I was born with that project-mad, Martha Stewart gene that, at this time of year, compels me to make jams, preserves and chutneys, and spend hours canning tomatoes and freezing garden vegetables like some demented, old-fashioned farm wife. It’s about equally gratifying and exhausting. After a particularly frenzied bout last weekend, I was too tired to mix up a barbecue sauce (do Martha’s batteries ever run down?). So I caved for once, went in search of something ready made, and discovered the spicy condiments by Baron’s International Kitchen, a company based in West Hurley, Ulster County. Slather the Caribbean Marinade jerk sauce on some chicken wings, let them sit for 30 minutes, put them in a slow oven for a couple of hours and voila! Add a few celery sticks and a blue cheese dip and you’ve got a delicious, almost effortless version of Buffalo wings. The jerk sauce comes in six heat levels ranging from very mild to atomic. (I’d say “hot” is the best bet if you want tang without nuking your taste buds.)
Therése Baron founded the company in 2003 after the dot-com bubble burst and she lost her job. She’s of Scottish, Portuguese, and Caribbean descent, with extended family in India and Hong Kong. Her husband’s family is from Odessa and Britain. So that’s the international aspect, hints of which creep into the recipes she offers at her Web site. You can use various strengths of the Caribbean Marinade (or the hot sauce) to add some zing to all kinds of simple meals, including vegetarian ones. The grilled salmon with a sweet ginger sauce sounds like a particularly appealing Asian-meets-Caribbean mash-up. Baron also makes a Portuguese Repolho Relish, which can take a hot dog or a burger to a higher level. Fresh, usually local ingredients go into the condiments. Prices are a little higher than the mass-produced stuff, but worth it. You can find the products at Adams, and at specialty foods stores and farm stands throughout the region, or buy online.
» Go to Baron’s International Kitchen in West Hurley, NY
» Visit Baron’s International Kitchen’s Web site at www.baronsinternationalkitchen.com
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» Go to the Hudson Valley Restaurants Guide
» Go to the Hudson Valley Food & Drink Guide