Sunday, November 6, 2011

Recipe: Jolie's Mexi-Can Chili

This is a super easy chili recipe that I came up with one day when I wanted to use up some chorizo and other stuff in my pantry. The best thing about it is you don't need to add any seasonings, just cook the chorizo and open a few cans. This is what I used when I made chili yesterday, feel free to make subtitutions to taste.

Makes about 6 bowls of chili.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5-8 hours

1 lb Beef Chorizo
16 oz can Old El Paso Fat Free Refried Beans
15 oz can Bush's Seasoned Black Beans
14.5 oz can Hunt's Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
10 oz can Old El Paso Medium Enchilada Sauce
8 oz can Ro*Tel Zesty Tomato & Green Chili Sauce
1 cup Trader Joe's Frozen Cut White Corn

Brown the chorizo over medium heat for about 10 minutes. While chorizo is cooking, drain and rinse black beans. Open other cans and throw everything in a crock pot (mine is 3.5 qt, that size or larger will do). Add frozen corn and cooked chorizo, stir and let cook on low for about 5-8 hours. Serve with your favorite chili fixings: shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips.

Notes: This chili could easily be made vegetarian by using Soyrizo in place of the chorizo.

It is thick because of the refried beans, if you want a thinner chili use whole pintos instead of refried.

I adjust the heat of the chili using the enchilada sauce, so go with hot or mild to your family's taste.

This dish is also light on tomatoes compared to other chili recipes - my family isn't big on tomatoes so if yours is you might want to add an extra can of tomatoes.

Brand names are just the particular ones I used this time around and they worked out so well I wanted to keep a record of the specific brands used in this batch of chili, feel free to use you own favorite brands.

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's a beer, not Detective Comics #27

While posting to a friend on Facebook I was reminded of yet another thing that has been pissing me off in the beer world lately - ultra rare limited editions of beers. Dude, it's a beer... it's meant to be consumed, not put in a hermetically sealed package like a mint-in-box Luke Skywalker action figure! Why do you have to sell raffle tickets online to "win" a chance to pay $25 per bottle for your beer? And then there's the super limited release stuff that goes out on tap with people waiting in huge lines just to get a chance at having a pint or two of whatever beer it is that is topping the charts on RateBeer and BeerAdvocate... argh! I will refrain from saying "it's just a beer" because I can't talk about beer like that, and it would piss me off if someone tried to tell me PB Brewhouse's Chocolate Mint Stout was "just a beer" because, well, it was so much more (and I would give my right arn to travel back in time and have a pint right now)... but I digress. I know there are a lot of us into craft brews that also grew up in the collecting scene - whether it was records, comics, toys or whatever - but I just can't wrap my head around collectible beers. I am not cooler than you because I have some Stone Green Tea IPA in my fridge, and you are not cooler than me just beacuse you have had a pint of Pliny the Younger.

Now, go drink that beer!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Growling about growlers

Here's a sore spot for me: why is it that I have to buy a new growler for each brewery I go to? I get the whole "I don't want to put my glorious ABC brewing beer into XYZ's growler" argument, but why not make a universal San Diego or California growler and have the breweries put a hang tag on the handle? Stone does this with their growler fills to let you know what is in that bottle, why can't other breweries? Are the breweries making that much money off the sale of their growler bottles and (for the places that have them) growler koozies/wetsuits? And, really, are you that frickin' vain that you think that I only drink beer from YOUR brewery?

I live in an apartment and it is hard to find storage space for the growlers we already own, and I have no clue where we will find the room to store more. With 35 brewieries in the county and more popping up every month we may have to convert one of the bedrooms into growler storage!

Beer and rock and roll is all I want

Went to the Kensington Club on Friday night for the pre-Tiki Oasis party to watch one of my favorite local bands the Fink Bombs, and most of the night (except when the guys were playing) kinda sucked. We used to go to the Ken Club all the time to see bands and the place would be packed with people. Now it's like a ghost town! When we got there around 8pm there were 3 people in the bar and 2 of them were on their way out. We grabbed some draft beer from their sad selection - Fat Tire and West Coast IPA were the only microbrews - and took it over to the "show" side of the bar. As I'm drinking my beer I realize it tastes really watered down, because I have had Green Flash's IPA at the brewery and this was way toned down on the hops. So I finish my beer off as we are waiting for the show to start - scheduled time 9pm - and the guys go to grab us more beer. They come back to the table empty-handed because now the bar can't serve their draft beer for some reason. After a brief discussion we decide on bottled beer and I end up with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale because it's the best thing they've got. Then the doorman comes around to collect the $5 cover charge from us, not realizing that 2 of us are in Hawaiian shirts (no cover charge per the Facebook show announcement) and ends up just letting all three of us in free since we have been in the room waiting for the show to start for a while.

Finally around 10:30, once a few more people have shown up, the show starts with a surf/punk band I have never seen before called Los Seafinks. We decide that they want to be the Creepy Creeps (great SD surf/dance band) but have failed miserably in their task. Next up is the Watusis, a three piece with a drum machine (really? drum machine?!?) who play some sort of  '80's synth crap. The lead singer/guitarist reminded us of Eric Forman from That '70's Show. They bring in a few more people (I think maximum room count all night was about 25, including band members) to watch them noodle around on their instuments. Towards the end of their set, Eric yells out, "Rock and roll is awesome!" and I can't stop myself from shouting back, "Then why don't you play some?" After a spectacular finale where Eric jumps on the monitor for a solo then falls off and knocks down his mic stand the set is over and the band leaves with all of their '80's wannabes, apparently too cool for the rest of the show.

The happy ending to the story is the Fink Bombs came on and tore it up. Check them out on Facbook! I was able to leave happy and run out for a after-show tradition, the late night carne asada burrito. Nothing tastes finer after a hard night of drinking and rocking than a carne asada burrito!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wake up and smell the blueberries!

Why is it that I have to drink beer from Maine to get a decent blueberry beer? I live in San Diego, which is arguably the microbrew capital of the world, and no one here is making good fruit beers anymore. I know that many of the folks in So Cal like to bash their tastebuds in with super bitter IPAs, but can't someone just brew up a few good fruity beers? Yeah, OK, Alpine does a good raspberry now and again, but who else is making anything similar? I know I am not the only person who is head over heels for Shipyard's Smashed Blueberry, so can some local brewer please step up and make me a nice fruit beer?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

There are other things in life besides beer...

Things like mead. I love mead. Yes, just like most other good little geek girls my love affair with mead started at Renaissance Faires, drinking Chaucer's from the ale stand. Now I like Chaucer's, but when that's pretty much all you can find you get real excited when you see something else out there. Enter Redstone mead, via the taps at Toronado and Small Bar. Their Black Raspberry is to die for (if you like dying for that sort of thing), and the Nectar of the Hops is quite tasty as well. Today we went up to the Pizza Port Bottle Shop in Carlsbad and found that (after months of half hearted searching at BevMo and other beer/wine sellers) they sell Redstone. Unfortunately there was no Black Raspberry, but we picked up some Boysenberry and Sunshine (apricot).  I think I scared all the people in the shop when I squealed upon spotting the mead in the case!

So, when we get up to the counter I start excitedly telling the clerk how happy I am they have it, when are they getting more, and what about the Black Raspberry... and he tells me, "well, most folks just brew their own because it's so easy, you just need water, honey, yeast and a closet to store it in for a couple of months." Damn him, now I want to brew mead! I just may look into this when I take my month long staycation in October, in addition to some other culinary experiments I want to try.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Another Wild Weekend

I am currently recuperating from my sun exposure and thought I might as well post a "what I did this weekend" entry.

On Friday night I rallied the troops (i.e. Greg and Warren)  and we went down to the South Park Stone Store. I was hoping for growler fills of Baird/Ishii/Stone Green Tea IPA but I misunderstood Andrew (who told me about the beer) and they only had bottles for sale. We did a little negociating and got tastes of it, and ended up buying a dozen. The beer is very good, and does this great little trick on your tastebuds: it has a hard hoppy flavor when it first hits your tongue and you expect to get a big punch of bitterness that never arrives, it just fades into a soft, mellow finish. Now I'm sure there's better descriptions of this beer out there, but I'm not one of those high-falootin' beer snobs with thousands of ratings on so you can just head on over there if you are looking for that sort of thing.

After Stone we walked around the corner to Station to grab some food. I generally enjoy my trips there, the food is fantastic and they have some decent beers on tap. This trip we had a not-so-great waitress who pulled a disappearing act right after giving us the check, which is one of my restaurant pet peeves. But the food was fab, and there weren't a ton of dogs in the place so I was basically happy - I just wish they would consider changing their beer lineup once in a while, I can only drink so many New English Brown Ales and Airdale Ambers.

Saturday morning we went to Small Bar for their Beer for Breakfast brunch with Lightning Brewery. This was my first experience with their beers and I found them to be quite good. I forsee a trip to the Lightning Brewery tasting room in the not too distant future. Oh, and the food and serivce at Small Bar are top notch, they are quickly becoming my favorite bar. I'm certain I'll be doing a full post on them sometime soon.

We finished our day up with a trip out to Santee for the Manzanita Brewing 1st anniversary party. It was a hard choice for me as the other event happening was Lost Abbey's Christmas in July, but a Beer for Boobs benefit won out over Toys for Tots, plus I've been up to the Abbey tasting room before and this was our first trip to Manzanita. Between the three of us we were able to taste all of their beers, and I enjoyed almost everything - their IPA didn't wow me, but I'm not a fan of the style so I'm not a good judge for that. They had a couple of food trucks so we grabbed some fries from Devilicious that went well with the beers. The only bad part of the day was getting too much sun out in Manzanita's parking lot.

Upcoming events I am looking forward to: Wednesday is Drinkabout amd you know I will be riding the bus all night stopping at my favorite bars and trying as many new beers as I can guzzle. Saturday brings the Green Flash official grand opening for their Mira Mesa brewery/tasting room which gives me something to do to keep my mind off of Comic Con.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Declaration of beer independence

Happy 4th of July and welocme to my blog! I have been talking for over a month now about getting this party started but has having some trouble deciding what I wanted to talk about first. Oh, I've had a lot of ideas that I want to write about - my opinion of So Cal's overhopped IPA's, dogs in bars/restaurants, my hatred of fake microbrews, and the list goes on. Today I settled on a topic that, in my eyes, fits today perfectly: I am declaring my independance from "big beer" - AB InBev and Miller Coors. Now, this may sound easy, just don't buy their beers. The problem is that not everyone knows that they sell the majority of the beers you see on store shelves. Sure, it's easy to stay away from Bud, Coors, and Miller but did you know that AB InBev also have partial ownership of Kona, Red Hook and Widmer? Most import beer is here through one of the big two as well, including my boyfriend's cherished Pilsner Urquell. And don't get me started on all the fake craft beers out there - such as Shock Top, Blue Moon, and Wild Blue.

Now there's still a wide world of craft beer left out there for me to drink, but there are a lot of places where my only choices are for one of the big name crafts like Sam Adams (not a fan), Fat Tire (not a fan either), or Sierra Nevada ( I like Sierra just fine, but it gets dull drinking the same thing over and over again).  Give me a Stone, Ballast Point or Lost Abbey - let's see a bit more variety on our taphandles and bottles!

Therefore I am pledging my beer independence: as of today I will do everything I can to avoid buying any beer that is owned, brewed or distributed by the big two and encourage bars to add more real craft choices from independent breweries by drinking only independent beers. I hope that you will do the same.

*for more info on who owns what beer, see