Thursday, March 21, 2019
What to do with my maple ghost pepper syrup was a good question. How about we make some crunchy sweet/hot flavored almonds? This was my idea and it was a winner. The recipe could not be simpler. Coat a pound of almonds with about a quarter a cup of flavored maple syrup and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Salt to taste. Put into a 350 degree oven for approx 15 minutes. (Be very careful and check at 10 minutes because they will burn quickly) Let cool, break apart and store in refrigerator.
Wow, this is an addicting snack. The Ghost Pepper heat is not overpowering when used in this manner. It is the perfect heat to sweet ratio. This simple recipe is a keeper. By the way Ghost Pepper Maple syrup can be found at Trader Joe;s. (Trader Joe's; 'The store that has everything you have always wanted but do not need')
Monday, March 18, 2019
Backyard on the Grape was held in Lodi California this weekend. This was a private barbeque contest held for cooks and judges to practice and hone there skills. There were winners today but what they gained was knowledge by what judges thought when scoring their meat entries. The competitors would present an entry and it was judged right in front of them with the judges giving an oral critique in appearance, taste, and tenderness.
It was a beautiful Spring day with the temperatures breaking into the low 70's. Thirty five competitive bbq teams where ready for this learning experience. In a KCBS contest the judging is called blind judging. This means the cooks do not know who judges their entry and the judges have no idea who cooked the entry. The cook also has no knowledge why a judge gave a certain score unless an optional comment card is filled out by the judge. This was an opportunity for the judges and cooks to interact.
Today, I was only a visitor. I walked the grounds and said hello to the busy cooks. I then went into the judging area to see the action. The cooks would walk into the hall with their entry. They would sit right in front of the judges. The entry would be passed around the judges and they would give it an appearance score. The judges would orally give the cooks their thoughts on what was wrong or right and how to improve the entry. The judges would taste and repeat the oral process of helping the cooks. This process also helps the judge to put into words why they scored what they scored. This is a win-win situation.
This is a popular event that has benefits for judges and cooks. It is just a warm-up for the big events to come this summer. We will be attending a large and fun event at the end of the month in Santa Anita. Stay Tuned.
Friday, March 15, 2019
This Mad Meat Genius has found his Disneyland for meat lovers. Today we are visiting the Golden Gate Meat Company at their Richmond California location. Golden Gate Meat Company is more than just a meat wholesaler but an all-inclusive business that buys, processes, smokes, cures and ultimately sells high end quality meats. They have a retail shop in San Francisco and another wholesale location in Santa Rosa. We are visiting their new wholesale location in the industrial area of Richmond California. Brian Silveira, a BBQ competitor asked me if I wanted to go on a tour of the facility. This was an opportunity to good to be true.
Justin suggested that his Dad give us the tour. We were very privileged to have Jimi Z guide us through his facility. The word I want to use is passion. Everybody we met was very friendly and passionate about the job they had to do. I just had a huge Cheshire cat grin the whole time of our tour. We started out in the warehouse. There were huge racks of boxed meats from all high quality farms. All these meats will eventually make it to high end restaurants, serious competitive barbeque teams and the San Francisco retail location.
We went through a room with lots of butchers all slicing meats. We proceeded to a very special area that was used to cure prosciutto. It was very impressive to see the pork legs being salted and hung for a long aging and curing time. Of course I personally liked to see the huge industrial smoker used for bacon. They have a signature recipe for sausage and bacon. I did see a couple of bins of wood chips that I was told was a blend of apple and hickory woods.
Golden Gate has a lineup of house made salume. To actually see the procedure and curing rooms was fascinating. There are a series of blue lit rooms that are temperature and climate controlled. This control panel is the brains to monitor each different room. Each room has a climate to mimic seasons. There is the ‘Spring Room and the Summer Room” with appropriate heats for perfect curing.
Jimi Z saved the best for last. He brought us up into the loft, an area used for parties and entertaining clients. Liquid libations and of course house cured meats are all available. There is a stage with musical instruments that are played by Jimi Z and fellow band members. Jimi Z also showed his pride and joy collection of guitars. The guitar on the far right was owned and played by John Lennon. WOW!!!!!
Our tour was over. I am still smiling. What a fantastic day. I did not leave empty handed because I purchased some premium Snake River Farms strip steak. We also left with an appreciation for Golden Gate Meat Company. This is a family run business that sells more than high quality meats. They are selling pride and passion that is reflected in all of their products. One can find their meats at fine restaurants and for retail sales at their Ferry Plaza location. What a great day.
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Sunday was a great day to cook a prime rib roast. This beautiful hunk of burnin love was procured from the Chilebrown Ice Cave. It was originally bought from the local market during the holiday meat sales. It is U.S.D.A. choice grade beef and it looks fantastic. Salt, pepper and a trip to the oven is today's recipe. We start at a very high heat of 450 degrees for the first 20 minutes. The temperature is then dropped to 350 degrees and cooked till the internal meat temperature is 120 degrees. A twenty minute rest and a beautiful medium rare is the tasty result. I think I will have a sandwich.
Saturday, March 9, 2019
So Delicious It's Cin-full
We are no strangers to Cin Chili. This company has been around for awhile. You may remember Cindy Wilkins from several food network shows talking about her chili. A friend gifted me a package of this mix and we are going to give it a revisit. Grab your chili pot and let's get cooking. But first, here is a little bio of Cindy Wilkins freshly cut and pasted from their website.
Cindy Reed Wilkins, aka The Chili Queen, is a legend in the chili community. She's one of the greatest champions in the history of chili competition. Cindy has won an extraordinary 15 first-place awards, over 100 total, in the world of championship red chili. Her highest honor is winning the coveted Terlingua International Chili Championship not once, but twice, in 1992 and 1993. She's the only person ever to win it back-to-back.
I am not known for following package instructions and this was no exception. We added a chopped onion, small can of pinto beans, several roasted chile peppers and diced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce. The rest of the recipe could not be simpler. Brown two pounds of hamburger, add seasoning, broth, and rest of ingredients. Simmer for 1/2 an hour and you are ready to eat. This is a very decent rendering of chili. It is a comforting and satisfying flavor that we all love. The heat level straight out of the packet is mild but with our addition of green chile the heat meter rose to one click over mild. We really enjoyed our Cin-full chili dinner.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
A friend asked me; 'Have you tried 'Supreme Tradition Chicken Wing Sauce?". When my reply was no, he immediately brought me a bottle to try. We love a good chicken wings and were excited to try. This sauce claims to be a marinade, baste and bbq sauce. We used it at the very end of our cook When the wings were done we coated them with sauce and returned to bbq for four more minutes to set the wing sauce.
We were pleasantly surprised that this sauce was very good with a traditional buffalo wing flavor. It is buttery with a traditional Louisiana style hot sauce kick. The heat level is a tad over mild and this is what Ms. Goofy likes. I will spare you the ingredient list but nothing seems out of the ordinary and if anything the list is short. If you want a traditional buffalo wing style sauce this is the sauce for you.
Saturday, March 2, 2019
We were alerted by a hot tip from an acquaintance that Stanford's Restaurant and Bar was a dining destination worth checking out. It was our anniversary/birthday celebration and this sounded like a plan. I am not sure why we have not visited Sanford's at an earlier time because this has been around for over 20 years. This is a chain restaurant and we are at the Walnut Creek venue. Parking Karma was present because we parked right across the street in a metered spot. Parking is a mixed bag in Walnut Creek. The Stanford's parking lot is closed for construction. There are a handful of metered spots and there is a huge parking garage near by with a less than 10 minute walk.
It is a Wednesday evening and Sanford's is not very crowded. We are greeted by a highly bubbly hostess and assistant. They are high energy which was a theme with the staff. The interior is dark but inviting with lots of polished wood and high back booths. It has a chain like old school vibe. Our waiter arrives and gives a perfect polished rendition of good service. He was friendly and seemed genuinely appreciative of our celebration. The menu was a mixed bag of American comfort food. Ms. Goofy, fish & chips, crab cake appetizer and I; rib eye steak were our menu choices.
The crab cakes arrived piping hot off of the griddle. They were full of crab and made for a nice appetizer. We were also brought Stanford's famous cheesy bread. This was melted cheese on a focaccia style bread. It was fine possibly on the oily side from the melted cheese. It got us ready for the next course of a house salad and a soup. The salad and soup were presented in a picturesque plating which means a lot in any meal. We eat with our eyes first. I will spare you the image but they tasted fine.
The entree's arrived and they too were picturesque. We both enjoyed our offerings. Now some of you may have gathered that I really like a good steak.This steak was good. Was it a memorable steak? no. Our meal was not done. A complimentary cream brule was brought to our table with a lighted candle. This is Ms. Goofy's favorite dessert and she attacked it with both paws.
There is a lot to like about Sanford's Restaurant and Bar. The service is top notch. The place is clean and inviting. The food is okay and is presented pleasingly. The food tastes fine. I cannot find any fault with our meal. A good meal is the sum of a few components. service, ambiance,and food quality. They hit on all spots. Will we come back? That is a good question. As you may know I am constantly looking for a great steak. Tonight the steak was only ok.