Friday, August 28, 2009
I'm Headed To The Austin, Texas Hot Sauce Festival Competition & Food Bank Fundraiser With My Entries!
Now, don't get me wrong here. I'm not just in it for the possible contract with some big company to make my sauces commercially. Of course, that would be perfectly lovely, wouldn't it? But there is more to this festival than the competition. Proceeds raised from the entry fees go to The Austin Food Bank, as do all the cans of food requested as entrance into Waterloo Park, where it will be held. It is what literally allows the Austin Food Bank to survive yet another year. And, I'm not talking about feeding those in Austin who sell flowers on street corners. Those people have it made. I'm talking about all the families and individuals that have fallen upon hard times due to whatever misfortune has befallen them. They also invited restaurants and those who commercially produce their sauces, made in Austin, to offer mass tastings of their products. Trust me when I tell you that it is Hot Sauce Heaven.
In addition to the commercial producers, there is also a tent where the public is invited to try all the entries into the competition. But, this makes the competition a three tiered affair.
There are categories for home salsa makers (red, green & specialty), a restaurant category, and a commercial hot sauce makers category. This affords the judges a wide range of expertise and tastes. In the midst of all this going on, there are hawt Austin bands playing their music on the stage throughout the day. There are beer and wine vendors, as well as plenty of water and soft drinks vendors. It's a day of great fun and camaraderie among hot sauce fans, so if you live in the Austin area and have nothing better to do, get yourself over to Waterloo Park (located @ 12th & Red River) on Sunday.
The festival opens their gates to hot sauce competition entrants between 10:30 AM and 11:30 AM, when they must drop off their forms and their sauces. The festival is open to the public from 11:00 AM until 5:30 PM.
I've been making hot sauce for Christmas gifts all week, so it just happens to be the perfect time. I visited the organic Farmer's Market and loaded up on tomatoes, habanero peppers, jalapenos, onions, cilantro, and bell peppers. Since there wasn't enough of every ingredient, I also went to Sam's Club to finish getting the ingredients I would need. Throughout the week I've tried different (new) ingredients to enhance my almost perfect sauce, and yes, my friends and relatives will be the *guinea pigs* for all of my experiments this week. They've never yet complained, so I guess it's all good. Although I'd be a complete & utter moron to tell you my recipe at this point, I can show you a few pictures of the process. I'll let you know the outcome when I return.
Meanwhile, please keep your fingers & toes crossed or perhaps send a little prayer my way, if you can. And if you live in the Austin area, then be sure to get yourself down to Waterloo Park for the festivities! Hope to see you there...
Sunday, August 9, 2009
To make the glaze, heat butter and apricot preserves in a small saucepan until just melted, stirring to combine. Brush dough with mixture and drizzle remaining over the fruit. Sprinkle pastry and fruit with sugar. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake 20 to 25 minutes longer, until dough is golden brown and fruit juices are bubbling. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
As it turns out, it was just the right amount for this salad. I also had some tomatoes from our *topsy-turvy* planters that needed to be used, so this was the perfect light meal for us. It's basically a I-don't-know-what-the-heck-to-make-so-I'll-check-the-fridge type of dinner. Maybe you'll like it as much as we did!
Surf & Turf Garden Salad: Ingredients:
thinly sliced leftover lobster tail,
thinly sliced small package of baby spinach
thinly sliced 1/2 or 1 whole avocado,
thinly sliced 4 spring onions (green onions),
thinly sliced fresh garden tomatoes,
chopped gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Directions: 1. Begin building your salad by spreading the baby spinach over a plate. 2. Add sliced mushrooms and the tomatoes. 3. Next, add the sliced avocado. 4. You can now add the sliced lobster and sliced steak. 5. Last of all, sprinkle the sliced green onions, the gorgonzola cheese, topping with your favorite vinaigrette. 6. Enjoy!
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Because I refused to return to the market to make one teensy little purchase, I was forced to use my imagination and substitute with something else. Never a good idea when you are me. Anyway, that substitute turned out to be a brand name package of quasi tapioca that required being cooked. I decided that since the pie had to be cooked, this was a marriage made in Heaven. Right? Wrong. The pie turned out all runny in the center. However, it was still more than edible, which Mr. Snooty proved by eating nearly all of it.
So, I will give you the original recipe I started with; just don't use any substitutes unless you actually know what the Hell you're doing.
Fill a pastry lined 9 inch pie plate with cherry mixture, dot with butter. Adjust top crust, seal and flute edge. Cover edge of pie with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil, bake for 25-30 minutes more or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.