Chilebrown at home

Saturday, January 31, 2009


The Fatted Calf is 30 minutes away from the Chilebrown abode. It is the perfect mini Meat Adventure. They always have some porky delights. Today we will revisit and review the the Fatted Calf's cured pork belly. When you step into the Fatted Calf the first thing you notice is the assault on your nose. They are usually cooking some roast for sampling. The shop reeks of deliciousness. How can you not purchase multiple pork products. Today the bacon looked extra meaty

Back at the Chilebrown food academy the bacon was unwrapped. The wrapper removed revealed a very pronounced smell of smoke. Wow, this might be the real deal. A piece was sliced and thrown in a 90 year old black iron pan. The house filled with an aroma that was so intoxicating that Mojo and Oscar had to be put outside. They were drooling more than me. It was time to taste.

Balance is the name of the game. Ms. Goofy pronounced that it was not to smokey and not to fatty. I thought it was a good balance of sweet, smoke and salt. This bacon had a flavor that was meaty. We did get a hunk of the belly towards the end that had extra meat. Overall Fatted Calf did an excellent job. The last review only scored a 3 star rating out of 5. Today the score will jump to a 3.75 I am not sure if they are getting better with practice are if it is the luck of your purchase. Any way that you look at it you are going to get a quality piece of bacon from Fatted Calf.

Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Price: 10 $/pound
Where: The Oxbow Public Market 644 C First Street
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 256-3684

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Chilebrown has a new hangout. It is 'Catahoula's' coffee shop in Richmond, California. With the purchase of a fancy new laptop it was appropriate to find a place to hang out. Starbucks is so passe. An Urban Hipster like myself, I needed to find a comfortable, friendly, and WI-FI ready establishment. Eureka! Gold was found at Catahoula's. A local coffee house that just so happens to be dog friendly. There are a couple of seats outside so Mojo and Oscar can hang with the 'Beautiful People'.

The owner, Timber, is involved in helping the community. He has sponsored events promoting local artists and the High School gardening club. Timber buys coffee beans that support the farmers and sustains the environment. Oh, bye the bye the coffee tastes great. His staff takes pride in making great and artistic coffee drinks. Ms. Goofy always gets a Mocha and there is a unique design painted in the chocolate foam.

Another reason to hang out at Catahoula's is its location. It is a central meeting place of some interesting food writer's and characters. Meathenge Labs is walking distance away. You never know who you might meat here.

Zoomie Station

Cookiecrumb & Cranky

Why are these bloggers eyes blacked out? My lawyer and financial advisor told me to let these writers keep their anonymity. This is the same lawyer that advised me to drink heavily after going over last years finances. Stop on by Catahoula's sometime and say hello!
12472 San Pablo Ave
Richmond, CA 94805
(510) 235-0525

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


The Mad Meat Genius spares no expense to bring Meat Adventures to his readers. There is no crimping in the technology to create this humble diary of food madness. It was time to upgrade to a fancy laptop. It was time to get mobile. It was time to look cool hanging out at Starbucks with all the unemployed beautiful people.

This lap top is a serious cyber busting machine. It has so many bells, whistles, plugs and ports, I may never figure it out. There is a special attachment that you can plug in a hand blender. It has a web cam so I can talk to people with a live picture. I got a little scared with this feature until I realized I do not know anybody with a web cam.

It is going to be a lot of fun writing about new adventures with my new toy. You will see me hanging out at my new spot Catahoula's. There will be more about that later. Bye for now.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


There is a permanent spot on the Chilebrown stove for a cast iron skillet. The cast iron skillet has seen hundreds of slices of bacon. It has shared and participated on countless meat adventures. If it could only talk! The Mad Meat Genius kitchen has several dozen different cast iron vessels. Skillets, fryers, dutch ovens, and even muffin pans. Once you have seasoned a skillet, it becomes virtually non-stick. It literally becomes your friend. Huh?

The majority of my cast iron collection is 20 years old or younger. After reading Black Iron Dude, I realized there is a whole community of people that collect and use these utensils. He mentioned the virtues of a vintage pan. The older pans will heat up faster and remain hotter. They are made of a different quality of iron before 1960. They are a little lighter and have a smoother cooking surface. I was already hooked on cast iron, so I needed to find one of these vintage pans.

It was not hard to find. E-bay came to the rescue. There was a pan that was rusted and just looked lonely. It just needed a good bath and a loving home. It was purchased for the grand total of 10 dollars. A soaking in a water/vinegar solution and a good scrubbing rinsed away years of neglect. The next step was to re-season. Bacon is the perfect food to aid in the seasoning of the pan. I now have a vintage cast iron skillet. With the markings on the bottom of the pan, we were able to determine that this pan was made sometime between 1910-1920. This pan will be put into service for another 100 years. Yeah!


Friday, January 23, 2009


Cowboy Charcoal is a 100% natural product. 'Natural Product' is a buzz phrase that has marked countless number of products these days. Mesquite charcoal is the fuel of choice for most of my grilling. It is a natural product also. Kingsford charcoal has specific uses in the Chilebrown barbeque arsenal. Is this an unnatural product? I wonder. Today, 'Natural Product' is the hook that caught my eye in this charcoal purchase.

Cowboy Charcoal is manufactured in Albany Kentucky. They claim to be a state-of-the-art, environmentally compatible, wood retort plant. This company is run by the two Crace brothers; Sam and Don. The Crace family has made charcoal for over a 100 years. (Kingsford was not around till after 1920). Enough of the history lesson. Let's fire it up.

A chimney starter is always used at our house. A couple of newspapers is all it takes to get it started. This charcoal ignited fairly quickly. It took about 15 minutes to get the fire to temperature. Some broccoli and fresh shrimp was thrown together. This was the Chilebrown version of a recipe that was borrowed from Zoomie Station . This was a great recipe to get a taste of our charcoal.

The fire burned hot and fast. It behaved like natural charcoal should. It perfumed our food with a wonderful smoky flavor. I could not pinpoint any unique smoke flavors.(Example:Apple sweet). The broccoli and shrimp was done to perfection quickly with this fire. Cowboy Charcoal will work well when you need a hot fire for steaks and items that do not need long cooking times. The fire burned down at a brisk pace. The price of this charcoal was 7 dollars for a 8.8 pound bag at Trader Joe's. Will Cowboy Charcoal be purchased again? Possibly, if it was sold at a heavily discounted price. I am going to stick to my Mesquite and the unnatural Kingsford.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


The Reverend Biggles and the Mad Meat Genius kitchen are in constant contact. We share ideas and concepts about our cooking adventures. Recently Reverend Biggles made some baked beans and threw in some barbequed ribs. He sent some images and they looked very delicious. Well, that lit the light bulb over my beer helmet head. How about some roasted green chile and spareribs. This version will include pinto beans and vegetables. This will be simple to prepare. It will be a one pot wonder. There are roasted green peppers in the Chilebrown ice cave. The butcher cut the rack of ribs down the middle to make them fit in the pot. The rest of the ingredients are staple pantry items. Throw them all together in a pot and you have a comforting hearty dish.

Sparerib Green Chile Stew

  1. 1 rack of spareribs (trimmed of fat and cut in half and separated into 'three rib' sections)
  2. 8-10 green chile roasted and peeled (canned if unavailable)
  3. 1 pound of pinto beans
  4. 1 onion chopped
  5. 1 8 ounce can chopped tomato
  6. salt & pepper
  7. 3 tablespoons green chile powder
  8. 1 tablespoon cumin
  9. 2 teaspoons oregano
  10. 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
  11. 3 cloves garlic chopped
  12. 1 corn tortilla finely chopped (This will help thicken stew)

Take a large pot of water and add spareribs. Simmer for one hour. After one hour remove ribs and reserve. Skim as much fat as possible from liquid. Add onion, beans tomato, tortilla and chile. Add all your spices except salt. Simmer for 1 hour or until beans are tender. When beans are tender add salt to taste. Remove meat from spareribs and chop. Add meat to beans mixture and simmer for 15 more minutes.

This Stew was served over rice. It is hearty enough to stand on its own. It even tasted better the next day. It is great to have friends for inspiration. Thankyou Reverend Biggles.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


They marched into the International Sportsmen Show with iron pots and charcoal. The crowd parted to let the mighty Meatmen take the stage. The fire was stoked. The kettles were stirred. The Meatmen intrigued the judges with their Jalapeno Cheese Bread. They dazzled with a brilliant Prime Rib. To administer the knockout punch the judges were presented with a Peach Cobbler. The votes were tallied and the Meatmen were victorious with a Third Place finish.


It was a beautiful day in Sacramento California. The thermometer hovered around a pleasant 65 degrees. There was a huge crowd to see the Sportsmen Show. There were plenty of people asking questions about Dutch oven cooking . A new team member was introduced to the Meatmen championship team. Sophie is a welcome addition to the Meatmen. She is well versed in dessert creation and just so happens to makes a mean cobbler.

Jalapeno Cheese Bread

After all was said and done the Meatmen walked away with our heads held high. It was a day filled with fun and food. We left with a trophy and some parting gifts. It does not get any better. Our next competition will be the Rendezvous held in Carson City, Nevada. Chilebrown will be there to defend his last years First Place finish. See you there!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


"Bacon: A Love Story" These words roll of my tongue as the meaning of life. Bacon makes the world go round. Ms. Goofy and I have been on a quest to find the 'Gold Standard of Bacon.' There is a whole nation that loves bacon. Somebody should write a book. That somebody is Heather Lauer from Bacon Unwrapped. Heather has compiled a book that celebrates cured pork belly. There will be sections devoted to cooking, recipes, history and a whole lot more. It is a comprehensive text of all things bacon. The best part will be that yours truly, Chilebrown is a contributor. Yes, the Mad Meat Genius will be immortalized for all history to behold. Am I glowing?

"Bacon: A Love Story" will hit the shelves May 12. This would make a perfect Fathers Day gift. You can pre-order this book from Amazon by clicking the link below.

Monday, January 12, 2009


This Saturday the 'Meatmen' will be competing at the Sacramento Sportsmen Show. We will be entering a 'Three Pot' contest. This consists of cooking and presenting a Main Dish, Bread and Dessert. Yours truly will be in charge of the bread department. These three dishes will be cooked in a three hour time limit. All food must be prepared on site. The dishes must be cooked in a Dutch Oven fueled by charcoals.
The Meatmen have competed in numerous competitions. You still get a little nervous before the show. Once you start cooking, the butterflies disappear. If you are anywhere close to Sacramento, California, come on by and say hello. I will be the one wearing the beer helmet.

International Sportsmen Exposition
Cal Expo, StateFairgrounds
1600 Exposition Blvd. Sacramento, CA 95815

Friday, January 9, 2009


Citrus Chicken was not my first choice of titles. I am trying to maintain my PG-13 rating. You can go to my friend, Sourdough Monkey Wrangler to get a good idea what the original title was going to be. There are 3 different citrus trees growing in the Chilebrown backyard. There is a lime tree for Ms. Goofy's margaritas. There is a Meyer lemon for lemonade and a Buddha's Hand tree for giggles. Let's combine them all and season them with a chicken that will be roasted on a grill.

This will be the first barbeque of the new year. This will be a good way to kick off a season of grilling. A disposable roasting pan lined with some sliced onions will be the vessel the stuffed bird will roast on. Salt & Pepper the bird inside and out. Stuff the cavity's with the citrus. I poked a couple of holes in the lemon and lime is case of spontaneous explosions. Build a medium hot fire with mesquite charcoal. When fire is acceptable spread charcoal out evenly over fire grate. Leave all vents open and place bird in middle of grill. Place lid on and return in 1 hour. To see if the bird is done, wiggle the legs. They should almost separate from the body. When done, remove from barbeque and cover loosely with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes. Carve and serve.

This was a good season opener for the grill. The citrus taste was very subtle. It just left a hint of lemon and lime flavor to the chicken. I raise my Fist to this dish. Let the New Year Barbeque's begin!

Friday, January 2, 2009


The last couple of days, there has not been a single green leaf, or any vegetable matter consumed in the Chilebrown house. It has been a pork lovers paradise. Nueske Ham & Bacon, Fatted Calf Porterhouse steaks, potatoes, raviolis and a whole lot of cookies and sweets. There was an olive in the martini, but that does not count. (does it?) With the Ham comes a beautiful bone. It is like an added bonus. With a Ham bone comes split pea soup. This is a very easy soup to make. It also has vegetables to offset some of our over indulgence. There will be, of course, a Chilebrown touch of some chipotle pepper. This soup sure smells good simmering a way while watching Bowl games. Let's Go!

Chilebrown's Split Pea Soup

  1. One ham bone
  2. 1 pound split peas
  3. 2 slices of bacon chopped
  4. 1 onion chopped fine
  5. 2 stalks celery cubed
  6. 2 carrots cubed
  7. 2 chipotle peppers
  8. salt & pepper
  9. 1 tablespoon cumin
  10. 1 teaspoon oregano
  11. 1 tablespoon dried parsley

Cook Bacon and onion for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients except salt & pepper and reserve 1/2 of cubed carrots and celery. Cover with water and bring to simmer.Add additional water if needed. Simmer for 1 hour. At this point remove the ham bone and chipotle pepper. Take a sturdy wooden spoon and stir vigorously. This will break up the split peas a little. Add the remain carrots and celery to hot liquid. Season with salt & pepper.Cover and turn off heat. When bone is cool, remove meat and chop into pieces. Chop chipotle pepper. Return pepper and ham to pot and heat thoroughly. Serve with Ham Sandwiches

This soup is thick and hearty. The Nueske bacon adds a hint of smokiness. The chipotle pepper adds a little heat to warm your soul. There are even some vegetables to make your body happy! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Nueske Ham
The first Feast of 2009 was a Nueske's Applewood Smoked Bone-in Ham. Oh Yeah! It is going to be a good meat year.