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Heavenly Beef and Guinness Pie

Pastie

Cool weather is here, and though it wasn’t a typical Texas scorcher this past summer, I’m ready for the comfort foods of autumn. (How hot was it last summer? I hear it made the Jehovah’s Witnesses take up telemarketing.) One of those foods is pot pie, and the pot pie’s close cousin, the pasty.

I recently came across this wonderful website, and on there is an awesome recipe for Beef and Guinness Pie. I believe you simply MUST try this one, as it has two of the major food groups listed in the title! I won’t reproduce it here, as Chef Leite has done a much better job of description and presentation than I ever could. I will say I’m sad that I didn’t come up with this phenomenal dish myself, but I’m pleased I found this version.

I will point out, though, that you can make awesome pasties with his filling! First, make some pasty dough, like maybe this one. How much? If you want to match Chef Leite’s quantities, you’ll need to triple or quadruple the dough. That’s a bit much. So here’s a more workable strategy: Make the Beef and Guinness Pie filling, and save off about 1/3 of it. Make the dough, and use the smaller portion of the filling to make pasties. Bake those and have a small army over for dinner. In the meantime, save the other filling portion for later. All you need to do is reheat the filling gently, then follow the rest of the instructions for making the pot pie.

Trust me, this filling gets even better by standing a day or two in the refrigerator. By making a smaller casserole, you won’t have to share, either; no need to thank us, it’s what we do here at the Underground, make everybody happy…

Enjoy the (Fall is Finally Here) Heat!

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Site On Partial Lock-Down…

BangBox

 

In the last few weeks the Chile Underground has been found by the masses. Masses of hackers, I mean…

One strategy that’s used to gain malicious access is for somebody’s zombienet to generate throwaway email addresses, then attempt to register on blog sites with those addresses. I’m not entirely sure what happens after that, although the Internet’s chock-full of scary stories about what could happen next. I’d rather not resort to Captcha strategies, and I thought I had plenty of protection up to catch softbots trying to do anything on my site.

Silly me. Seems the softbots are ahead on points, this round. My registered users list is a few dozens, then suddenly BOOM! I get 140,000+ requests. Not bloody likely.

Until I have a fix that I like in place, I’ve disabled auto-registration, and dumped the unregistered users that showed up recently. (In case you’re wondering, it took an automated cleaner over 3 hours to do this, shutting down the site during that time. I HATE down time.) If you were honestly attempting to become a registered user of the site and you got tossed in this sweep, I apologize. At present, though, the only way I’ll take new users is if they send me an email: Chile Doctor at chile underground. (You DO know how to unmung that address, yes?) Real name, a non-disposable email address, and a sporty note (to cheer me up) and I’ll get you into the database manually and send you back a password. I doubt I’ll be inundated this way; we’ll see.

Oh, what’s a disposable email? Things like Yahoo, Hotmail, almost anything ending in .ru, guerrillamail,and more. (I’ve got the list, trust me.) I will accept GMail, and if I think what you’ve supplied is suspect I’ll drop you a line back and see where we can go from there. Think it through, though: I’ll likely be conservative, given the huge number of recent dodgy attempts to gain access. I take security seriously, even though I don’t collect information. My content, and your visitor experience as a consequence, is important to me…

The (Spam Signups) Heat is ON!

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It’s National Coffee Day, and We’re All Thankful

AhCoffee

It’s Monday morning, and it’s National Coffee Day (and, in a fateful alignment of the stars, International Coffee Day). The latter fact makes the former one bearable, maybe even pleasant.

Check around, lots of places will have free coffee today. Get it while you can! Few things beat free caffeine.

I always have half a cup first thing in the morning. Doctor’s orders. Oh, he didn’t order the coffee regimen, but he DID order that I cut my consumption in half. So now I only have half a cup.

The cup this morning is a 32-ounce Disney mug, with Goofy on it. The coffee’s got a bit of Truvia in it, as I like that flavor in hot drinks. (Iced tea, not so much.) And some light creamer.

Just because it’s National Coffee Day I’m going back for seconds, hang Doctor’s orders…

Enjoy the (Caffeine Monday) Heat!

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More Summertime Fruit Pepper Jellies

This entry is part of a series, Pepper Jelly Chronicles»

LovelyPair

You can get almost any fruit you want, whenever you want it, thanks to our grocery industry. But don’t they taste best when they’re in season? That’s why I make so much pepper jelly this time of year…

Dark sweet cherries have been available in our area for a few weeks, but the prices! I didn’t want to sell a car or take out a second mortgage to get a few pounds of these tasty morsels. I was beginning to think the harvest had been poor up north, then the prices dropped a lot. I stocked up! A friend showed us how to quickly pit cherries (Thanks, Kari!), and we worked our way through seven pounds in no time. Fortunately, cherry juice isn’t nearly as staining as others. (Although it was easy to spot who wasn’t putting all their pitted cherries in the bowl, since they sported a deep purple ring on their smug mug.)

I made two big batches of jelly from these cherries, totaling 15 half-pint jars. The first one I used four habaneros, giving the spread a nice, even heat. What I call “stingjam” level. Not enough heat to put anybody off, but if you put too much on the cracker you’ll notice. The second batch got cowhorn cayennes from last year’s bumper crop. I simply grabbed a few frozen peppers out of the freezer, topped them while they were still solid, then ground them up in my trusty little Kitchenaid food processor. I guess there were about eight of these long, red lovelies. The eight half-pints this batch produced have a milder aspect, but every now and again you get a bigger bit of the cayenne and you know it. Nice little surprises!

In case you forgot how I make my jellies, read this post.

Next up, pineapples. It seems that Central America has had a bumper crop of the large, yellow fruit this year. We’ve had them available in our area for a while now, at prices as low as a buck apiece. Mostly they’re going for two-for-three, or sometimes $2 each, but not more. They’ve been in that price range since April! Although the scuttlebutt in our area is that the great prices are about to come to an end. I hope they don’t go back to the $6-8 range, like they were. I’m getting spoiled by having this juicy, sweet produce readily available; I’ve been enjoying pineapple on ice cream, in salsas, and as a snack. Can’t get enough!

I bought two for the pineapple jellies, and made two batches. The difference between them is the alcoholic spirit I infused. One got bourbon, the other got rum. Each batch of six half-pints took a pineapple each, which I cut into pieces and scorched on my new grill to give the fruit some nice marks and added flavor. I added a few ounces of pineapple juice, and I used lemon juice as the acid for these batches. Pretty standard preparation, other than that.

So far that makes about 80 half-pints of jelly this season. And I don’t even have many peppers from this year’s garden yet! Though the number of blooms at the moment is amazing…

Enjoy the (Jars O’ Jelly) Heat!

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The Usual Hot Dog Follies, With a Twist (It Has a Nice Ring to It)

BigDawg

It’s Fourth of July, and guess what? Nathan’s held a hot dog eating contest! Again! No, really; I’m not kidding…

Joey Chestnut, aka “Jaws,” put away the competition again too. He never looked like he was threatening to beat last year’s record of 69 dogs and buns (his own record, of course), but he was quick out of the gate and nobody could catch him. He put down 61 this year, beating second place Matt Stonie by a full five dawgs.

Before downing the competition, though, he had a solemn chore to perform, which he got down on one knee to complete. He asked his long-time girlfriend, and fellow extreme eating enthusiast, to marry him. Neslie Ricasa said yes, and Joey took the emotional high from that into the serious business of capturing the Nathan’s crown once more. After all, he didn’t was to lose after that, did he?

Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas wasn’t on her best game, it seems, and ceded her crown to Miki Sudo. The ladies are much more petite eaters; it only took 34 dogs and buns to win, by 6½. There’s always next year, Sonya. And America loves a good comeback story, so train hard! I’m sure Nathan’s will host this event again next year, same bat time, same bat channel.

In case you’re wondering what does one feel like after consuming 60+ hot dogs in 10 minutes? Consider this: The mass and volume of meat, bread and water is surprisingly similar to that of a full-term baby, if the baby’s on the large size. In other words, Joey got engaged, pregnant AND went to full term on the Fourth of July! All in the space of about 15 minutes.

Only in a free America, I tell you…

The (Extra-Full Tummy) Heat is ON!

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White Flesh Peach Zingjam, a Refreshing Topping

This entry is part of a series, Pepper Jelly Chronicles»

BestPeaches

Some of the fruit available this summer is the best looking and tasting I’ve seen in a while. Large, juicy apricots with a rose and coral blushes on them. Sweet cherries that are blemish-free and ready to make an explosion of flavor in your mouth. Pineapples that are just the right sweetness, and inexpensive too.

The stone fruits are especially good: Plums, peaches, nectarines, and all those odd cross-breeds, like apriums, pluots and plumcots, peacotums and more. Not all of these are found at your neighborhood grocer’s, though specialty outlets should have most of them this time of year.

I picked up six pounds of apricots (two batches of jelly), three of nectarines and three of white flesh peaches, and nearly seven pounds of sweet dark cherries. Time to get into the kitchen and make some pepper jelly!

If you’ve been following this series, you already have a good idea how to prepare a tasty batch of pepper jelly. I’ll use this post as a refresher, or for those just joining the pepper jelly madness effort. First, the ingredients:

  • 2.5 – 3 pounds fresh fruit, finely chopped or processed until the desired consistency (I never purée)
  • 2.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 tablespoon Better Stevia liquid concentrate (equivalent to about 3 cups sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons Ball RealFruit Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin
  • 10 ounces apple cider vinegar (the Real Stuff, not flavored white vinegar)
  • 8-10 ounces of fruit juice (I use grape or apple with most preparations)
  • Sweet Spices: Nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and such, to taste
  • 2 habanero chiles, puréed with a small amount of fruit and some of the juice

You can use about 6 ounces or so of fresh lemon juice in place of the cider vinegar, if you prefer. Go light on the spices, or you’ll cover the delightful flavor of the fruit. I normally use about 1/2 teaspoon of each of two or three, like cinnamon and cloves. In fact, these two will give the peaches a flavor similar to top-quality spiced peaches, a Christmas favorite in many households.

Please Continue Reading White Flesh Peach Zingjam, a Refreshing Topping

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He’s BAAaaack…

BeerSpaAustria

Well, that was a bit longer outage than intended. Things happen, though. Like working undercover. Yep, that’s right folks, the Chile Doctor has been doing Serious Investigative Work.

Sounds a lot better than slacking off, doesn’t it…

Actually, I did something I said I’d never do again. I took a job. Talk about messing up one’s life! The good news is, it’s a cooking job.

The bad news is, it’s a job.

I’ve about got the requirements figured out, though. Cooking’s a key component, with sales the primary function. It’s fun, and it has its moments. The other employees (and there are lots of them!) are like family, provided that family’s a box of mixed nuts.

It’s also interesting how so many of the folks think I actually know what I’m doing. Who am I to argue the point?

All in all, it’s been an interesting (almost a) year. With consulting gaining traction once again, I’m not sure how much longer this fun can continue; we’ll see. In the meantime, I’m getting back into the blogiverse, with upcoming reviews, garden insights and more. Stay tuned!

The (Summer Restart) Heat is ON!

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Ahoy, Matey! Time for a Barrrrgh-B-Q…

Arrrgh Boy

Yep, it’s “Talk Like a Pirate Day” once again. Snuck up on you didn’t it…

Since this is a food blog, let’s talk about what pirates eat (besides BBQ). Pirates like corn. Unless it’s high-priced, like a buccaneer or something. After all, they like to get their food cheap; as in on sail. They’re starving all the time, though; they even show it with their flag, it’s got a skull and bones. Unless they are marooned on a desert isle. They’re never hungry there, because of all the sand which is present.

What’s a pirate’s favorite cookie? Ships Ahoy! Where do they keep these cookies? In a jaarrrrgh.

Where does a pirate with a wooden leg eat out? IHOP, of course. And what do they ask the waiter to put on their meal? A gaarrrgghhnish, of course. If they go for fast food, they always go to Aarrrby’s.

Why are there no vegan pirates? They all staarrrrrved.

After all this, I think I need a vacation. Guess I’ll take some Aarrrggh and Aarrrggh…

Enjoy the (Aye for an Aye) Heat!

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