Chilebrown at home

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Berkeley Bowl West is a 'Foodie Paradise'. Today was no exception. We were on a mission to find artichokes. The Berkeley Bowl has so many artichoke choices. They had X-Large- to small, organic and even chokes made into dip. We chose a couple of larges and hiked to the checkout booth.

Home made mayonnaise sounded like a good idea. We have a bevy of eggs, a Meyer lemon tree, and a lot of energy. Mayo is not too hard to make. I started out with just a whisk. Ms. Goofy volunteered the idea of using her fancy 'Kitchenaid' hand mixer. After a minute of whisking I jumped on her suggestion. The mayonnaise creation was a breeze. One mayonnaise got a teaspoon of chipotle en adobo. Home made chipotle en adobo of course.

Artichokes are a sign of the beginning of Spring. We are heading to Marin for Asparagus as soon as I get off this darn computer. Maybe we will run into the Crankmeister and his beautiful Wife, the 'Angry One!'

Saturday, February 27, 2010


The box says to "Treat Your Dog Right". Mojo and Oscar are two happy campers. These biscuits are even cheese flavored. Ms. Goofy actually tried one and said it did have a cheese flavor. I could not get her to do the biscuit trick this time.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Yes, I got married on my Birthday. Chilebrown is no dummy (?) I will never forget the date. We are going to celebrate by going to a local 'Crab Feed". We will be cracking crustaceans with some good friends.

The next morning we are going to the Marin Farmers Market in search of the first Asparagus of the season,. Hopefully, Chris of Zukerman farms will have the green spears of spring. Asparagus is our favorite accompaniment for all things of meat. Bacon wrapped, stir fried, deep fried, salads, and so many other recipes to create. We have our fingers crossed.

My sister, Nancy,"The President of Cookies" sent me this card.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Simple, quality, and fresh ingredients can make a stunning classic meal. We are going to transform bacon and eggs into Chilebrown's Carbonara. A simple manipulation of flour, eggs, olive oil, and a pinch of salt will magically become pasta. Some of the best bacon from Yolo county will be combined with Parmesan cheese, cream and more fresh egg to coat this toothy pasta. Ms. Goofy's sister gifted us 4 dozen fresh eggs. We gave away half and still have enough eggs for a gaggle of noobs. (I have no idea what a noob is). Let's start with the back story of the bacon.

John Bledsoe is a pig farmer from Woodland California. He raises a Duroc hybrid breed of pig. He uses no antibiotics or growth hormones on these porcine creatures. We met John at the Sunday Sacramento Farmers market. He sells various cuts of meat and also a bacon. John is a passionate farmer that took pride in talking to me about his products. He takes his pork bellies to Prime Smoked Meats in Oakland California for curing. We know Prime Smoked Meats and they turn out quality products. John said he would provide me some bellies for future bacon making. Oh boy!!

Flour from 'Moores Flour Mill' (Redding California) is going to grab the oil, salt and eggs together. McEvoy is an extra virgin olive oil that is top shelf nectar extracted from the humble olive. Four eggs broken into a volcano of flour was topped with a splash of oil and pinch of sea salt. Knead mixture until your arms are burnin. Cut into desired shapes. I told you this was easy.

Cook the noodles in some boiling salted water. When done drain and toss with a handful of Parmesan cheese, two raw egg yolks and a splash of cream Season with Salt and Pepper. Quality ingredients will win the 'Gold Medal' . It is time to hit the couch and watch some curling.

Bledsoe Meat: (530) 666-1349

Friday, February 19, 2010


Manual of a Traditional Bacon Curer is the third book by Maynard Davies. This is a must have book for anybody that likes to make their own sausage or cure bacon. This is a detailed reference book for all steps in processing pork. Maynard starts with what type of hogs to use and proceeds to instruct in all steps of butchering. Maynard shares all his recipes for different brine's and dry rubs. He then gives recipes to use with the cured products. Pates, Haggis and Black and White Puddings are some of the recipe gems. Maynard even tell us how to build a smoke house. This book has many wonderful images that make all the processes look easy.

Maynard is a ‘rock star’ in the English bacon world. He has a down to earth style of explaining different aspects of curing. This book was published in the U.K., so be prepared for funny spellings and unusual ingredients. Rusk is one of these ingredients. Rusk is commonly made from yeast-less flour and is a binder to absorb water and meat juices. This is a great book for reference in butchering and recipes. The pictures are very helpful. You will have to use some math to make his recipes suitable for home use. This book receives the Mad Meat Genius seal of approval. I will leave you with Maynard’s recipe for Faggots.



  1. 24 lbs assorted meat products, including fresh hocks, pork hearts liver and other oddmeats.
  2. 6 lbs medium grade rusk
  3. 1 ½ lb Spanish onions
  4. caul fat
  5. seasoning

    3lb fine salt
    2lbs ground black pepper
    2 oz. sage
    1 oz. thyme
    Use ¾ oz. to 1lb of meat.

    Cook the hocks, pork hearts, liver and oddmeats. Then put them through a medium grid and place in your bowl chopper. Mince the onions and add to the bowl. Mix well, and add the seasoning and rusk. Add a small amount of sterilized water and mix thoroughly until the desired consistency is achieved. Remove from the bowl chopper and place on a floured board. Shape into balls, using approximately 4-6oz for each ball, and wrap in caul fat.
    Place the faggots in a baking tin putting a small amount of water in the bottom to prevent sticking. Bake at 375-420F for approximately 11/2-2hours. The cooking time is longer than for savoury ducks as the oddmeats have not been cooked.
    Follow this recipe and you will have lovely flavoured faggots. Eaten with mushy peas, gravy and crusty bread, they will give you a filling and enjoyable meal.

Manual of a Traditional Bacon Curer ISBN 9781906122089

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Sunday was a beautiful sunny day in Northern California. It was a perfect day to hold a barbeque competition. The California Barbeque Association held a warm-up event in Placerville, California. Placerville (Hangtown) is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Hangtown originally was a base camp that supplied the Gold Miners with necessities and materials for mining. Placerville was called Hangtown because of the swift dispatch of three Desperados in a large Oak tree downtown. Today, the competition will be held at the fair grounds.

The contest started Friday evening with a potluck. Forty six teams were present Saturday afternoon to turn in chicken and pork ribs. Ms. Goofy and I arrived Sunday to judge the turn in of brisket and pork. We have brought our judging uniforms and large appetites.

This event was an informal competition for the California BBQ Association. This contest was a tune-up for later barbeque events. In normal competition, the judging is blind. This means the judges do not know whose meat they taste and the competitors do not witness the actual judging. The judges table was turned around and bbq teams watched us sample their entries. The meat would be scored and then we gave a critique and explanation for the marks we gave. The barbeque teams would learn what, we, the judges were looking for. We judged for three criteria: Presentation, Taste, and Texture. This was a great learning experience for all involved.

We had a wonderful time at this gathering of barbeque enthusiasts. I always get a kick out of checking out all of the different barbeque rigs. There was everything from ‘Weber Bullets’ to fancy custom rigs.

There were a lot of humorous BBQ team names. This was one of my favorites. It struck my funny bone.

The overall winner of the competition was the Team of “Bart’s Blazin Q”. I think everybody took away some new knowledge and experience from this event. The “1st Annual Hangtown Winter fest” was a success and got everybody excited about the BBQ season to come. I took home a ‘Meat baby”!

Monday, February 15, 2010


Today's Bacon Revue is a Bay Area treat. This is one of the Bacon producers that have taken the cured pork wave and have created a delicious "Artisan" bacon. This is one of the buzz words that the San Francisco Chronicle has used to describe the curers of pork bellies in the Bay Area. "Humanely raised , Locally Sourced, Natural, Certified Sustainable, Heritage, Traditional these are all words to mean expensive. We have a Artisan bacon from Black Pig Meat Company that is located in Healdsburg California. Black Pig Meat Company uses Heritage free range hogs. We gave it a try, fried it in black iron and made some cheddar, bacon and chive biscuits.

This is some good looking bacon. The meat to fat ration is 50/50. It fried up crisp and chewy. There was a wonderful pork flavor.You did not really notice a salt hit or sugar rush. It was a great combination of brown sugar and salt. When you can combine these two ingredients and get a good flavor you have a winner. There was no smoke flavor present.

Overall, We liked this bacon. It needed some more smoke for my taste. Black Pig Meat Bacon will receive a 4 out of 5 star rating. This is a high rating for Artisanal Bacon. I would love to buy a slab, but probably cannot afford it.

Bacon, Chive, Cheddar Bisquits
  1. slices of bacon fried and chopped
  2. 4 cups flour
  3. 1/3 cup of chives chopped
  4. 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  5. 1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  6. 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 stick of butter
  9. 1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Combine all dry ingredients. Cut butter into flour mixture with a fork. Slowly add buttermilk until sticky dough forms. Do not over mix. Drop dough mixture onto oiled cookie sheet forming bisquite shapes. Leave some room for the bisquits to spread. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes or until bisquits are golden brown.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Price: 9.99/12 ounces

Where: Black Pig Meat Co.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


You know I had to do it. After watching Andrew Zimmern eat all his exotic foods this will be tame. I had to wait till the right opportunity to partake on my culinary experiment. Basically I had to wait till Ms. Goofy was not around. She would never put up for Porky's smiling face. She has been helping watch Jeremy's girls so I had a small window of opportunity. It was an adventure just to purchase this cabeza.

A trip of Oakland's Chinatown was unfruitful. Four meat markets were visited. Most of these stores specialized in selling pork. Most of the workers did not or want to speak English to me. I would use hand gestures, pointing at the pork and then my head. That got a couple of chuckles but no pork head. One keeper spoke English and said he would sell me a frozen head. He turned to his colleagues and spoke in a foreign dialect. He turned to me and said "No Head!", and that was it. I left Chinatown and traveled to High street. There are a lot of Mexican markets in this area. I found a pigs head here.
The head was rinsed and cleaned. A splash of salt and a rubbing of vegetable oil was the only garnish for this smiling skull of porcine. 400 degrees for an hour and 1/2. The temperature was dropped to 350 for another two hours. The house smelled wonderful. It smelled of a delicious pork roast. The roasted pig head was a beautiful golden brown. I immediately broke off an ear and started to munch. It was chewy and very tasty.

The cheek meat was so very tasty. It had a very flavorful rich pork taste. It was not bland at all like a tenderloin. Taco's were the vehicle of choice for cheek consumption. A little salsa made this a treat. I did try a little nibble of the brain. It was not unpleasant but it was a texture and flavor that I was not used to. No it did not taste like chicken.The tongue did have a beefy flavor. Now for the dish everybody has been waiting for, 'Eyeball Taco's". This took a little adult beverage encouragement. I marinated myself and took the challenge. I took a bite and it did pop in my mouth. Not a lot of taste.

This was one for the books. You only live once and eyeball taco's are a must do. I need to get rid of all the evidence before Ms. Goofy gets home.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


My nephew Jeremy has won his race with the surgeons. When Jeremy is not doting over his wife Rebecca and two young daughters, Jesse and Micah, he is a long distance runner. He has competed in triathlons and ultra marathons. Jeremy is no stranger to preparing for a race. It takes training, strategy, discipline, and pain to come out on top. He has a great support group of family and friends to help him in this next stage of his life.

Like my father, I find comfort in gardening. Sometimes to relieve stress, I go into the garden and pull some weeds or plant something. I needed to plant something. A ‘Rio Oso Gem’ would fit the bill. A ‘Rio Oso Gem’ is an heirloom variety of peach tree. This variety is a freestone peach with a beautiful yellow skin with a red blush. This tree will blossom with showy pink flowers. It is named after the town of ‘Rio Oso’ located in the Sierra foothills of California. As you can see this is a bare root tree. It will take several years before it will bare fruit. We will have to nurture and support this fragile staff of life. We will water, prune, fertilize and do what ever it takes to make this tree strong. This will be my Jeremy tree.

Jeremy, in the very near future, we are all going to sit down and have a ‘Big Ole’ piece of peach pie.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


My nephew Jeremy is scheduled for surgery tomorrow. The doctors have to remove cancer from his stomach. We are all very concerned. This is for you Jeremy. I am sending you these flowers from our garden. Get better real soon!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Benito's 'White Hot Sauce' was in the Que for review. Some inspirational food needed to be served to try this unusual hot sauce. This fiery sauce is actually white. Ol' Benito uses all organic ingredients, no salt and no preservatives. How about some Chicken Fried Bacon. This will be perfect food credit (sort of like a carbon credit) to offset the cholesterol bomb of breaded, fried bacon Love.

This recipe is very simple. You are going to bread some bacon with flour and egg and fry it in 375 degree oil. We set up a breading station. The flour was seasoned with salt & pepper and a little splash of sugar. A little water was added to the eggs and they were beaten down like the Saints are going to experience. Dip the bacon in flour, egg mixture and flour again. Once the oil hit 375 fry until golden brown.

How can I explain how good the combination is of deep fried bacon and hot sauce? Salty, chewy, savory, and very addictive. This will be the next food trend of 2010. Yes, you read it here first on Mad Meat Genius'. Benito's White Hot Sauce has a medium burn factor. It has a fresh taste of onions, lime and Bhut Joklia peppers. This sauce is delicious and unique. You can read the whole review at. Peppers & More.

Benito's Hot Sauces

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Ms. Goofy and I will be judging our first barbeque contest of the year next weekend. We will be traveling to Placerville (Hangtown) California. This is a warm up event for the 2010 barbeque season. This event is sponsored by the CBBQ. Below is a description of the event.
"A Friendly Backyard cook-off to get your 2010 season started. Pit masters & certified BBQ judges will be on hand to help first time cooks prepare for competition turn ins and to help anyone who wants to learn about Low & Slow BBQ. It is a very informal competition where the main purpose is two fold (1) for experienced teams it is a chance to practice in between competitions and keep their skills well oiled: and (2) for novices, it is a chance to get the feeling of what a "real" competition would be like without the expense/entry fee or pressure of a "real" competition."

Here is a challenge for all you Barbeque Judges. There are several things wrong with this chicken turn in box. Can you name them?

Everybody is welcome to attend. We hope to see some old friends and make some new acquaintances.
Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Bacon and beer, my two favorite food groups have been incorporated into some handcrafted chocolate truffles. Socola is a small chocolatier located in Oakland California. Socola is named after the Vietnamese word for chololate.. These two truffles are made with high quality ingredients. 'Strauss' cream & butter, E. Guittard chocolate, 'Niman Ranch' applewood smoked bacon, and Guinness beer. These high quality chocolates are packaged into an attractive gift box. This sounds wonderful. Ms. Goofy and I rushed to Oakland and purchased a box of four truffles.

The price for four truffles was 10 dollars. Quality ingredients are not cheap. These truffles looked like a work of art. I did have to use a magnifying glass to see them because they were so small. The bacon truffle was topped with a single grain of 'Black Hawaiian sea salt. The Guinness truffle was decorated with a squiggly design on top. Now for the moment of truth. These were one bite truffles, but we bit them in half. The Guinness truffle had a deep chocolate flavor, but if you did not tell me Guinness was an ingredient, we would have never guessed. The bacon truffle did have some solid minuscule pieces of bacon included. The bacon did have a salty chewy texture. The grain of Black Hawaiian sea salt was a nice contrast to the dark chocolate. Overall, these were some smartly packaged and pretty chocolate truffles. The ingredients were top notch, I think I will stick to Peanut M&M's.