Chilebrown at home

Saturday, February 28, 2009


Here we are again in Pinole California. It is a tough job sampling pork chops throughout Pinole. If I did not do it, Who will? Today, We are at the Alley Cafe. This is a small cafe located one block from the Pinole 'Po-Po' department. This is another institute in Pinole. It is a far cry from the big super chain 'Houses of Flapjacks'. There are only three employees working this restaurant, that has a dozen or so tables. With that in mind, you have to realize that Alley's is the opposite from fast food. You have to go into the Alley Cafe with a paper in hand and a lot of patience. If you are prepared you will be rewarded with a HUGE plate of breakfast and some home made hot sauce.

Of course, the pork chops were ordered. To accompany this grilled swine a bucket of cream gravy and a flapjack was requested. You should see the size of this pancake. It was as big as manhole cover. It was enough for both Ms. Goofy and I and with enough left over for the Pinole High School Marching Band. The pork chop was very good. The icing on the cake was some home made hot sauce. I could not pin point any particular pepper profile. It did have a kick to ignite the flames of pork chop passion.

The Alley Cafe is a very popular local breakfast nook. It is a family run restaurant with a hot sauce kick. Bring your appetite and come with some spare time. You will leave with a full belly and a smile on your face.

Alley Cafe
2265 Pear St.
Pinole, California 94564
510 724-5312

Friday, February 27, 2009


We just got back from the 'City'. We had dinner at Alfred's. Ms. Goofy and Chilebrown have been married for 16 years. We celebrated our good fortune and Love for each other. We did get married on My birthday. You think Men are such fools .

Thursday, February 26, 2009


It feels like Christmas morning. The anticipation of opening the presents and finally getting to play with that new toy. There is a temptation to inform the Salt Mine bosses that Chilebrown will not be at work today because He has to cook a roast and try out his new Kramer 10 inch slicer. The Christmas Eve suspense lasted for 5 years. That is when this knife was ordered. It was worth the wait.

Bob Kramer makes a unique and high quality knife. They are sought out by professional chefs, collectors and home chefs. He is famous in the knife making world. Bob holds a title of "Master Knife Maker" which only 67 are recognized in the United States. There have been numerous magazine articles about Kramer Knives. He was even featured on TV with my friend Joey Altman's 'Bay Cafe'. Ms. Goofy and I visited Bob and his shop when he used to be located in Seattle Washington. He is a very personable Bladesmith. Bob walked us through the knife making process and answered My long list of questions. After the tour, I offered to purchase one of his knifes. Bob informed me that I would have to be put in to the 'rotation'. That first knife took about 6 months to rotate my way. This took place around 1997 and now 12 years and half a dozen knifes later the rotation is about 5 years.

This knife is a 10 inch slicer. It is used for carving roasts and large cuts of meat. It is made from a tool steel called '52100'. The steel goes through a seven step heat process which takes 6 hours. It then is given an edge, sharpened and honed. The handle is Cocobolo a rosewood harvested from the equatorial zone. This knife is a thing of beauty. I think I am going to cry.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Michael Hemmer is an artist that lives in the Coastal Mountains of Oregon. In his own words, He lives an Alternative life style. He also creates hand forged knives. These knives are made from recycled high carbon Swedish saw steel. This steel is heated in a coal-fired forge. They are then beaten and compacted by a hammer. This process causes a higher carbon concentration to be forced to the cutting edge. "The actual crystalyn structure is tightened and more perfectly aligned resulting in a more durable, longer lasting finer keener edge". Yes, these knives do have a keen edge. You can sharpen and hone these beauties to a razor sharp finish. They do need to be washed and dried after every use because they will rust.

We found these knives in a gift shop in Oregon. The cleaver was my first purchase. It was a gateway knife. I had to have more. The rest of these knives were obtained directly from Michael Hemmer. They were purchased over 10 years ago. I am not sure if he sells them directly anymore. You can pick them up at the Blacksmith Shop in Ferndale California. When you use one of these knives you can feel the pride and craftsmanship throughout. These knives are functional pieces of Art.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I just got a call from Bob Kramer from 'Kramer Knives'. My knife is ready, the knife I ordered 5 years ago. We will talk about that later this week when I receive this "Blade of Glory"

Kitchen knives are the backbone of any decent cook. We all have our favorite blades. What works for one person might not work for another. There are a few of us that even collect and cherish knives. (Myself, Meathenge). The Mad Meat Genius kitchen comes from an older school of thought. Carbon Steel is my choice of cutlery. It does take a little extra care. I find them a little easier to sharpen. After you use one of these utensils you need to wash and dry them immediately. They will rust and pit if you do not take care of them. If you take care of them, they will last forever, not like my 401K.

Today we will glimpse at Gustav Emil. This is a company from Germany. They have been around for a long time. They made a quality knife and have big name recognition. I am not sure who owns them today. The blades I own have been made before 1960. They are made from virgin steel versus recycled steel. The steel is harder and lasts longer. You can pick these blades up on E-Bay. They are still cheaper than buying a brand new set of German blade. They will not look as pretty as stainless steel, but they are performers. Take pride in your cooking and your Utensils. These knives take extra care but they are worth it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Once again, We return to Pinole California to absorb some breakfast pork chops. The 'Embers' is our destination today. The Embers is a local institution in Pinole. What makes this hash house different is the wood charcoal grill in the kitchen. This grill turns out some stellar ribs, roast beef,chicken, hams and of course pork chops. The Embers does not disappoint with quality and quantity of their meat dishes.

When we walked through the door our lovely waitress, Debbie, greeted us and gave us the best seat in the house. Through out our meal Debbie treated us like visiting Dignitaries. She gave us service like We were the only ones in the restaurant. There was one other customer. The pork chops were ordered. A choice of pancakes or hash browns were included with this entree. There must be an ordinance in Pinole, Ca., that states: if you order pork chops the pancakes or hash brown must incapacitate you for the rest of the day. This was one large meal. The pork chops were smoky and well seasoned. They were tender and juicy. These chops were magic on a plate. The pancakes were fluffy and light. Several hours later was a different story. My belly was not fluffy or light. Whew boy! I do not think you are supposed to take a nap after breakfast. The Embers is a great place to get your grill on!!!

The Embers

600 San Pablo Avenue
Pinole, California

Debbie at the Grill

Monday, February 16, 2009


Today's act will not Boar you. On stage is a cured smoked product procured from Baron's Meat in Alameda. This meat is lean and mean. Ms. Goofy had some strong opinions about this slab. I noticed this bacon in Baron's Meat case and had to try it. Baron's said this product was from "Dales Wild West" in Colorado. A quick visit to their web site revealed no information. We will just have to guess about the history of this swine.

This slab of bacon is super lean. Uncooked it has a dark smokey smell. It has a Jerky type aroma. Because of the lack of fat, some oil was added to the black iron for cooking. We were going to serve this as a accompaniment with a salad made with some fresh Burrata cheese. This bacon never made it to Ms. Goofy's salad. She was very vocal about this meat. Ms. Goofy exclaimed this bacon tasted like Dirt. It was Earthy, Chewy and Gamy. She actually spit it out and claimed it inedible. WOW! She really hit the fan on this one. I will agree with her about some things. It was chewy. There was a Gamy flavor. One would almost think they were eating a Jerky. There was a little sweetness to this bacon. This bacon is not for every one.

Todays Boar Bacon will receive a 2.5 stars out of 5. This bacon is not for the timid. It is not your everyday bacon product.

Boar Bacon

Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Price: 12 dollars/pound
Where: Barons Meats
Alameda Marketplace 1650 Park St., Alameda, CA 94501
510 864-1915

Saturday, February 14, 2009


It is Valentines Day and something special needed to be made for this occasion. Ms. Goofy requested Pulled Pork. Of course the Mad Meat Genius had to bring it a step Further.. Pulled Pork Lasagna is the ticket to a wild ride this Holiday. Yesterday two pork shoulder (Butt) roasts were smoked for 12 hours and finished off in the oven. These roasts were masterpieces standing on their own. We had some sandwiches for quality control purposes. After it was determined the meat would pass muster it was combined with tomatoes , barbeque sauce and simmered. Combine it with noodles and cheese and We have one decadent lasagana.

Smoke your Butt !

We will redirect you to Butt smoking directions from Mad Meat Genius history. Survival Spice was the rub of choice today. In fact it is on sale from the manufacture if you are interested.

  1. 3 cups pulled pork
  2. 1 package of lasagna noodles: cook per package instructions
  3. 1 cup parmesean grated
  4. 1 small container ricotta
  5. 1 bottle of barbeque sauce (your choice, today was from Peppahead)
  6. 1 small can diced tomatoes
  7. salt & pepper
  8. survival spice
  9. 1/2 pound of mozzarella grated
  10. 1/2 pound of jack grated

Place tomatoes and barbeque sauce in pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Add pulled pork and salt & pepper to taste. Reserve and let cool a little.

Take a lasagna pan and assemble by layering noodles, cheese and meat sauce. I save the Parmesan for the top layer. I sprinkle a little Survival Spice on top of the Parmesan to make it all pretty for Valentines Day. Cook for 40 minutes covered in foil. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Today was a perfect Valentines Day. I spent it with the ones I love! The Pulled Pork Lasagna was just the icing on the cake. It was rich and cheesy just like me.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Happy Valentines Day,
Mojo & Oscar want to give you a 'Big Ole Buss'!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Ms. Goofy and I were having a couple of burgers at a local hamburger joint. The breakfast menu was included with the list of burgers and accompaniments. One thing that caught our eye was the deep fried pork chops. Could it be true? We finished our meal and vowed to return in the name of research.

Fast forward a couple of days to this morning. We return to "The Original Red Onion" and the first sight is a Cook standing over a full griddle of bacon. So far, so good. Will they really have deep fried pork chops? The chops are ordered. Can I have gravy on those pork chops. "Sure!". The staff is cheerful and friendly. You cannot have an empty coffee cup. The humongous plate was hauled to our table. Two breaded deep fried pork chops, home fries, and two eggs all smothered in cream gravy were lowered onto the table. They include your choice of toast so you will have something to sop up all the extra gravy. Can it get any better? This was everything the doctor ordered. Sometimes in life it is all about the gravy!
The Original Red Onion
2870 Pinole Valley Rd.
Pinole, Ca. 94564
510 223-6856

Monday, February 9, 2009


Mike Nelson of 'Riff Trax' blog is going to exist on a diet of bacon only for the month of February. He will eat nothing but bacon. He will allow coffee, beer and martinis to supplement his bacon. You can follow his adventure at Riff Trax 'Bacon Stupidity'. There is a great love of bacon at the Mad Meat Genius, but, this is a little extreme. We wish Mike Nelson luck!!!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Chilebrown's egg mcmuffin is a great way to start out the day. You do have to get up early to make the english muffins. They are worth it! There was a small piece of Nueske bacon that was just waiting for this occasion. An egg and some of your favorite cheese and you are set. There is a little leftover mayonnaise with chipotle that will kick up this sandwich a couple of more notches.

This hit the spot. It is off to the market for more adventures.

Friday, February 6, 2009


It is not to far away for Spring vegetables to burst into the Chilebrown kitchen. Chris from Zukerman Farms claims that in 21 days he will be able to harvest the first asparagus.

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, Bright globe artichokes and warm green asparagus, Brown paper packages tied up with pea tendrils, These are a few of my favorite things"(Sorry Rodgers and Hammerstein).

Our local store had some nice looking green globes of the thistle plant named artichoke. They will be cooked with just water, salt and a couple of citrus fruits. The citrus adds flavor and the acid stops discoloration. The first duty is to wash and trim your chokes.

Cut the stem to 1/2 inch before the globe. I know that 'Jacques Pepperin' leaves a longer stem and then peels it. That is why he is French.
Slice a good hunk off the top. Rub all freshly cut surfaces with lemon or other citrus. Cut all the thorny tips from the leaves to form a neat line around the orb. This is strictly for presentation and is optional. Place in a large pot that has cold salted water. Place a lemon cut in half and squeezed into water. Place trimmed artichokes in water and cover. Cook for 40 minutes at medium simmer depending on size of your spheroid. The way to check if your artichoke is done, is to peal a leaf. They should easily pull away from the body. You can also take a knife and insert it into its heart. The heart is located on the bottom of the choke. It should be tender. Drain well and let cool slightly.

Serve with mayonnaise spiked with a little chipotle en adobo. Peel away a leaf and dip. When the leaves are gone, cut away to expose the heart. There will be a purple hairy mass. Trim away and dispose. Eat the heart and break out into song. These are a few of my favorite things!

Monday, February 2, 2009


Another local hot sauce is on the plate today. It is Devil's Dew from Pepaheads's. Pepahead's is based in San Rafael California. They have a booth at the Marin Farmer's market on Sunday morning. Pepahead has numerous products, calenders, barbeque sauces and hot chile sauce. Today we have one of the signature sauces. It is 'Devil's Dew'. It is a Red Savina pepper concoction. The Red Savina is from the Habanero family. It is heat with a fruity flavor. The ingredients are simple. Red Savina habanero peppers, onion, water, garlic, vinegar salt and xanthum gum make up this sauce. The Red Savina is one of the hottest habanero's grown, so you know this sauce is a heavy hitter in the heat department.

The first taste was experienced naked on a spoon. It had a fruity first bite. Once the sauce has hit the back of your throat, the heat kicks in. Boy, Oh Boy!, does the heat kick in. If you are not used to a habanero blast, you may be gasping for a little air. The second taste was with a Super Burrito. This sauce is not for the timid. There is a great Savina pepper taste. The vinegar is mild. It just burns with flavor. There is a lot of flavor if you can survive the pepper rush. It is always fun to find local hot sauces. Peppahead Devil's Dew is a great find.


The Super Bowl would not be Super without some wings. The beehive was fired up. The cook got marinated and the games were played. To accompany the wings a Yukon Gold potato and roasted onion pizza was created. It turned out to be a great game. The wings and pizza were superb.It was a Super Sunday!!!