Welcome to Dirty Work, our new series of dispatches from the MUNCHIES Garden. We're inviting chefs, bartenders, and personalities in the world of food and drink to explore our edible playground and make whatever the hell inspires them with our rooftop produce. The results: MUNCHIES Garden recipes for you, dear reader.
Davy Crockett once said, "You can go to hell, and I will go to Texas," but Courtney McBroom from Large Marge came to the MUNCHIES garden instead.
When she's not talking up fellow Texans' like Patrick Swayze, McBroom is busy cooking up her upcoming line of packaged goods, such as pralinella (a gooey, caramel-pecan sauce), chili oil, and her famous queso, to a store near you. Along with co-founder Leslie Behrens, McBroom runs the all-American food pop-up out of both LA and NY.
Somehow, the undeniable force of influence from the Lonestar State echoes throughout their menu.
On her recent visit to our garden, she gathered freshly cut lemongrass, Thai basil, pineapple sage, curly mint, and heirloom tomatoes.
Sweetened iced tea runs through McBroom's veins as strongly as her Texan pride, which is where the inspiration for her MUNCHIES herb garden Sun Tea began.
"My mom used to make sun tea all of the time because it was hot as hell outside growing up, and it's the easiest thing to make." All that you have to do is add your favorite herbs, sugar, and any fresh fruits you like—Courtney used fresh plums and apricots—to a vintage sun tea jar (about $20 on Etsy) and stick it outside when it feels like your face is going to melt off.
"It never gets really hot, so it's super smooth and drinkable, almost like cold brew coffee. And whatever I don't drink after I brew it, I throw into ice cube trays. You can thaw it out and drink it or make a smoothie or add it into a cocktail," Courtney says.
So when Seasonal Affective Disorder officially kicks in in the next few months, just walk over to your freezer and dethaw summer while you look at Airbnbs in Austin.
But no native Texan or carpetbagger could be considered authentic without mastering the art of fresh and cooked salsa. Thankfully, McBroom is here to save us all with her salsa roja recipe, which is the best of both worlds. "People are always having debates over fresh versus cooked salsa, but both of them have a lot of advantages. Fresh salsa tastes so bright, but cooked salsa has depth and flavor to it, so my recipe combines the two."
After harvesting a few of the ripest heirloom tomatoes from our garden, McBroom simmered over half of the batch with onions and jalapeños over low heat for an hour while she made a fresh salsa from the remaining few.
After a quick taste, a hit of lime, and a bowl of fresh queso waiting in the wings for the perfect combination, McBroom moved on to the unofficial condiment of Texans: Ranch Dressing.
While McBroom wishes she could have the stuff flowing through a 24/7 IV drip, she's busy proselytizing about its miraculous gourmet qualities. "Ranch is the bastard child of salad dressing. Everyone hates on it, but I don't understand why. I truly believe that if someone hates on it, it's because they think it's trashy, but I have never met a single person that was every pissed off when I served Ranch dressing at a dinner party."
It begins with fresh herbs, buttermilk, and sour cream, followed by whatever else you feel like throwing in there.
And faster than you can pour from your bottle of Hidden Valley, you've made this stuff on your own.
All that's left to do is crank up the Jerry Jeff Walker, remember the Alamo, drown yourself in queso, salsa roja, and Ranch dressing, and swallow up Texas with that sweet Sun Tea.