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Go Local. GO TEXAN. TEXAS FOOD, WINE, RESTAURANTS, RECIPES, GARDENING, STYLE & MORE VOLUME 6, ISSUE 12 O AUGUST 2017

LEANING R SALSA: SEEING HOW FAR ENCOURAGEMENT WILL TAKE YOU

TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE O COMMISSIONER SID MILLER


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WELCOME TO THE AUGUST 2017 EDITION OF THE GO LOCAL. GO TEXAN. E-ZINE. It’s always a pleasure to watch a fellow Texan follow their passions, taste buds and talents to success. Leaning R Salsa is another fine example of someone’s culinary creation becoming so popular with friends and family that they decide to take that often-heard advice of “selling it” to heart and do just that. It’s a good thing Kara Hamilton made the decision to launch Leaning R Salsa, because she’s meeting the demands of a growing customer base. We are all the better for it. Salsa is a part of the fabric that makes up the Lone Star State. After all, the official Texas state snack is tortilla chips and salsa. Good salsa starts with good ingredients, and that’s exactly how

Hamilton makes her delicious salsa. Check out this month’s cover story for an insider look at Hamilton and her growing salsa business. Also in this issue, you’ll find articles on honey, pizza, and Texas Gulf shrimp and its unique yearly kickoff event. As always, we’re happy to show off the wide diversity among our GO TEXAN members. I hope you’ll enjoy this issue. Be sure to share it with your friends and remember, Texas Agriculture Matters!

Sid Miller is an eighth generation farmer and rancher and the 12th Commissioner of Agriculture for the great state of Texas. Commissioner Miller has devoted his life to the agriculture industry, and supporting Texas producers and the communities they call home. He is a businessman, rancher, community leader, former ag teacher and former school board member. Commissioner Miller is a rodeo cowboy and holds nine world championship titles. He is an honors graduate of Tarleton State University in Stephenville, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Vocational Agriculture Education. He can be reached at Sid.Miller@TexasAgriculture.gov. 3


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LEANING R SALSA: SEEING HOW FAR ENCOURAGEMENT WILL TAKE YOU THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF FRIENDS CAN SOMETIMES BE THE MOST NATURAL AND GREATEST MOTIVATOR TO START A BUSINESS. KARA HAMILTON, OWNER OF LEANING R SALSA, STARTED EXPERIMENTING WITH HER SALSA RECIPE, AND AFTER NEARLY 20 YEARS OF HER FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES RAVING ABOUT IT, FINALLY TOOK THE LEAP TO START SHARING HER SALSA ON A GRANDER SCALE. “Everyone said one jar was not enough, because it was all gone in one sitting,” Hamilton said. While still working full-time at a dentist’s office, Hamilton formed her company and started working with a co-packer in Houston to sell her original salsas 5


via word-of-mouth and online. Then, after successfully exhibiting at the Dallas Gourmet Market, she added new recipes to her salsa line, like hot and chipotle, changed co-packers and expanded into the wholesale market. After two years of juggling two jobs, she finally quit her “day job” and went full-time with Leaning R Salsa. “That was one of the best decisions I have made,” Hamilton said. “I am excited and optimistic about my future, and I am having so much fun!”

One challenge Hamilton continues to combat is figuring out how to stand out as unique in a salsa market as big as Texas. She acknowledges that it takes wisdom on knowing when to jump out and take a risk. “Being so afraid of failure that you never take risks can keep you paralyzed in one place,” Hamilton said. “I try to look at risk and failure as a step to success or a big opportunity to learn.”

She couldn’t be happier to take these She immediately noticed the benefit risks and learn these lessons right that her full attention brought to here in the Lone Star State. Being a her company. Now she is hitting all life-long Texan, she loves everything aspects of her business as hard as she about Texas — from the freedom to can, which includes staying on top conduct business here to working of all the food safety regulations that with her fellow Texans to using the food manufacturers have to abide by. GO TEXAN mark to selling her salsa While a daunting task, it’s her love for to other proud Texans. what she is now doing full-time that helps her persevere. It also gives her a For more information on Leaning R new appreciation as a consumer. Salsa, visit their website. 6

Continued on next page


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When it comes to making great salsa, Hamilton isn’t afraid to share some advice with her fellow Texans. • Focus on flavor not heat, or at least to the point where the heat does not overtake the flavor. • Use Roma tomatoes. They have the best, most rich flavor and texture. • Create a feathery texture that makes for a light and fresh salsa; you want a nice consistency that is not too chunky. • Choose versatility and create salsas that can be served with a range of menu or cuisine choices. 9


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LONE STAR BEE COMPANY: BEEKEEPING AS AN ESCAPE MANY TEXANS KNOW THAT TOO MUCH CITY LIFE CAN SOMETIMES DRIVE YOU CRAZY. SUCH WAS THE CASE WITH MARK CRIPPEN AND NICKI PRAISWATER WHO LIVE IN AN APARTMENT NEAR DOWNTOWN HOUSTON. THEY LOVE ALL THE ACTIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT THAT THEIR CITY OFFERS, BUT THEY OCCASIONALLY HAVE A DESIRE TO ESCAPE THE BUSY CITY AND SPEND TIME OUTDOORS IN THE TEXAS COUNTRYSIDE. “I think we somehow felt we needed a reason to get away, and the thought of beekeeping led us down that path,” Praiswater said. “It wasn’t planned, but our new adventure fell magically into place.”

had experience with bees or knew anybody who did. They bought books, watched online videos and joined the Houston Beekeepers Association.

After meeting other beekeepers They had no property of their own and building enough confidence, to keep bees, but close friends the duo took the leap and bought offered them the chance to use bees of their own from Bee Weaver some land near Caldwell as a home Apiaries in Navasota. They began for their bees. In late 2014, Crippen with four hives and learned even and Praiswater began researching more through trial and error. Now their new hobby, as neither one they have eight hives of their own 11


and enjoy visiting their bees in the Texas countryside every couple of weeks. Once the two had established their honeybee hives, they realized that they would soon have a pretty good amount of honey to share with their friends and family, and they wanted to find a way to make their honey unique and special. “We had heard of infused honeys but didn’t know much about them, so we researched recipes online,” Praiswater said. “Mark 12

and I experimented with infusing many different honey varietals, including mesquite and clover honey, using a number of fun ingredients. We eventually ended up with two infused honeys that we believed were truly exceptional.” These two infused honeys are Fiery Sweet Mesquite and Lucky Lime & Sea Salt Clover. Once they had perfected these honey recipes at home, they thought others might enjoy them as much as they did. Slowly but


surely, their hobby became a business. While their careers in commercial real estate and construction taught them both a lot about business, they had to take a crash course in food production, along with its licenses and regulations. They found a great commercial kitchen, Kitchen 205 in Houston, as a home base to produce their infused honeys. They sourced mesquite and clover honey varietals from honey providers here in Texas, which had an impact on the all-

Pictured: Roland Striedel

important name and brand for their new venture. They knew they wanted to showcase their Texas pride, so the name “Lone Star Bee Company� seemed like the perfect fit. An ongoing challenge for this Texas-based company is educating their customers how to creatively use their infused honeys with a wide variety of foods. Everyone knows that honey is a great sweetener for tea and a nice spread for a biscuit, but the whole concept of infused honeys is not widely understood. 13


“While our infused honeys are great in tea and on biscuits, they are truly exceptional when paired with hearty meals and desserts, or incorporated into cocktails,” Praiswater said. “Once folks taste our honeys and have an idea how to pair them with everything from chicken and pork to ice cream and margaritas, they become excited at the chance to try something new and different in the kitchen.” Nicki and Mark have their own very specific favorites, though. 14

“Mark and I love Western Griller’s Armadillo Eggs, and we love them best when grilled, then drizzled with our Fiery Sweet Mesquite honey over top of them right before eating,” she said. “They are so delicious!” An unexpected pairing is Blue Bell’s Triple Chocolate Ice Cream with their Fiery Sweet Mesquite hot honey. “The heat from our habaneros and jalapeños surprisingly complements the chocolate very well, and the smoky mesquite


honey pleasantly pairs with the which includes the usual sweet ice cream in an unexpected margarita ingredients, except he way,” Praiswater said. uses Bone Spirits’ Fitch’s Goat Corn Whiskey in place of tequila. Perhaps bartenders should start Mark makes ‘honey syrup’ from keeping some of their infused our Lucky Lime & Sea Salt Clover honey nearby when mixing honey and uses it in place of drinks, because folks have simple syrup. He rims the glass discovered that their Lucky Lime using our salty-sweet honey and & Sea Salt Clover honey and the then lines it with salt. It’s my Fiery Sweet Mesquite honey are favorite!” both great when used in cocktails. If you’d like to learn more “Mark makes an amazing cocktail about bees and Lone Star Bee when we have ‘taco night’ at Company’s products, visit their home,” Praiswater said. “He has website. perfected the whiskey margarita, Continued on next page

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HONEY FUN FACTS Although many people have heard that local raw honey can be beneficial for those who suffer from allergies, honey also has other health benefits.

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“While local raw honey is likely the best honey for you, all raw honey (local or not) is comprised of many vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants,” Praiswater said. “It contains anti-bacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties and can aid in digestion. Raw honey, in general, is a healthy choice.”


According to Praiswater, one honey bee will make about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.

“That means it takes approximately 768 bees to make one bottle of our honey,” she said. “So, you can see how hard honey bees work, and we get to enjoy sweet honey and reap the health benefits.”

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HERITAGE PIZZA: TEXAS PIE AT ITS FINEST OWNERS, PARTNERS AND FRIENDS, PRESTON LANCASTER AND TONY SMITH, HAVE DEVELOPED MORE THAN FIVE DIFFERENT CONCEPTS IN THEIR 10-YEAR HISTORY TOGETHER AS {33} RESTAURANT GROUP. THEY ARE TRIED-AND-TRUE BUSINESS PARTNERS WHO CREATED TAVERNA ROSSA CRAFT PIZZA & BEER, HISTORIC CADILLAC PIZZA PUB, THE YARD, UNION BEAR BREWING COMPANY AND THEIR LATEST – HERITAGE PIZZA AND TAPROOM.

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he pair has tapped into the tremendously popular pairing of craft beer and great pizza. Their Taverna Rossa Southlake restaurant, for instance, is the

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highest growing pizza restaurant in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. This is good news for the pair who compete with a lot of other pizza


Left to right: Preston Lancaster & Tony Smith 19


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places in the DFW metroplex. Their solution for the constant challenge is to source local products, have great locations, happy employees and cold beer.

chopped local smoked brisket, white onions, bacon, cheddar and tangy sweet BBQ sauce.

“The biggest rewards that we feel from our business are the genuine hospitality and service that we get to provide every day, and the kids saying, ‘This is the best pizza – ever!’”

While pizza is popular all over the country, Smith and Preston are focused right here in the Lone Star State, and they like it that way.

“It’s Texas pie at its finest,” Smith said.

“We are both Texas born and raised, The pizza menu at Heritage Pizza in and we’re proud of it,” Smith said. the Colony ranges from leafy (the “It’s our ‘Heritage’ and home. Texas Farmer and the Kale with cashew craft beer is a huge industry and one pesto red sauce, mushrooms, tomato, that all of our locations represent, baby kale, artichoke, red onion serve and support. Our state also and goat cheese) to meaty (Mama’s has amazing farmers, local specialty Meatloaf with homemade meatloaf, cheeses, Texas olive oils, jams, spices, sharp cheddar and green onion) to meats and on-and-on. The beauty spicy (the El Diablo with classic red of our business is almost everything sauce, Calabrian chili, soppressata, created in Texas can be put on our genoa salami, pepperoni and fontina), pizza or served with it.” with several other eclectic options in between. Their most unique pizza is For more information, visit the the Smokey Pie, which Smith refers Heritage Pizza website. to as their “poster pizza.” It features 21


TEXAS GULF SHRIMP: THE BLESSING OF THE FLEET Last month marked the start of something tasty — the official opening of the Texas commercial shrimp season. Each year, Texas closes its coastal waters for two months — from May 15 through July 15 — so that shrimp can replenish their population numbers. At every season opening, Texas shrimpers get a little help from above in a unique kickoff that has become a tradition. From Galveston to Palacios to Port Isabel, a “Blessing of the Fleet” offers prayers for shrimpers and their vessels as they head out to the Gulf to start their work. This cherished, colorful tradition helps shrimpers

prepare for their long days at sea as boats are fueled, rigs reset and expectations soar sky-high for what they anticipate to be a banner harvest. One of this year’s events took place in Brownsville, where Reverend Mark Waters blessed the Brownsville-Port Isabel fleet just as he has done every year for the last decade. There’s probably no better way to look at the great Texas economy and shrimp industry than with thankfulness for the past and hope for the future.

TEXAS SHRIMP FUN FACTS Did You Know? Texas shrimpers are responsible for nearly one-third of all shrimp harvested annually from the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a GO TEXAN way of life that creates jobs and supports a healthy Texas economy.

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Texas Gulf Shrimp — Better by a nautical mile! To learn more about wild-caught Gulf shrimp, visit gotexan.org.


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ike pes l g i c e r r othe an.or Find at gotex this

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RECIPE: TEXAS GULF SHRIMP PESTO RICE (Serves four) The region of Italy around Genoa gets all the credit for inventing pesto as we know it, but the delicious idea of pureeing fresh basil with olive oil and garlic also can be found in Spain, southern France and Greece. It was simply waiting to make the acquaintance of Texas shrimp and Texas rice. Try out the following recipe for a delicious take on two classics.

Ingredients: 2 tbsp. 2 tbsp. 1 tbsp. 2 cups ¼ cup 1 cup 2 tbsp. 1 lb. 1 tbsp. ½ cup To taste

Extra-virgin olive oil Minced onion Minced garlic Chicken broth Prepared pesto Long-grain rice Butter Texas Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined Fresh lemon juice Parmesan cheese Kosher salt

Directions: 1. Heat the olive oil in a pan with a tight lid, then briefly sauté the onion and garlic. 2. Add the chicken broth and about half the pesto. When the liquid starts to boil, stir in the rice. 3. Lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook until rice is tender and all liquid is evaporated.

4. In a separate pan, melt the butter and sauté the shrimp just until pink. 5. Stir in the lemon juice. 6. Combine the shrimp mixture and the Parmesan cheese with the rice, folding gently. 7. Season with salt. 8. Garnish with the remaining pesto. 25


SPOT THE GO TEXAN MARK CHALLENGE Want a fun way to share the best of Texas with the world? It’s easy! GO TEXAN uses social media tools like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to post GO TEXAN events, share member news and increase awareness of the wide variety of products grown and made right here in the Lone Star State.

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Challenge: If you spot the GO TEXAN mark, let us know. Send us a picture of the mark on a product, sign or printed materials, and tell us where you saw it. Be sure to use the GO TEXAN hashtag (#GOTEXAN) when you post, so we can easily share your message, or send us an email.


UPCOMING TEXAS EVENTS August 18: Grape Stomp at Pedernales Cellars, Stonewall August 26: Grape Stomp at Becker Vineyards, Fredericksburg September 2: Doss VFD Benefit Fish Fry, Doss September 2-3: Arts Alive, Corpus Christi September 8-9: Fiesta Del Centro, Alice September 9: Food, Wine and Brew Fest, Harker Heights September 14-17: Grapefest, Grapevine September 29-October 22: State Fair of Texas, Dallas October 22: The United Estates of Texas Wine Festival, Florence View more Texas events here. 27


About GO TEXAN

Launched in 1999 by the Texas Department of Agriculture, GO TEXAN, with its signature mark in the shape of Texas, celebrates, promotes and supports the business savvy and plainspoken grit Texas agriculture is known for throughout the world. Whether it’s grown, sewn or served up on a plate, nearly 27 million Texans shop, travel and dine out in support of Texas businesses, agriculture and communities, looking for the GO TEXAN mark to light the way. To learn more about the GO TEXAN program, call (877) 99-GOTEX or visit the GO TEXAN website. Tell others about GO TEXAN! One great and easy way is to forward them this publication. All your friends have to do to is click here to subscribe, and they’ll start receiving the Go Local. GO TEXAN. free monthly e-zine.

About the Texas Department of Agriculture

TDA’s mission is to partner with all Texans to make Texas the nation’s leader in agriculture, fortify our economy, empower rural communities, promote healthy lifestyles, and cultivate winning strategies for rural, suburban and urban Texas through exceptional service and the common threads of agriculture in our daily lives. 28

Go Local. GO TEXAN. August 2017 e-zine  

The latest news on Texas food, wine, restaurants, recipes, gardening, style and more.

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