Chilebrown at home

Saturday, December 31, 2016


Blade magazine is devoted to the knife enthusiast. They publish an issue monthly but seem to be three months a head of schedule. In December I received the March 2017 issue. This particular month features a very special knife enthusiast. Yes, yours truly is featured in the "The Knife I Carry" section of the magazine. I submitted an image and text to be entered in a contest to win a knife. Maybe it was shameless promotion or possibly the need for another knife. (Never ask Ms. Goofy if I need a new knife or bbq.) Needless to say I am tickled pink to be included in Blade magazine.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Bob Kramer is a 'Master Bladesmith'. He is the who's who in the knife making world. The blade material, design and craftsmanship make these knives extraordinaire. His knives are sought after by top notch, high end and celebrity chefs. At one time he would sell you his custom hand made knives, but to purchase you had to be put on a waiting list. I was on this waiting list and purchased a complete set over a ten year period. He then partnered with the famous J. A. Henckel Company out of Germany to mas produce his line of knives. You can go to a department store and buy this set for around 2500 dollars.To actually purchase a Bob Kramer handmade knife these days is almost impossible unless you have a very large bank account. He occasionally sells his handmade knifes on e-bay which sells in the thousands for a single knife. I had the opportunity to purchase a handmade custom Bob Kramer "Picnic Knife". I did not hesitate for this acquisition.

This knife is considered a 'Friction Folder' knife. A friction folder is a folding knife that doesn't use a lock or springs. It uses the handle's friction against the tang to stay open. The blade is made of 'AEB-L Straight Stainless Steel' which is the material razor blades are made of. The handle is made of carbon fiber. When the blade is open the edge of the blade tang doubles as a bottle opener. This knife feels very good in the hand. A friend asked me if I was actually going to use this knife or mount it for display. It is a beauty and a fair question. I plan to use it on special occasions.

This is one fine knife. I feel privileged and a little bit lucky to own one. These knives sold out immediately. Ms. Goofy and I met Bob Kramer when his shop was in Seattle. He gave us a tour of his knife shop. After meeting Bob and seeing the process you will understand why his knives are so sought after. I think we will go on a picnic.

Monday, December 26, 2016


What a delicious Christmas. This is an aged USDA choice grain corn fed three bone hunk of burnin love. A simple dusting of salt & pepper was all this roast needed to season. It was served with horse radish and risotto. It does not get any better than this. Happy Holidays.

Friday, December 23, 2016


Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Beef Roast aging in a meat locker
Yule-tide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos

My apologies to Nat King Cole. Tis the season to cook an aged prime rib beef roast. We ordered one several months ago in anticipation of a meaty Christmas dinner. The image above is from the meat locker at Panizzera Meat Company. Yesterday I traveled on a mini meat adventure to pick up our roast. It would not be Christmas without visiting our good friend Santa Angelo Ibleto from Angelos Meats. It was a short visit because he was swamped with Holiday orders. Christmas is a couple of days away and I wonder if the Big Green Egg will make it under the tree this year. Ms. Goofy and I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Meaty New Year.

Monday, December 19, 2016


"There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture"

This is one beet red sausage; literally. While strolling through the Ferry Plaza Farmers market this sausage drew me in. It was sold by "Salt Pt  Butchery and Provisions" a non traditional meat purveyor. They sell at pop-up events, 'Meat Share' program, and here at the farmers market. The ingredients are pork, basil, shallots and beets which are fairly obvious by the bright red color. I want to mention the price because it was on the high side. These two sausages combined weighed twelve ounces and cost ten dollars. I believe we shall have some sausage pizza tonight.

We browned the sausage in our trusty black iron pan. Once it was cooled we sliced and put it on a pre-made bake pizza. A short trip into the oven and we were ready to eat. The sausage was okay. It had a earthy sweetness from the beets. It could of used a little more seasoning because this sausage was also on the bland side. The basil and shallots were a little lost in this mix. It was fun to experiment with our sausage find. We now return control of your television set to you.

Salt Pt. Butchery and Provisons

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Heat Hot Sauce Shop is one of my favorite hot and spicy hangouts. Dylan & Becky the proprietors of this house of heat have asked me to compile a collection of some of my favorite hot sauces for a Christmas Gift Set. They are promoting these sauces and selling them for a fantastic gift item for the holidays. I am speechless and very flattered to be included in this offering.  This would make the perfect gift for any hot sauce enthusiast. My collection is all about good flavor and of course a healthy but not too hot blast of heat. I lean towards the green sauces as you shall see. Come along and take a look at the Chilebrown’s Gift Set

Lucky Dog…..Green Label
Scott Zalkind is the charismatic local producer of Lucky Dog Hot Sauce’s. His Green Label is a mild blend of fire-roasted jalapeno & Serrano peppers and garlic. This sauce is extremely flavorful and pairs with many food combinations.

Roasted Hatch chile peppers from New Mexico are some of my all-time favorite chile. Throw in a couple of habaneros and you have one fancy sauce that packs a medium punch. This goes great on pizza, burgers and will spice up your breakfast burrito.

This Verde (green) style sauce has roasted hatch chiles, roasted garlic, roasted jalapenos, cilantro and a just a splash of Scorpion pepper. It has a very fresh and crisp vinegar note up front, balanced with the legendary hatch chile flavors. It tastes so verde good.

Hell Fire Zombie Snot
This is the hottest of my collection. It has an assortment of exotic peppers such as Carolina Reapers, Jolokia, 7-Pot, and Moruga Scorpions. Let’s throw in a couple of jalapenos, serrano’s, tomatillos and sweeten it with granny smith apples. This combination works to make a flavorful sauce that demands respect with its beautiful heat rush.

Secret Aardvark
This may be my personal favorite. This is a fun sauce that goes well with all food pairings. It is a mild mustard based habanero sauce that originated in the Portland Oregon area. It is listed as a medium heat level sauce but that may be a little generous on the heat scale. This will be a crowd favorite.

This is my collection. I personally use these sauces all the time. What fun it was to pick these sauces for Christmas ideas. Dylan & Becky of Heat Hot Sauce have this collection for sale at a very reasonable price of $41.99 that even includes the shipping price. Yes, you read correctly; shipping is included. There are links below to find this collection and many other offerings at Heat Hot Shop. Have a very Merry and Spicy Christmas.

Heat Hot Sauce Shop
 (510) 849-1048  Ask for the Chilebrown Gift Set

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


It was a dark and stormy night, seems to be fitting way to start off our restaurant review from Hell. We drive by Mangia Bene restaurant in Martinez all the time. The outside looks like it could be a nice local Italian restaurant. At least that is what we wanted to believe. It was Monday night and we did not want to cook at home tonight so we ventured to Mangia Bene Restaurant to give it a try. You may want to stop reading now because this review will be going downhill fast.

We want to find positive in all of our dining experiences. Mangia Bene is a fun and warm looking establishment. Inside is painted brightly and decorated with Italian style adornments. The waiter was pleasant. He brought a small pitcher of sparkling water that was refreshing. The menu was reasonably priced. The wait staff was accommodating for my request for pasta instead of potatoes on my entrée. The rest of the evening was a food disaster.

Soft white Italian bread was brought to the table before our meal. The bread was okay in a white wonderbread type of way. It was served with a spread of tomato, garlic, bread and olive oil puree that I would compare to an aioli. The problem was it had just been taken out of the refrigerator and was icy cold. The texture was a little grainy and just seemed a little off. I ordered a New York steak with pasta. I always order my steak medium rare. It dawned on me; did the waiter even ask me how I wanted this steak cooked?

Our entrees arrived promptly possibly because we were one of two tables occupied in the whole establishment. Red flags screamed at me at first glance of my blackened piece of so called New York steak. I cut into this piece of protein. I am glad the steak knife was serrated because this pathetic excuse of a steak made shoe leather seem tender. It was horrifyingly cooked to past well done degree. I wanted to dial 911 and report a crime against a steak. Wow. The pasta was horrendous also. The red sauce had a greasy tinny flavor that would have brought a tear to Chef-Boyardee’s eye. The pasta must have been bought from the dollar store across the street. The steak was served with a mushroom sauce. The can opener was getting a work out at this meal. Canned mushrooms swimming in possibly Campbells soup just seemed wrong. This dish failed on so many levels.

Ms. Goofy ordered shrimp carbonara. Ms. Goofy barely pawed through this frozen iceberg shrimp disaster. The sauce was heavy and gloppy. The same mass produced pasta did not help this dish. Mangia Bene should be ashamed for sending out dishes like this from their kitchen. This meal misfired on all of its cylinders. We so wanted to find a good local Italian restaurant. It definitely will not be Mangia Bene

Mangia Bene
1170 Arnold Dr #116,
 Martinez, CA 94553

Friday, December 9, 2016


Are you hungry? This is a fun recipe that was created on the Mad Meat Genius fly. I am sure it has been done before and if you follow sound cooking techniques and use quality ingredients you will have success too. We are working with an inexpensive pork loin that has been butterflied, briefly brined and then stuffed with three types of mushrooms, bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese. The stuffed meat roll is then wrapped in a weave of bacon and cooked in a covered kettle bbq. Let’s cook dinner.

We will start with the pork loin. The loin is approx 3 pounds. Most of the visible fat is trimmed with a sharp boning knife. With the same knife the roast is butterflied. Do not be intimidated by this process because in the end it is all rolled up and any goof-ups will be covered with bacon. Slice the length about 1/3 down the diameter length of the roll and slowly draw your knife to cut almost through. Turn your roast over and slice down the other 2/3. Place on a cutting board and flatten down any unevenness with a mallet, back of your knife or even your hand. The next step is a quick easy brine.
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups of water 
Bring mixture to a boil and let cool. When cool place in container and add meat. Add more water to cover meat. Let rest in refrigerator for 3-6 hours. Remove from container and rinse with cool water. Dry off roast. It is time to work on the stuffing.
  • ½ pd. button mushrooms chopped
  • ½ pd. Portabella mushrooms gills removed and chopped.
  • 2 Tablespoons dried mushrooms chopped. (Re-hydrate mushrooms in warm water before chopping)
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (make your own bread crumbs by toasting some bread and using your food processor)
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Sauté the 3 mushrooms and garlic in butter until mushrooms loose some moisture approx 7 minutes. Season with salt & pepper and turn off the heat. Add your breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and let mixture cool to room temperature.

It is time to assemble. Place your butterflied, brined meat on a sheet of wax paper. Spread cooled mushroom mixture evenly over meat. Roll the meat like a Christmas log. Use the wax paper to help you roll it firm but not tight. Wrap the roll in the wax paper and refrigerator for an hour. This will help firm up the roll. I make a bacon weave while I am waiting and place it in the refrigerator also to firm. Take meat roll out of refrigerator and place in center of bacon weave seam side up. Turn meat roll over and tie strings to secure.

You could cook this in the oven but why not fire up the bbq in the middle of winter? We built an indirect fire. This was achieved by banking approx 30 lit charcoal briquettes on each side with a drip pan in the center. Place bacon wrapped meat roll on center of a well-oiled grill grate and cover with kettle lid. Cook for almost an hour or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove roast for the very important resting time of 15 minutes.

Slice with a serrated knife. I guarantee you will impress with this Mad Meat Genius creation. Cooking in the bbq adds that certain flavor that we love. The pork loin was tender and juicy. We are sold on the brining technique. The filling was rich and decadent. This is a recipe that we are glad to share. I am looking forward to the leftovers tonight. Have fun.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


I am guilty as charged. While sitting in front of the boob tube for hours and hours watching football until my eyes bleed the Burger King commercial hawks their latest burger creation. Behold the "Bacon King". This is supposed to be two 1/4 pound beef patties with six slices of bacon with cheese. For some reason the burgers in the commercials always look better on high definition television. My burger was only one patty and I am not sure if it even had the promised 6 slices of bacon. Was this even bacon but possibly a limp facsimile of my favorite cured pork product? How did it taste? It was not terrible is about the best I can do. You see the same commercial over and over and over again and eventually it seduced me into purchase. I am weak.

Thursday, December 1, 2016


The quest to find the best Chileverde dish continues. In fact it was not even on the menu today at Canasta Kitchen Restaurant. We have been taking advantage of the discounted prices offered by Groupon. We found a coupon for Canasta Kitchen Restaurant and decided to give it a try. We bundled up on this chilly day and traveled to Concord California for upscale Mexican food.

We walked into an almost empty dining area to a chilly bare metal table. Luckily the waiter had a warming personality. He greeted us and cheerfully told us about the restaurant and offered some menu suggestions. The menu was small and had limited but flavorful sounding selections. There were enchiladas, empanadas that our waiter recommended, huaraches, chile rellenos and street tacos that were made with rib-eye steak. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with other Latin influenced menu items. I did make the observation that the prices were on the high side.

We placed our order and immediately received a complimentary serving of a flavorful tortilla soup and a small basket of tortillas chips that had a spattering of black bean puree and a side of tart tomatillas salsa. The tomatilla salsa did not have any discernable heat. We were excited for our entrees because the tortillas soup was very flavorful and warming on this chilly day. Our entrees arrived. The kitchen took pride in their plating. These were fantastic picture taking opportunity plates.

I had chile relleno with rice and beans. I do admit this was one pretty plate. One does eat with their eyes first. This pasilla pepper was filled with carne asada and vegetables. It was pleasant and filling. The beans were lackluster and the rice bland. My overall feeling was this dish was lacking in any heat and spicy seasoning. It was bland. Ms. Goofy had enchiladas with the combinations of red sauce, green sauce and fillings of chicken and beef. She also had a pretty plate but struck out in the seasoning and spice department.

Canasta Kitchen Restaurant takes care in their food presentation and customer service. Our waiter was pleasant and helpful. Our plates could have come out of a food magazine. These food offerings did not excite in the flavor department. The complimentary appetizer of tortilla soup was the highlight of our meal. Canasta Kitchen charges a premium price for these pretty plates and with all the other choices in the Bay Area for Mexican food we most likely will not return.

Canasta Kitchen Restaurant
2118 Mt. Diablo Street
Concord, CA 94520