A hot bowl of rice, a cold grain salad. Either cooked with local vegetable stock. Sounds like the basis for a great fall meal.
Bulgur Salad mix from Vom Fass & Violas’ Spices and Gourmet Foods
Walk into the Vom Fass shop in downtown Duluth and prepare to feel like a kid in a candy store. It’s more than an olive oil and vinegar store, although there’s lots of those to choose from. The store’s shelves are lined with spices and spice blends, pasta, honey and jam and baskets full of grain mixes. You could easily spend an hour looking at everything and choosing what you need for your kitchen or searching for the perfect gift. We were taken with all the rice and grain mixes and finally settled on the Bulgur Salad. You can serve it hot (warming 1 3/4 cups vegetable stock and simmering the mix until the bulgur is softened) or let it cool and mix it with oil and vinegar and vegetables like tomatoes and cucumber for a cold salad. The mixes are produced in Germany so expect metric measurements in the directions.
$9.99 per 7-ounce bag that serves 4 to 6. Available at Vom Fass, 3131 Main Street, Duluth. https://www.facebook.com/Vomfassduluth/
Charleston Gold Rice from Carolina Plantation Rice
I’ve heard some from South Carolina say they can’t enjoy a meal if there’s no rice on the table. Rice has been grown in South Carolina, and particularly in the area around Charleston, since colonists first arrived in the late 1600s. At Plumfield Plantation in Darlington, Campbell Coxe has been growing rice for over 20 years and offering it under the Carolina Plantation Rice brand. They offer white rice, brown rice and two varieties of gold rice - Charleston Gold and Carolina Gold. Both are particularly aromatic with a light golden color and a nutty, sweet taste. No mushy rice here. It’s substantial enough to hold up to saucy dishes like shrimp in tomato gravy, but delicious enough you’d be happy eating a bowl all on its own.
$9.82 per 2-pound bag. Available online at https://www.carolinaplantationrice.com/.
Mad Mama’s Versatile Vegetable Stock
Mad Mama Gourmet is the creation of Amy Smith who took her husband’s San Marzano Tomato Soup and turned it into a soup empire. Visit her booth at local farmers markets and you might find Smith herself ladling out samples. Maybe it’s her Mushroom Madeira or her new no-noodle Scratch Chicken. The selection varies depending on the season and the temperature. Her Versatile Vegetable Stock could be the backbone for much of the cooking you’ll be doing this holiday season. Smith roasts onions, carrots, celery, fennel and mushrooms, then simmers the vegetables with other aromatics and seasonings and distills it into a celery-forward stock. Use it any recipe that calls for stock and rest easy knowing it’s been very lightly salted so it won’t overwhelm whatever you’re cooking.
$13.99 to $16 per 31-ounce container. Available at the Brookhaven and Grant Park farmers markets, Lucy’s Market, Nuts n’ Berries, Buford Highway Farmers Market and online at http://madmamagourmet.com/.
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