The State Fair of Texas exists to showcase the best of what Texas has to offer. Sure, there’s the rides and the shows and the weird fried foods. The best part, for me, is trying the local foods at the State Fair of Texas.
A number of small companies brought their foods and drinks to the Food and Fiber Pavilion for a preview event. I found a variety of salsas, jellies, and sauces, some dog treats, and hand-crafted soaps. Craft beer has fairly exploded in Texas in recent years and there were several to try at this event. Texas wineries have been around a little longer, but wine is a different product every year, so it needs to be tasted every time.
One of the nice things about small, local companies is that their foods have recognizable ingredients in them. A few of my favorites are listed here, but be sure and scroll to the bottom of the page for some recipes.
Annie’s Hot! All-purpose pepper sauce. Nicely sweet, with a kick of heat. Annie was there to show off her pepper sauces that she’s been making for more than thirty years. That’s her on the label riding her motorcycle. She gave me a recipe for meat loaf using her pepper sauce that I’ve printed below.
Basic Foodism. Sweet and tangy, with a black pepper finish. They offer original thick and spicy, which is what I tasted, tangy ginger, berry cranberry, and hottest of the hot pepper sauce. Their guiding philosophy is that food should contain only what is natural and essential. Goes great with barbecue. I’m thinking I’m going to mix some in with my baked beans.
Luscombe Farm. Jalapeno pepper jellies. Her original jelly was jalapeno pepper jelly, but now there is also jalapeno blackberry jelly, jalapeno peach jelly, and sweet fire confetti to choose from. It goes great as a spread on a cracker or chip, but as soon as I tasted it, I knew it would go great as an ingredient in a lot of recipes. The jalapeno pepper jelly has the texture of a relish and it’s a savory flavor. Well worth trying. Great recipes on her site.
Four Corners Brewing Co. Local Buzz honey-rye golden ale. Smooth, not too sweet, no bitterness. Brewed with locally sourced honey. The brewery also makes a red ale, a robust porter, a brown ale, and a pale ale. In season right now is their El Chingon IPA.
Community Beer Company. Community Witbier. It’s white because of the unmalted wheat. It has a smooth, light mouthfeel and a citrusy flavor. The brewery also makes a pilsner, a lager, and several ales. They adhere to environmentally sustainable practices and support local artists.
Deep Ellum Brewing Company. Double Brown Stout. My new favorite beer! First, though, I am not a fan of stouts. I have never met a thick and chewy beer that I liked – until I tried Deep Ellum Brewing Company’s Double Brown Stout. It tastes like chocolate! And some other stuff, too, but chocolate! I’m going to make beer ice cream soon. They also brew an IPA, a pilsner, and a blonde, plus some seasonal beers.
Mane Street Bakery. Gourmet dog and horse treats. The treats are natural and nutritious, with organic ingredients. My dogs were quite happy to sample the treats when I got home.
Susan’s Soaps and More. Natural products for skin and hair. Not edible, of course, but still worth mentioning. The web site contains a wide selection of products. At the event, they had soaps, lotions, and scrubs. The lavender oatmeal soap sample I stuck in my purse is probably going to stay there. My purse smells great.
The State Fair of Texas is located at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas and runs from late September to mid-October every year. This year, the fair runs from September 27 to October 20. The gates open at 10 a.m. every day. Exhibit buildings close at 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Annie’s Hot! All-Purpose Pepper Sauce Meat Loaf
1 ½ pounds hamburger
¾ cup oatmeal
½ cup Annie’s Hot! All-Purpose Pepper Sauce
1 small onion, chopped (¼ cup)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp dry mustard
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp sage
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
¼ cup Annie’s Hot! All-Purpose Pepper Sauce, for pouring on meat loaf
Mix all ingredients, except for ¼ cup Annie’s Hot! All-Purpose Pepper Sauce. Spread in ungreased loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches. Spread ¼ cup pepper sauce over meat loaf mixture in pan. Cook uncovered in 350 degree oven until done. Approximately 1 ½ hours.
Ice Cream in a Zip-Lock Bag
(courtesy of Southwest Dairy Museum)
1 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla
small freezer zip-lock bag
1-gallon zip-lock bag
Mix milk, sugar, and vanilla and pour into the small bag. Close bag and seal well. In the gallon bag, add 4 cups crushed ice and 4 Tbsp rock salt. Place the smaller bag with the ice cream mixture into the gallon bag. Close the gallon bag and shake until mixture in the smaller bag becomes ice cream! It’ll take about five minutes. Make sure to seal both bags well.