Chilebrown at home

Sunday, October 31, 2010


The Bay Area is alive with 'Worlds Series' fever. The Giants have won the first two games and everybody is excited. This is a great reason to makes some bacon wrapped chicken lollipops. It just so happens we have some home cured, applewood smoked bacon for this endeavor. Chicken drummetes will be 'frenched' to form a sort of lollipop. Sliced bacon will be wrapped around this drummete and all will be smoked with a combination of apple and hickory wood.

A sharp knife is crucial to form these lollipops. Slice all around the wing joint. Pull and scrape the meat down the bone and pull over tip. After the first one is completed it gets a lot easier. Use your favorite rub to season the meat. Wrap the drummette with a thin slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick. The 'Chile Grill' was the perfect vehicle to hold these adult lollipops.

The smoker was set to 230 -250 degrees and wood was added to the fire. Our appetizers were smoked for an hour and one half. Oh man, did these baby's smell good. A little drizzle of our favorite barbeque sauce of the moment was the finishing touch. We will be sitting on the edge of the couch rooting for the Giants. Bacon wrapped chicken lollipops will be the perfect rally snack. Go Giants!

Friday, October 29, 2010


Oh man, can you feel the frenzy? It is Giant's baseball! We have won the first two games. Go Giants!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Fava bean seeds are a magical thing. These little orbs of life, with a little coaxing, will reward you with a pot of gold. Broad beans, horse beans, pigeon beans, and windsor beans are some of the aliases of this fava bean. I call them spring. This plant will start to produce a bounty of beautiful flowers and then fruit, the beginning of spring. The recipe to grow fava plants is so simple. This weekend I amended and turned the soil. The seeds were planted. Rain will sprout and nourish these legume babies. Fava plants are basically care free. An occasional weeding may be necessary. Fava plants are great in so many ways. The flowers are beautiful. Growing these plants will add nitrogen to your soil. The harvested beans are loaded with protein, fiber, B vitamins, potassium and they just taste darn good. Happy Planting!

Beans, beans, the musical fruit.
The more you eat,
the more you toot !

-by Bart Simpson

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Chipotle pasta caught our eye at the ‘Kansas City River District’ farmers market. This noodle booth sold all different flavors of pasta; from chocolate to garlic the selection was huge. The name of this pasta company is Papparadelles’s. Now Pappardelles’s is not based in Missouri but Colorado. We did not let that sway our decision to try some Chipotle pasta. Remarkably this pasta survived a journey in our suitcases on the flight home. This pasta sounded like a good accompaniment to some pulled pork and Cole slaw. Let’s put a pot of water on the stove and get it boiling.
  There are no secrets to cooking pasta. Salt some boiling water and cook the noodles until a little shy of done. The pasta will have a minute or so of carry over cooking when added to the sauce. A cream sauce will cover these spicy noodles. Small cubed bacon was simmered in some olive oil for several minutes. A tablespoon of flour was added and simmered for a minute more. Heavy cream was added and cooked until thick and bubbly. The sauce was seasoned with a tablespoon of pureed ‘chipotle en adobo’ and salt & pepper. The cooked pasta was added with a ½ cup of parmesan cheese. Stir and serve this rich and creamy delight.

The chipotle noodles had a smoky jalapeno pepper flavor. The noodles were not hot enough to make one cringe but the flavor grabbed your attention. The cream sauce with the adobo and bacon made these noodles rich and decadent. What a great side dish for our pulled pork.

Friday, October 22, 2010


It is a dark and stormy night. The rain is falling and we are all tucked in. The only thing awake is our Stoker which is controlling our barbeque pit. Ms. Goofy wanted pulled pork today. She is overjoyed about the Stoker. No longer does she have to get up in the middle of the night to tend the pit. We plug the unit in and program the temperature settings and we are set. This is what our roast looks like this morning. A couple more hours and we will be enjoying some pulled pork sandwiches.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Another fancy schmancy tool for the kitchen of the Mad Meat Genius was needed. A ‘Jaccard “Safehands” Mandolin Slicer’ is what was missing on the shelves of our arsenal of cooking tools. This is so much more than a sharp knife. This slicing tool has many different cutting blades for multiple purposes. It has three sizes of Julianne blades, grating tool, tomato slicer, straight slicing and most important a ‘Waffle/Crinkle’ blade. I have always wanted to make waffle/crinkle French fry’s. This mandolin has a patented ‘Safehands’ food holder. It is practically impossible to slice finger tips off if you use this guard. This new appliance should expand our cooking repertoire of fancy sliced food dishes. We will start off with slicing a potato and making some pizza.

A Yukon Gold potato was our first victim in this slicing device. We chose the straight slicing blade to start off. It took a couple of passes of the spud over the blade to determine the right blade height. Once everything was set the potato was sliced with the greatest of ease. It was kind of fun. The ‘Safehands’ food holder gave us a sense of safety guarding us against a super sharp blade. This tool has lots of potential and should be a lot of fun.

We placed our perfectly cut slices of Yukon Gold potato on some home made pizza dough that was covered with cheese and sauce. It was baked in our wood fired oven for several minutes. The pizza tasted yummy. This was a great first run for our new Mandolin slicer. Waffle/crinkle fry’s here we come.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


What a beautiful day! The weather cooperated to create a wonderful setting to host the 'Rodeo Car Show and Chili Cook-off. The cars were polished and shining. The Chili was hot and spicy. The whole town of Rodeo was out to witness a battle of Chili Titans. Greg and his wife from 'Life is a Picnic stopped by to say hello. He was there to taste some chili and take some awesome pictures  The cook-off was scheduled to start at 1:00pm. The crowd lined up to sample "Mad Meat Genius Tri-Tip Chili". You would not believe how big my head swelled to see this line of people that wanted to try our chili.

Lets meet the cast of our team. James Campers is my partner in crime. He is the master of grilling tri-tip.John is our prep cook 'Extraordinair. He has knife skills that impresses. We had a crew of lovely servers. From left to right is Laura, Ms. Goofy's sister Paula and the infamous Ms. Goofy. Last on our team was Peppaheads wonderful Chile powder blend. Together this team produced and served some of the best chili in Rodeo.

Now for the results. The chili was judged by three amateur judges. They remained anonymous because of their embarrassing chili judging skills. We have learned by experience that local chili cook-offs sometimes are not judged by the merit of flavor. Sometime politics shamefully raises its ugly head in the judging process. So with that said, We WON the crowds heart and stomachs. This first place title was handed to St. Patricks church. We do not even know what place we came in because they only announced First & Second Place.

What a fun day. So many friends stopped by to celebrate and eat some chili. Thanks to my team and thanks to all the people that participated. We did not walk away with any trophies today. We did create and serve chili to be proud of . Oscar wears his badge of participation with pride.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Late but beautiful. We are really busy getting ready for the Chili Cook-off.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Our local chili cook-off in Rodeo, California is scheduled for this Saturday October 16. This is a fun event for all ages. There will be a car show, music and most important a Chili Cook-off. This will our third year of participation. Our ‘BBQ Tri-Tip Chili’ has been awarded first and second prize in previous years. We would like to increase our chances of winning this year. Larry from Peppahead was the perfect Chile purveyor to contact. Peppahead sells all types and flavors of chile powder. “Big Red’ is one of his top sellers. This will be perfect to dry rub our ‘Tri-Tip’ cut of meat. Larry has many blends of different powders to create our base gravy to bind the meat with the vegetables and beans. Larry put together a wonderful combination of ‘New Mexican Red’, ‘Dixon’ and Chile de Arbol’ for us to sample.

The wonderful thing about Peppaheads chili powders is the freshness. When you open the package or container of powder, a rush of pepper essence will grab your nostrils for a jolt of flavor. We dipped our fingers into the Chile de Arbol powder and a tear came to my eye. I am not sure if it was the heat or the wonderful taste sensation. These are not your ordinary super market pepper powders. These are the real deal.

We did a test batch using a combination of Chile powders, salt, sugar, cumin, oregano, fresh pinto beans, garlic, onion and tomato’s. This one gallon bowl of ‘Red’ would be a good indicator to tweak our quantity of spices. This batch turned out rich and spicy hot. For the competition we will have to tone down the heat. We personally love the burn, but the general public might not. It is a trick and art to find the right balance of pepper, salt, sugar and meat. Our grilled Tri-Tip rubbed in ‘Big Red’ powder is our ace in the hole and has brought us success in the past. This meat is tender and spicy good.

We would love to see you this Saturday in Rodeo to sample our chili. Thanks to Peppahead for having such great chile products. With his chile powders and our bbq tri-tip, hopefully we will be on the winning platform.

5th Annual Chili Cook Off and Classic Car Show

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Buck O'Neil
First Baseman "Kansas City Monarchs"
It has been a wonderful week in Kansas City. The people of the Midwest are friendly and defiantly know their barbeque. Complete strangers have gone out of their way to make us feel welcome and help us enjoy our visit. We met new friends from all over the country at the ‘American Royal BBQ Competition’. The last two barbeque restaurants we will visit on this trip is first, our hands down favorite Oklahoma Joe’s, and then ‘Jacks Stack’ which most locals have recommended.

Fiorella’s Jack Stack’ is more than just a casual bbq joint. This establishment is more on the elegant side. Fireplace, outdoor patio dining, linen tablecloths, waiters and a full service bar. This all adds up to a great barbeque dining experience. We were told by numerous locals to try the beans and Ms. Goofy wanted to try the burnt ends. We only ordered these two items because of limited stomach capacity. It has been a long week of over indulgence of food. In the name of research for Mad Meat Genius it was our duty to give ‘Jack Stack’ a try.

We sat at the bar and had a local micro-beer a 'Bully Porter' from Boulevard Brewing. This porter was a dark chocolaty meal in its self. The burnt ends and beans were promptly served and we dug in. This was one taste treat. The bark on the beef was a meat candy treat. One you had sunk your teeth through the bark you were greeted with a moist tender center of flavorful beef. Just the right amount of smoke flavored this adult candy bar. The beans did not disappoint either. They were smoky sweet with molasses and just a little hint of pepper. They are the perfect accompaniment to any barbeque meat. I wish we had more room to sample more of these meat treats but I did not want to buy another airplane seat for my meat baby

“It’s a BBQ restaurant in a gas station”, advertises Oklahoma Joe’s. Yes it is, and oh what a find this barbeque palace was. You can fill up your tank with 2.65 cents/gallon gas and fill up your soul with some heavenly Que. The history of Oklahoma Joes can be traced back to competition bbq with the KCBS. This reflects on the meat products they serve. Ribs for me and pulled pork sandwich for Ms. Goofy was the order. Burnt Ends are served on Wednesdays and unfortunately it was only Tuesday. To get through to the restaurant you walk through a convenience store were customers are paying for their gas. Step to the counter and be overtaken with some of the best smoke aroma on the planet.

These ribs needed no sauce because they had some flavorful dry rub. The sauces were the usual suspects for Kansas City. I munched through these ribs like I had not eaten in days. I sucked on the bone. I licked the plate. I was just in hog heaven. We had tried some of the best barbeque in the country at the Royal. These ribs are some of the best ribs in the nation in my book! Ms. Goofy would not share her pulled pork sandwich because she was enjoying it so much. She say’s it was tender with a wonderful smoke flavor. The coleslaw had a little pepper kick to complement this sandwich. Ms. Goofy licked her plate until the busboy had to wrestle it away from her.

What a wonderful week. Thanks to Carol & Jack for making us feel so welcome. We reluctantly leave Kansas City a couple of pounds heavier but enriched in Midwest hospitality. We leave you with an image of the skyline of Kansas City taken from the ‘WW1 War Memorial’. So long Kansas City!

Friday, October 8, 2010


We had a goal to eat and drink our way through Missouri. We enlisted the advice of local residents of what their favorite food establishments were. There was a common answer of Arthur Bryant’s, Stroud’s, Jack Stack and Gates. We had done our homework and nobody mentioned Oklahoma Joe's. We mentioned Oklahoma Joe's and the answer we received gave us a little shock. “Yes, Oklahoma Joe's is actually our favorite, but it is in Kansas”. Apparently a feud between Missouri and Kansas dating back to Civil War days has continued to the present. The rival hinges more on college sports these days. There was a lot of passion on both sides of the table. Today we will visit Stroud’s and Gates

Stroud’s serves some of the best fried chicken I have ever had. They have been featured in many magazines and have won numerous awards. This is comfort food with a down home family style experience. The actual restaurant is located off the beaten path and is a little difficult to find. When your first see Stroud’s you may think it is somebody’s home. The surrounding grounds are beautiful with trees and a small pond.

The menu has something for everybody but Chicken is their specialty. Everything is brought out in huge bowls to serve family style. One of our dining companions requested a half order of fried chicken livers. This plate was a meal meant for a lumberjack. The fried chicken was more than I could ever dream of. The batter was crispy with not being oily. This chicken had real chicken flavor. Have I mentioned the bucket of gravy for the mashed potatoes? Sometimes if is all about the gravy.To put this wonderful meal over the top a huge basket of hot sweet and sticky cinnamon roll is brought to your table. Stroud’s does not disappoint.

Gates is a barbeque icon in Kansas City. They have several locations through out the city. When you walk into this establishment, be prepared for the show. The clerk will greet you with, “HELLO, MAY I HEP YALL”. This may not sound so strange, but it is shouted at you and can be a little startling. You place your order and the clerk will SHOUT the order to the cook with the same intensity. Our order takers voice was gravely and spent from all this shouting and it was only 11:30 am.

We ordered a combination with burnt ends, pulled pork, ribs, pickles and fries. This was a massive pile of protein. It was covered in a sea of sauce. We had to remove some of the sauce to find the ribs. The ribs were very tender and tasty.

Gates offers three sauces in the Kansas City style of tomato base. The three had different heat levels. The sauce was not needed because of the mother lode of sauce that came with our plate. The pulled pork and burnt ends were lost in this sauce. Both of these meats were pulled and or chopped. The pork was not really distinguishable from the beef. This was a disappointment.

Gates was fun for the show. The barbeque ribs were good but the pork and beef were a let down. Stroud’s has some of the best fried chicken I have ever tasted. Potatoes and a bucket of gravy floated my boat. Oh my! Oklahoma Joe’s and Jack Stacks are next on the plate.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


The Hotel Savoy is a beautiful historic hotel situated in downtown Kansas City Missouri. The Savoy has been our home away from home for the last four days. Built in 1903, the Savoy has hosted many entertainers and politicians. The Hotel Savoy served such celebrities as Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Marie Dressler, W.C. Fields, Will Rogers, Lillian Russell, Sara Bernhardt, John D. Rockefeller and finally Ms. Goofy. If these walls could talk they would have some great stories. The restaurant, Savoy Grill’ originally only served men. If an establishment in this time period had ‘Grill’ in its title, it meant Women were not allowed. In Prohibition times the penthouse served as a speakeasy.

Times have changed. Women have been given the right to vote and now are even allowed at the Savoy Grill. It is a good thing because Ms. Goofy loves this place. The interior has imported marble, stained glass, high beamed ceilings and the floors are decorated with Italian tiles. When you walk through the lobby it feels like you are a star in a gala movie. The walls are adorned with pictures of a by gone era. The restaurant has high back mahogany booths. The bar has the original 1903 leather covering that is in pristine condition. This is luxury with elegance from a past era.

The Savoy Hotel has been converted into a bed & breakfast. The Savoy Grill is a separate restaurant inside the hotel. They also happen to prepare the morning breakfast and serve it in a special dinning hall for the guests. This is a white linen affair. You would not believe the breakfast menu. This is not your typical bacon and eggs menu. As a guest you are asked to fill out a menu request the night before. The menu is divided into the categories of Soups (lobster bisque, Seafood Gumbo, Oyster Stew), Eggs (Any style), Lamb (Sautéed Lamb with Artichoke, Grilled Lamb steak, Broiled Lamb chop), Seafood (Kippers & Scrambled eggs, Smoked Salmon and Caviar, Baked Oysters Rockefeller, Crab Meat Crepes, Coquille-Saint Jacques) and the categories of chicken, beef, veal and pork. What a dilemma of having to decide from this massive list of food.

Each day we picked several items to try to sample the whole menu. Home made English muffins and sweet rolls were included with a daily fruit plate. Fresh squeezed orange juice was brought to our table promptly every morning. Needles to say we started each morning with a full stomach. That is important when you are on a mission to eat your way through Missouri.

The Savoy Hotel was a wonderful experience. You would not believe how reasonably priced this bed & breakfast is. The hotel did not have all the amenities of a modern hotel but the food and atmosphere made this experience memorable. I will leave you with images of some wonderful breakfast items. Next up We visit some Kansas City barbeque restaurant favorites.