Chilebrown at home

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Safeway Grocery Store is our go to store for most food staples. It is close and convenient. They are not known for having a quality meat selection. In fact their Safeway Brand meat called Safeway Select is almost laughable in how low quality it can be. We usually go on Meat Adventures to purchase good meat until today.

We got a heads up that one branch of Safeway in Livermore had Snake River Farms beef in their meat department. Those of you not familiar with Snake River Farm they are a very high quality American Waygu beef purveyor. A lot of barbeque competitors use this beef in competition. We are no strangers to this product because Ms. Goofy has gifted me this product several times. It is some of the best and with this title it also has a very high price tag. It was a little shock that Safeway would carry this product.

This particular branch of Safeway is an hour drive. In fact we drove by a dozen other Safeways to our destination. Sure enough our Snake River Farm products were available. I broke out the credit card and bought an assortment of steak. Boneless Rib-Eye, New York strip, and two decadent filets. You could see the beautiful fat marbling throughout these quality steaks. I also had the butcher cut the New York two inches thick. You should see the smile on my face. 
  We are happy today with our quality purchase. Only time will tell if more Safeway's will carry the Snake River Farms meats. Until then we will enjoy our steaks today.

Sunday, October 21, 2018


The Barbeque season has ended for this year but that does not mean our weekends are idle. We are cooking a huge festive meal at a gathering of black iron pots and like minded people. We are at the Dam Dog Society IDOS Fall D.O.G. For those of you who don't know IDOS is the International Dutch Oven Society and D.O.G. stands for Dutch Oven Gathering. This event took place at the El Sobrante Elks Club on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Of course we would like to bring you along and share our meal with you.

Young, old, experienced, novice and local celebrities were all in attendance today. We had a good representative from the local community today. We had the local owners of a bike shop and insurance agency cooking today. The president of the Elks Club and the Galileo Club were present. New members and old members of the Nor Cal Dam Dog Society brought out their best recipes and techniques to create a fabulous feast.

These two dishes above were very fantastic offerings. the top was a corn meal muffin with a chicken pot pie underneath. While the bottom was blueberry muffins with a sweet glaze. Remember everything is made from scratch this day at the event. The image below is butter melting in a cup with a flame. What makes this dramatic and interesting it was a dutch oven boo-boo..The cooker spilled butter and ignited creating this dramatic effect. It was all in fun though a little dangerous.

Let me explain my favorite image a little. This is Chris Irving making his famous maple bacon cake. If you look underneath the table you can see a yellow generator. This generator is powering his old school gold mixer. Now this event was not a contest so everything goes in preparing your meal. I was duly impressed by Chris Irvings effort and results.

Chris and his famous Gold Mixer

It is a little hard to grasp the actual amount of food we cooked today. We all drew numbers to determine what to cook today. I drew vegetables and made a green been casserole. This casserole included fresh frenched beans from my farmers market, bacon from Angleo's Meats and topped with french fried jalapenos. Today we had chicken enchiladas, beef stew, red beans and rice, chicken and dumplings, blueberry cinnamon rolls, lumpia, chile verde, potatoes, banana empanadas, and so much more. I can guarantee nobody left hungry.

We have a D.O.G. twice a year and I am all ready looking forward to the next one. That is if I can ever get off the couch. Sure I ate way too much but it was all so good. It is amazing what one can cook in a dutch oven. Today was proof that even bacon maple cake can be created in a dutch oven Good times.

Thursday, October 18, 2018


We love to go on Meat Adventures. We also have our favorite stops to stock up on some of the best meat products in our area. It is also fun to visit with our good friend Angelo who runs and owns Angelos' Meats. Today was no exception in the treats department. We hung out with Angelo while he was preparing some smoked sausage. Angelo  shared some of his great mustard with some freshly made sausage.Angelo then broke out some of the best biscotti ever. It just something about his home made rendition that is special. This has just the right amount of crunch, tender inside. and sweetness. Sometimes biscotti has the possibility to crack teeth but not Angelo's  It does not get any better than this. We said goodbye to Angelo with bacon, mustard and biscotti to go.

It was then off to Willowside Meat Market. They specialize in aged USDA beef. You should of seen the smile on my face when I saw a sweet 3 pound Porterhouse with my name on it. Our cart was filled with Porterhouse, New York, sirloin, hamburger and pork chops. Today was a good day for a Meat Adventure. 

Monday, October 15, 2018


Everybody deserves a second chance. It also helps when your Sunday special is one of our favorites;beef ribs. We went to a show at the local theater and afterwards stopped on by Slow Hand BBQ of Martinez California. Parking Karma was present but we did not get the prime spot right in front like the classic car pictured above. We were right across the street though. Downtown Martinez on a Sunday afternoon is pretty vacant. In fact this is a challenge for any restaurant in this downtown area.

We walked into Slow Hand around 4:30 pm and the first question I asked was do you have any beef ribs? I had to ask because this is a Sunday only special. They did and we ordered a couple. We had a couple of choices for sides. Ms. Goofy loves her mac & cheese and I know the Cole slaw is a winner here. We also opted for German Potato Salad and just for kicks a key lime pie for dessert. We, well maybe I was very hungry.

Technically these are beef short ribs but 'Boy O Boy" are they meaty, beaty, big and bouncy. They are falling off the bone tender. Yes, they are falling off the bone and I do not care. I love them. In fact I will repeat; I love them. The  flavor is full of yummy luscious corn fed mouthwatering lip smacking beef amazement. Ms. Goofy tasted garlic in the rub which had crusted the exterior of the rib. They are rich with beef love (fat) and I may be paying for it later but I ate it all. The German potato salad was warm with real bacon and a mild vinegar tang. This help cut the richness of the beef ribs. The Parker House style rolls still were a miss and I am not sure why they are included with this great meal. 

The key lime pie was said to be home made. The whipped cream was not. It still was a very fine end to a fabulous bbq beef rib dinner. We returned to Slow Hand BBQ with reservations from our last visit. I am glad we returned. I would highly recommend the Sunday beef ribs. I may not be a fan of some of the other menu offerings but will be totally happy and satisfied with some more beef ribs.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


The term lodestar has been popping up in the news and the late night talk shows lately. To be honest I am just not familiar with the definition until now. A lodestar is; one that serves as an inspiration, model, or guide. (Merriam Webster). Lodestar is also the name of an olive oil company located in Oroville California. We found this company by chance; in fact we were just driving by and saw a sign and took a chance. Sometimes your best food finds happen just by good luck.

We pulled up a narrow driveway and proceed to the tasting room. The grounds had the feel of a California winery but instead of grape vines there were olive trees.  This was a beautiful area and put one in a tranquil state of mind. The beautiful tasting room was open and we were ready to sample some olive oil. All of Lodestars oil are available to sample. This is a family run establishment and we met the owner; Jamie Johansson.

We sampled olive oils flavored with lemon and garlic. We tried several vintages and grades of oil. Our favorite was the Extra Virgin Late Harvest. The prices were very reasonable compared to some other boutique olive oils. I bought several bottles and even some extra to give as gifts.

We are back home and have been using the Extra Virgin Late Harvest. It has almost a vibrant fruit like flavor. It is very smooth and rich. This is oil that should be used as a finishing oil to preserve its delicate flavor. It goes great in salads or just over some fresh bread. I am sure it would be great for cooking over heat but I want to preserve its great flavor. Lodestar California Olive Oil was found by chance but what a find. We definitely are new fans and will return.

Lodestar Farms
3719 Foothill Blvd
Oroville, CA 95966

Sunday, October 7, 2018


I collect Buck pocket knives. I also try to limit my collection to the model Buck 110 but sometimes you stray from your objective. Today I have acquired a set of vintage steak knives made in the U.S.A. in the late 70's by Buck knives. They are titled The Royalty Line Custom Cutlery Model 206. They are beautiful and I just had to share them with you.

This set is used but you would be hard pressed to find any wear. They are in pristine condition. The craftsmanship is remarkable. Each knife is handcrafted of 440C steel. The edge is serrated and the base is razor sharp. The handle fits perfectly in your hand. These are works of culinary art.

I debated if I should use them. Some collectors would roll their eyes about using them and risking damage. My Bro & Sister In Law came over for dinner, we cooked tri-tip and I broke the Royalty Line out for a test run. They worked like a charm. They are razor sharp and cut with ease. I promise you that the instant dinner was done I washed them, gently dried and put them back in their pretty presentation box.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018


Have you ever made homemade bread? Today is not specific recipe for bread but an adventure about the process of creating you own freshly milled grain bread. Our friend Larry at Big Dudes Ramblings had a grain mill that he was not using and offered it to his readers. I jumped at the opportunity and he sent it to me gratis. It took me several weeks to finally put it to use but Wow am I glad I did.

Bread is made with flour usually from wheat grains. To make flour you need wheat berries. This is the whole grain which has not been milled. Wheat berries are found at health food stores and here in the Bay Area we have a plethora of these kinds of stores. I found red wheat berries and white wheat berries which have different flavors and textures. Today we are using the white wheat berries that when freshly milled will have bran, germ, and endosperm all included in the final product. Commercially milled flour has the bran and endosperm removed which gives it less nutritional value and its pure white color.

This grain mill attaches to a Kitchen Aide mixer. Here is a tip that may save you a disaster in the kitchen. Make sure that you tighten said attachment otherwise you will be sweeping the floor of wheat berries. These berries were catapulted because not securing the mill will cause it to revolve. Luckily Ms. Goofy was not present and did not see my mistake and hopefully she does not read this. Once everything is secure you pour whole wheat berries into the hopper, turn on the machine and catch flour below in a bowl. There is a knob to determine the coarseness of your flour. I had it all the way to the finest end and it seemed to work fantastically.

The end product flour is a little course because it does have the bran, germ, and endosperm.  I decided to add some commercially milled white bread flour to make this bread more desirable to our liking. You can use the flour as it is but will make very course texture bread. The best part about making bread is the smells and aromas. The aroma of the freshly milled flour is fragrant. The yeast proofing has another comforting familiar smell. The act of kneading the bread has a therapeutic like quality. It is a hands on tactile experience. The finale is the smell of freshly baking bread that will have you drooling with anticipation.

Thankyou Larry for your generous gift that will be put to use often the coming winter months. This mill adds another level to creating some of the best bread ever. Freshly milled grains are healthier than commercially made flour products. The act of making bread is so rewarding. Your sinuses, tummy and health benefits will thank you. I think I will make a sandwich

Monday, October 1, 2018


Our puppy Rocky has been growing by leaps and bounds. He is a fluffy big bouncy fun handful. He has finally received his final puppy shots and now is able to come off the porch and run with the big dogs.