Let Our Commercial Bottler Winners Add Some Spice to Your Cooking
Beat the heat outdoors with these fiery prize-winning complements
The manufacture of artisan foods, particularly condiments, is a thriving cottage industry in Central Texas. Many of those talented culinary artisans regularly enter their tasty comestibles in the Chronicle's annual Hot Sauce Festival as a way to develop a loyal customer base. Contributing Food writer Kate Thornberry joined me in developing some dishes that feature some of our past winners. Click on the "Saucy Proposals" link below for recipes.
Austin Slow Burn Green Chile con Queso is great eating right out of the tub, but it also makes a delicious component in other dishes. Owner Jill Lewis brought a hot, layered dip made with her queso to my annual potluck birthday bash, and it was an unqualified hit! I've also used her queso to make marvelous cheese grits that are equally good with eggs and bacon for breakfast or as a side dish with ham or roast pork.
Pepper Creek Farm Agave Raspberry Chipotle Sauce is the newest all-natural product from the Bigham family, regular participants in our annual festival. Brush it on grilled meats, fish, and veggies just before they come off the grill, or use it as a dipping sauce.
Sgt. Pepper's Tejas Tears Habanero Chile Sauce is the chile sauce that put Austin's J.P. Hayes (Sgt. Pepper) in business. He sold out of his very first batch so rapidly at the Chronicle's first Hot Sauce Contest that he immediately quit his bartending job to become a hot-sauce entrepreneur. This is the gold standard of habanero sauces, capturing all the tropical-fruit flavors of ripe habanero and the hallucinatory heat, too. It is particularly well-suited to seafood dishes.
Austin Slow Burn Salsa Verde won two People's Choice Awards before it even had a label. It is made the traditional way, with fire-roasted tomatillos, onions, serrano peppers, and lime juice, and can be enjoyed straight from the jar with tortilla chips, as well as incorporated into Mexican dishes such as enchiladas suizas and pork posole.
Classy Delites' savory dips have won in the Specialty Dip category numerous times. The bestseller is the Spinach Artichoke Dip, though the Portobello Mushroom Dip and the Pistachio & Roasted Pepper Dip have won their share of awards, too. All of these dips are creamy, smooth, and savory, low in capsicum but intense in Mediterranean flavor.
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