Chili Cook-off recipe – v4

At work the Friday before the Super Bowl, we ended up having a chili cook-off contest for our department. The entry fee was $5.00 and first prize was $70.00 plus a bunch of other misc stuff (small trophy, pizza party for your team, etc.) There ended up being over 30 entries for the contest, and the types of chili entered by competitors were all over the board (white chili, vegetarian chili, wild game chili, extra tomato chili, etc.) After a few weeks of back and forth conversations with JRR to hash out a recipe, here was the chili that I entered into the contest. This recipe didn’t make the top three (and they only listed the top three finishers.) But as the VP that sits next to me kidded, that maybe I got 4th place. So enjoy this recipe for 4th Place Chili: Continue reading

Potato Chip Review – Jays Crispy Ridged Open Pit

Notice on the front of the bag, how the tomato is in front of the bottle of Open Pit BBQ sauce? Well I guess the reason that they did that was because you get overwhelmed in the taste of sugary tomatoes instead of BBQ flavor. And this taste totally threw me for a loop since the main smell of the chips is worchestershire sauce.

I have to say that I’m pretty disappointed with this flavor, since I was expecting more BBQ and less tomato flavor. But I would have never know how these chips tasted, unless I would have gotten a bag.

So I’m putting this flavor into the category of “once is nice, but no repeat purchase.” On to the next flavor!

Picked up Feb/March 2010 Wine Club Shipment from Domaine Carneros

Once again I picked up my wine shipment from the local refugee camp (if you’ve ever been to a UPS depot on a Friday night from 7pm to 7:30pm, you know what I’m talking about.)

This months shipment is an interesting mix of wines, from the brim to the dregs (so to speak) for Domaine Carneros. For the sparkling it’s a 2004 Le Reve Blanc de Blancs and the red is a 2008 Avant-Garde Pinot Noir with both wines being new releases.

They must make a lot of wine for the Avant-Garde series (Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay), since it seems like I have at least 6 bottles from that line in the basement. While the Le Rev is usually the wine that Carneros ships out for the higher end subscription that they have available. But every once in a while, they somehow include a bottle for the basic subscription category. Bottoms up!

Hot Microwave Oatmeal with Raisins and Brown Sugar – v1

For some reason I have two tubes of Quaker Quick Oats in my pantry, even though I don’t know how they got there. I though about making some oatmeal raisin cookies (maybe as a weekend project.) But since its still freezing outside, I might as well learn how to make hot oatmeal in the microwave.  So starting with the basic recipe listed on the back of the tube, here is what I came up with. Continue reading

Jambalaya – v1

I just got the new Penzeys spice catalog in the mail a few weeks back, and inside the catalog was a recipe for jambalaya. And since it’s still cold and snowing outside, why not put a little something hot in my stomach.

So starting with the recipe in the Penzeys catalog, along with a bunch of Emeril’s jambalaya recipes off of the Food Network website. Here is the recipe that I came up with for jambalaya:

  • 2 TB Olive Oil
  • 14 oz andouille sausage, cut into 1/4″ to 1/2″ rounds (basically one whole grocery store package)
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. Bobby Flay 16-spice Poultry Rub (see side notes)
  • 1 tsp. Thyme, dried
  • 1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups un-cooked long grain white rice
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 – 14.5 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

Into a Dutch oven add the olive oil and sausage, cooking the sausage into browned. Then add in the onions and bell pepper and cook until both have soften, while also scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Once the onions have become translucent add the garlic, spice mix, thyme, red pepper flakes and rice, cooking for about a minute to wake up the spices. Finally add all the remaining ingredients and simmer until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and has cooked through, which will be about 20-30 mins.

Side notes:

  • The bobby flay spice mix gave the jambalaya a weird, almost sweet cinnamon smell/taste. So this is one spice blend that I wouldn’t be using again to make jambalaya.
  • I think that I’m going to make my own andouille for the next batch of jambalaya. Since the andouille that I got at the grocery was very ho hum for taste.
  • Use low heat (On an electric range, #5 while cooking the sausage, onion and green pepper; #8 to bring to boil; #1 to simmer mixture.)
  • I actually stopped by Penzeys this week to get some spices to make a batch of chili for my workplace chili cook-off this week. So I was able to get my free jar of their new and improved cajun spice blend. So I’ll be swapping out the Bobby Flay spice mix for this stuff the next time that I make jambalaya.

Tapenade recipe experiment – v1

I needed something different on my sandwich for lunch, so I started to search around the fridge for some items that could be re-purposed for a sandwich. And for some reason yesterday my mind started to wander into thinking about charcuterie and sous vide (don’t ask.) When I started to think about this jar of olives in my fridge. It might have had something to due with my last two uses of olives being for a bloody mary and on a vegetarian pizza, that I really wanted to jazz up how I use olives. So digging into my memory banks, I started to think about what kind of sandwiches have olives inside. And the only thing that i could think of was a po’boy. Since I really didn’t want to make a po’boy, nor did I even have all the ingredients for a po’boy, I drifted into making a tapenade instead. Continue reading

Sauerkraut – v1 – 10 days later

Its been a little over a week, and the cabbage is finally starting to slowly look and taste like sauerkraut, though it still has quite a bit of the cabbage crunch. Another couple of weeks fermenting, and we should be in sauerkraut city.

Side Note:

  • When my mom mentioned if I had collected a large stone to place on top of the cabbage in the fermentor, I really didn’t understand what she was getting at. Well a week later I now understand the point she was making. The glass salad plate that I had used to submerge the cabbage in the brine was woefully insufficient. After about three days, all the gas that the cabbage was generating caused quite a bit of volume expansion in the fermentor to the point that I would have to squeeze down on the cabbage daily to degas it. Next time around I’m going to wrap a 15lb or 20 lb weight lifting plate in plastic in order to keep the sauerkraut submerged.

Guacamole Recipe – v4

For some strange reason avocados from Chile were on sale at Wal-Mart for $.50 each. So not being one to stare a gift fish in the mouth and take advantage of a food opportunity. I ended up buying about eight of them, which provided me an excellent opportunity to work on a guacamole recipe on the cheap. Since testing out guacamole recipes at $.99 an avocado really isn’t the best use of my grocery dollars. But at $.50 a piece I’m more then willing to throw a little bit of caution to the wind in trying to develop a usable guacamole recipe. Continue reading