I tend to not cook much with ready made food items. It's not that I'm completely morally opposed to them. Yes - a lot of processed foods are made with far too much salt, fat and GMO ingredients for my taste. And many of them are very pricey and not very tasty to boot. But I'm a busy person and I do appreciate the convenience and time savings of a quality, well-made product.
There aren't many locally processed foods from our area so using them hasn't been an issue for the Dark Days challenge. That changed this week. One of my favorite local farms, Rushy Springs Farm, made some marinades and I picked some up this past fall. These products have been a wonderful way for our friend to use up the produce he doesn't sell at our local market. He and I have rhapsodized many hours away singing the praises of various hot peppers and the Aji Amarillo is one of our favorites.
Last night, Marcus and I took chicken thighs from Laurel Creek Meats and grilled them. When they were close to being done, we basted them with some Aji Amarillo sauce We served these thighs with summer squash from our local farmers market that I blanched and froze this past summer. I sauteed them with a fresh potato onion from our garden, a little bit of frozen, roasted ancho chili and frozen tomato from my garden and finished them with a tiny bit of frozen local cilantro I put away last summer. In fact, I used a tiny bit of beef suet to fry the squash so everything except the salt & cumin was local in this meal.
It was a wonderful, quick meal that tasted like summer. And the Aji Amarillo sauce is a wonderful locally made product that made our day a little easier and tastier.