Most people know that red wines are commonly served with hearty dishes like beef and white wines go well with chicken or fish. It's not merely an arbitrary rule set by some secret society of vintners and chefs from long ago. Flavors are paired because they enhance each other. It's physical - our palates like certain combinations. Those same principles apply to beers which range from mild and light-bodied to strong, dark brews. But selecting your beer is only half the job. There's no better meal to complement your choice than a delicious plate of sausage. How to choose the right partners? As a general rule, follow the colors: light goes with light, dark with dark. Here are a few ideas for sausages and suds:Sausages made from white meats (chicken and veal) work well with light beers. When you serve Weisswurst (it literally means white sausage), look for a pilsner or wheat hefewiezen lager. If your tastes run to spicy sausages like an Andouille, you can choose a pale ale. Richly flavored sausages like those made with lamb and plenty of garlic and herbs should be served with medium bodied amber ales ('steams') or you might go with the deeper flavor of a porter. And finally, the tasty smoked and black sausage varieties need a strong beer like a stout or barleywine. Here are a few suggestions for your next trip to the market or specialty beer and wine shop where you'll find a tempting array of options.• Light bodied beers: Pilsner Urquell, Sierra Nevada Summerfest, Pyramid Hefewiezen, and Odell Brewing's Easy Street Wheat.• Pale Ales: Samuel Adams Pale Ale, Stoudts American Pale Ale, and Flying Dog Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale.• Steams: Anchor Steam, Mountain Goat Steam Ale, Flying Dog Old Scratch, and Steamworks Steam Engine Lager.• Stouts: Guinness Stout, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Ale, Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout, and Bell Brewery's Third Coast Old Ale.We hope we've whetted your appetite for a 'cold wet one' that links up perfectly with whatever type of sausage is on your menu tonight.
Want to impress your friends with all you know about sausages? We thought so!Sausages have a proud and fascinating history:• The word sausage comes from the Latin word 'salscius', meaning 'prepared by salting'.• Sausages were mentioned in The Odyssey which was written over 2700 years ago.• In the fourth century, the Catholic Church banned the eating of sausages as a sin as they were associated with pagan festivals. (We're glad they changed their minds about that!)• During WWII, sausages were called Bangers because they had so much water in them, they exploded when fried. (Hint: sausages should be cooked slowly over medium heat and will only burst if cooked too quickly. Don't prick the casing; it lets the flavor out.)Uncle Sam is watching:• San Luis Sausages are USDA inspected and approved.• The plant is inspected daily. We never know when the inspector will show up or how long the inspection will last.• Nothing in a USDA plant is ever allowed to sit directly on the floor. (The USDA must know that the delicious taste of our sausages has us walking on air.)• All products must have an approved USDA label before they can be sold. Once that label is obtained, the recipe can't be changed. We bet you didn't know that:• All of our meat not only goes through a grinder, but a metal detector and bone collector too.• More sausages are eaten on Saturday than any other day.• Keith Richards loves his British sausages so much he won't leave home without them! Whenever the Rolling Stones travel to exotic destinations, a supply of sausages goes with them.Now that you're a sausage expert, you'll be the life of the party. Of course, it would also help if you went to the party with enough San Luis Sausages to feed the crowd. Just an idea.
Some time ago, when it was suggested to us that San Luis Sausage Company become certified as a WBE (Woman-owned Business Enterprise) we had no idea what the process was or how it would benefit us.
If you're not familiar with the term WBE, here it is in a nutshell - or in a sausage casing, as we prefer to say:Programs that certify disadvantaged, minority, and women-owned businesses represent an effort to give such companies a shot at contracts they might not otherwise have the market power to win. The programs create an incentive for large corporations and government agencies to seek out and include suppliers that reflect the changing demographics of the country. WBE certification starts with the requirement that an applicant must be an independent U.S. based business that's at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women, although there's more to it.
You've heard the old saying, "There are two things you don't want to see being made: sausages and laws." In our case, you'd probably be delighted to watch how we make sausages. Perhaps the WBE certification process fits better.
Applications, documentation, fees, and site visits are all part of the review process. Many applicants quit before reaching the goal. But for those who stick it out as we did, the reward is access to more corporate and government supply chains. Truth be told, dealing with the bureaucracy can be frustrating. Twice, our application got lost and we had to track it down. We almost gave up several times but saw it through to receive certification last July from NWBOC (National Women Business Owners Corporation) and from WBENC (Women's Business Enterprise National Council) this past January.
If WBE certification sounds like a good thing for your business, you can get more information on line. (Or you might want to find someone who specializes in guiding companies through the maze.) It took quite a bit of determination, but we decided to put it all on the table. After all, putting things on the table is what we do. Now that we're a certified WBE, we'll be going after larger, more lucrative contracts, which means more people enjoying our sausages. And that's the best reward.
When you think about sausages (and we hope you do that often), you're probably not thinking of a food that's made with fruits and vegetables. But you'd be surprised at the delightful flavors, not to mention health benefits, that produce adds to our recipes. Of course, that only happens if you use the freshest and finest the earth has to offer. Which is why we're pleased to shine the spotlight on our supplier, Ingardia Brothers Produce of Santa Ana.
If you've traveled the freeways of Southern California, you've seen their trucks taking produce, seafood, dairy, and grocery items to fine restaurants, hospitals, schools, and family businesses all over the area ... and bringing some of our most important ingredients here, to the kitchens where San Luis Sausages are made.
Our Chicken Apple variety contains apples and onions. Fiesta Chicken includes red and green bell peppers, jalapenos, cilantro, and green onions. Southwestern Chicken has yellow onions and parsley. Chicken Mediterranean is made with red bell peppers, sun dried tomatoes, parsley, and pine nuts. No wonder they taste so good!
We've been doing business with Ingardia for over 4 years and have always received outstanding service – even same day delivery in a crunch. The Ingardia family started in the early seventies with a small retail store. Their philosophy has always been to provide great quality at a fair price. Their reputation for high standards of service grew along with the business, and even though they have blossomed over the years from that modest beginning to a company with 150 employees and a 63,000 square-foot state-of-the-art distribution facility with a fleet of 54 trucks, they've never lost sight of the essentials. Thanks, Dave Samuels, Sam and Joe Ingardia, for helping us to bring superior sausage products to the marketplace. You are the cream of the crop.
Foodies, take note. (Aren't we all foodies?) There's a treat waiting for you at a rather new complex called South Coast Collection (SoCo) located in Costa Mesa (on Hyland Avenue just west of Harbor Boulevard between Sunflower and South Coast Drive), where you'll find a wonderful restaurant supply emporium and gourmet food shop called Surfas. The SoCo Surfas is a branch of a family business founded in an abandoned Los Angeles garage over 75 yeas ago. This is their first Orange County store and you don't have to be a professional chef to love it.
Surfas isn't SoCo's only attraction, although it's a big one. You could spend the better part of a day enjoying all the fascinating shops. There's also a Farmer's Market in the parking lot every Saturday from 9 to 2. The complex features plenty of eateries to tempt your palate along with furniture and home design stores to get your creative juices flowing. And speaking of juices flowing, we're excited to tell you that Surfas carries San Luis Sausages.
Finally, the sausages people have been enjoying at Orange County restaurants like Lucca's in Newport Beach, The Fig in Santa Monica, Zov's in Irvine, and Gabbi's Mexican Restaurant in Orange can make their debut on your table at home. Head past the shelves of exotic chocolates and specialty oils and vinegars to the freezer case, where you'll find no fewer than six delicious varieties of San Luis Sausage, among them Chicken Apple, Pesto Chicken, Chicken Italian, Sweet Pork Italian, Hot Pork Italian, and Southwestern Chicken. Yum!
Now that you can buy San Luis Sausage right here in the OC, we're going to be posting recipes for some delicious dishes. You'll probably have some great recipe ideas of your own. We'd love to hear them.
Cave men were lucky to make it to the age of 25. That was probably due to harsh conditions, saber-tooth tigers, and other cave men with bigger clubs. It probably wasn't due to their diet. Scientists tell us that cave men ate mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat, and fish. They didn't have pasta, French fries, or Triple Chocolate Fudge ice cream. You may have heard of a popular new diet, The Paleo Diet, that emphasizes the types of foods on which humans were genetically designed to thrive. It's rich in the very things man ate in the Paleolithic Era, that time in history we call the Stone Age. You might not think sausage fits into the plan. Let's see.
These days, we have practically unlimited choices when it comes to selecting our food. We know that healthy foods prolong life and make us feel good. We think of certain foods as no-nos or treats and other foods as part of smart eating. So what about sausage? If you said that it's a greasy, unhealthy food that's best avoided, you'd be right and you'd be wrong. It all depends on the sausage. There are some pretty scary sausage products out there. But at San Luis Sausage, we use only high-quality, lean chicken and pork, vegetables, and spices. That's it. There's nothing bad in there. No preservatives. No gluten. No soy. Cave men would have loved it.
So if you're inclined to look for healthy foods that taste great and make you feel satisfied, don't cross sausage off your list. Just be sure that you choose one that's made with the same goals as yours in mind. You might just find that following a healthy eating plan is more fun than you expected.
How many times have you wished someone would tell you what to make for dinner? I’ve always said the hardest part about cooking every night is actually coming up with something. If someone told me what to make, it would cut down my time by half (or at least the thinking part!). So once again I’m faced with what to do in the kitchen, and I realized we haven’t had pasta in ages. And of course sausage is so good with pasta, any time of the year. This dish is somewhat light, and that goes well with the warm evenings we are having right now.
Read more: Pasta with Artichokes and Sausage
I know that winter time doesn’t have the wonderful selection of fresh vegetables available in summer, but I have a confession, one of my favorite vegetable dishes is one I make in the winter with readily available produce. I’m talking about root vegetables, the ones most people don’t know about or have forever sworn off. Cooked this way, they are delicious, and if I could, I would eat this every week of the year. (Or at least until fresh corn and tomatoes hit the markets.) By roasting these root vegetables, they get a caramelized surface, and a sweet, nutty flavor. An added bonus is that this dish is super healthy and fairly low in fat, depending on the amount of oil you use.
This is a basic recipe, but you can substitute a number of vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, brussel sprouts and squash. Bear in mind that some of these cook faster than others, so I cut the slow cookers in smaller pieces. This dish will make a lot, but the leftovers are just as good the next day.Winter Vegetables
Set the over for 400F degrees
2 or three parsnips, diced approximately ¾” cubes1 or two rutabagas, diced approximately ¾" cubes8-10 Shallots, peeled and halvedOne head of garlic, each clove peeled½ to 1 pound mushrooms (depending on how much you like them), halvedOlive oilKosher salt and fresh ground pepperFresh Rosemary and Thyme minced, about 2 teaspoons each or 1 teaspoon each dried (optional) Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl. Add enough olive oil to lightly coat and toss gently. Add the spices and mix to distribute. Pour the vegetable mix into a shallow, wide pan and cook at 400 for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the parsnips and rutabagas have reached the desired softness, stirring once halfway through.
You can alternatively omit the salt before cooking and add a finishing salt after the vegetables are done.
4 to 6 as a side dish
I’m often asked how I come up with interesting sausage flavors. I thought it would be fun to document my latest attempt to show what process I use. It’s deceivingly simple, nothing crazy or mysterious, just basic kitchen work.
This is really part one of a two part process, the second being the actual linking of the sausage. Because there is so much time involved between trial and error and actual linking, I’ll have to write about that at a later time.
So, how to come up with new flavors. First I start with a dish I really enjoy. It can be something with different Italian flavors, or meat with a delicious sauce. I think about whether it would translate into a good sausage, and then, would someone else be interested in eating those same flavors. Believe me, some of my favorite foods would not be best sellers. (Like hamburgers with blue-cheese!) Since I am currently on a Moroccan food kick, I thought of the delicious and hard to find Merguez sausage. Merguez is a very flavorful North African sausage typically made with lamb.
I researched several recipes, and then came up with a starting formula. The one I especially liked was from the Moroccan website.
In making a spice blend for this sausage, I wanted to toast the fennel, cumin and coriander to make them more fragrant. I thought this would add a lot of flavor.
Another ingredient I absolutely wanted to use was harissa. I already had homemade harissa from previous tagines I’ve made. If you want to make your own, there are several different recipes on various cooking sites. Here is a collection of the main ingredients.
After grinding the lamb, I mixed in all the ingredients and formed a couple of small patties. It’s so much work to stuff sausages, so I always taste my mixtures again and again until I’m absolutely sure I like it. These turned out pretty tasty.
Once I’ve decided on a recipe I like, I take it to the USDA plant and have a small sample made up. After getting a few more opinions, I submit a label application to the USDA in Washington DC. (I can’t sell anything without an approved application). Once product labels are made I can sell to the public!