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.
Thursday, November 2, 2017
The Buck Steelmaster Model #137 in June 1974 had a list price of 12 dollars. It came with sheath. 5 inch steel with metal handle w/cam lever. The steel has one side with coarse grit and is surrounded by 3 sides with fine grit. This tool is used to sharpen knives.
This is the latest addition to my ever growing knife collection. My collection started as kitchen knives and has lately branched out to pocket knives. I try to limit myself to the American made Buck 110 models as a subset to my collection. Can you see Ms. Goofy rolling her eyes right now?