Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Auburn - Reno bus

There is an inexpensive way to go between Auburn (Sacramento) and Reno. It is the Coach America bus. The round trip fare is $28 for the two hour trip. Bus leaves twice a day. Don't forget to use the $5 coupon at the Nugget.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Bob Kunkel is an Danzan Ryu black belt I have known for years. He has been working with solders in Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Bethesda Maryland.

Bob is the personification of kokua. Check out the CNN video interview. This is part of CNN's Heroes; Ordinary people.

Read the AJJF Kiai Echo article, Spring 2005; page 1, page 9 and page 10,

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Light and Crispy Waffles

The path to seriously crisp waffles leads down the cereal aisle. I haven't tried this recipe from ATK but if I ever do make waffles this is the recipe I'll follow. I have never cooked with Rice Krispies, have you?

Light and Crispy Waffles

Makes 8 (7-inch) round waffles

All waffle irons are not created equal. If your first waffle comes off the iron too pale or too dark, adjust the heat as necessary. Make sure to fill the waffle iron as directed; if you don't use enough batter, the Rice Krispies can scorch.

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon table salt
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  1. Preheat traditional waffle iron to medium. Meanwhile, stir flour, Rice Krispies, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk egg yolks, milk, vanilla, and oil together in medium bowl.
  2. With electric mixer or balloon whisk, beat egg whites in bowl to soft peaks. Pour milk mixture over dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Whisk in beaten whites until just combined. Do not overmix; a few streaks of whites should be visible.
  3. Pour 2/3 cup batter into center of preheated waffle iron and use back of dinner spoon to spread batter toward outer edges (batter should reach about 1/2 inch from edges of iron before lid is closed). Close lid and cook until deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fall is cooking time.

It is getting dark before I get home from work and the heater is kicking on. The sky is full of dark clouds and we feel like nesting.

In the fall I want to cook and stay home. I have season six and seven of the Test Kitchen to watch. I've been saving them because we haven't seen them yet and I want to experience to last. Tonight I watched a recipe for black bean soup that I want to try in my new dutch oven.

I think I will order myself a nice chef's knife, the R H Forschner 8-inch Chef's Knife, Black Fibrox Handle, recommended by ATK.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Story of Texas Chili

Word has it that chili was invented in San Antonio, Texas. It began as a simple peasant stew using materials inexpensive and at hand. Meat, chile peppers, comino, oregano and garlic made up the first recipes. All the spices, except the comino, grow wild in South Texas. The straight story on the origin of chili is difficult to determine, as it's mixed with much conjecture and story-telling. General consensus dates its beginnings to the mid-1800s with Texas trail cooks who had to feed hungry cowboys on long trail drives, using whatever ingredients were on hand.

In 1967, at the ghost town of Terlingua, Texas, the first known chili competition took place. The object was to determine who was the best chili chef in the whole world. This happening grew into the huge chili cook-off industry that continues today. Every weekend, hundreds of chili heads gather at dozens of chili cook offs to find the perfect bowl of red. Here's a starting recipe for chili novices:

Basic Texas Chili

  • 2 pounds beef, round or chuck, cut into ½" cubes, all white removed
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Water
  • 2-3 tablespoons blended chili powder, Adams preferred
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup water
In a heavy skillet, sauté the meat in a small amount of oil or shortening until it is gray and gives up its juices. Transfer the meat to a stew pot and discard the juices.

While the meat is still hot, mix in the onion and garlic, salt and black pepper to taste. Cover and let set for 30 minutes.

Add enough water to cover the meat. Put in the spices and bring to a simmer. Cook until the meat is tender. You may have to add more water if the mix becomes too dry. Add the tomato sauce and simmer another 20 minutes.

If the chili is not spicy enough for your taste, add a small amount of cayenne.

Mix 2 tablespoons flour with one half cup of water. Raise the heat under the chili until you get a good boil. Stir in the flour/water mixture and continue stirring until mixture thickens. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 more minutes. Serve with saltines or tortillas.

This recipe will get you started on your way to becoming a fine chili chef. Experiment with the recipe. Try different brands of chili powder. If you end up with two favorite brands, mix them half-and-half and see what result that brings.

Garlic needs to go in the pot in the last half of the cooking process as it will lose its whomp if cooked too long. Oregano will become bitter with too much cooking, so it too needs to go in toward the end of the cooking time.

Most of all, experiment. Read all the recipes you can find. This way you will be ready for that cool weather that demands CHILI!
Article from the Texas West BBQ, Sacramento, news letter.