Most people are either cooks or bakers, with only a handful who are both. What leads a person down one path or another? Does it come down to nature vs. nurture, an interest in art or science, or does it boil down to having a relaxed or detail-oriented personality?
After assessing the options above, I have come to the conclusion that I am either well-rounded or completely confused with my love of both sweet and savory…sometimes blurring the lines between the two. Why not eat cake for breakfast (we already eat coffee cake, cinnamon rolls and doughnuts), use fruits in savory dishes, or have a salty dessert? For example, many people think of avocados as a savory ingredient, but I was brought up eating avocados for dessert (often buying avocado shakes with condensed milk at my grade school cantina for three pesos..yum!). Our food perspectives are heavily influenced by our family and culture, then we pick and choose what we like based on our personal tastes. But what if we were culinary blank slates? No definitions, no categories, no holds barred.
Greg at Stage Coach Sauces sent me a collection of their products. One in particular caught my eye: Red Ruby Garlic sauce. The garlic, red wine vinegar and chili combination reminded me of a sweet, sour and spicy Asian sauce. The sweet and savory sauce inspired me to combine all aspects of a meal in to one: cocktails, entrée and dessert. Since the sauce already incorporated three major flavors, I figured this was a perfect one-stop-shop for a tasty marinade.
The marinade seemed to need a light protein. I made Chicken Skewers with Mango Tamarind Coulis a few months ago, so I decided to use shrimp this time around. Shrimp works well with tropical flavors so I brought in some grilled pineapples (a really easy dessert by itself). To top it all off, I skewered mint leaves to give it an interesting brightness. When I first ate this, I was not sure if I liked it or not. I think my mind was a bit confused because first it tasted like a mojito, then after chewing a bit more it tasted like a dessert of caramelized pineapples, then my tastebuds finally hit the savory shrimp. If you want a more conventional experience, feel free to replace the mint with cilantro.
The Stage Coach sauces, which do not contain preservatives, artificial flavors or MSG, are available for private label. However, the best part is that they also offer contract bottling and packaging. I was intrigued that this made launching a product accessible to small entrepreneurs. Granted, you need to order 300 gallons to make it cost effective, but at least it requires less capital than building out your own plant and food lab. You can then focus on distribution and marketing knowing that the back end is taken care of.
For those of you who are not quite ready to start selling your own “secret sauce,” Stage Coach Sauces is providing a set of their sauces for a lucky winner to experiment with at home. Try them as a marinade using this recipe, to add some zing to your chili, or as a dipping sauce (I used the Bonafide Barbecue sauce as a dipping sauce for Turkey and Sweet Potato Meatballs, which I will share in a future post).
Sauces image courtesy of Stage Coach Sauces.
Grilled Pineapple Shrimp
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound pineapple, cubed
1/4 cup mint leaves (cut larger leaves into 2 pieces)
20 – 30 short skewers, depending on the number of shrimp
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
3 tablespoons Stage Coach Sauces Red Ruby Garlic sauce, plus 2 tablespoons for basting
1 tablespoon olive oil
In a small bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients (except for the 2 tablespoons of Red Ruby Garlic sauce for basting). Add the shrimp, cover and marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Soak the skewers in water for 15 minutes. Prepare the grill for medium-high heat.
Thread each skewer with one shrimp and one pineapple. Brush the shrimp with the reserved Red Ruby Garlic sauce. Grill the skewers until the shrimp is cooked through, about a total of 4 minutes. Turn the skewers halfway through and brush the other side with the sauce.
Remove the skewers from the heat and thread each one with a mint leaf (or half a large leaf). Do not cook the mint, otherwise it will become dark and bitter.
- Contest ends June 17, 2011 11:45 p.m. EDT.
- Contest open to US States only.
- Winner will be chosen via random.org and will have 3 days to respond before becoming disqualified and a new winner is chosen.