More than 150 vendors hit the floor at the first-ever MetroCooking Dallas cooking show headlined by Food Network heavyweights Bobby Flay and Paula Deen. From "dirty" seasonings to a bra for your pot, here's the scoop on five fun foodie products we now can't live without.
The Jelly Queens
Are you ready for this jelly? The sassiest gals in the jellicious biz — Donna Collins, Juliet Mossman, Lori Blackman, Susan Schmidt and Peggy Maxson — get together to make organic jellies and jams packed with personality and Texas punch. Think raspberry chipotle jam with Belgium lambic beer, banana nut bread jam laced with banana beer, or black garlic and rosemary barbecue sauce with red wine. These ain't your granny's jellies. Order Jelly Queens jams, jellies, sauces and baby cakes through the website.
Originally made in Provence, France, more than 50 years ago, Gourmet Grater is proof that old-school inventions can still hold up in our technology age. Hand-made now in Spain, the pretty painted ceramic plates double as useable art in the kitchen. The artisan-crafted ridges can grate anything from garlic to nutmeg to your favorite cheese. They are dishwasher safe, with a five-year warranty on the grating surface. Plus the quality ceramic glaze is guaranteed to keep the design from fading. Each unique set comes with a garlic skin remover and a brush for removing food from the plate. Prices range from $19.75-$21.95, depending on the design, through the website.
Hey, we could all could use a bit of support during our lifetime, and pots are no exception. The PotBra is a must for every pot luck or tailgating party. The clever invention came about when Fort Worth husband-and-wife team Keith and Sherrie Charles got sick of cleaning up spills in the car whenever they brought their special chili to pot lucks. Made of high-strength, food-grade silicone, the PotBra stretches over slowcookers, pots and casserole dishes with ease, keeping the lids intact. It can be used to transpot hot pots with temperatures up to 400 degrees, and it's dishwasher safe. Available online for $12.95 with free U.S. shipping.
Back to the Roots
This is a tale of two UC Berkeley graduates, Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora, who turned down lucrative corporate paths to build an urban mushroom farming business with heart and soul. The sustainable business venture reuses coffee grounds thrown away from local coffee shops to grow delicious oyster mushrooms from kits. The business also aims to encourage kids to make healthier choices — plus it's a fun science project at home and in the classroom. Check out the 1-for-1 Facebook campaign: Back to the Roots will donate a kit and a sustainability curriculum to an elementary school of your choice for every photo posted of your fully grown shrooms. $19.95 from Whole Foods Market and other online retailers.
"Once you go dirty, you wouldn't wanna go any other way," says Todd "The Dirt Man" Courtney. The enigmatic founder of Todd's Dirt spiced things up at MetroCooking Dallas with his line of gourmet seasonings and his entertaining blend of craziness. Check out Dirt TV on his website, where he shows you how to get down and dirty with recipes like ribs or beer-can chicken using his three spice blends: Original Dirt, Crabby Dirt and Bayou Dirt. Todd's Dirt is all-natural and gluten- and MSG-free. And yes, it does look like dirt. Available at Central Market or at Todd's Dirt.