Chilebrown at home

Saturday, October 29, 2011


A flying biped with hooves or a dark chocolate bar spiked with chipotle chile studded with tart cranberry bits? Let’s explore the latter. This chocolate bar was named after a creature that was the thirteenth child of a local whore, Mother Leeds. As she gave birth she cried out: “Let it be the Devil”. Enough of this tall tale and lets taste some chocolate from New Jersey. This chocolate bar has 54 percent cacao content. The cranberries are locally sourced from New Jersey. (Did you know New Jersey is the third largest cranberry producer in the United States?).

Dark chocolate goodness with little crunches of tart cranberry is your first taste impression. All of a sudden a little warmth of chile pepper will be knocking at your taste buds door. Chipotle chile is a smoked jalapeno pepper. This pepper has a lot of flavor profiles; smoke, fruit, chocolate, coffee, jalapeno and can be hot as the devil. In this candy bar there is a light hand with the chipotle. You will only experience a little warmth that lets you know that this candy bar is devilishly good. This candy bar hits on all cylinders. Sweet, tart and heat combine for a lovely chocolate treat. ‘Jersey Devil Chocolates’ is a candy bar I wish I could get in my ‘trick or treat’ bag!

Jersey Devil Chocolates

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Santa Maria style barbeque is a cooking style that is unique and famous for grilling over coals of red oak wood. Red oak is a fragrant wood that imparts its own special flavor. Tri-tip is usually the meat of choice for this style of barbeque. We have acquired some chunks of red oak from ‘John’s Wood’ and a tri-tip from the ‘U.C. Davis Meat Lab’. We will give our version of this cooking style. Traditionally a fire of red oak wood is burned down to coals. Charcoal and red oak chunks will replicate this process. A medium charcoal fire was built and the wood chunks were placed on top. The grill cover was used to keep the wood from burning.

Our trip-tip was marinated in our special rub for several hours. A mixed grill of home grown delicata, gray zucchini squash and marinated portabella mushrooms will be a good canvas for the smoke of the red oak. The smoke from the red oak has a beautiful bouquet of sweet smelling smoke. This is my kind of air freshener. In no time at all we had a Santa Maria meal to enjoy. We threw in an artichoke and enjoyed a meal flavored with sweet red oak smoke. I think they are on to something in Santa Maria.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Do you remember the lottery commercial when the winner was asked what to do with the winnings? His reply; “I can buy all the cheese!” We have not won the lottery but have found a great place to buy cheese with a huge selection with a reasonable price. This is ‘Country Cheese Coffee Market’ located in Berkeley California. Berkeley has a reputation for liberal and sometimes wacky views on life but this population takes their food very serious. Situated a couple of doors up the from the Monterey Market , Country Cheese sells numerous varieties of popular, hard to get, local, imported, organic, beer rinsed, molded, peppered, fresh, salted, seaweed wrapped, aged variety of cheeses.

This store is so much more than cheese. Coffee drinks are very Berkeley specific because Starbucks is not allowed in this neighborhood. There is a large selection of chocolate to accompany your beverage. I never knew so many different brands and flavors of chocolate existed.

Tea and bulk spices are to be found at Country Cheese. It is very convenient to buy any specific amount of spice that you may need. They will measure to your whim and beat the price of any Wally-Mart. A lot of imported specialty items such as; olives, saffron, cookies, crackers, olive oil and sardines can be acquired here.

We came here for the cheese. Parmesan Regiano goes for 18. 99 /pound. This may sound like a lot but this is the real deal. This is an aged block of cheese from Italy that puts shame on the tubular variety. When I unwrap this cheese, I break into song; “When the moon hits the sky”, (sorry). We purchased several items, did I mention all the different varieties of blue cheese, and left this cheese Mecca


Country Cheese Coffee Market is a store that makes Berkeley a food destination. Great prices combined with an unbelievable cheese selection make this a great find. They will custom cut and wrap any amount of cheese that you desire. Chocolate and imported specialty items make this a fun stop. I still would like to win the Lottery.

Country Cheese Coffee Market
1578 Hopkins Street,

Berkeley, CA 94707-2732

(510) 526-1333 () ‎

Saturday, October 22, 2011


We just cranked out a spanking ,sparkling world wide revealing, rub review on 'Peppers & More.' My alter ego hot sauce personality takes on a new product. It is sampled and reviewed.. If you have the inclination, how about taking a gander and leaving an opinion,. You know us goofballs like some feedback. Thanks and have a barbeque day!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Browsing through the cupboard, some home smoked chipotles were found. Chipotles are red ripe jalapenos that have been smoked and then dried. This chile is very complex in the taste, heat and flavor department. We are going to combine this with some caramelized onions and a kiss of garlic. It will be sweetened with some agave nectar and pureed in the blender.


  • 1 1/2 ounce of chipotle peppers, stems removed

  • 1 onion chopped fine

  • 1/4 cup agave nectar

  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 2 cloves garlic chopped fine

    1. Place the peppers in a hot cast iron skillet and cook for 10 minutes or until they just begin to blister. Place in blender. Let the skillet cool slightly and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onions and cook 10 minutes or until lightly caramelized. Place all ingredients in blender and puree. You may have to add a little water to achieve desired consistency.

      There are a lot of levels of flavor going on in this salsa. Sweetness from the caramelized onions and agave nectar combine to tame the heat of the jalapenos. The vinegar adds a touch of freshness. There is a smoke component from the chipotles. This all adds up to one flavorful sauce. This tasted great just on tortilla chip. I bet this would be most excellent on some grilled chicken. I should browse through the cupboard more often.

      Tuesday, October 18, 2011


      Sunday, Sunday, Sunday is a lazy day to park in front of the television and watch your local football team battle on the field of glory. While watching these warriors fight for victory, nourishment and plenty of ice cold beverages will be needed for the duration. We have a beautiful pork shoulder roast obtained from the U.C. Davis Meat Labs. It will be smoked with apple wood in our stoker controlled smoker. This will be a great time to make some ‘Parker House Rolls’. These soft and buttery rolls will be great with Cole slaw and smoked pork. We will use our not so secret ingredient of Barly Malt Syrup. Let the games begin.


      1. 3/4 cup warm milk

      2. 1 teaspoon yeast

      3. 1 teaspoon barly malt syrup

      4. 1/4 cup whole wheat flout

      5. 1 3/4 cup bread flour

      6. 1 teaspoon salt

      7. 2 1/2 tablespoons softened butter

      8. 1/4 cup melted butter

      Combine the first three ingredients and let proof for five minutes. Add the flour, salt and softened butter and knead until smooth. Cover and let rise for one hour. Take a cast iron skllet and use half of your melter butter to coat pan. Take risen dough and roll into balls and place in buttered pan. Let rise for 45 minutes. Brush top of rolls with remaining butter and bake in 325 degree oven for 25 minutes.

      This meal was a touchdown. These rolls were rich and decadent with butter. They were a perfect vehicle to cradle some smoky delicious pork. The Cole slaw was a good accompaniment to cut the richness of the pork and rolls. This meal was comforting just like the couch that was my throne. The Oakland Raiders were not the only winners this Sunday.

      Sunday, October 16, 2011


      Piri Piri is the Portuguese name for the 'African Bird Pepper'. Combine Piri Piri, whiskey, tomato's, oil and several other ingredients and you have "Mazi Piri Piri' sauce. This is a small batch hand stirred authentic Portuguese hot sauce.

      Continue Reading Here

      Wednesday, October 12, 2011


      There is a new taqueria in town and I feel obligated to try their Chile Verde. It is a never ending quest to find the ultimate plate of cubed pork in green chile gravy. ‘Taqueria Dona Maria’ has been open for several months and I have passed by wondering and dreaming that this could be the place. A quick call to my friend and south of the border interpreter, Ray, and we were on a mission to sample their culinary offerings.

      Dona Maria is a small, clean and tidy establishment. You order at the counter and your food will be brought to your table. Like a lot of our Mexican restaurants in the area it is always nice to have somebody that speaks the language. I placed my order with Ray and he relayed it to our hostess. There is a small salsa bar that you can help yourself to three different salsas. A salty green tomatilla salsa, a fruity hot habanero and a dried red chile puree were offered for your pleasure. While we were sampling the salsa our server came to our table and informed us that we they were out of Chile Verde. I substituted carnitas. Our server told us the carnitas had just came out of the oven. Our food arrived and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had covered the carnitas in green chile gravy. Steam was rising from the plate.

      The carnitas were hot and flavorful. The green gravy that covered and surrounded the meat was lacking in peppers and flavor. It did not have the pizzazz and wow factor that I crave. The whole plate was comforting with the fresh beans and tasty rice. I enjoyed this plate but it was not the ultimate dish of Chile Verde. I would like to mention the dessert case full of home made treats. I bought a cheesecake covered in dulce leche and brought it home. I needed to be near a couch to imbibe in this sweet snack. Overall we enjoyed our meal. I will give it a second chance and see if they have Chile Verde available. I would return just to have another piece of cake.

      Taqueria Doan Maria

      3550 San Pablo Dam Rd

      El Sobrante, CA 94803(

      510) 222-5779

      Monday, October 10, 2011


      We have been following the Splash Dog competition. This is a fun sport for your canine companion. You take a ball or floating device and throw it off a dock as far as you can. Your dog runs down the pier and jumps as far as he/she can. The jump is measured and winners are determined. This is great fun for everyone. We are hoping to get a puppy in the next couple of months and have plans to participate in this sport. After watching these hot dogs we got a hankerin for some dogs of our own. Dogs of the jalapeno and cheese polish (Willowside), Atomic and bratwurst (Butler) kind. What a dog day afternoon!

      Saturday, October 8, 2011


      Simple and delicious!


      1 cup green onion
      1 cup basil leaves
      ¼ cup lemon juice
      2 cloves garlic
      2 teaspoons anchovy paste
      2 teaspoons salt
      1 teaspoon pepper
      1 cup of mayonnaise

      1 cup sour cream

      Put the first 8 ingredients in a food processor and blend. Fold in sour cream.

      Thursday, October 6, 2011


      Mexican corns, Indian corn, field corn, maize, are some of the names of corn that are used in our tamale today. This corn is not the sweet corn variety that you are probably used to. In northern California, Mexican corn is not readily available. We have a corn connection at ‘Ramirez’ farm in Freemont California. We paid him a visit last year and would return to acquire some more of his special corn. This trip we got to meet Mr. Ramirez. He was impressed that we attempted to make corn tamales. Mr. Ramirez made a special trip to the field to pick us some fresh ears. He picked us a mix of corn that was in different stages of ripeness. The longer the corn stays on the vine the more starch content. He picked us the perfect mix for tamales.

      Making these tamales could not be simpler. The biggest chore is shucking these ears of delight. Once they were stripped of their husks they were cut off the cob and put into a food processor. Here is the full recipe. They were steamed for 30 minutes and served with tri-tip and home made salsa. These tamales are a special treat. It takes a little effort to source the corn and prepare the tamale. You will be rewarded with a taste of summer that cannot be beat.

      Tuesday, October 4, 2011


      'New Hatch New Mexican Green Chile' is a very special treat. Once a year for a couple of weeks our local Wally-Mart will carry these green goddesses of the Southwest. They are hot and spicy with a flavor that cannot be matched by our local farmers. These are the gold standard of green pepper. While these peppers are available we always fill up a shopping cart full of peppers and have a chile extravaganza. Chile verde, salsas and today green chile pasta. This recipe was an improvisation that was a success.

      We roasted our peppers over a mesquite fire to add a smoky flavor and to make the tough skins easy to remove. The peppers skins and seeds were removed. A rough chop and then a trip to the food processor created a green gold puree. Some fresh eggs from Garden Girl Farm and good olive oil will add even more flavor. A basic pasta recipe was followed with the addition of the puree and additional flour. A manipulation through the Kitchen Aid and we have pasta. This pasta was served with a little olive oil and Parmesan cheese. The pepper flavor shined through and through. Pasta with a pepper zing was a tasty treat. Yummy Noodles!

      Sunday, October 2, 2011

      SMOKIN’ for GOLD

      Welcome to Hangtown (Placerville) California we're we will visit the ‘2nd Annual Smokin for Gold’ barbeque competition. The competition barbeque season is winding down but the heat was turned up at the beautiful El Dorado fairgrounds this weekend. This event was a combination ‘Outdoor Sportsmen’ show and barbeque competition. One could shop for fishing and hunting gear and then chow down on some award winning barbeque. I would like to share a couple of images with you.

      This competitor is using a probe to check his meat for doneness. Some use a thermometer and some seasoned cookers just jab and can tell by feel if the meat is done. I still use my trusty thermapen. I am wondering if Ms. Goofy parked this jeep?

      We were judges today and we are one step closer to becoming a 'Master Judge' A Master Judge has judged thirty competitions and taken a final exam. Another requirement is to cook with a competition team. This way you will realize and experience the hard work and commitment it takes to compete. We hope to fulfil this requirement soon.

      That about wraps up "Smokin for Gold' and a couple of shiny 'WSM's'. I personally like the camouflage wrap. This was another great barbeque weekend. Great weather, food, and friends makes for a winning combination. Congratulations to 'All Sauced Up' for winning the Grand Champion! I hope Tracy knows that Gordy the pig is just a pet.