Friday, November 6, 2015

Award Winning Chili

Here's my award winning chili recipe. 
You can always adjust the recipe as you see fit, making it as hot or as mild as you like it.

2- 2 ½ lbs of ground beef
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
3 large banana peppers, seeds removed and diced.
1 green bell pepper diced.
28oz of diced tomatoes with liquid
45oz of tomato sauce (3 cans)
4 jalapeno peppers, two with seeds removed and diced, the other two cut into slices
4 cloves of garlic, minced
7 tbs of chili powder
3 tbs of Worcestershire sauce
3 tbs of cumin
3 tbs of paprika
1 tbs of oregano
2 tbs of salted butter
salt and pepper to taste
two cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
1 ½ tbs of corn starch to thicken
4 tbs of water

In a dutch oven, brown your ground beef until done. Drain and remove beef into a bowl temporarily.
Over medium high heat, melt your butter in the dutch oven. Saute your onions, peppers and garlic until green bell peppers are tender and onions start to turn clear. Next, add your beef back into the pot along with your Worcestershire sauce, stir add your spices, stir then add your tomatoes. Stir every time you add ingredients. Add your tomato sauce, bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 1 hour, stirring the pot every 15 minutes or so. After one hour, mix your corn starch and water to form a slurry then add to the pot. Stir once again, cover and continue to cook over low heat for an additional 30 minutes. You may then add your beans and heat until they are brought to temperature. Serve with saltine crackers or cornbread.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Garden Robins

Garden for the Robin couple.

Yesterday I got the family outside with shovels and garden tools, we broke up a section of yard to plant some items. We took out the clumps of grass along with the roots. We then shook off the soil the roots were attached to and put that and any earthworms we found back into the patch we dug. To that we added more topsoil, fertilizer and planted cantaloupe, several varieties of peppers and tomatoes. After everything was planted we gave our little patch a thorough watering.

Today was pretty awesome. As we were watering again we had a robin couple fly in, gathering mud and pulled up grass to use for their nest. They also enjoyed a bath under the hose and opened their beaks to get a drink. I was actually surprised on how fearless they seemed and they even came within feet of us. I suppose the urge of survival outweighed the risk. Of course, we posed no danger to them but, nonetheless I thought it was cool and wanted to share.

I fully expect this couple to comeback for more tomorrow.

Male American Robin

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Beer Geek

Top Ten Signs You're A Beer Geek.

1. You will only drink a beer out of a glass.

2. You own several glasses to suit different beer styles.

3. You have consumed warm beer on purpose.

4. You refer to any mass produced beer as a macro.

5. You have paired food with beer

6. You know how the brewing process works.

7. You have educated someone on their misconception of beer.

8. You know Germany isn't the only place that has good beer.

9. You have mastered the perfect pour.

10. You do not have a favorite beer. You just have some you like more than others.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Oatmeal Stout Quest

New Holland The Poet Oatmeal stout.

I've been on a mission this week to find an oatmeal stout. It isn't like there's not plenty to be had, I just didn't know what I wanted. I figured I'd just stay with my all time favorite, Tadcaster. However, I found this one from New Holland Brewing Co. and picked up a 6 pack of bottles. 

The first thing I noticed on the bottle is the fact the labels appear to be put on by hand. I emailed them to ask about that. We will see what they say. (Nope, I was told they use a machine.) Another thing I noticed is that like most craft brewing companies, their bottle caps are pop-offs. They also didn't bother with painting the caps or printing anything on them. The caps are just generic shiny tops of bare metal. No issues at all there. I am more concerned what is in the bottle not what is on it. That should be a brewmaster's concern too. Make the beer inside good and the bottle doesn't matter much.

I finished a couple off and paired them with some braunschweiger, yellow onions and Vermont extra sharp white cheddar.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Beer Law No Yeast

You may have heard about Kräftig here in the news recently. Kräftig and William K Busch Brewing Company was founded by Adolphus Busch's great-great grandson William “Billy” Busch. Kräftig has been around for a few years and they are expanding their distribution to Springfield and Rolla, Missouri.

I admire Billy for continuing the Busch name and legacy. I am also pleased that they aren't using adjuncts in their beer and are using more of a traditional, purer method of brewing. However, his representation of the Reinheitsgebot is incorrect. His company's website states, “Reinheitsgebot, established in 1516, is the oldest consumer protection law in the world stating that only four ingredients can be used when brewing beer.” Not true. Yeast wasn't apart of the original law simply because no one knew what yeast was in the 1500s. Beer was brewed using spontaneous fermentation. (see my definition below)

Brewers Yeast under a microscope.
Image courtesy David Byres, Florida Community College at Jacksonville.

As a beer lover and geek. I am surprised how many people and breweries are mistaken about the Reinheitsgebot, also known as the German Beer Purity Law. The original law only included, water, malt and hops. Yeast is accepted under the new law along with wheat and sugar too.
Billy either is using the public's ignorance for marketing purposes or he simply doesn't know for himself. I refuse to believe the aforementioned. You can't tell me the heir of Adolphus Busch doesn't know his beer facts. Despite the technicalities, this still wouldn't stop me from trying this beer.



What is Spontaneous fermentation?
Spontaneous fermentation is where brewmasters use wild yeast to ferment their beer, usually in vessels exposed to the air. Wild yeast is all around us and floating in the air. The use of wild yeast in spontaneous fermentation can result in unpredictable fermentation, thus affecting taste and may cause health concerns if the desired type of wild yeast are unable to inoculate the wort. This type of brewing was the only method making beer in ancient times before man knew how to cultivate yeast cultures.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

No such thing as beef and cabbage!

This doesn't exist! There is no such thing as beef and cabbage. Well, according to Google there isn't. All that you will likely find if you do a search for “beef and cabbage” is corned beef and cabbage. I am a fan of corned beef and cabbage but, I did not have any corned beef so I improvised. I am sure someone else has thought of this before too. Apparently, Google doesn't know everything. I know, it's a shock.

I found a good deal on 3 ½ pound ball tip roast. With beef prices at an all time high, cheaper cuts of meat are more in favor but, even the so call cheap cuts are rather expensive. Ask your butcher if they have any specials before you buy. They'll sometimes have beef that is past its point of looking nice and red that is starting to turn a bit gray. Nothing wrong with it at that point but, it should be used quickly or frozen. I got this cut on “manager's special.” This particular cut had a decent fat to meat ratio as well. Fat means flavor ya know. 

The elusive beef and cabbage in its natural environment.

So, here's all that went into this.

1 ½ - 2 lbs of ball tip roast, haphazardly cubed.
1 medium green cabbage, quartered.
1 cup of lager beer.
2 small yellow onions, quartered.
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat blade of a knife.
3 tbs of red wine vinegar.
1 tsp of allspice.
1 tsp of dry coriander.
1 tsp of thyme.
1 tsp of marjoram.
Salt and pepper to taste.

No, I did not brown the meat before hand. You mostly certainly can if you desire but, I didn't. These are directions for at least a 5qt slow cooker.

Throw in your meat first, your beer, onions, garlic, spices, cabbage and your red wine vinegar. Cook on high for about 5 hours or until your beef is tender.

Note: For a more al dente cabbage, add at the last two hours of cooking

Monday, February 2, 2015

Sriracha Beef And Cheddar Sausages

There is something sadistic about taking meat, grinding it up and stuffing it into a part of an animal that stored shit, often times the animal's own meat. I mean who figured that out? Did someone one day decide, “Gee I have no where to put all this ground up meat. I think I'll stuff this in this intestine.” Yeah, pretty much. You see, the use of casings has a long history. A history as old as mankind itself.

As the link above discusses history, they also talk about quality casings. I can't agree more. Buy your casings from someone you trust. If they make sausages, try theirs out. If they are of good quality, you should be okay to use their casings.

However, gross or sadistic it may seem, these bad boys are pretty damned tasty. Besides all of that, the best part of making your own sausages is that you can control the quality and content of what goes in. I love sausages but, dread buying them at the store. Most companies use a lot of sodium, preservatives and MSG. I try to avoid those things in excess.

These are some of the beef sausages I made today. I plan on throwing these bad boys in the smoker tomorrow and smoking in some hickory.

Sriracha Beef And Cheddar Sausages
Here's all of went in these.
2lb eye of round
4 oz or so of pork back fat
4 oz of extra sharp finely shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup of Sriracha sauce
1 tbs of thyme
2 tbs of garlic powder
2 tbs of onion powder
3 tbs or so of Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp of salt
Approximately 5 feet of hog casings.