Friday, December 29, 2017
I have added a new word to my vocabulary and it is; baconluxious. This chocolate bar according to the their label is; "Delicate maple sweetness, a sprinkle of bonfire smoked sea salt and crispy uncured bacon in milk chocolate". It is all that and more. This is really good. I can actually taste bacon. (I like this so much I will even give them a pass on using a non-term "uncured bacon".) 'Chuao brand chocolates has hit on all cylinders with its sweet maple flavored milk chocolate. This confection has a kiss of smoke and the most baconluxious addition of bacon. I am in bacon chocolate heaven.
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
It took almost 25 years but my set in now complete. I am talking about my custom made kitchen knives made by Bob Kramer. Bob Kramer is a Master Bladesmith who is very respected by Chef's and knife enthusiasts worldwide. To obtain a knife by Bob is almost impossible and are coveted by many. I have been collecting his knives one at a time for a long time. I have been on his elite knife list for approximately 25 years. We met Bob and toured his facility when he was located in Seattle. This roasting fork will completed my set. Christmas arrived a weak early this year.
When I placed the order for this fork several years ago, I wanted it made in stainless steal. Bob has been making masterpieces in Damascus steel lately and decided to upgrade my order at no additional cost for my patience in waiting for this special order. What is Damascus steel you may ask? This is from Bob Kramers web site; "Bob's custom Damascus, also known as 'pattern welded steel', is the result of combining at least two different types of steel that harden and temper in the same range to achieve a desired aesthetic. Damascus has a complex creation process and requires lots of time and concentration; it constantly allows me to tap into my creativity to produce a unique art piece that is also a high performance tool for your kitchen."
My roasting fork arrived last week as a sort of pre Christmas surprise. What a beauty. We gave it a test run yesterday using it to carve the Christmas Prime Rib Roast. It worked like a charm and was a beautiful tool to look at as an added bonus. Needless to say I am very happy to have a complete Bob Kramer knifes set. It was worth the wait.
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Parking Karma has returned evident by the nose of the Racing Honda parked almost in the front door of Marin Sun Farms. Marin Sun Farms is our destination lunch stop after a mini-Meat Adventure picking up our prime ribs from Willowside Meats. Ms. Goofy is our driver while the Great White Hunter has navigated and I have been the designated back seat driver. We make quit the racing team. Marin Sun Farms is a unique meat purveyor. They are fully vertically integrated from pasture to processing to plate. Their meat is also grass fed, pastured raised, and California local. They sell at farmers markets and have several butcher locations. Todays journey brings us to Pt. Reyes location which also has a restaurant attached to the butcher shop. We are hungry, so let's go eat.
This is a fairly small location with several meat cases and about a dozen tables. We browse the meat cases and then ask for a table.. We have our pick of tables which have a unique fuzzy fur lined chairs. It is a good thing that our posteriors are insulated because it is colder inside this restaurant than it is outside. I am wondering if it is a new trend to not turn on the heat. We make our choices. As some of you may know I am not a big fan of grass raised beef but I am game because this is our only option. New York Steak for me, burger for Ms. Goofy and Brussel sprouts for the Great White Hunter. Have I ever mentioned that the Great White Hunter is a little weird?
I also asked for a side of house made pickles. The pickles were brought out first and they were fantastic. This has to be a good sign for the things to come. Ms. Goofy and I also had salad with our meals. This salad was fairly plain but when you added the pickles it turned into a funky fresh treat. I bet you were wondering how the grass fed beef was, so here we go.
Ms. Goofy said she noticed the difference in taste. The Umami factor is missing. I use this word with a little reservation but it is true that there is a lusciousness and a savory feeling that has you craving the next bite which was missing from this burger. Grass fed beef has a dryer mouth feeling and texture. My steak was tender enough and had decent beef flavor. My steak also was covered in a pan sauce which I am sure butter was involved. This may have contributed greatly to my enjoyment. We shared some fries that were cooked in pork lard. They were okay but needed a little more crispness. We both finished our plates and enjoyed them as much as grass fed protein would allow.
The Great White Hunter had some of the most fantastic Brussels Sprouts. They were fantastic because they were deep fried in pork lard and smothered in home made mayonnaise (aioli) and cheese. These were not grass fed I believe but delicious.. He also had a house made sausage that was a tad dry.
Overall we enjoyed our meals. I am still not sold on grass-fed beef. Marin Sun Farms is a nice little stop if you are driving on the coast. We did not buy anything from the meat market for several reasons. Our ice chest were full of meat from Willowside and grass fed beef from Marin Sun Farms commands a very high price tag. One thing that deterred from enjoying our meal more was the temperature inside the restaurant. This is something that has me puzzled. Turn on the heater why don't you !
Marin Sun Farms
10905 Shoreline Highway 1
Point Reyes Station CA 94956
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
We had a hankering for some pulled pork this cold and breezy Sunday. The day before I went to our local farmers market and picked up a Berkshire Pork Roast to achieve this culinary urge for pulled pork. This special roast was picked up from the good people of Hanson Farms. They raise the Berkshire breed of pig for market. This roast weighed in at 5 pounds and cost 12 dollars a pound. Berkshire breed pig is known for its elegant round and buttery flavor that melts in your mouth. It is elegant and has a slight beefy flavor. This should be very special.
We defrosted the roast in several water baths to reveal the true shape of the roast. Something was very odd. If you look at the image above you can see what I mean. The shoulder roast has a bone included which is called the blade bone. This is industry standard and expected unless sold as boneless. What is odd was another bone that you can see on the very right of this image. I am not sure the name of this bone but it was odd for a shoulder roast and contributed to 15-20 percent waste. You will also notice a split down the center of the roast which I am going to say is just sloppy butchering. I believe Hanson Farms is not directly responsible. They send out their product to Wolfpack Meats University Nevada Reno. We have had problems in the past from poor butchering from this teaching college. We have also tried to contact them in the past with questions with no response.
We cooked our roast in the smoker using traditional rubs, techniques and cooking procedures. The flavor of this roast was spectacular. Berkshire pork is something to be experienced. Here is the rub. the texture was off. This pork was chewy, a little tough, and just did not have the lusciousness associated with this breed. Was this cook (myself) error in cooking techniques. This is very possible because this breed is very different than your Wallyworld pork shoulder roast.I have given up on any products butchered by Wolfpack Meats because they are consistently terrible. I did reach out to the Hansons by e-mail with no response. I do not fault the Hansons product because they I have bought meat in the past with spectacular results. I will definitely have to do some more research on cooking heritage breed pork. It is time to move on because we have more Meat Adventures planned later this week.
Saturday, December 16, 2017
|Head Chef Ryan Pang|
We finally arrived to a packed house. The dining area is fairly small and loud. We did grab one of the last remaining spots and settled in for a barbecue treat. We scoured the menu and noticed the extensive list of bourbons. Wow, over a hundred different varieties made this list a blur. We were here for the bbq. I asked the waiter if I could order a combination of meats and a side. They do sell the meats by the pound and we made up a list of what I wanted to try. This included ribs, brisket and house smoke pastrami. I also wanted to try the house made sausage which the Great White Hunter ordered. Even though the restaurant was packed our meal was delivered very promptly.
We started out with an appetizer of bacon wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and the house made sausage. It is served with the house made barbecue sauce. This appetizer was a great start. The heat of the jalapeno was tamed by the rich cream cheese with the added bonus of smoky bacon. The house sauce was tomato based with a hint of smoke. It was a very nice compliment to this rich, smoky, spicy treat. The rest of our meal came liquidity split. Our small table was full of food. Ryan included samples of all the side dishes with some home cured pickles.
Let’s start out with the sides. The house made pickles made The Great White Hunter reminisce of his Aunt Flossies home cured pickles. I believe I saw a tear stream down his bbq sauce streaked face. They were fresh with a vinegar splash and still had a little crunch. Creamed corn was decadent, Cole slaw was comforting, beans were hearty, and the potato salad was perfectly satisfying. The attention and finesse of the sides with a homemade touch showed the kitchen was paying attention and cared about quality. The sides fired on all the right cylinders. We shall proceed to the barbeque.
The house smoke pastrami was my favorite. It was so very tender, kissed with smoke and just the right amount of salt. The ribs were dry rubbed with a fantastic mix of spices. They were fall off the bone good with a little bark from the spice rub. There was barbecue sauce served on the side but it was not needed. The brisket was an example of meat perfection. These prime packers were smoked by a championship competitor and it showed. This meat had all the right moves. Flavorful bark, tender and most of all beefy brisket flavor love. Oh my!!!!. The Great White Hunters house made sausage was made with pork and brisket trimmings. It was mild and full of porky goodness. Everything was so good.
I am trying to find some fault with Quality Bourbons & Barbecue. The only fault I can honestly find is the parking. Ryan Pang has a vehicle to showcase his cooking genius. This restaurant can fill your bbq cravings and needs. If you have desire for bourbon they have you covered in this department too. I will return just for the pastrami it was that good. Ryans kitchen pays a lot of attention to detail evident by the sides and the wonderful pickles. The barbeque meats are better than competition which I am scoring very highly. What a wonderful bbq adventure.
Quality Bourbon & Barbecue
216 Castro Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Secret Santa has made an early delivery. Yours truly is in a hot sauce group on social media. We all put our names in a hat and exchange gifts with a hot sauce theme. A lot of hot sauce company owners and hot sauce freaks like myself participate. What fun it was to receive a gift basket shaped as the state of Texas filled with products from hot sauce producer "Micky V's". These products from Texas will be enjoyed as soon as this tune leaves my head.
The stars at night
Are big and bright
Deep in the heart of Texas
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Just saying Gummy Bear Sausage sounds a little disgusting. Ms. Goofy just rolled her eyes when I asked the butcher to wrap up a couple for purchase at Tootle's Butcher Shop. The butcher did mention it was one of the best sellers. Gummy Bear Sausage is pork sausage with the addition of candied gummy bears. For some strange reason we are going to give it a try tonight.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
We do not make it up to Marysville California that often. We just so happened to be in the neighborhood on another errand and Tootle's Butcher Shop was right around the corner. The last Meat Adventure we visited Tootle's we were told the Chileverde was a must have item but they were sold out because of the popularity. When we entered Tootle's the clerk asked us what we desired and I promptly replied; Chileverde? We were in luck and it was available. I was a little surprised that it was not cooked but sold as bulk raw Chileverde ingredients. We bought several pounds for tonight's dinner.
We received basic instructions on how to cook our Chileverde. Heat up a little oil in a pan and brown the ingredients over a high heat. When a little color is achieved turn down the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook until the vegetables have softened and the meat is tender. We did add a little salsa for a little extra moisture. This whole process took about 25 minutes. It was suggested to serve over rice.
This rendering of Chileverde hit the spot. It had very nice seasoning and had a little pepper flavor from the jalapenos. We do not know the whole ingredient list but I did see onions and sliced jalapenos. The big plus was how easy and convenient it was to make this dish. The pork was tender and satisfying. The next time we are in Marysville, Tootle's Chileverde is on the list.
Tootle's Butcher Shop
317 3rd St.
Marysville, CA 95901
Monday, December 4, 2017
With great fanfare I would like to announce the grand opening of R & R Coffee. This new coffee stand is located at the Hilltop Mall in Richmond California. Phillip and family will be running this java emporium with the help of local bakers for the sweet accompaniments. I personally will be tasting every sweet offered in the name of research. Stop on by and have a cup of coffee. Be sure to say the Mad Meat Genius sent you.
R & R Coffee
2200 Hilltop Mall Rd
Richmond Ca. 94806
Sunday, December 3, 2017
The women at the Colombo Club have an auxiliary club which celebrated their 80th anniversary with a dinner last night. We were invited to participate in this festive occasion. We were also told raviolis would be on the menu. How could we pass an opportunity to eat one of my favorite foods. The Colombo Club is the largest Italian social club on the West Coast. They have been in existence for almost 100 years. I attend the men's monthly dinner and I am no stranger to the wonderful food they serve. Let's go celebrate the Auxiliary Clubs 80th Anniversary. Mangia Bene.
It is mandatory you bring an appetite to a Colombo Club function. Tonight's menu includes: Antipasto, Ceaser salad, raviolis, prime rib, potatoes, vegetables, dessert, coffee and all the vino you can handle. The dinner is served family style. When your platter is empty of raviolis, you ask your server and more and more and more will be delivered. The dinner begins with cocktails in one of two spacious bars. Some delicious focaccia pizza bread was offered as appetizers. The dinner bell is rung and we go to the large cavernous basement dinning hall.
I am quit sure many a belt buckle was loosened after this feast. If you had any energy left there was the 'George Campi Band" upstairs for after dinning dancing. This ravioli stuffed boys only attempt at dancing was to roll over on the couch to grab the remote. What a night. This was a very tasty celebration.
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Everyone needs an Angelo, your local Italian butcher. He does live and work an hour away and that is local enough for us. Angelo over the years has been a good friend and spectacular butcher. We recently visited Angelo to pick up some smoked pork chops. We visited our friend and swapped stories. Let me give you a small secret when visiting Angleo. Be prepared for the handshake. Angelo possess hands the size of baseball catchers mitts. He also believes in an old fashion 'mano y mano' firm if not death grip shake. If you are not prepared to exchange a strong shake be prepared to drop to the ground to Angelo's amusement. I have learned my lesson in proper greeting etiquette.
Angelo's smoked pork chops have been pre-cooked in the smoker. They only really need to be browned and heated thoroughly. We are going to brown them in a skillet and finish them in the oven with rice and vegetables. We used a melody of garlic, onion, celery, chopped tomato's and spices to flavor our rice. A couple of slices of bacon provided a little love to start the process. Our rendered bacon love was used to briefly brown the pork chops. They were reserved. We briefly sauted the rest of the ingredients. We returned the chops to the pan and covered with chicken stock. A 30 minute trip to a 350 degree oven and we were ready to enjoy dinner.
We always look for an excuse to visit our friend Angelo. There is the added bonus we will leave his shop with meaty treats. (You may also leave with a sore hand if you are not careful). These smoked pork chops had just the right amount of smoke. They also had a hint of sweetness from the initial brine. The all important element of balance of smoke, sweet,and seasoning was perfect. This was a dinner to be enjoyed.
Monday, November 27, 2017
It was an eighty five pound orange beauty. That is till I drove an ax through its thick pulpy flesh. This is not a horror story but an attempt at harvesting pumpkin seeds from my "Great Pumpkin". A few quick chops made easy work to scoop out the seeds. There were surprisingly few seeds for such a big pumpkin. The seeds were put into a colander and rinsed with a garden hose. They were then spread out on newspapers and allowed 24 hours to air dry.
The seeds were put into a bowl. I then added a large tablespoon of olive oil and a dash of salt. The seeds were coated and then put into a cast iron pan for roasting. A 300 degree oven for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. This was easy peasy to make a healthy home grown snack. I even saved a couple of unroasted seeds for next years "Great Pumpkin"
Friday, November 24, 2017
What a day. This Thanksgiving was an exercise of pleasurable overindulgence of traditional comfort foods. It is tradition for us to barbeque our stuffed bird. The stuffing consists of bread cubes,Italian sausage, celery, onions, mushrooms, garlic, parsley and a secret ingredient of water chestnuts. The water chestnuts add a surprising texture element. This is all served with buckets of gravy. It has also become a tradition for Ms. Goofy to make pecan pie. She got a little excited making the filling producing enough for two pies. If anybody needs to get in touch with me, I will be on the couch for the next several days eating pie.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Not a whole lot going on here at Mad Meat Genius. We are getting ready for Turkey day and what better way to prepare but order a turkey dinner, double order of stuffing and a bucket of gravy at Willie Bird Restaurant. Speaking of Willie Birds, the 'Great White Hunter' and I picked up his special turkey at Willie Birds and were surprised to see no lines. Usually at this time of year, they are lined up out to the highway waiting to pick up their pre-ordered birds. I am not sure what this means. We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and remember; "It is all about the gravy, Mang"
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
It is a cold and rainy day. Ms. Goofy and I decide to warm up at the Bear Republic brewpub in Rohnert Park California. The Bear Republic is a quality producer of micro-beer and has been one of our favorite brewpubs. There are several locations of Bear Republic and this is a fairly new location. We wanted to give it a try, so let's go have lunch.
Bear Republic from the outside is big and bold just like their quality beers. We walk through the door and we behold big shiny modern beer vessels. Everything is bright and full of excitement. It is loud in the dining area. It is also freezing cold inside. Yes it was chilly. I noticed all the patrons wearing their jackets. Hopefully the food will warm our souls.
We are only going to talk about the food today. The beer is excellent and I have sampled many back in the day. Ms. Goofy ordered a pulled pork sandwich and I a 'Western Burger". This restaurant was packed for the noon hour. Our waitress also mentioned they were serving a party of 75 in the back room. Our orders were placed and before we knew it they arrived. With the amount of people present, it was very impressive how fast our meal arrived.
Ms. Goofy enjoyed her pulled pork. It had just the right amount of smoke and it was accented with a house made "Peter Brown": barbecue sauce served on a soft brioche bun. It came with garlic fries that used restraint in the garlic department. My burger came with cheddar,onion rings, bacon and the "Peter Brown" barbecue sauce also on a brioche bun. Now I enjoyed it well enough but because the temperature of the restaurant was like sitting outside at a ski lodge I probably enjoyed the warmth from the burger more than the flavors involved. Despite the inside weather challenges we enjoyed these food offerings.
We noticed people sitting outside on a very nice patio overlooking a small lagoon. We figured out later it was actually warmer outside because they had heat lamps providing comfort. Bear Republic has a fantastic beer selection. We had two very decent lunches but I was cold. Do I sound like a whining spoiled and complaining child? When my fingers thaw out I will answer that question.
Friday, November 10, 2017
Monday, November 6, 2017
American Wagyu Rump Roast was spotted at R & R Meats in Redding California. It was reasonably priced and looked fantastic with its marbling of beef love. (fat). This was a no brainer. We are making a very special pot roast today. We are using farmers market ingredients and throwing in some home grown garlic, rosemary and herbs. I guarantee the house will smell delicious during this cooking process.
The cooking vessel will be a enameled cast iron pot that will be heated by the oven. We are following a basic pot roast recipe. The roast was seasoned with salt and pepper. It was browned on all sides. The pan was deglazed with a cup of red wine. The roast was returned to the pot with onions, garlic and four cups of beef stock. The covered roast spent three hours in a 325 degree oven. It was time to add the rest of the ingredients of; mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, rosemary, thyme and salt & pepper. Another hour of cooking perfumed the house with very intoxicating comforting aromas.
The meat and vegetables were removed from the pot. We then used a gravy strainer to remove excess fat from the very fragrant broth. The meat was sliced into large chunks. This meat was fall apart tender. The meat and vegetables were plated and the broth was spooned all over. This is pot roast that brings back memories. American Wagyu is a special treat that adds beef flavor which has to be experienced. I would make this again to just experience the aroma while cooking. What a fine dinner.