Plus our freshness factor, guac-off results, the last FM of the season, rad customer 'Lick picks and more!
We love us some hometown love!
I hate rules. Especially reading them. Especially pages of rules in 9-pt type that run all the way to the margin. This is why I didn't read the Iowa State Fair cooking contest rules. Looking at that first very full page of nested bullets and all the pages behind it, my brain said, "Run away!" which is why I had no idea that our cooking contest entrants had to pre-register by some date in July (I still haven't read the rules) to enter a State Fair cooking contest. I thought you could just show up with a dish, which is dumb. That'd be like a speed boat contest that didn't require a boat license: you'd get a lot of yahoos showing up with dented speed boats hitched to their hoopties.
When our crew first arrived at the Elwell Family Food Center, one of the volunteers at the check-in booth looked at my Saltlickers t-shirt. I watched her eyes grow wide in terror. "Are you the Saltickers lady?" she gasped. "No, but that old bat owes me money!" is what I should've said, but instead I said, "Why?"
"Your entrants..." she muttered, so aghast, I thought one of our customers must've set themselves on fire. Suddenly the capable and awesome food contest superintendent, Karen McKilligan, was at my elbow. I wondered if the volunteer had pushed some silent emergency button under the table. Karen explained what happened. "This is totally because I didn't read the rules," I said, and Karen agreed.
This meant we could still have our contest, but it wouldn't be sanctioned by the Iowa State Fair, which meant our entrants couldn't get ribbons or their names added to the roster of winners that's kept in a radioactive-proof vault at the center of the earth, I imagine.
At first, I was really bummed. Then I had a giant plastic cup of Firetrucker's Cat in a Tree ginger cider and thought, "Sanctioned, shmanctioned! Screw ribbons! We're gonna give trophies!" I love trophies—both getting and giving them. Wanna see someone go apes*t? Give 'em a trophy with golden kid doing a karate kick on top and their name on it. It's magic.
Let's call it an auspicious coincidence that only three people entered the contest that day: my old college buddy, Lisa, who drove all the way from Iowa City (thank you/I'm so sorry), her daughter, Rachel, and Susan, who actually had read the contest rules, emailed me about it, and when I responded, "I think you just show up!" had her husband email me to triple-check! Susan, you are a great reader AND a great cook.
When it was time for me to take the mic and introduce the contest, I was ready to own my mistake. I was so nervous, I don't really remember what I said, but I could see the volunteers in their red State Fair regulation smocks beaming and people laughing. I'm pretty sure I mentioned the trophies. The next day, Collin said that I'd told everyone in the Elwell Family Food Center, "I'M TIRED OF LEARNING!!!!!" Tara's friend, Paul, corroborated this. "You did indeed. Several times."
Bottom line: we had a ball. All three dishes were wonderful and totally different. The scribes who wrote down everything judges say about the dishes said it was the best contest they'd ever scribed. Afterwards, all the volunteers got to chow down on the grub, which isn't allowed in a sanctioned contest. Next year, we'll do it right, but it was fun doing it all wrong—and it still turned out delicious!
Huge Thank Yous to judges Barbara Ching and Tara Kammel. You gals are marble jar friends, indeed.
For the recipes, click here and type STATE FAIR into the search bar.
It's your chance to try Bangla-dash, Crop Duster and the French Tickler, while stocking up on your already-favorites! Buy any three jars and try ONE new flavor for free. Or get ALL THREE new flaves and pick TWO free jars of anything you want. All the jars should be the same size. There's no code. Just tell us what you want your free flavors to be in the NOTES section at check-out. The sale's on like Donkey King through Friday, August 10 at midnight, Iowa time. Check out these savvy Salty Dog testimonials!
Get on board Saltlickers' first state fair cooking contest on Saturday, August 18 at 1:30! It's an amazing way to experience Iowa culinary history and meet the gals and guys who've been working this unique cultural corner for a long time. We're talking bucket list stuff, people. Here are some things you should know...
1) Show up with your dish at drop-off time, and state fair minions will take it away from you. It will go room temp before you see it again, so consider this if you're thinking about making a dish that needs to be heated or can't sit out—like Cream of Saltlickers Soup. You can ask the state fair minions to reheat it, but you'll have little control over how they reheat it. This is why the "Banana Quick Breads" category has hundreds of entrants, and "Hot Mayonnaise Magic" has a lot of empty seats.
2) You can sign up for multiple contests on a single entry fee. So on Saturday, August 18, you can sign up for "Saltlickers Grand Slam" (sponsored by us) AND "Support Your Local Mushroom Farmer," "Tailgating Treats for My Team," and "Candy Chemistry"!!!! I mean WHAT?!?!
3) See you at the craft beer tent afterwards, and clear off a shelf for all those trophies, champion!
1st place - $50 plus a four ounce gift box (3 flavors) of your choice
2nd place - Four ounce gift box (3 flavors) of your choice
3rd place - Two ounce gift box (3 flavors) of your choice
Each entrant will receive a coupon for a free 2 oz jar!
1. Present your best dish made with any Saltlickers spice blend.
2. Proof of purchase is required. Places to purchase Saltlickers products may be found at http://www.salt-lickers.com/find/.
3. Entries will be judged on Taste, Creativity and Presentation.
For info, check out this PDF or email us with questions.
I'm so excited about this Killer Cocktail class tonight at Cooks' Emporium!
First, we'll cook up different styles of simple syrups—the cornerstone of the cocktail—some with spice blends, some with fresh herbs, then we'll practice making the perfect booze to syrup to mixer ratio. We'll put together the perfect punch for any occasion, no matter what kind of booze and ingredients you prefer. Last but not least, we're going to light some S'mores chocolate vodka Jello shots on fire with a kitchen torch and make Booz-ores! We'll practice opening up the marshmallows hands on—that's the hard part. We'll also be sampling salted homemade cider to start at 6, and that's not code, folks!
It's a spike your own drink event, so you'll need 3 bottles of airplane liquor (you could just bring a pint). One should be clear (gin or vodka). The other two can be anything. All the same kind = fine. I recommend unflavored as the flavors in flavored boozes (like cotton candy whiskey) will crush the taste of every other ingredient around it.
Walk in at 6 = OK. This is only $10, and will change your life. The last time I had my life changed for $10 was with a really bad tattoo. This will be 10,000 times better than that.https://www.cooksemporiumames.com/events
This summer demo at Cook's Emporium is going to be a blast! We'll be covering simple syrups, slamming summer punches, rimmers, and even Jello shots! It's BYO, and you'll need about 3 or 4 airplane bottles for the class. I'll have the recipes this weekend so you'll know what kinds to bring. Space is limited, so sign up soon!
The Des Moines Farmer's Market is always doing cool stuff! Just in time for Iowa Craft Brew Festival '18, they've teamed up with Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Company to release a special brew: Farmers' Market Gold. For the next month (while supplies last), $1 from every pint sold will be donated to The Market’s Meals From The Market program.
Five-and-a-half-barrels of the Belgian Strong Ale is being brewed, which is made in part with ingredients from The Market including 25 pounds of honey from Soder Apiaries and 3 pounds of rosemary from US!
Visit the Downtown Farmers' Market this Saturday and stop by CABCo at 9 a.m. for your first pint or visit the Iowa Craft Brew Festival for a tasting.
Behold our new flavor, Bangla-dash! Glenda nailed the name, but check out all the hilarious ideas you Salty Dogs sent in! It’ll be at markets and online in July. Sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the page for a sweet new flavor sale coming soon!
SALTY DOG IDEARS
Calling Dr. Bombay
High Five, Mumbai!
We got two more in the chute.
Some of you know that in addition to being a tornado-esque home cook, I'm also a poet. Here's a little piece I wrote about The Pickling Poet, artisanal makers of inspired homemade pickles and jams inspired by poems and poetry. Every order comes with a original poem in the box!
It's raining so hard here, we can't get out gear into the car, so we'll see you at the Des Moines DT Farmers Market NEXT week, Salty Dogs! If you're jonesing, try Gateway Market or Wheatsfield in Ames!
Our weekend at the Mycelium Mysteries Women's Mushroom Retreat was MIND BLOWING. And not because we ate the magic kind. Thank you, Midwest Women's Herbal Conference, for cultivating this incredible network of goddesses!
Below is the list of spices we used. I'll be posting my recipes here soon!