Chilebrown at home

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


We were at the farmers market in Kelsyville when we saw these huge jalapenos. They were screaming to be stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. The farmer warned us that these jalapenos were very hot. 'Oh Boulderdash!', I have never met a jalapeno too hot. Once we got home these beauty's were rinsed in cool water.

Some 'Old Fashion' cured bacon from 'Dee's Meats' (Bacon Revue to follow) would  blanket  these cheese wielding peppers.A combination of cream and cheddar cheese was stuffed in a clean jalapeno half. I have handled peppers hundreds of times and always have rinsed my hands after slicing them. Today was no exception. Somewhere this farmer had a smile on his face. Of course I rubbed my eye and immediately realized my mistake. Have you ever seen a grown Mad Meat Genius cry. This was not the only area that I touched. I will spare you the details. This pepper was smoking hot. Once I stopped blubbering the peppers were baked on the Weber.

The peppers were arranged on a sheet of aluminum foil A couple of holes were poked in the bottom to allow bacon fat to drain. 50 charcoals were lit and arranged into a indirect heat pattern. A aluminum pan was placed under the foil to collect the drained grease. Once the fire was to temperature a stick of applewood was dispatched to the fire. The vents were closed half way and the peppers were left to bake for 20 minutes. These bacon cheese bombs were so hot and tasty. Bacon, melted cheeses, and super hot jalapenos make for a delicious snack or side dish. Nest time I will wear protective gear while preparing these treats

Sunday, August 29, 2010


 Congratulations to all the teams that competed at 'Smokin' on the Water' at Konicti Vista Casino this weekend. In my book all the teams scored '9's across the board. A lot of preparation and work went into each and every barbeque entry. A special shout out to the team of 'BLUQE' CUTIN" EDGE' who won Grand Champion. The four meat categories of chicken, ribs, pork and brisket were well represented. The 'Peoples Choice competition brought out some very creative entries.

The bacon explosion was a wonderful sausage loaf covered by an explosion of bacon. This was sold by the team of 'Big B's Down & Dirty BBQ' team.

The 'Peoples Choice' category is won by who sells the most taste tickets. Half of all money collected is given to a local charity This is were the teams can be creative. The four meat categories and anything else that the team cooks can be sold. Bacon seemed to be a common theme this year. Smoked Bacon covered Jalapeno poppers, Moink balls and the Bacon Explosion were a few of our favorites.

This event was a family affair. The young women pictured above was having a fantastic time selling chocolate covered bacon. You know who had to try this. This was a great weekend. We are looking forward to next year
Award Ceremony


Friday, August 27, 2010


We are loading up Ms. Goofy's 'Formula One' racing Honda with an appetite and our judges badges. We are traveling to Clear Lake to judge a KCBS sanctioned barbeque, "Smokin' On the Water", contest. It is how we roll. When we are not  eating and judging some of the best barbeque of the nation we are entering chili cook-offs. I would like to mention the "Rodeo Chili Cook-Off and Car Show".

This will be our third year of entry and we have high hopes of winning. We have won this contest and we have also taken a second place losing to a higher authority. This event will be a local showcase for business's and individuals of my home town of Rodeo, California. This event will take place on Saturday October 16 at Lefty Gomez field. I will have more information later. We leave you with our theme song of the weekend. Let the good times roll.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


'Konicti Vista Casino' in beautiful Clearlake California will be hosting the '2nd Annual Smokin on the Water'. This event is a great event for the public to actually taste competition barbeque. Depending where a competition is held will dictate the rules and regulations the local health department will impose. Sometimes this bureaucratic department will impose draconian and over zealous rules in distributing food. One barbeque event was actually cancelled because of the fees, permits, and hoops the department demanded. Konicti Vista is controlled by the 'Big Valley Tribe of Pomo Indians. They have created a barbeque friendly atmosphere which will allow the public to taste these barbeque treats. Each competitor will sell samples for 1-2 dollars. The amount of tastes they sell will determing the 'Peoples Choice' award.

Ms. Goofy and I will be attending this meat smoking extravaganza and wearing our judges badges. Last year this event was a blast. We were so full of great barbeque that, we could barely pull the slot handles. The casino is located right on the edge of Clear Lake. There is a Marina to park your Yacht or in our case inner tube. The competition will end with a fire works display. Hope to see you there!

Smokin' on the Water  Aug 28

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Bread, baked in a wood fired oven, and using organic sourdough is a special treat. It is even more special when it is in the middle of your scenic drive. Wild Flour Bread fills this bill. Wild Flour is located 10 miles away from Bodega Bay or ten miles away from Occidental. California. It is a scenic drive which ever way you travel. The Wild Flour Bread bakery produces ten to twelve different breads daily. From cheese fougasse, cinnamon buns and even a 100 percent rye bread is baked in a eucalyptus fired wood oven. The tattooed and pierced staff is very friendly and will dole out samples to your hearts desires. There will be a long line but it is worth the wait and you can view the birds painted on the wall, a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds'.(filmed in Bodega Bay 10 miles down the road). There is a wonderful garden to explore right outside the bakery. The next time your are traveling on the 'Bohemian Highway be sure to stop at Wild Flour Bread.

Wild Flour Bread 

Friday, August 20, 2010


The county fair circuit has passed and we still have not found chocolate covered onion rings. Last weekend the Gravestein Apple festival was held in Sebastapol. It is a wonderful event celebrating the Gravestein apple. At one time this area was famous for its production of this apple. A lot of the apple orchards are being replaced with grape vines. This festival is a local event that showcases a lot of artisan craftsmen and food vendors. This is not your typical fair food. There were apple fritters, juice, dumplings and of course apple pie. Luther Burbank a botanist and pioneer in creating new strains of plants, did a lot of research in the Santa area. His old jalopy was on display.

We were entertained by a Cajun Zydeco band named the Wild Catahoulas. They got the crowd in a dancing mood. I actually swayed a little bit to the music on my bench. With all that swaying we worked up a powerful hunger. We spotted our good friend Angelo selling tri-tip sandwiches.

We talked to Angelo for a little while and noticed a long line in the food booth next door. They were selling grilled cheese sandwiches. Ms. Goofy said that is what she wanted. Angelo gave us a wink and we got in line. What a great idea. "The" takes slices of whole grain bread and slathers them in butter. A blend of cheeses is put between the slices and it is pressed and grilled on the flat top. It is served with garlic sweet potato fries and some home cured pickles. Brilliant! This comination was comforting, oozy, gooey and just plain delicious. Who needs chocolate covered onion rings?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


 Simple but brilliant. Who would imagine the combination of bacon, lettuce, tomato served between  mayonnaise slathered bread tasted so good. What is Chilebrown style you may ask? It is using the freshest home grown tomato, home made bread cooked in our wood fire oven and curing and smoking a pork belly to create bacon.

 The belly was procured on our last Meat Adventure. This slab was an 8 pound beauty of Yorkshire breed of swine. The meat to fat ratio was fairly equal. The fat was the purest white I have ever seen on a pork belly. Maple sugar sweetened the cure of this bacon. This cured slab was hot smoked over apple wood fueled fire for several hours in the Weber Smoky Mountain. The product that was created was smoky sweet meat candy.

Sourdough bread cooked in our wood burning oven would be the platform this sandwich would be built on. The starter was added to some flour and left to create its magic for 24 hours. An almond wood fire was ignited to cook our yeasty sour lump of goodness. It is a lot of fun playing with fire and creating wonderful bread.
  A couple of steps out of our patio door a vine ripe tomato was chosen. It was time to assemble. A little mayonaisse was spread on the bread. A tiny pinch of salt will coax the bounty of flavor of this sliced tomato. The bacon was fried in our trusty black iron. Some crisp lettuce was and is the last ingredient. This sandwich is what we have been waiting all year for. Life is good, sometimes!!!!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Angelo is the vivacious and colorful owner of ‘Angelo’s Meats’ located in Petaluma California. Angelo’s has been one of our favorite meat destinations for over 20 years. He creates some magical smoked and cured products in his small family run smokehouse. He has a large selection of house made sausages, various cuts of meat and of course bacon.. Chicken Apple sausage is one of our favorites. The main reason we go to Angelo’s is for his pepper or plain bacon. This is some of the best bacon in California. It is always a special treat when Angelo is working.

Angelo has a special way of making you feel like an old friend. His heavy Italian accented speech creates an atmosphere of friendship. Angelo knows I come around tomato season to purchase his wonderful bacon. Once he had some special tomato seeds that he acquired from Italy that he gifted me. These were the thickest, tastiest roma tomatos that I ever grew. Angelo is a wealth of information. He has shared some of his bacon making secrets with me. If you purchase a cut of meat he will give you specific instructions on how to prepare it. Angelo has created a video that I would like to share with you. It is “Angelo Smoking a Pig”. This video is glimpse of a man that is larger than life. He is a great man and a friend. It is about 10 minutes long so grab a beverage and enjoy!

Angelo's Meats

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Check out my latest review at Peppers & More.

Friday, August 13, 2010


We have a lower drawer in the kitchen cabinet that is a graveyard for kitchen tools and gadgets. It is a sort of purgatory for these instruments of convenience. We do not really want to throw them away but we rarely or never use them. Numerous specialty items like a garlic peeler, pineapple corer, fruit garnisher, peelers and numerous implements that their use has been long forgotten are stored. You can find nuts & bolts that were safely put away so they would not be lost. We now have a new tenant in this special drawer. The Corn Cobbr will be released straight to DVD/ the drawer.

The Corn Cobbr was strategically placed right next to the corn at our local Waly-Mart. It looked so promising and inviting to make the de- cobbing of our corn a easier faster task. We were making some cream corn and this tool would be perfect. We got it home and found out P.T. Barnum was right."There is a sucker born every minute".This gadget went straight to our special drawer. Sometimes a nice sharp knife is the only tool you will ever need.

Monday, August 9, 2010


The University of California Davis has a very special department. It is the ‘Department of Animal Science’. Why is this department so special? They operate a non secret meat store that is open, Thursdays and Friday afternoons. It is open to students and the public. This is a working laboratory for education and research. According to their web site; “Students receive hands-on training in slaughter, fabrication, sanitation, and further processing of meat and meat products while they are enrolled in Animal Science”. Yes and they also sell very high quality meat products. It is time to embark on a Meat Adventure to U.C. Davis.

We zoomed up to Davis in the Ms. Goofy’s formula one racing Honda in no time at all. We entered UC Davis campus and drove around till we found a small sign inviting us to the meat sale.

There is not a whole lot to this market, but a couple of refrigerators, cash register and a herd of students all crammed in a small room. Once you make your way to the refrigerators you have to sort through various cuts of meat, all wrapped in shrink wrap. It is possible to pre-order custom cuts of meat. The tomato’s are beginning ripen and it is time to make some bacon. I sent an e-mail earlier to Caleb Sehnert the Manager and instructor of the Meat laboratory, requesting a whole pig belly with the rind removed. This was no ordinary belly; it was a beautiful 8.5 pound slab of Yorkshire swine. I met Caleb Sehnert and flashed him a Mad Meat Genius business card. I told him about some of our past meat adventures. He asked me if I would like a tour of the facilities. You should have seen the grin on my face.

We left the public area and ventured into the Meat Laboratory. Caleb showed me the meat lockers that had some good looking meat hanging for future butchering. The smoker was huge and looked like a space pod. This smoker was very high tech. You could program this monster to any degree or time of your desire. We approached a room called the “killing floor’. I was a little nervous about this part of the tour. I usually buy my meat cut, packaged and wrapped. We entered this room and the first thing I noticed was how antiseptically clean everything was. I will spare you the details of this room except for this one machine called the hog scalder. This crazy looking contraption removes the hair from the pig. Lastly I was shown the lab where they test for e-coli and do other experiments.

Let’s get this out of the way. No, the meat did not glow in the dark. They did not sell Frankenmeat. Yes, organs and blood are used in research. The rest of the meat is used for teaching butchering skills. The Meat Laboratory sells quality cuts of pigs, lambs, and cattle. This is not your Mega-Wally cuts of meat that comes from some feet lot from the Midwest. These are high quality animals that are raised and cared for by students. The prices are very reasonable. We shall return! Oh by the way, I was pondering about returning to academia. “Caleb, do you need a Mad Meat Genius for your staff?”

University Califronia Davis Meat Laboratory

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Our first tomato is ripe and it is a doozy. It is about time!

Friday, August 6, 2010


Television ‘Food Celebrities’ have been around since the sixties. As a teenager I looked forward to watching Graham Kerr,‘The Galloping Gourmet’, after Captain Kangaroo was over. The whole family would sit around the television and watch Julia. The public broadcasting station would have cooking shows of Jacque, Jeff Smith, Justin Wilson, and of course, Yan. These Chefs became popular and a whole new wave of chefs emerged. Lydia, Ming, Wolfgang, Rick Bayless, and a whole lot more took to the air, to chop and instruct us on preparing delicious meals..The Food Network gave birth to the mega-celebrity chef. Emeril was king! He still is in my book. This man could get you excited just saying,”Garlic”. This was also the beginning of the decline of quality cooking shows. In steps Anthony Bourdain, the ‘Bad Boy’ of the cooking networks. Here is an ex-chef slash author who travels the world and reports on his food experiences. He is a new kind of Celebrity. Ten years ago he wrote a book, Kitchen Confidential. It was a big hit and propelled him into the limelight. He has written a new book “Medium Raw’.

Anthony Bourdain has a no-holds barred, gritty, brutally honest way of writing. His descriptions and verse about particular meals are colorful and entertaining. He can give you a backstage glimpse of the food world. His stories of what actually happens in the kitchen are revealing and sometimes shocking. This book is a collection of stories about memorable meals and the people that cook them. This book is also about the movers and shakers of the food world. He has some pretty unique and wild opinions about some of the icons of the food industry. He rifts and rants about food critics, food network stars and chefs. One chapter gave me a whole new outlook on Alice Waters. Bourdain can be sarcastic, funny and insightful with his takes on different food celebrities. He also has given us a glimpse of his personal life. He has had his share of demons and addictions.

I picked up this book and could not put it down. I read it cover to cover in one sitting. Anybody that watches or reads about food will know the cast of characters that Anthony Bourdain has included in his book. This is a must read for the ‘Foodies’. I caught myself laughing out loud on some of Bourdains takes on ‘Food Celebrities. I recommend this book.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


We have been having a lot of fun following the county fair circuit this summer. This weekend we visited the Sonoma county fair, located in Santa Rosa. This is one of our favorite fairs. They have a reputation for displaying the largest flower themed  show of the state and nation. Sonoma County is known for their agriculture and wine making endeavors. In our book this fair it is just good old fashion fun.

We knew that we had found the right place when chocolate covered bacon was spotted. Guy Fieri from the 'Food Network' show, "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives", had a food booth showcasing his two restaurants, "Tex Wasabi and Johnny Garlic's" It was a very popular destination. Barbeque pork sliders seemed to be the item the crowd lined up to sample.

 Willie Bird had a booth selling their turkey delights. These mammoth turkey legs seemed to have come from a Flinstone cartoon. Giant dill pickles would be a good accompaniment for these 'Dino' drumsticks.

Ms. Goofy bypassed the carnival rides to experience the infamous ‘Hot Sauce’. She survived and it was time for Chilebrown to take a ride more his speed, like a themed flower display.  A huge canaverous building houses the flower exhibit. Wine and grapes, called the 'Grape Escape', was the theme this year. This years blue ribbon exhibit was a feast for the eyes and senses. Beautiful arrangements of flowers and grape themed displays dazzled the beholder.

We left the flowertorium and happened on a canine spectacle.The "Splash Dogs' was a  very entertaining competition. These dogs would run full speed down a platform and leap into a pool of water. The distance jumped was measured to determine a winner.

This was another great day at the fair. We never did find chocolate covered onion rings, This only means we will have to continue our search at another fair. Go have some old fashion fun and visit the Sonoma County Fair. It runs till Sunday.