Culinary Compost Boycotts Penzeys Spices

Hello fellow foodies. After reading recent commentary from Bill Penzey, the author of Culinary Compost is officially withdrawing all references to Penzeys Spices on this food blog. While I’ve always known that Bill overtly inserts his political opinion in monthly mailings to his customer base, (which, in its own right is wrong on so many levels) I can no longer stand by and let this man spew his rhetoric of hate to conservatives, and to people who support and voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election, by labeling them “racist.”

I am not a racist. I never have been. And I resent being called one.

This is extreme-left socialism, and this kind of bigotry has no place in America.  Make no mistake — my observation is not one of Conservatives vs. Liberals. It is simply a stance of the author not supporting an individual who wants to further divide this country through hate by means of his product.

Shown below are a few articles and a link to Penzey’s official Facebook page:

2/1/18 Article in The New Yorker


You be the judge.  Last time I checked, America was still a free country. And my readers, of course, are still allowed to shop where they want and exercise their right to free speech, which I will always respect. However, pitting people against each other in the guise of “Love” is a ruse by Bill Penzey, who’s only concern is making as much money as he can over a very contentious election.  Funny thing is, he’s pissed off a lot of his customers, and I, for one, will not be coming back.

Invariably, comments by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke say it best:
“This typical hate-filled white elitist lefty doesn’t live around black people or have stores in black neighborhoods.”

Bill Penzey can be reached at



In the interest of an open discussion, leave your thoughts below – none will be censured.
—Mike from Culinary Compost

Bill Penzey's Socialist Sea Salt

Penzey’s Spices announces new product.

Crowd-Control Sloppy Mikes

Here’s a larger, crowd-pleasing version of my southwest winning Sloppy Joe recipe, made with five pounds of ground chuck. This recipe will serve 4-6 sandwiches per pound. I’ve tweaked the recipe to include a few ingredients I had on hand for a social get-together at work this week.  Enjoy!



5 pounds lean ground chuck
5 10.75 oz. cans tomato soup
4 full cans hot water (use one of the soup cans for this purpose)
2 large Spanish onions, peeled and diced
4 ribs celery, with greens, diced
2 dashes Worchestershire sauce, (about 1 tbs.)
1/2 heaping cup of chili sauce
2 tsp. salt, to taste
4 tsp. garlic powder (not salt!)
4 tsp. whole cumin seed, toasted, then ground by hand in a mortar
2 tbs. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. ground dry mustard
1 tsp. ground Mexican oregano
2 tsp. dry basil

6 tbs. ground pure chili powder comprised of:
-1 tbs. medium-hot Chimayo chili
-2 tbs. Ancho chili
-3 tbs. smoked paprika

1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 large sweet red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced



Dice the onion, bell pepper and celery and set aside. Using two large heavy skillets (preferably cast-iron) brown the ground beef in batches until no longer pink, over medium-high heat. Drain of fat and place back in the pans with the onion and celery. Reduce heat to medium and saute for 5-7 minutes, until the onions and celery are softened. Remove and place in a six-quart Nesco covered roaster with the tomato soup and water. Stir to incorporate and keep covered over medium heat.

Add the Worchester sauce, chili sauce and dry spices. Mix well. Bring to a rolling boil and let simmer for two to three hours until reduced and thickened. Stir occasionally. Add the red bell pepper during the last hour. Reduce heat and cover until ready to serve.

Serve on buns with pickle chips and sliced Colby cheese.


Serves 20-25 individual sandwiches with plenty of second helpings.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

I got this recipe from a friend over Christmas and was amazed how simple the preparation was. A definite show-stopper.
If you love no-fuss slowcooker recipes, this one’s da bomb.


2 small chicken breast cooked and shredded
6 oz. cream cheese softened
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing
1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce
Dash of ground chili de arbol for extra kick if needed

Chips or crackers


Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix well to incorporate. Place in a covered crock pot set on high. When heated through, reduce heat to low and serve.

Mike’s Yankee Pot Roast

Mike's Yankee Pot Roast | Culinary Compost RecipesThere are literally hundreds of ways to prepare a roast – each one grounded in family tradition. I’ve always been inspired by the simplicity of preparation; a classic Sunday meal with roots grounded in colonial America. Here is my version which is braised slow and low – I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.



1 lean two-pound beef roast (chuck or rump)
1 cup flour
1 tbs. paprika
1 tbs. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
Coarse-ground black pepper, to taste
4 tbs. butter

1 packet Lipton® Onion Soup mix
2 cups boiling water
1 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet®
1 tsp. Lea & Perrins® Worchestershire Sauce
1/2 tbs. beef base
1 cup fine-chopped celery leaf and stalk
2 tbs. fine-chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 dry bay leaves
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
5 large carrots, peeled, washed, split and cut into 3″ planks
4 large potatoes, peeled, washed and quartered



In a large plastic shaker bag, add the flour, paprika, garlic powder, 1 tsp. salt and the black pepper. Shake well to incorporate. Add the roast to the bag and shake to coat evenly. In a 5-quart cast-iron dutch oven set to medium, melt the 4 tbs. butter, but do not scorch.

Reserve two tbs. of the seasoned flour from the shaker bag.

Add the roast to the pot, increase the heat to medium-high, and brown evenly on all sides.
Shut off the heat and remove the pot to an unheated burner. Remove the roast from the pot and reserve on a large, covered serving platter.

It’s time to make a classic roux, which will be a base for the gravy.  When the pot with the butter and drippings has cooled slightly, add the reserved flour and mix lightly to form a roux. Stir constantly over low heat for about 10 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 275° F.

Mix the dry onion soup mix, Kitchen Bouquet, Worchestershire sauce and beef base in two cups boiling water and add to the pot. Add the fine-chopped celery and parsley, bay leaves, thyme and black pepper – mix well, then add the roast back to the pot, cover tightly and bake in the oven for at least four hours, until tender.

Turn the roast over and add the carrots and potatoes during the last 1.5 hours of cooking. The carrots are more dense than the potatoes – therefore they will take longer to cook. You can compensate for this by nesting them in the gravy around the roast, and then place the potatoes on top.

The roast should be fork-tender when done. Serve with the pot juices over the potatoes and carrots.

Serves 4-6


Note: I’ve had fantastic results using a rump roast vs. a more expensive chuck roast. They also tend to be more lean. My Lodge® and antique Wagner Ware cast-iron dutch ovens are essential for the preparation of this meal. The basting spikes on the inside of the tight fitting cover ensure that the meat remains tender. The heavy iron guarantees even heating.

Slow Roasted Pork with Gravy

This is a simple, savory recipe that tastes fantastic considering the minimal ingredients devoted to its preparation. The pork roast can be made in a dutch oven or slow cooker. With mashed potatoes on the side, there’s nothing better on a cold winter night.


1 two-pound lean pork roast
1 can Campbell’s cream of chicken soup (with two cans hot water)
1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
2 tbs. fresh chopped chives
2 tbs. fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chicken base
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter for browning
1 tbs. corn starch and water slurry

Mashed potatoes and your choice of vegetable or salad


In a large, heavy 12″ cast-iron skillet, bring one tbs. of butter up to frying temperature and brown the roast lightly on all sides. Shut off the heat and set the roast aside. Preheat your oven to 240 degrees F.

In a five-quart cast-iron dutch oven, add the soup ingredients, water, spices and chicken base. Whisk to incorporate and then carefully add the browned roast. Cover tightly and cook for three hours, or until the meat is evenly done and starts to fall apart.

When the meat is done, remove from the pot and reserve on a cutting board. Let stand for five minutes and then slice into 1/4″ pieces.

Add the corn starch with one tbs. water in a small mixing bowl and mix to form a slurry. Add to the pot gravy and mix well.
Bring the gravy up to a low simmer and cook until thickened to your liking.

Add the pork back to the pot and serve with mashed potatoes.

Serves 4-6

Southwest Pulled Pork

Southwest Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork | Culinary Compost

There’s a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant in central Phoenix called Honey Bear’s which has the best pulled pork I’ve ever tasted. Here is my southwest rendition. If you don’t have a smoker, no problem. This recipe will come out just as well in your oven or slow cooker.

Control the heat with the chipotle. The achiote paste (recado colorado) marinade with citrus juice is Yucatán-Mayan inspired. They cooked pork wrapped in banana leaves buried in a pit – the dish was called Cochinita Pibil. Unfortunately, I have a devil of a time finding fresh banana leaves here in Wisconsin and don’t feel like digging a hole in my backyard. Enjoy!



for the marinade—
Juice of one orange
Juice of one lemon
4 oz. box of achiote paste (recado colorado), available in most Mexican supermarkets
2 tbs. brown sugar
2 tbs. white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tbs. ground coriander
1 tbs. dried mexican oregano
1 tbs. dry mustard
2 tsp. ground chipotle, (add more if you like it spicy)
1 tbs. ground cumin – toasted from seed
1 tbs. onion powder
1/4 cup pure chimayo chili powder
4 cloves mashed garlic
2 tbs. worchestershire sauce
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce

1 3-pound bone-in pork butt
2 cups water

Large buns or warm corn tortilla shells for serving



Add the liquid ingredients to a mixing bowl and add 1/2 of the Achiote paste. Using the back of a spoon, break down the paste into a slurry. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Prepare the marinade by mixing all ingredients well, then rubbing generously over the pork. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours. 24 is best.

Preheat your oven at 300 degrees. When ready to cook, place the pork butt with the two cups of water in a covered dutch oven or slow cooker set on high. Cook for 3 to 3.5 hours until the meat shreds apart. Internal temperature should be about 180 degrees. Watch the liquid content and adjust accordingly. When the meat is done, shred apart with two forks, discard the bone, mix well and serve on your choice of buns or tortillas.

Serves: 4-6

Party Meatballs and Sauce

To say this widely-circulated recipe is over-the-top addicting meaty goodness would be a misappropriation of expletives. It’s all that and more. My wife made this over Christmas and before I knew it, I had eaten twelve meatballs.

Don’t be thrown off by the jelly in the sauce. It is an integral part of what makes this dish so great. Perfect for tailgating or the holidays.

Meatball Ingredients:

2 pounds ground chuck (or you can just buy your favorite frozen meatballs)
1 cup milk
1 cup crushed Ritz® crackers
2 eggs
1 tsp. grated onion

Mix all ingredients together and then shape into 1″ diameter balls. Bake on a greased jelly-roll pan (one with the side walls) at 350° F for 15 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the pan and place on paper towel to absorb the excess fat.

Optional: Buy a two-pound bag of your favorite frozen meatballs – thaw, then add the prepared sauce ingredients as follows:

Sauce Ingredients:

1 12 oz. bottle of chili sauce
10 oz. grape jelly
1 tsp. ground chipotle pepper (optional)


In a sauce pan over medium heat, empty the grape jelly container. Stirring often, heat the jelly until it liquifies. Then add the bottle of chili sauce. Stir until the mixture is combined. Add the chipotle for a little kick if desired. Stir and heat thoroughly.

Place the meatballs in a slow cooker and pour the sauce on top. Stir to coat, heat on low and serve when piping hot.

Serves 6-8

Dad’s Thanksgiving Stuffing

This has been a family favorite for many years. The preparation is very easy and allows you to also use the oven for other tasks. This dish can also be made in a covered dutch oven or slowcooker – no need to put it in the bird unless you want to.


1 can Campbell’s cream of chicken soup
1 can water
Chicken broth if needed
1/2 stick butter
Celery flakes to taste
Onion flakes to taste
Pinch of poultry seasoning if needed
Pinch of sage if needed

1 bag Brownberry herb-seasoned croutons


Simmer all stock ingredients except for the croutons in a saucepot.

Place the croutons in a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in the stock mixture. Mix well to incorporate, ensuring that the stuffing is evenly moist.

Tightly seal in double-wrapped aluminum foil (shiny side in) to form a packet.
Bake the packet in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour.

Remove and transfer to a covered, preheated serving dish.

Serves 4-6

Sauerkraut Soup

Old-world German and Polish recipes never fail to please. This one is super easy and great for busy moms.


1 medium potato, cut in 1/4″ cubes
1 pound kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 32 oz. jar of Frank’s sauerkraut, drained of juice
4 cups chicken broth
1 can (10.75 oz) cream of mushroom soup
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 cup cubed, cooked chicken
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4″ slices
2 celery ribs, washed and sliced
2 tbs. vinegar
2 tsp. dry dill weed
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3-4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled


Combine all ingredients except for bacon and cook in slow cooker for 5-6 hours on HIGH until veggies are tender. Skim fat, garnish with bacon and serve.

Makes 3 quarts.

Reuben Spread, 5 cup

Here’s an appetizer with the great taste of a classic Reuben sandwich — serve on snack bread for hungry guests at your next football party. For a scaled-down version of this recipe, click here.


2 1/2 cups cubed cooked corned beef
1 16 oz. jar sauerkraut – drained
2 cups (8 oz total) shredded swiss cheese
2 cups (8 oz. total) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup real mayo

Snack rye bread


Combine first five ingredients in slow cooker and mix well.
Cover and cook on low for three hours. Stir occasionally.

Serve on snack rye bread.

Makes 5 cups.