Chilebrown at home

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Have you ever had freshly roasted peanuts? They are a treat. Roasting nuts creates a more intense, warm nutty flavor. Browsing the Richmond Farmers Market we found some raw peanuts. These peanuts were fresh and a little damp. The farmer suggested letting the peanuts air dry for several days before roasting. We purchased a pound for two dollars and set them out on a newspaper to dry. Several days later the dampness was gone and it was time to roast. The nuts still in their shell were place on a baking sheet. They were placed in a 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes. The last 5 minutes you need to check your nuts to avoid over roasting. Sprinkle with salt while still hot. These peanuts were addicting. Give me a cold one and 'Take me out to the Ballgame"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Viva Las Vegas! The weather has been forecast for temperatures to reach the low 80's. It should be a beautiful weekend to hold a barbeque competition. A huge festival is planned to be held at the 'Mandalay Bay Casino' in Las Vegas, Nevada. One of the highlights of this Country Music gathering will be a large barbeque contest. One hundred teams from all over the country will have their barbeque game on. Ms. Goofy and I will polish our judges badges and participate in determining the winning entries. Hope to see you there!

March 30-31

Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Today’s post is ‘Pink Slime’ free. Pink slime has been in the news lately. Is this a Nickelodeon children’s prop or a threat to our food safety? What is pink slime? Unappetizing beef scraps, cartilage and chemically altered meat. (Ammonium hydroxide) that is mixed into so called hamburger meat has fueled this recent phenom event. We have a meat source that is pink slime free from Angelo’s Meat’s in Petaluma California. Now Angelo is a good friend who is a character that is larger and crazier than this recent scandal. We love to visit Angelo because he usually feeds us and lifts our spirits to a higher level.

Angelo was in the back smoking turkeys and bacon. We greeted him and started our smiles and laughing fest. Fresh home made, best ever foccacia bread and smoked pork sandwiches was our reward today. As we were eating our sandwiches Angelo told us about his hamburger. Happy cows and slime free at 3/99/pound was all we needed to know. Hanging out with Angelo is an adventure. While we were there he received a crank call from a sexually frustrated woman that Angelo broadcasted on the speaker phone. Angelo handled this call with grace and we had some giggles. We filled up a small ice chest with hamburger and other treats and said our good byes.

Pink Slime be damned! Some professor created a scandal that will change the meat industry for hopefully the better. Angelo is a local butcher that has real hamburger meat that is slime free. Support butchers like Angelo and the World will be a better place. We have already ordered our Easter ham from Angelo. See you soon.

Angelos's Smokehouse

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Leftover corned beef is on the skillet today. A combination of corned beef, potatoes and roasted beets will make our ''Red Flannel Hash' yummylicious. Do you follow recipes to the letter? A friend of ours from Marin who sometime is “I’m Mad and I Eat” likes to list ingredients and offer vague instructions: ( for example: A Liberal sprinkling of this and a Conservative splash of that with a touch of Green will not harm the Peace & Freedom of your dish.) I like to think of recipes as an outline that you can add or subtract with your own personnel twist. Today’s recipe will be vague but fun.

Red Flannel Hash

Think of your 10 inch cast iron skillet as a measuring cup. We are going to fill it up with ingredients. You then can add your own variety of spices and flavors.

Cubed bacon
Carrots cubed
Onions sliced
Cubed corned beef
Roasted beets cubed
Potato cubed (skin on optional)
Salt & pepper
Optional: salsa, Worcestershire hot sauce, oregano, cumin, garlic parsley asparagus, eggs and anything else you can imagine.

Render your bacon for fat and flavor; fill up pan with rest of ingredients and simmer on low heat. Turn several times until potatoes and carrots become tender. Turn up heat slightly to form crust on bottom. Turn one more time and add optional eggs. Cover until eggs are cooked.

I know these instructions are vague. Give it a try. Cooking is fun. Go out and create some Red Flannel Hash. You won/t be sorry!

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Technically speaking what we are cooking today is pastrami. We prefer to call it smoked corned beef. No matter how you slice it, it will be smoky delicious. A brisket has been soaking in a tub of brine for the last five days. The sixth day we replaced the brine with clear cold water. The water was changed several times during the day to purge the excess salt from our slab of meat. This step was optional but we like a less salty finish. The cured brisket was put in the refrigerator over night to form a pellicle. This is a necessary step for the meat to accept the smoke in the cooker. The meat was smoked for 8 hours at 250 degrees. We pulled it out of the smoker when the internal temperature was 180 degrees. It was wrapped in foil and left to rest for two hours in an insulated cooler. Is it dinner time yet?

All that was left to do is slice and serve. Cole slaw, asparagus, and artichokes would accompany this beautiful pastrami/smoked corned beef. Tender with a kiss of smoke was the verdict for this St. Patrick’s Day. This seven day process was worth the effort. One of the best parts will be the sandwiches for the following week. Have a great pastrami day!

Friday, March 16, 2012


Today is National Artichoke Heart Day. Steamed, boiled, fried, barbequed, and even raw they are delicious. Let's allt have an artichoke heart to celebrate the day!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


We have a Meyer lemon tree that my father gifted me close to 25 years ago. It has survived several moves and is producing lots of beautiful lemons. The Meyer lemon is a sweet/tart fruit that tastes wonderful in desserts. Ms. Goofy had a premonition to make a cake with our lemons. “When life gives you lemons, make a pound cake”.

Lemon Pound Cake
5 Meyer lemons
½ cup honey
¼ cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 cup butter
4 eggs plus 2 yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons salt
Lemon juice
Confectioner’s sugar

* Grease and flour 9 by 5 loaf pan.
* Thinly slice 2 lemons and place in pan with honey, water, and cinnamon stick. Bring to boil and cook for 2 minutes. Set aside and reserve.
* Beat butter and sugar together. Add eggs slowly to incorporate. Add the zest and juice of 3 lemons. Add flour, salt, baking powder to make a smooth batter.
* Pour ½ of batter into a pan. Place candied lemon slices in center and top with rest of batter. Bake for 55-70 minutes at 325 degrees. A toothpick inserted and removed clean will indicate done
* Mix lemon juice and confectioners sugar to form glaze. Drizzle with glaze.

This cake was delicious. The center with its candied lemons was over the top puckery sweet and yummy. They may call this a pound cake because I could eat the whole thing and probably would gain some sweet pounds. I am glad we have a lot more lemons because I believe Ms. Goofy should make this next weekend. (Hint)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Corned Beef

It is that time of year to break out your shillelaghs and have a green beer. My green beer swilling days are over (Beer is just not green) but I do love corned beef. Today we are soaking a brisket with water, salt, sugar and spices. Five days in this marinade and we will have a raw corned beef just in time for St Patrick’s Day. This beautiful hunk of choice grade beef was acquired at a restaurant supply store. Its initial weight was 16 pounds but after trimming and removing the point end, a good nine pounds remained. The point end will become burnt ends later this evening. Here is the brine that I am using.

Corned Beef

6 quarts water
1 ½ cups kosher salt
2/3 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons pink salt
1 ½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons pickling spice
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
8 garlic cloves crushed

In a large pot bring water to a boil and add ingredients. Stir until dissolved and turn off heat. Cool brine. Place brine and brisket into food grade bucket or large pot. Weigh down brisket so it is entirely submerged. Turn brisket daily for five days. We will return later this week and cook our home cured corned beef.

Untrimmed Brisket

Saturday, March 10, 2012


“Zoomie Station, Friendship, Sourdough and Best Bread Ever’ are several names that we can call our bread tonight. This bread was made from a wild yeast that is passed down from generation to generation. The Amish call it “Friendship Bread’, because you would pass the yeast to your neighbors. This yeast was contained in a flour and water mixture. The “Gold Miner’s” of California had a similar yeast concoction and called it sourdough. Today Zoomie of Zoomie Station gave us a small container of flour and water with live yeast. With the addition of sugar, salt, water and flour, it will be transformed into a loaf of fine bread.

What is great about this starter is that is a living and breathing organism. You need to feed your starter occasionally. With proper care this yeast will live forever. I would like to share this starter with you. Drop me a line and for the price of postage I will send you some. Instructions will be included. See you next time.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Bacon Revue will sweep the stage and polish the spotlights to present this spicy cured bacon. We are sauntering across the field, 'moo'ing' across the tundra, and grazing across the stage of pork belly delights. Manas Ranch has cured and smoked some pork belly's with a certain spice for this entertainment extravaganza tonight.

Cinnamon, I will have to repeat Cinnamon. Open this cyrovac package of wonders and you will smell cinnamon. Most bacon is cured with sugar, salt, and some sort of spices. This cinnamon girl has a coat of this spice and brown sugar. Cutting into the slab reveals a meat to fat ratio that leans toward to the fat. There is no rind present. (Bonus Chilebrown points for no rind.)

Smoked Dakota sausage wrapped in bacon sounds like a winner in our test kitchen. A few toothpicks will secure these meat wrapped tubes of love. They will be blessed on the cast iron vessel of bacon rendering Does the house smell like bacon heaven? Oscar, Lucy and Ms. Goofy are dancing tail spins of anticipation for bacon/cinnamon greatness? It smells like a Holiday breakfast treat. The combination of bacon fumes and cinnamon are like catnip to us. Lucy and I are rolling around the floor waiting for diner until Ms. Goofy told us to knock it off.

Bacon with Cinnamon sounds a little different and it is. When the bacon renders it fat and starts to heat the cinnamon magical moments will occur. The smell will overtake your cooking area. This is a comforting smell that brings taste bud memories of waffles, pancakes and cookies.

Today's bacon from Manas Ranch will receive 3.5 stars out of five. This is good looking bacon with it cinnamon crust. It fries up crisp with a smell that may be worth the price of admission. The slab may be hickory smoked but does not show up in the final product. The salt and brown sugar has a great balance. This is some over the top great breakfast bacon with a cinnamon twist.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Where: 26797 State Hwy16 Esparto, Ca. 95627
530 787-1740
Price: 7.99/pound

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Today’s adventure takes us to the vibrant and colorful Mission District of San Francisco. We are visiting one of the many infamous taquerias that are located though out the ‘City’. Taqueria Cancun is located on Mission St (not Market). This is the main thoroughfare of a plethora of ethnic and culturally diverse group of restaurants, food stores and entertainment. The streets are alive with tourists, locals, foodies, gang bangers, and today Ms. Goofy & yours truly. The burrito gods were with us and blessed us with a parking spot out front.

Taqueria Cancun has been featured in numerous television and newspaper stories. It always ranks high in the ‘Best of the Best’ burritos. Our purpose today is to see if their burritos live up to the hype. It is Saturday afternoon during the noon hour and the place is jumping with people. Flashbulbs are popping to illuminate the scene for the tourists and possibly fellow bloggers. The servers seem used to all the picture taking because they are posing and hamming it up for the cameras. It is colorful inside with all the murals on the walls. There is a fairly long line at the counter to place your order.

The line moves quickly because of the small army of burrito preparation technicians. Today we ordered ‘The Big One”: a wet burrito with al pastor (spicy pork) covered with two salsas, red gravy and sour cream. A super carne asada was our other choice. We also ordered chips and salsa. You receive a number and need to find a table. Your number is called and you return to the counter to pick up your order.

The salsas were spectacular and small. They are dispensed in microscopic cups. A ‘pico de gallo’ style salsa was mild but had a pleasant citrus kick. A verde salsa studded with avocado had a slight warming effect. They were scooped up with some lackluster possibly day old tortilla chips. We might have even got the bottom of the pile because whole chips were a rarity. We went through our salsas liquidy split. The servers refilled our tiny salsa cups several times by request.

Our number was called and our burritos were retrieved. The “Big One’ was colorful and pretty, not to mention huge. The spicy pork was tasty and not to hot. The red gravy tasted of dried chili and cumin. This was a Kodak moment. The carne asada was a tube of beans, rice and avocado with possibly a few chunks of grilled beef. It was tasty but I think it was mislabeled. It should have been called a ‘Wish” burrito. I wish there was some more meat.

Overall our visit to Taqueria Cancun was fun. A colorful neighborhood with parking right in front and cheap eats. I do need to mention that the prices were more than reasonable. The burritos were tasty and large. We took home half for snacks later. Our chips were mediocre, the salsa’s small, and the meat scarce but we enjoyed our visit. Would we return? Yes, but there are a lot more burrito joints in the ‘City’ to explore.

Taqueria Cancun
2288 Mission St.
San Francisco, Ca. 94110

Friday, March 2, 2012


As we fueled the Racing Honda the price of gas rose another 25 cents. This was only a slight glitch on our latest ‘Meat Adventure’ to Esparato, California. We were on a mission to visit ‘Manas Ranch Old Style Custom Meat Market’. This is a retail store that sells beef that is raised on the “Double Bar O Angus Ranch’. The Double Bar is owned by Fred & Alice Manas hence the name of the retail store. The cattle are pasture raised in the summer. They are grain fed later in their calm and stress free environment. The beef is processed and sold at farmers markets and the retail store.

Manas Ranch meat market is about an hours drive from the Abode. A rural area with lots of farmland and pasture surround this store. It is conveniently located a mile off the interstate. Once inside a small, bright, clean and modern meat counter greets you. House made sausage, marinated meats, beef; pork and lamb were displayed for purchase. Manas Ranch philosophy is to sell local humanely raised meat products. Two of the largest T-bones in the display case shouted out to us. We had done our homework and had pre-ordered some house cured slab bacon. Bacon is for sale but will be sliced. We talked to several helpful employees and learned about the ranch. Our meat server suggested trying the grass-fed hamburger. (Grain finished). We filled up an ice chest with our bounty and returned home before the price of gas rises again.

Oh my, the bacon is so ****; story later. Today, a couple of barbequed burgers will be the sample of our meat acquisitions. Salt & Pepper was the only enhancement for this ground Angus beef. The burgers were cooked over a mesquite fire. Biting into this burger was an out of body experience. I cannot believe how juicy and beefy flavored this meat puck was. The beef was ground a little finer and had almost a sausage like texture. The price of this beef experience was 3.00/pound and is a bargain in our book. We are looking forward to trying the T-bones this weekend. We will share the bacon with you later. Manas Ranch Old Style Custom Meat Market is a great meat find.

Manas Ranch Old Style Custom Meat Market
26797 State Highway 16
Esparato, CA. 95627
530 787-1740