I don't use pre-made foods and condiments all that often. Perhaps it's the rugged individualist in me, perhaps it's the mad-scientist? Hm. More likely it's my pig-headed belief that not only can I do anything I want to with food, I can do it better. Oh ouch. Now you know my deep dark bratty secret. Please don't leave yet... keep reading. I'm on the road to reform. I've seen the light in the form of buying local and it's hit me like a ton of bricks.
First off, I should amend that previous statement. I don't honestly think that what I make tastes better than anything else. I know that's not the case. I just feel, in my bones, the way people feel rain in their knees, I feel I can do whatever I want. I know I can! It just sometimes takes me a super long time to learn how. And time doesn't grow on trees, kids. Guess what else doesn't grow on trees? Fantastic creative amazing and tasty ideas. Nope... no trees like that around. Aside from racking the brains of folks in the kitchen at work, friends who mix drinks, bloggers with way too many great ideas and poring over the bazillion cookbooks I own, I'm stumped as to how to seek out inspiration for new ideas. I've found, though, the grocery store has a bounty of ideas all its own.
I tend to walk past the aisles of pre-made sauces (too expensive), handmade crackers (Mark will eat them before I get a chance to taste them), local ice creams (lactose + me = trouble) and bread (who are we kidding, I bake the bread in this house) without giving these things a second thought. However, lately, in my quest to buy local whenever possible I've discovered some unbelievable food. It's food I'd never dream up, food I don't have the resources or time to make and food made by people who really have perfected their craft. I'm talking tortillas, pasta sauces, honey, yogurt and of course, this is Texas, goat cheese.
After another marathon day at work of tasting the products local food producers brought in for us to sample, I decided it's high time I not only stop and inspect what products the local folks are making... I should probably taste them and play with them in my own kitchen. Not only that, why not write about them? I don't boast much of a readership here at Bread Baby, but maybe the little spots I post will help our local artisans and will convince other people to branch out like I'm doing... try something you might not have thought to before. So here it is. My first formal announcement... in addition to my regular weekly posts, I'm going to post once a week on a new local product. I'm going to try and use that product in a meal somehow too, because I think that's one problem with buying these new-fangled fancy products... how will we use them? Can we justify the cost? I'll only post about products I like and hopefully the answer will always be, "dude, that was totally worth it"!
For my inaugural local product post I'm writing about an old favorite. It's something I've wanted to post about forever, but haven't in the off-chance that I decide to open a pizzeria in the next five years or so. This is becoming imminently less likely, especially considering that I caught a pizza on fire last night. Fair to say pizza's not my game. Baking foibles aside, I have an amazing pizza sauce for you. Oh, she's a doozy. It's chipotle pesto made by an Austin-based company that's been around for quite a while called TexaFrance.
Not only is this pesto f-ing fantabulous, it's great on all sorts of average plain jane foods I probably wouldn't love if chipotle pesto wasn't a component... such as mozzarella pesto sandwiches. A word to the wise, if you open a restaurant and choose to feature only one vegetarian sandwich is it safe to make a mozzarella pesto one? Yes. Will I ever return to your establishment for one of those sandwiches? Probably no because I can get that very same sandwich at every single restaurant anywhere. However, if you add chipotle pesto to that sandwich will I drive across town just to buy it? Yes I will. I have done it many-a-time. What else? Tofu! Tofu is amazingly delicious marinated and fried in the stuff. Dip veggies in it? Sure! Grilling sauce? Sure why not? How about make a pizza with it? Oh hell yeah.
Whenever we make pizza at home we consider doing it two days in a row. I have no idea why one night of pizza doesn't quite sate our craving, but it's how it goes. We love our homemade pizza. So for the last two nights I've had pizza at home, the very same kind of pizza at home. It's slathered in chipotle pesto, with the tiniest bit of fresh mozzarella melted on top. Once out of the oven I dress it with fresh baby arugula tossed in olive oil and salt and top it with a poached egg (I've yet to master getting the right consistency when baking the egg right on the pizza). Heaven. And this my friends was the one and only reason I ever considered opening a pizzeria, so clearly it's worth sampling. The pesto is spicy and smoky, the arugula is peppery and bright and that egg... well, everything's better with an egg on top. Most especially pizza.
I'm mulling over ideas for local products posts in the future. Any ideas? Things I have to try? I'd love to hear it!
Find other great posts about breads and foods made with breads at Yeastspotting.