Friday, November 27, 2009
Chilebrown has just set a record for eating gravy and stuffing. Dinner was delicious. I tried to use some restraint on my food consumption. I only had two helpings of everything to begin the food marathon. The turkey was nice and the pies were sweet, but I live for the stuffing. A quick nap on the couch was in order. It helped that the Oakland Raiders stunk up Cowboys stadium. A quick refresh and all of a sudden I was hungry again. A fast trip to the Chilebrown Ice cave and a huge mound of stuffing and gravy was found. This stuffing is special to me. It is comfort food to the top level. Home made bread is an important ingredient. Vegetables, Italian sausage, water chestnuts and spices round out this bread pudding of Love.
Chilebrown's Thanksgiving Stuffing
- Home made Bread (Cook 5 days beforehand. Slice into cubes two days before)
- 1 onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 1 can whole water chestnuts chopped into large chunks
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
- salt and pepper
- 1 cube of butter
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 pound of Italian sausage (cooked and cooled)
- 3/4 pound mushrooms chopped
- warm chicken stock
Saute the onions, garlic, peppers and celery with cube of butter in pan. Cook for about 10 minutes. Take a large bowl and combine all the rest of the ingredients except chicken stock. Gradually add chicken stock stirring until a moist mixture is achieved. Place stuffing into turkey cavities. If you have left over stuffing place into pan and bake in oven. Bake until there is a crispy outer crust and heated through entirely. Cook bird as directed in oven or bbq. Serve with buckets of gravy
It is all about the stuffing. I wish we did not have to wait to next Thanksgiving for more stuffing. I think I am going to eat some more stuffing. The couch is looking a little lonely.
Sunflower in November
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Summer is over. The tomatoes have come and gone. The days of fresh salsa are only a fond memory on the taste buds of my mind. What is a Chile Freak supposed to do? Today SuckleBusters has come to the rescue. They have a packaged salsa that is so easy to make, it is scary. Open a can of diced tomatoes, add water, Sucklebusters, and give it a stir. Let rest in a refrigerator or in my case, the Chilebrown Ice Cave, for 30 minutes. ‘Quick and Easy’, just like the package says. I love salsa, so let’s give it a try.
The ingredients are few and simple. Onion, peppers, cilantro, garlic, lime powder, and salt are the same ingredients that I use for my pico de gallo. The only difference is these ingredients are dehydrated and I use fresh.
The dried ingredients have a pungent fresh aroma. Once the salsa has rested and rehydrated for 30 minutes a very pleasant lime/citrus smell will grab your senses. You can smell the cilantro too. I need to find some chips and dig in right away.
Wow, this salsa taste just like summer. Sucklebusters has mixed and balanced a winning combination of spices and vegetables. It would be no surprise if this bowl of salsa was devoured faster than the time to make it. I have only one small complaint. This is one MILD salsa. There is no detectable heat. There is a pepper flavor, but not even a tickle of heat.
We tried this salsa with some tortilla chips. It tasted great. The citrus seasoning gives it a fresh flavor. Luckily there was a little left for some quesadillas. Once again, this salsa brings back the memories of summer. Sucklebusters makes a great salsa mix that is easy to make and easier to devour. You only need to add your own heat if you are a Chilehead like me.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
We rushed Crusty home and gave him a 10 minute bath in rolling, boiling, scalding, salted water. We removed the suit of armor and formed the crab into cakes. We used a recipe like this. A mesquite fire was built. It had just finished raining and the air was clear and brisk. Building the bbq fire had a soothing vibe, like the calm after the storm. A trusty black iron warrior was called in to battle, to tame this ring of this fire. A plunge in a hot butter bath was all these beautiful cakes needed.
We love our Dungeness crab. It is so sweet and delicious. A hint of smokiness is what the barbeque added. We will be enjoying crab for the next couple of months. Oh Yeah!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
A lot has happened in the last 4 years. Four years ago Ms. Goofy and I visited Bull Dog BBQ in Martinez California. I wrote a review for my good friend Doctor Biggles. This was one of my first attempts at reviewing. ‘Mad Meat Genius’ was only a small flicker of light in my cranium region. Now, Ms. Goofy and I are certified KCBS (Kansas City Barbeque Society) barbeque judges. I have written for several blogs and been having a very fun ride reviewing bacon, hot and barbeque sauces. My taste in barbeque has not changed. The way I look at barbeque has become a little more critical. Barbeque at competition level is a chance to sample some of the best of the best. There are certain things that you look for in the perfect rib. Is it cooked correctly? How is it presented? How does it taste? Each rib is judged individually. Once you judge a rib you move on to the next competitor. You do not compare one competitor against another. Every judge has their own personal taste preference. With that said, My BBQ restaurant reviews will be different than 4 years ago. I will look at the establishment as a whole package. How was the service, food (BBQ & side dishes), beverages, and atmosphere? We visited Bulldog BBQ six months ago and again this last weekend.
Bulldog has changed owners since 4 years ago. Ralph & Gina Rangel are the new proprietors. The outside logo has changed. The Bulldog insignia is no longer present on the front window. The interior is inviting and warm. We grabbed a seat and our very friendly waitress came right away with utensils and menus. Some cold frosty beverages were in order. Bulldog has several beers on draught. The menu has the usual suspects for a BBQ joint. They do have grilled steaks and prime rib which I have not tried. One thing we noticed was the absence of cornbread. I seem to recall a wonderful corn muffin from a previous visit. Cornbread is usually a staple at BBQ joints. I wonder why it was taken off the menu. We were on a mission to try the BBQ. Ms. Goofy ordered the pulled pork sandwich and I ordered pork ribs. Our sides included cole slaw, macaroni salad and macaroni & cheese.
Pork Ribs: Now the barbeque judge emerges. We took a look at the ribs to critique the appearance. These ribs looked very average. They do not jump out and start the drooling process. A bite is taken for the taste. These ribs are slow cooked with a dry rub. The sauce is served on the side. The taste again is very average. The rub does not add or subtract from a fairly bland pork flavor. The smoke flavor was very minimal. Some sauce was applied and another bite was taken. The sauce has a sweet/vinegar tomato base. This was a big improvement but we wanted to eat ribs, not sauce. The texture bordered on a little overdone.
Pulled Pork Sandwich: The pulled pork meat was the best part of our meal. The appearance was very appetizing. The meat was a good mix of bark and center meat. The flavor of the meat was smoky and tender. The bark was a treat in itself. (Bark is the caramelized intensely flavored exterior of the pork) The texture was spot on for pulled pork. It was served on a lackluster plain roll.
Side Dishes: The macaroni salad and coleslaw was uninspired. They could have come out of a 5 gallon bucket from Costco. The macaroni and cheese was dry and not creamy at all. The side dishes were disappointing. There was no cornbread on the premise.
Bulldog BBQ is a clean, warm and inviting restaurant. It is a good place to grab a beer and watch a game. The owner and staff are very friendly and efficient. The food is pretty mediocre for a BBQ joint. The ribs were very average. The sides were uninspired and did not compliment the meat. The pulled pork was excellent but fell into an unexciting and dry roll. We did not feel the ‘Love’ with the food. To be fair we ate here 6 months earlier. Our visit was basically the same. We returned to review today on request from Meathenge. We did not try all the menu items. Dr. Biggles will do a follow up review to try some different menu offerings. Will we return? I would like to return and try a steak, but after today’s review, we probably will not be welcome.
601 Main St
Martinez, CA 94553
Monday, November 16, 2009
We are having a barbeque on this crisp and cold November day. We have invited SuckleBusters to the party. SuckleBusters is a hot sauce, spice and condiment company located in Texas. They have won the Chilepepper magazines fiery food award for their barbeque sauce. That is one smokin endorsement. Today they will have to pass muster with two certified barbeque judges, Ms. Goofy and myself, Chilebrown. We will rub down some chicken with SuckleBusters “Hoochie Mama BBQ Rub”. The chicken will be bathed in a fiery bath of smoke and heat from a mesquite fire. Sucklebusters claims that their products are ‘Bustin’ with flavor. They are made ‘Texas Style’. Texas Style means big and bold yet simple. We shall see. Let’s get cooking!.
Let’s start by rubbing down the bird with ‘Hoochie Mama Rub’. Paprika, sugar, salt, black pepper, chile powder, garlic, onion, celery, chipotle, cayenne are listed as ingredients. It had a nice fresh spice aroma. Ms. Goofy tried a little dab on her paw and whimpered, It tastes salty she barked. She noticed a hint of celery in the flavor. The heat was a little delayed. It was a little burn that originated in the back of her throat. The burn factor was not ‘burn the house down hot’. It was a little more of a subtle shout out from the peppers saying, ‘I am here’. The real taste test will be later after the chicken has been cooked. We rubbed the chicken and let it rest in the Chilebrown Ice cave for a couple of hours.
The chicken was cooked over a direct mesquite charcoal medium fire. The last 10 minutes we brushed on SuckleBusters BBQ Sauce. What are the secrets of this award winning sauce? Vinegar, water, brown sugar, tomato paste, cane sugar, natural smoke flavor, salt, cayenne, mustard, onion, Xanthan gum, garlic and cloves are listed as ingredients. We opened the bottle and a pleasant vinegar and spice smell hit our sinuses or Ms. Goofy’s snout. We tried a little on a spoon. It was very sweet. It did have a good balance of smoke and vinegar. We did not detect any heat level at all. The sauce was a little thin. We basted the chicken several times. Now for the real taste test, will this stand up to the judges?
Ms. Goofy gave the combination of rub and barbeque sauce two paws up. She said the original saltiness of the rub played out to a good flavor on the cooked chicken. She liked the balance of sweet and vinegar of the sauce. Overall the combination of rub and sauce was a good combination. I thought the sauce was a little on the sweet side for my personal tastes. I would also call out for more heat. This would be a good excuse to try their hot sauce. The rub came through with a little spank of heat. SuckleBusters has a quality barbeque sauce and rub that we would invite back to another barbeque.
Sucklebusters Texas Style Sauces & Seasonings
Friday, November 13, 2009
- 1 cup egg nog
- 2 tablespoons sugar or honey
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 5 cups bread flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon yeast
Proof yeast in lukewarm egg nog. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Nead for 5 minutes. Let rise in covered lightly oiled bowl. Let rise for two hours. After 2 hours roll out and cut into muffin shapes. Take a pastry brush and dip in a cup of water. Brush muffins and sprinkle corn meal on both sides. Let rise for another 30 minutes. Cook on a hot griddle. Cook for aprox 5 minutes on each side. Muffins should be brown on both sides. Let cool completely
We were pleasantly surprised. These muffins were delicious. This is perfect with the morning coffee. They are toasted and serve with a dab of butter. You will have a sweet treat with a slight hint egg nog flavor with these muffins.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Brown Rice Onion Bread
- 5 cups bread flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoon yeast
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup cooked rice (wild or brown)
- 1 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup dried onions minced
Place all ingredients in food processor and mix for 4 minutes. You will have a fairly sticky dough. Turn mixture out on to a cutting board and knead by hand for another 2 minutes. Add minimal amount of flour to prevent sticking. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Take dough out of refrigerator two hours before baking. Place in well oiled loaf pan. (one large or two small) Let rise to 1 inch over lip of pan. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until internal temperature is 185 degrees. Let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.The black bean chili is made from some ground and loin elk meat. The elk meat is another gift from the Great White Hunter. The recipe is very similar to a recipe used in Bowl of Red from a previous post. Black beans, home grown tomatoes and whole dried chipotles are the difference. Yes, you read correctly. We still have some home grown tomatoes on the vine. They do not have the flavor of summer, but they are still a vast improvement over store bought tomatoes. We will have tomatoes until the rain starts.
The Brown Rice Onion Bread was a very moist loaf. It had a nutty sweet flavor. It toasted up very nice. The dried onion was just a subtle hint of allium flavor. You will not notice that brown rice is an ingredient. The chipotle black bean chili was smoky, spicy and very comforting. A slice of bread with a bowl of red is a wonderful combination of home style warmth.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
4 tablespoons bacon fat
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 1/2 cups chopped peppers (combination of red and yellow bell and jalapeno)
1 1/4 cups lukewarm (110°F) water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
3 cups bread flour
Bean with Bacon soup is a comfort food from my youth. I hate to admit it, but it was from a very popular condensed soup maker. Home made soup was not to come to my plate till much later in life. Bean with bacon soup is so easy to make. This was made with dried Navy beans and some home made chicken stock. Home made chicken stock is the secret to great soups. Some celery, onion and home grown carrots were sauted in a little bacon fat and thrown into the stock and bean cauldron. It was simmered for an hour. Some spices, No Name bacon and home grown parsley was added the last minute. This soup is genius. It is a blast from the past improved.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Black Lightning hot sauce is a blend of 60 percent khumbu chiles and 40 percent Thai chiles. Larry adds shallots, onion , garlic, water, vinegar, salt and xanthan gum. For those of you who do not know what zanthan gum is, it is a polysaccharide. I looked that up in my Funk and Wagnall’s and rolled it up in my bippy and smoked it.
When you open this bottle of Black Lightning you will get a pleasant whiff of vinegar with hints of Asian spice. The smell only teased you for the next steps.
When the sauce was shaken out on to a plate with ‘Black Jack Tacos’, it had a medium thick consistency. This sauce would spread over any food item with a thin blanket of love. The sauce had a reddish brown color that screamed taste me.
Why did I pick ‘Black Jack Tacos’? I have no idea except this sauce is called Black Lightning and Black Tacos? Chilebrown’s Genius is suspect at times. The taste, the most important factor shall be examined. Shallots and garlic is the first hit on your tongue. Right away you will receive a jolt of heat. It is not a fiery blast. It will make you sit up and notice. The flavor is unique in a good way.
The heat level is 3.5 out of 5 on the burn scale. Extreme heat seekers will think this is a medium hot sauce. For novice peppers consumers this will be very hot. I like to think this sauce achieves a happy medium. It will keep you on your toes.
The label is nice but small. You need to have some good eyes to see the detail. There is a picture of a pepper in the Himalayas with lightning bolts hitting the peppers. If you take the time to look at the label it is very good. It would not grab my attention at a store because of small detail
Peppahead is a small company that does quality pepper products. This is another hot sauce that he has created that is wonderful. I would stand in a long line on a rainy day to get another bottle of Black Lightning. It is unique because of the Khumbu peppers. The taste is great even on a Black Taco. By the way ‘Black Jack Taco’s’ are just wrong!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Chilebrown has embarked on a new endeavor. I will be writing hot sauce reviews for a wonderful forum called Peppers & More. They will be sending me sauces for consumption and critique. Wow, free hot sauces, I think I just won the lottery. The reviews will be posted on Peppers & More and later on Mad Meat Genius. Take a gander when you get a chance.
This weekend, ‘No-Name Bacon’ will be in the house. Hope to see you soon!