Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gourmet cooking in camp

Last weekend we took a break from the world and had a little camp trip on the South Fork of the Trinity River. There's nothing better then a meal cooked and eaten outside, and we went gourmet most of the way.

The first night we had one of our camping standards. Spaghetti with veggies, kielbasa, herbs and parmesan cheese. Always a winner, and the girls loved it!

The curly kale came from our garden.
The second night we went Vietnamese. We had dried oysters, shitakes, cloud ears, rice noodles, beef broth, veggies, special Asian tea bags with a combination of pho' spices, and more kielbasa.

All cooked on our 20 year old handy dandy Coleman cook stove.

The last night we took it easy after a hike and swimming in the river and had hotdogs. Being the condiment queen, I was sure to have mustard, relish, saurkraut, and even ketchup to top those doggies. We did have one evening with smores, which mostly involved flaming marshmallows and lots of giggles. And one morning we went fancy for breakfast and had chorizo and eggs. Obviously I didn't lose any weight on this mini vacation, but I definitely enjoyed my meals!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Texas Chili Cook Off

This internet joke always seems to float around right about the time Fortuna has their chili cook off. It's absolutely hilarious. I see it every year, but I still laugh until I'm crying every time I read it. I decided I'd post it for everyone's entertainment. If you need a good laugh, read on....

Texas Chili Cook-Off

If you can read this whole story without laughing, then there's no hope for you. I was crying by the end. This is an actual account as relayed to paramedics at a chili cook-off in Texas .. Note: Please take time to read this slowly. If you pay attention to the first two judges, the reaction of the third judge is even better. For those of you who have lived in Texas , you know how true this is. They actually have a Chili Cook-off about the time Halloween comes around. It takes up a major portion of a parking lot at the San Antonio City Park ...

Judge #3 was an inexperienced Chili taster named Frank, who was visiting from Springfield , IL ... Frank: 'Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table, asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy; and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted and became Judge 3.'

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:


Judge # 1 -- A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.

Judge # 2 -- Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.

Judge # 3 (Frank) -- Holy crap, what the heck is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.


Judge # 1 -- Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.

Judge # 2 -- Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

Judge # 3 -- Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.


Judge # 1 -- Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick.

Judge # 2 -- A bit salty, good use of peppers.

Judge # 3 -- Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I think I'm getting drunk from all the beer.


Judge # 1 -- Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

Judge # 2 -- Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.

Judge # 3 -- I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the beer maid, is standing behind me with fresh refills.


Judge # 1 -- Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.

Judge # 2 -- Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

Judge # 3 -- My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted, and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really ticks me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming.


Judge # 1 -- Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.

Judge # 2 -- The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, garlic. Superb.

Judge # 3 -- My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I crapped on myself when I farted, and I'm worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Sally. Can't feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my butt with a snow cone.


Judge # 1 -- A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

Judge # 2 -- Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment.
**I should take note that I am worried about Judge #3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.

Judge # 3 -- You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing it's too painful. I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.

Judge # 1 -- The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence..

Judge # 2 -- This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 farted, passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor feller, wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot chili?

Judge # 3 - No Report

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fortuna Rodeo Chili Cookoff

Yesterday was the kick off of Fortuna's Rodeo Week, starting with the Chili Cook Off. This is a fun event that's growing in popularity. I sampled some excellent chili, and have to say, "where did they get the judges from?" Because they obviously didn't know good chili. That aside, it's a free event, and there's lots of good chili, fun times, and the band (Boomsauii) was awesome!. I've cooked in this event in the past with my best friend sponsored by the radio station she works for. (Bicoastal Media's country western station Big Red). We won hottest chili two years in a row, and lost the 3rd year to a group serving up something tasting similar to battery acid. There were a lot of complaints that year, so now everyone has toned the heat way down out of fear of the angry capiscum fearing mobs. I have to say that's a sad thing. To me, part of the joy of eating a good chili is the endorphin buzz you get from just the right amount of heat. For me that requires a bit of hurt. So, I'm hoping to try this event out again next year. That gives me a whole year to perfect my recipe, and work on my best friend to get us in the event again. They had some pretty good chili at the 100.3 The Point radio station booth, and they won hottest (I'm not sure why, my 10 year old could eat their chili, it was no where near as hot as Dirty Dan's chili) they're the ones I hope to beat next year. A friendly competition, and I will be bringing on the capiscum, so bring on your pitchforks angry mob.

If you want to know more about the chili cook off and the Fortuna Rodeo, check it out here: