Thursday, November 08, 2007

Metro Cooking Show Part Deux: My Bootylicious Booty

Getting back to the big Metro Cooking Show from this past Sunday: of course, I left with some loot. I did stuff myself with free samples, but I also shelled out the dough and bought some stuff with which to stock the ol' pantry. I wanted to buy so much more, but I am not made of money. Unfortunately.

Southern Style Sour Cream Pound Cake ($2), from Quite A Stir (Towson, MD)

Voted "Best of Baltimore" by somebody (they don't say whom), Quite a Stir specializes in Southern-style baked goods. It is pretty luscious stuff. They didn't make the cake with that bite on the end of course. It's
too rich to finish all at once. I'm eating some of it right now. And you can't have any! That is, unless you go to them and get some - they are local after all, so you really have no reason not to.

Sweet Heat Chipotle Sauce ($5), by Hot Squeeze (Atlanta, GA)

It's about damn time somebody started making something like this! ATL caterers Sue Sullivan and Carol Bosworth started this line of hot and sweet chipotle sauce in a handy squeeze bottle (Yay! No high fructose corn syrup!) . They have dozens of recipe suggestions. Just click on the link. C'mon, you know you want to! Haven't used it yet - looking for the right recipe (not that I'm hurting for them - again, their website)

Wicked Natural Yogurt Dill Sauce & Dip ($6), by the Wicked Good Company (Bristol, RI)

I don't know how these folks made it from Rhode Island to DC in seven hours, but they seem honest enough so I'll take their word for it. Anyway, I visited these guys both before and after the Paula Deen show. As I said in a previous post, this stuff is good. I'm glad the internet is around, otherwise mail order would be a bitch. Also had some great mustard and a corn salsa that ran out by the time Paula was off stage, finishing what was left of that pumpkin gooey butter cake. I was bummed about the salsa.

Zinfandel Conserve/ Gelée du Zinfandel ($8), by Leaning Oaks Vineyards (Spring Branch, TX)

Most of us (whatever your religious orientation) know the story of how Jesus turned water into wine. Well here's something I've never heard of: turning wine into jelly. Yes, that's right! Spreadable, wine jelly! Okay, so it's been done before, but it's new to me. They also have syrups, which are made (like their jellies) with a combination of wine concentrate and wine grapes. Just don't eat and drive.

DennyMike's Sweet 'n Spicy BahBQue & Slathah Sauce ($6), by DennyMike's (Old Orchard Beach, ME)

DennyMike's BahBQue Sauce is one of several foods distributed by the folks of Tastes of New England. I mixed some of it into some godawful pre-made beef & veggie meals for the slow cooker (the blandest thing I have ever eaten). It didn't improve the flavor, but it wasn't the sauce's fault. I'd definitely put it on meatloaf or ribs, or burgers. And again, no high fructose corn syrup! Their sweeteners? Molasses, pineapple juice and light brown sugar. Yum.

Tortilla Strips (free), by Green Mountain Gringo (Winston-Salem, NC)

The folks at the Texas Pete hot sauce booth were packing up early when I got there. Not popular, folks? On the contrary: too popular! They ran out of stuff to give out. That's a shame, because they had a new flavor of Texas Pete's to try and it was all gone. But they were nice folks, and to save them the trouble of packing it they just up and gave me a bag of these tortilla chips (from the same distributor)! Non-hydrogentaed corn oil is an ingredient (good thing it's not hydrogenated), which is good. They try to deliver an all natural product from what it looks like.

China Organic DZS Lapsang Souchong ($6), by Japonica Tafé (Alexandria, VA)

Japonica Tafé had a lot of interesting teas on display - fruit teas, green teas, tea blends, and super-exotic teas from every continent with people on it (nope, no Antarctic blends). I bought one that even some tea drinkers would find strange: lapsang souchong, which is an incredibly smoky tea. It comes as a loose tea. I haven't tried drinking it yet, but I made some shrimp and broccoli in parchment paper ("en papilotte") and coated the shrimp in a mixture of olive oil, garlic, white wine and some of these tea leaves. The finished product was an incredibly smoky shrimp that tasted very nice. Now I have to get around to using it as tea.

Hot Tomato Jam ($5), by Well Dressed Food (Tupper Lake, NY)

This tomato jam is "made from the finest natural ingredients from the Adirondacks" as it says on the label. It's a tangy, chunky jam that just smacks you when you eat it! (I like my food to smack me when I eat it, okay? Don't judge me!!!). I'm not sure why so many people found it hot (as in "spicy") because it barely burned anything in my mouth. Maybe folks in upstate New York have a low threshold for capsaicin? I don't know. I still thought it was lovely. Just had some on my meatloaf for dinner. They suggest it goes well with lamb (hmmm, lamb...).

Raye's Brown Ginger Mustard ($4), by Raye's Mustard (Eastport, ME)

Raye's has been making a classic yellow mustard for over 100 years, which is, as they might put it, "wicked popular" up there. Their mustard was a 2007 Yankee Magazine Editor's Choice , and hey, they would know, right? (BTW: click on the New England outline map, devoid of any city or town names or roads, on YM's main page - it shows you the city you clicked on. Freaky!) I almost got their blueberry and cranberry mustards, both with whole mustard seeds instead of ground. But I went with this instead - very unique and wonderful flavor. Again, no high fructose corn syrup to be found (aaaah).

Gourmet Red Curry Sauce ($5), by Curry Simple (Smyrna, GA)

Curry Simple imports this hot curry sauce, as well as all of its sauces, directly from Thailand. Apparently they use the same type of packaging that NASA uses for its MRE's. I found this, their medium sauce, to be hotter than that Hot Tomato Jam from New York. It was also smooth and coconutty. As they mentioned, this one packet will get me three meals (or about 12 servings, by my estimation). Looking forward to using it - not to mention that I'm looking forward to the next Metro Cooking Show next year.

Believe it or not, we were still not stuffed after the show - all that snacking and no full stomachs. So we hopped on the Metro and went to Chinatown, where Cathy had not been before. I took her to the Wok N' Roll, a restaurant I have gone to before for their sushi happy hour (weekdays only). Historic note: it is located in the same building owned by Mary Surratt in which John Wilkes Booth plotted to kill Abraham Lincoln (others were targeted, but the plan fell apart and only Booth carried out his part of the plan). This Sunday evening, however, we settled for a dragon roll and panko "tempura" - all for about $20 before tax.