When it comes to food, quality is key. That’s why the best chefs are always looking for new ways to create unique flavor combinations that can be found nowhere else. But what if you could have any flavor combination your heart desires? What if you could take a bite of something exotic and enjoy it without ever leaving your home?
Bren’s seasoning is a local produce and seasoning blend that has been around for over 50 years. It is made with sea salt, sugar, garlic, onion, basil, oregano, pepper, thyme and cayenne pepper.
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I like eating and buying local foods and goods, particularly now when our local companies are in desperate need of support. Our boat club members used to get together for barbeque meals at Hidden Valley Ranch, which is situated up the San Marcos Pass, while we lived in Santa Barbara. We were all smitten with the salad dressing and asked for the recipe or at the very least some to take home. But, looking at Hidden Valley Dressing today, more than 50 years later, I believe the proprietor understood precisely what he wanted.
I was first exposed to Bren’s Original Blend seasoning a few years ago. I started putting it on and in everything, even Bloody Marys (as suggested on the label.) The fact that Bren Randolf, the “blender” (as I call him), resides in Atascadero appealed to me.
When Bren Randolph came up to the Chamber, I was working with Josh Cross, President/CEO, on some Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival stuff. We started to chatting about his seasoning mixes, and I confessed that the Original Blend was my favorite. Bren and Josh both urged me to try some of his other blends, which are available on his website at BrensBlends.com and can be purchased there. A display of Bren’s Blends, as well as other excellent gift items, may be found in the Chamber’s gift area.
Imagine my astonishment when Josh phoned to tell me that a box had been left for me at the Chamber. You guessed correctly. Bren had left a variety of his mixes for me to sample. What a thoughtful present. Thank you so much, Bren.
We’re going to get through this together, Atascadero
Spicy Blend, Smokey Blend, Savory Blend, South West Blend, and Poultry Blend were among the flavors available. According to what I’ve heard, he’s also added a Lemon Pepper Blend to the mix. The spice mixtures are gluten-free, sugar-free, and MSG-free.
I can’t wait to get rid of the old spices in my pantry and replace them with my new spices!
The recipe that follows is exactly as it appears in my Sunset’s Recipe Annual from 2001. Don’t be scared to use some of Bren’s Original Blend in place of the spices. Make it your own to be creative and enjoy the process.
Pot Roasted Merlot
1 fat-trimmed boned beef chuck roast (3 to 312 lb.) Ingredients: peppercorns, freshly ground 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter 3 medium peeled carrots 2/3 cup chopped celery 3 medium onions, chopped 3 garlic cloves, minced 12 tsp. dried thyme a quarter teaspoon of black peppercorns 1 bay leaf, dried 1 cup dry red wine (merlot or other) 1/3 cup tomato paste (canned) 12 tbsp cornstarch
Rinse the beef, pat it dry, and season with freshly ground pepper. In a large pan, melt the butter over high heat. Brown the meat well on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Carrots should be cut into pieces. In a large slow cooker, combine carrots, onion, celery, garlic, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Place the meat on top of the veggies, along with any drippings. Combine the wine and tomato paste in a small dish and pour over the meat and veggies. Cover. Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours or high for 5 to 6 hours. Halfway through cooking, flip the meat. Remove the meat and remove the fat from the liquid in the cooker. Mix 112 tablespoons water with cornstarch; pour into cooker and stir often until sauce is boiling, 10 to 15 minutes. Arrange the veggies around the steak and pour the sauce over it.
Serve with mashed potatoes as a side dish.
As an example:
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The southwest spice blend recipe is a local produce and seasoning blend that can be used to make salsa, guacamole, and more.
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