Chili Cook-Off & Car Show – Rodeo California

Hey listen up you lunkheads. Not only do you get a chance for a Chili Cook-Off, but you get to watch my good friend and yours, Chilebrown, compete! He’s entered and got his team nearly put together. And unlike local BBQ competitions, you’ll be able to sample the goods. Cool, eh?
Saturday, September 15th from 10am to 4pm come have a visit. If you’re wondering how you’ll find ol’ CB, here you go.

You can’t miss’im. See you there!
Chili Cook-Off & Car Show
Lefty Gomez Field
Saturday, September 15th 2007
10am to 4pm
UPDATE: Team Chilebrown WON !!!
Please click through for stuff.

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Vietnam Rules !!!

Have you ever found yourself at a point where you don’t feel like cooking? Feel as though computers, pots, pans come at too high a price? It happens to everyone from time to time.
This afternoon, after work I was helping Ed and his brother Stephen bring in a new washer/dryer combo rig. It’s what guys do best, move heavy things. We quaffed a few beers and towards the end, Unky Steve offered up some Vietnamese egg role rigs. They had been made semi-recently by a co-worker and he had quite a stash.
My first reaction was, “Damned, something I’ll have to cook. I don’t want that.”
Then I kicked myself and said, “You IDIOT !!! It’s deep frying, you suck at it and it’d be a great time to put some time in. Practice my boy, practice.” So, off I ran with 2 of those baggies you see.
I paid careful attention to muh cast iron dutch oven, oil level, heat and such. Got me up to 374 degrees or so. I figured they’d all sink and fill with oil, just most of my other deep fried adventures had ended up. Nope, I timed, played and watched bubbles exit. I found that at 4 minutes, they were good to go.

It was so much fun listening to the prickly oil, keeping them moving about to distribute even oil heat and watch them brown. One by one they came out and damed if they didn’t suck. The oil content in the food was nonexistent, the quality of the little darlings was perfect. Meat to crunchy veg, tight roll, and flavors melded. This dear woman had constructed something I couldn’t screw up! I’m so excited I’m going to keep the oil and do some frying this weekend.

Yup, I ate them all. Such a refreshing treat, thank you!

Friends of the ‘Henge. Or, Dang, the internet is actually good for something!

Look what showed up on my doorstep? All packed tight with dry ice, shipped next day air an junk. It’s full of cured pork products !!!
A few years ago a commenter showed up on the Meathenge train. Seemed to be a laid back kind of guy, got smarts about him, and some minutes a day to read my ramblin’s. Times rolled along, he came and went, leaving comments behind him as he pleased. Sometimes it was just a hello and a few times it was to ruffle some feathers, even if he din’t mean to. Apologies all around and off we went.

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Meathenge goes shopping for ingredients. 6 grocery stores later …

Welp, had some time to myself and decided to jump in to the small frey. The Monkey Wranger and Cookiecrumb have been doing some vegetarian Italian Rice Tort action. It sounded easy enough and I figured if I was going to do it right I’d need to start with some of Fatted Calf’s Pancetta. So, off to the Berkeley Farmer’s Market first thing.
There were a few other things on my food list that I needed and this market didn’t have ’em. These would be milk, panko bread crumbs, rice and whatever else I was forgetting.
Okay so I had a list and I knew what I was up to. But I didn’t figure on the new Halal market next door to the El Salvadrian grocery to be open. It was, I went in.
Ya know, those Middle Eastern countries have an amazing gaggle of spices and herbs. One isle I had to go up and down 4 times just so I could inhale the goodness further. I saw a little package called Sausage Chili, filled with a red powder. I still have no idea what’s in it, mostly paprika smells like to me, but how could you not buy a powder called Sausage Chili? Down a ways spied me a package of Black Cumin seeds, snatch! I had goosemup pimples all over. Thinkin’ to myself, got to get me to these Middle Eastern recipes some day, soon.
This whole time I knew there was a meat counter behind me. I was carefully ignoring, sneaking past. Acting as though I was a vegetarian lost, I slid to far end and turned away, only to glance back as though I didn’t care. What I saw was a hospital clean meat display of some kind of fowl, turned out to be chicken. But what really caught my eye were two fresh 3′ legs of some kind of exceptionally clean red meat.
OH SHIT YEAH BABY !!! I know one of those is goat, just know it. I axed the smiling shop keeper about the legs. One was goat and one was lamb, I found the goat on my own. Her staff person asked how much of the leg I wanted. It took me a few gestures stating clearly I wanted the whole leg, silly.
Well, I’m not sure how my rice tort is coming along. 4 cups of milk and 1 cup of rice seems like an off ratio to me, but I’ve never made a rice tort before. So, what do I know? In any case, I have a leg of goat in the fridge I need to find something to do with over the next 24 hours. I thought about smoking it, but then got a rush for homemade curried goat over rice. After all, I do need to find a use for 10 pounds of Sona Masoori rice. Yup, I bought that too. Anyone know what that is, Sona Masoori? Looks like tiny grain rice.

Meathege hits print !!! It’s the Pacific Sun this time, yay!

A week ago Pat Fusco, a dining buddy and internet cohort, emailed me asking to use my mackNcheese photograph for an upcoming article she was preparing. I said, “Well, okay.”
It was then she mentioned hesitantly that the article was about funerals and was that still okay?
Okay, let’s see if I got this right. We get to combine Food, Photography & Graveyards? How could this possibly not be the most fantastic thing ever ?!? I felt as though I was walking 3 feet … under the ground.
Enough, let’s get to the goodies. Here’s Pacific Sun’s website. Here’s the article without the pretty image I did. And bless the Powers that Be, they put the paper in PDF format. It may take a few minutes to download, then scroll down until you see the macky cheese picture and the title of Food & Drink. Bask in my awesomeness. Oh, and a hearty cheers to Pat for thinking of Biggles in her time of need!

Stupid New Years Resolutions and a wonderful afternoon

Yesterday I was invited to a nice lunch at Cookiecrumb and Cranky’s place. Surely you remember? I’m Mad and I Eat? Yes, those two.
They were hosting and all I had to do was show up. Uh, huh. Yup, invite a hillbilly and he doesn’t have to bring anything?
Early Wednesday morning I realized I had a tritip and Chilebrown’s home made Chile Verde Sausage in my fridge. They needed cooking, so I brought them with me as I hit the road. And this is where the above image steps in. I can’t remember ever buying in to that whole “New Years Resolution” thing. I never thought it was a good idea. I figure, do your best and move forward each year. Simple enough and makes beings such as myself happy enough to actually live through.
As I was revving my dusty old Dodge truck out of the toll plaza on the bridge I began to review the year and think that maybe I did have a few things in 2007 I’d like to add. 65mph rounded out the speedo as I mushed it in to 5th gear and figured 83 was a good velocity to attain. And it hit me, CROSS MORE BRIDGES !!!
As the last 18 seconds counted down on the bridge, I grabbed my rig and slapped this shot in to that memory card thingy. I never thought anything would be in focus, let alone be worth posting. In the upper right is a slice of San Quentin prison and in the mirror of my creaky machine is the reflection of the San Rafael Bridge that joins with Richmond. After the bridge, I downshifted said creaky machine at 70mph in to 4th and coaxed my fuel injected V8 in to light speed. Ya know, I realize it’s irresponsible and all. But the sound a V8 mated with a manual transmission makes, no, gives me the weak knees. Plus I only commute a total of 12 minutes a day, I can justify such things.
Our lunch together was a much needed respit and a mutually happy place to be on a Wednesday afternoon. Our spice collection, herb collection, hot sauce collection, knife collection, pan collection and roaster collection had a lot in common. We’d make some fancy comment and both come up with the same answer. So nice and even with a together that had nothing left behind.
If I had to start another damned new year and make some positive comment about the future, 2007 is at the top of of my list.
xo, Biggles

Happy New Year !!!

A pretty path in Tilden Park near The Little Farm in Berkeley.

Been sitting here for a minute or 19 writing down witty paragraphs that kinda rambled around like a 3 legged duck on acid. After removing said paragraphs I’m happy to report I’m glad to see 2006 fade and lead us to another year, 2007 (It’s sequential don’t ya know).
Happy New Year to you all! Meathrenge rules.
xo, Biggles

Music while cooking? Surely I’m not the only one.

In the back of every kitchen is not only a pantry and stove of some kind, but there simply must be at least a radio.
I have an old Crosley table radio to keep me company. That’s good for those early Saturday morning news updates. But it only goes so far, being an AM radio and all. 5 years ago I ran in a second pair of speakers to the kitchen so I could be in my own world without bothering others. Good idea eh? You bet.
What’s on the turntable today? Country Joe & the Fish – Electric Music for the Mind and Body. Next? Donovan, Sunshine Superman. This will bring us in to dinner with Band of Gypsys and will center us nicely for the week to come.

Peace brothers and sisters and may your sausage always be juicy.

Smoker for Sale – Rick’s Quality Meats Retires

That’s right, you heard correctly. Rick is retiring and doing it soon. This means his custom smoker has to go.
Are you tired of those little round offset smoker rigs? The ones where it takes 20 pounds of charcoal to do 10 pounds of meat? With all the hot spots and horrible engineering? Or are you interested to see of smoking meat with real wood makes a difference over a propane rig?

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Rick’s Quality Meats of El Cerrito calls it quits or retires as Rick likes to say

You read that right, Rick is on a fast track to retirement as we speak. He’s been making funny noises for the last few weeks and finally admitted earlier this week he’s packing up and heading out.
Rick and I visit on a weekly if not daily basis and he’s been pulling 50 hours plus, that’s just no fun no matter how you slice it. This coupled with a few other things has pushed him out of the retail business and towards the commercial/wholesale business. In other words, going back to his roots.
Rick’s future is solidifying each day. But mine is wide open, in a cold, dark and sad way. Where’s a needful custom meat kinda guy going to find solace in the world of grocery store packages?
Comon in and sit down. Open up my scrapbook of Rick’s Meats for everyone.

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Family Haircuts – Do you remember?

A warm summer’s evening, the sun goes down on yet another beautiful July. The boy’s hair has been growing at an alarming rate. I’m one of those fathers that curse the electric company and spew as I run the house turning off each bulb, each computer monitor and check the fridge door. If I could milk my own cows to save forty cents, I’d be there.
Mama has asked me over and over again to take the boys to get their hairs cut. I agreed at the time, but knew I could save a few bucks by doing it myself. At eleven years old Z has met my hair cutting ‘skill’ more than a few times, which is why Mama wants me to have it correctly done.
I had my way tonight and before anyone knew it, they were shorn.
They will surely get hassled by mates, but I saved over 20 dollars.
Do you remmeber?