Saturday, July 27, 2013

home made chili

shhhh, don't tell anyone, i read the pioneer woman cooks blog.  anyway, i saw this recipe for a frito chili pie, and thought i'd try it out, but also modify it a bit.

the first change i made was to buy my own meat, cut it and grind it myself. (remember my tri tip hamburgers?)  i like the idea of buying better cuts of meat and using it over your generic ground beef.  also, it helps eliminate the idea that ground beef, especially company packaged beef, has a ton of different cows, feces, and whatever else in it.  this ground beef was just that, beef i ground.

anyway, after grinding, i browned it in a cast iron pot - my first time using this one.  i seasoned it a while back, but this is my first cooking in it.




the recipe calls for a canned tomato mixture, but i used fresh romas and a cut up red pepper.



anyway, cook it all, simmer it for a while, add some stuff, simmer, taste, season, simmer, and so on.  see the full recipe below.  here's the chili after it was all done.  so tasty.  but, to be honest, i made this chili today to freeze.  the really good thing, heather liked it, and she's not a big beef person.


so, i bagged up around half the chili, then added black beans to the remaining mix.  more simmer.  bagged up.  freezer.



the full recipe and directions:
  • 2 pounds Ground Chuck
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced (optional)
  • 1 can (12 To 14 Ounce) Tomato Sauce (16 oz)
  • 1 can (10 Ounce) Ro-tel (diced Tomatoes And Chilies) (i subbed in 4 roma tomatoes, diced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin (i used less)
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder (more To Taste) - (i added more at one of the simmer stages)
  • 1 can (14-ounce) Kidney Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 can (14-ounce) Pinto Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1/4 cup Masa (corn Flour) Or Regular Corn Meal
  • 1/2 cup Warm Water

Preparation Instructions

Brown ground chuck with garlic in a pot over medium-high heat. Add tomato sauce, Rotel, salt, oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Add drained and rinsed beans. Stir to combine, then cover and simmer for another 20 minutes.
Mix masa with water, then add to the chili. Stir to combine and simmer for a final 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

brown bear's hot dogs

i've never hid that i enjoy a good hot dog.  in fact, i wouldn't mind owning a hot dog shop.  a bit back i saw a new shop opening near my work.  sadly, i didn't try it that day and it was months before i made time to get back there.  yesterday i did, i visited brown bear's hot dogs.  it's a former drive through coffee shop type shack, and so it's a walk up venue.  but, they had part of their parking lot set up with tents and tables, so you can sit and eat.



i didn't know their menu, and it's decent sized.  they have twelve different dogs and one that you build your own.  they also have three types of nachos.  i'll be honest, they have some strange sounding combinations (pineapple on your bbq dog?) but i wouldn't knock them without actually trying it.  they also have a breakfast dog & burrito on menu in the morning.  the dogs are $5 or $6, which sounds expensive, but they all come with chips and a soda as well.  the combo makes sense if you're just having one dog, but if you want to try multiple dogs out, the combo part is a bit much.  since it was my first time there, i wanted to try out two different dogs, which meant i took home two bags of chips.

after perusing the menu, i thought i'd give the bacon dog and the taco dogs a go.  i had the taco dog first, which has lettuce, cheese, taco sauce, salsa and the dog.  the buns are bigger, which is good because there is a lot of toppings on a good sized wiener.  i was surprised how tasty this dog was.  the taco sauce had a really good flavor to it, the wiener a nice snap, and it all worked very well together.


the bacon dog was a bit of a disappointment.  well, it was good, but it seemed like it would be fabulous.  it has grilled onions, mustard, cream cheese, pinto beans, and of course, bacon.  the bacon is a good, thick cut, but it's also previously cooked and cold.  this dog actually seemed to have too much on it.  i'd say it was good enough, but i really thought the taco dog was better.


overall, i'd recommend the place, although in more inclement weather it may not be a great place to eat, but still good for takeout.

7040 n fresno street,
fresno, ca. 93720

6:30 am - 9 pm m-f
8 am - 4 pm saturday
closed sunday.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

patton and clairvoyance


“Wonder weapons? My God, I don’t see the wonder in them. Killing without heroics, nothing is glorified, nothing is reaffirmed. No heroes, no cowards, no troops, no generals. Only those that will be left alive and those that will be left dead.” - Patton


from the film of the same title.  probably not a real quote, but what an enjoyable film.  and that quote is damn near clairvoyant.

seriously, i love movies, and there are a lot of great, new films, but sometimes i wonder why more directors don't consider the cinematography.  there are a ton of shots that are just visually stunning.  film makers always copy from each other, why not employ more great shots?

also, the simpsons continue to be a great user of pop culture.

Monday, March 11, 2013

breakfast sandwich for lunch

so, i had a little time today and lunch and thought i'd see what my fridge had to offer to whip up. i saw eggs, i saw bacon, i saw bread. yep, that sounds good, and sounds like a bacon, egg & cheese sandwich would be in order. i had seen people on several web cooking segments weaving bacon. i thought i'd give it a try. here's the bacon cut in half, and woven together in the pan:


i'm not sure why i felt i needed to, but here's a picture of bread with mayo & goulden's mustard:


i shouldn't have cut the bacon in half.  it didn't stay woven together as it cooked.  lesson learned, but here's the bacon after it cooked.  it still tasted good.


here's an ugly egg picture.  i drained all the bacon grease, turned off the pan, let it sit for a sec and then let the residual heat cook the egg on it's own.  i actually find that it makes for a nice, not overcooked egg.  but, i should have let the pan cool a little more today.


bacon stacked up neatly on the bread


sliced cheese on bacon, egg on top of that


side shot of the finished product.  quite tasty.


and now, i will go coach track, get a minimal work out and stand in a warm sun to burn off those calories consumed.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

drop the bass


this friday our boy dj woody is spinning @ veni's.  probably from 11-12:30 or so he thinks.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

tower mardi gras 2013

so, we went out to the annual mardi gras parade in the tower.  we walked down the street and found a nice spot in front of the landmark where we had a good view and it wasn't too crowded.  i've been laughing at the flyer for the parade for weeks because it's soooooo phallic.  heather & i were joined by our friend abigail nolte, who helped us make jokes throughout the parade.  also, heather & i were playing a game of trying to find older versions of ourselves in the crowd.

(click on photos for bigger versions)


the first float rolled by, and they were jamming.  love music in parades.


you'll notice a lot of space ships and such, according to the rocket ship theme.


this was a cool tall guy, but a terrible picture


glad to see neighborhood thrift representing.  i'm a little surprised more tower businesses don't have floats, or even the businesses that weren't open today. weird.


so, this pirate group was there promoting their upcoming event. that's fine.  promote your stuff. what i thought was weak was they were actually walking around from their float and passing out flyers.  and not throwing beads.  what?  you're in a mardi gras parade and you aren't throwing out beads? for shame.


this truck cracked me up. again with the phallic rockets


mofo party band - good music, lots of bead throwing


these next two surprised me because they were protesting verizon & at&t.  not too often do you see some protesters in a mardi gras parade.  or at least i haven't.



our friends over at sawyers vintage service.  i teased @sonicfoundation on twitter because i watched him throw beads from the back of the truck directly into the tree.  in fact, that happened right after i took the photo.


to me, this was the best group in the parade.  they are a samba association of some sort, but they were killing it with a bunch of drummers and a dude with a whistle. simple, but awesome.


i think this float was from valentino's, and they were rocking a star wars theme.  you can see princess leia in white.

this next float had nidal from fresno life magazine on bass, and landmark folks on it.


so, i liked that this float had a dj.  but even better, the lady by the speaker was winging beads into the crowd with force.  like, you could hurt somebody force.  as they went by, i'm pretty sure she zipped one right into the face of the person in green (lower right).


dusty buns new little postal jeep


not surprisingly, there is a raiders fan club here.  but, they had a float, and were throwing out candy along with beads.  nice touch.


so, this haunted corn field maze had a float.  you can't seen the super creepy pumpkin head on the person right there.  the kids in front of us were legitimately frightened.


also, they had a bunch of krampusses.  krampi?


i'm a bit surprised there weren't more car clubs in the parade.  there was a vw club though.  we wondered where doucheland is?


i say doucheland because they were throwing out zero beads.  what the heck? why be in the parade if you're not throwing beads?  maybe they ran out, but we were maybe half way down the route.  also, this bug had a rooster on top.


overall, we had a good time.  and, i think maybe fresno pub quiz should do a float next year.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

zero dark thirty review

we saw zero dark thirty last night.  i was sort of hesitant because i'd heard the accusations of it glorifying torture, defenses against that, reviews from people that loved it, reviews from those that didn't and so on.  eventually, i figured that i would see the movie at some point and make my own judgements.  so here those are.

first, i'd say it doesn't glorify torture.  i also wouldn't say that it was ambiguous about torture either. let me put it this way, the movie goes like this, and since it's based off of real events, i'm not spoiling anything for those that haven't seen it, unless you're unaware of the last decade of news.
1. the US captured al queda members and held them around the world in secret prisons
2. the US used enhanced interrogation techniques (torture) to get info from them
3. the reliability of the information gathered was questioned
4. the US stopped (?) using these techniques
5. the US found and killed osama bin laden

so, while the film doesn't directly say that the info gained through torture directly lead to bin laden, it leans that way, in my opinion.  it is a bit unclear, because some of the turns in the movie happen through little clips of detainee interviews, and we don't always know if that is an interview of someone subject to enhanced interrogation.  also, there are some bits that seem to be gained through the techniques that lead to negative outcomes in the film.  in some ways, there is the element where the movie is chronicling what we did, chronicling the outcome, and in that sense we could think of it as it just being presented.  this is what happened all along the points, we're not saying that one thing led to the other.  but, it felt to me that there was a bit more of the former, that the positive outcome of the while tail was predicated by the things we did along the way.

let me do similar historical breakdown of argo, another CIA movie out this last year:
1. there was an islamic revolution in iran
2. the US embassy was overtaken, and US citizens were taken hostage, but some escaped to the canadian embassy
3. the CIA came up with several bunk plots to get them out, finally settling on the movie plan
4. the movie plan worked

i don't think i'm shorting that plot too much, but i know argo came under critique because it didn't give the canadian gov't enough credit for the work they did in the situation.

let's combine that last thought with my thoughts on argo - there's an element of we don't know how much is reality, and how much has been shaped for film, what's still being redacted by the government, and so on.  and i know that zero dark has gotten a bit of critique for passing it off as "the factual account" of what happened.

overall, i liked the film.  it was well made, it's well acted, and it's an important story.  i did think it was a bit long at points, and the marketing leans a lot heavier on the final part to get bin laden than on the majority of what actually happens in the film, but that's pretty common in advertising.  i was impressed by how quiet the theater got during the film, especially during the last 1/3.  incredibly still in there (although the jackass in front of us did check his phone with about ten minutes left - cue dramatic finale and distracting amount of light right in front of me).  i was also surprised that only one person clapped when bin laden was killed - surprised and pleased.  i say that last part because of the reality of the film, and i don't think we should celebrate killing a real person like we're chearing rocky over drago.

so, good film.  i think it's on par with argo in quality, which i enjoyed.  but i thought django unchained was better than both of those (yes, i realized that is a completely different style of film).