Chilebrown at home

Tuesday, December 28, 2021


Fresh New Mexico Chile powder is a thing of beauty. It has been awhile since I have ordered fresh chile powder. Boy am I glad I did and it is like discovering something new all over again. Go into your cupboard or pantry and throw away all of your chile powder. Chances are the containers you have are over 6 months old and stale as sawdust. You will thank me later. Find a source. I used the New Mexico Chile Pepper Connection which is a good place to buy products from New Mexico. I ordered the 'medium' level of heat for this powder. I learned my lesson by ordering the 'hot' powder last time. It was too hot even for this experienced Chilehead. Our order arrived and it was time to make a 'bowl of red'.

  True chili has no beans or fillers. In competitions they do not even use fresh vegetables but powders and meats only. Today we did use fresh onions and canned tomatoes but no beans. My protein of choice was barbequed steak. The steak was grilled, cooled and chopped into cubes. A base of chile powder, beef broth, chopped onions, canned tomatoes and salt, pepper, cumin, oregano and a small pinch of sugar was combined. The meat was added and all was simmered for an hour.

A bowl of red is a comfort dish that is simple but so rewarding. The flavor and medium heat of fresh chili powder is a religious experience to me. I hope you will give fresh chile powder a try. 


Monday, December 20, 2021


 Love it or hate it fruitcakes are my Holiday passion. I found one at Alpine bakery in Concord California. It is a pretty decent rendition. I did make some home made fruitcake that I will share with you in the future.

 Rocky, my emotional support monster wants to wish you a Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2021


To be honest Smokin Wood BBQ was my backup plan to have a bbq meal today. I originally had planned to go to the latest popular and cult like bbq establishment Horn BBQ. At ten minutes before opening Horn had a line of 25-30 people and I was not prepared for the crowd. Smokin Wood was a short drive and my parking Karma confirmed my choice with a metered spot across the street open. Smokin Wood is located on the busy Telegraph Av. A once four lane thoroughfare is now a crowded two lane bottleneck because of bike lanes and restaurant parklets. Smokin woods has a large parklet which kind of gives me the creeps when you realize you are sitting in a former lane of traffic. I go to the entrance a mysterious voice greets me. I realize there is a lady behind a sliding window greeting me over an intercom. You place your order with her and choose indoor or outdoor dining. I ordered my usual ribs, brisket, cole slaw and beans.

The inside has a sportsbar theme with full bar and plenty of T.V. screens for your enjoyment.  My meal is delivered on a cafeteria tray that seems to be the new industry standard of bbq delivery. The plate looks fantastic. I am going to cut to the chase right away and tell you I liked this meal. I did not love it. Mediocracy or my new favorite term “meh” comes to mind. The ribs were pleasantly seasoned and cooked well, the brisket was tender but not the beef bomb that I crave and the sides were fresh out a can and deli case. The side dishes seemed to be an afterthought that they might of picked up at the local supermarket. The bbq sauce immediately got thumbs down for the liquid smoke it reeked of. Only one little container was provided with each meal and an extra at 75. Cents was charged for more. One whiff was enough for me. 

  Smokin Woods BBQ might be a fun place to have a drink and watch a sports game. The bbq was not really bad. It also was not exciting and worthy of a return visit. 

Monday, December 6, 2021


Firelli is a unique hot sauce imported from Italy. We thought we would give it a try. This is a fairly mild sauce. The pepper that fuels this warmth is the Calabrian chile. Balsamic vinegar adds a freshness and sweetness to round out flavor. A unusual ingredient of dried porcini mushrooms is also on this ingredient list. This flavor adds that extra little umph which translates to the umami sensation of craving the next serving. This combination works. It is a perfect pairing for pizza or pasta. These jars will not last long. I bought them mail order for a reasonable price. They are making their way to local supermarkets and I will probably pick up some more.