, 2019


I won a contest. I won a 25 dollar gift certificate to a local grocer and a box of frozen wings and tator tots. At least I thought they were tator tots and wings. I was so excited to be a winner I did not even read the ingredient list. I did read the cooking instructions. They were simple enough and was basically heating and browning in a hot oven. Let's give them a try.

I bit into a wing and immediately thought this tastes like cauliflower. I dug out the box and read the fine print."Finger Lickin, No Chicken, Cauliflower Wings. I felt a little embarrassed and did not eat any more. The tater tots tasted fine to me but Ms. Goofy said they tasted horrid. I went back to the container and sure enough I had been duped again. Is there a moral to this story? I will think of one but first I have 25 contest dollars to spend.



Thursday, October 17, 2019


Our local bakery shop has been an institution in Pinole, California for generations. The Bear Claw Bakery has served donuts, pastries and bear claws that the locals love.. They recently announced they would be opening for dinner hours and serving pizza. We decided to give them a try. I like pizza and of course who does not like a good bear claw.

The Bear Claw Bakery is a small family run business that is very popular in the morning hours. We were there on their inaugural weekend of opening for dinner hours. The menu is small with a variety of pizza and of all things tater-tots. We ordered the :Grizzly Bear Pizza"; creamy marinara sauce, pepperoni, salami, ham, chicken and bacon. The bacon was the selling point for me. It was very decent and we were satisfied. The service was genuinely sincere in trying to please. It did need a little polish but this was the opening weekend. We may return to try other pizzas and of course the Bear Claws.