Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ranchero Shrimp and Seafood Stew

Flavorful seafood stews are a favorite in beach towns along the Gulf, Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Mexico. Larry's Ranchero sauce is mild enough for the flavor of the shrimp or other seafood to shine through. Serve with rice or corn tortillas and a wedge of lime and you have a wonderful beach meal.

One 16 oz. jar of Larry's Ranchero Sauce or your favorite ranchero sauce
One pound of peeled uncooked shrimp, scallops, tilapia or a combination

1. Heat one jar of Larry's Sauce in a wide pan until bubbling.
2. Add the shrimp, scallops, tilapia, clams mussels or a combination.
3. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the seafood is cooked through.
4. Spoon shrimp and sauce over cooked rice. Add a side of zucchini and a wedge of lime and you have a tasty and healthy meal.

Serve 2 to 4.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Larry at Price Chopper Latham March 2011

Fantastic sampling demo at Price Chopper in Latham on Saturday, March 26. Offered samples of Ranchero Black Bean Chili, Chipotle Red Beans and Turkey Mole We sold nearly three cases of sauce and educated people about the flavors of Larry's Southwestern Sauces. Thanks, Price Chopper!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Larry's Southwestern Sauces in the Daily Gazette

Bringing the Southwest to the Northeast

Larry Sombke prepares huevos rancheros with his all-natural Ranchero sauce at his home in Delmar. Huevos rancheros is an easy dish to whip up. All you need is eggs, a good chili sauce (like Larry’s Sombke Southwestern Ranchero Sauce), some grated cheese, tortillas and a lime garnish, if you are feeling fancy.

Larry Sombke warmed a kettle full of fresh crushed tomatoes, garlic, onion, jalapeño peppers and cilantro inside the kitchen of his Delmar home.
“Mmmm,” Sombke said of his spicy sauce. “It even smells good.”

Sombke wants people to enjoy both aromas and tastes of his ranchero, chipotle and mole (pronounced “MOE-lay”) sauces — the stars of his Larry’s Southwestern Sauce line. The Mexican-influenced sauces can be used for nachos, tacos, scrambled eggs, soups, chicken wings and also jazz up meats and seafoods.

Sombke believes the sauces are unique because of their ingredients. Americans are exploring Southwestern foods more than they used to, Sombke believes, and that means more chipotle peppers — they’re smoke-dried jalapeños — more dishes with beans and corn tortillas and more cilantro.

“If you don’t have cilantro in a Mexican-style sauce, you don’t have a Mexican-style sauce,” Sombke said, as he sampled his warm “ranchero” on a cold, late winter day.

The author and food producer has been making his Mexican sauces since the late 1970s and his days as a chef at the Pacquin Street Cafe, a natural foods restaurant in Columbia, Mo. During travels to California and Mexico, Sombke learned about chipotle peppers and other ingredients popular in Southwest-style cooking.

Other careers followed. Sombke worked in radio and wrote food articles for publications such as The New York Times, Esquire, Food & Wine, USA Today and the New York tabloid newspapers. He owned and operated The Private Chef, a personalized catering business in New York City and the Hamptons.

Sombke also was the associate producer on “What’s Cooking With Burt Wolf” and “Burt Wolf’s Travels” on PBS and CNN. He has written 14 books about cooking, gardening and sustainable green living. For 10 years, he was heard as the “Natural Gardener” on Northeast Public Radio.

Sombke always kept his sauce pots going. Friends liked the mixtures so much that he decided to manufacture his products on a greater scale and market them. Nelson Farms in Cazenovia (near Syracuse) was the first step. Nelson is part of the Pride of New York program, designed to encourage local small-scale agriculture and food production, and became Larry’s Southwestern’s first co-packer.

He began selling his jars during the summer of 2009, visiting farmers’ markets in Delmar, Voorheesville, Ballston Spa and the Empire State Plaza in Albany. “We had no idea how the public would respond, but they liked the flavors,” Sombke said. “They liked the fact that this was an all-natural vegetarian product with no preservatives.”

The sauces are now also manufactured closer to home, at Casa Visco Fine Foods in Rotterdam. And in January, Sombke’s triple play received shelf space in 10 Price Chopper supermarkets in the Capital Region, including Glenville, Saratoga Springs, Wilton, Clifton Park and Colonie.

Twenty-six Whole Foods markets in New England are also on the Larry’s bandwagon, and the Southwesterners are also available at the Honest Weight Food Co-Op in Albany and the Niskayuna Co-op supermarket. Each jar costs between $5.99 and $6.99. Nearly 75 stores in all carry Larry's Southwestern Sauces, from Portland, ME, to Saratoga Springs to Bedford Hills.

Sombke said his ranchero offers the natural flavors of jalapeño and cilantro. Chipotle, featuring the smoked jalapeño peppers, adds a layer of smoky flavor. “Mole has the mysterious, rich flavor of chocolate,” Sombke said. “When people try mole, they don’t know what the flavor is. It doesn’t taste like a chocolate bar.” The sauces can also be used for nachos, as marinades, in meat loaf or on hamburgers.

“They taste great, they’re exciting flavors with the chilies and the herbs,” Sombke said. “They’re also very healthy and natural flavors. People have been eating Mexican-type flavors for years in fast food restaurants, but now they’re discovering that there are better flavors, better options, more authentic flavors and I think they’re really attracted to them.”

Monday, March 21, 2011

Shop Rite and Whole Foods Tasting Demos

I offered samples of Turkey Mole at Shop Rite Supermarket in Kingston, NY on Saturday and Ranchero Red Beans at Whole Foods Market in Glastonbury, CT on Sunday. It was the first day of Spring. Sold several cases of Larry's Southwestern Sauces and made a lot of new friends. Thanks, Shop Rite and Whole Foods!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Times Union story about Larry's Southwestern Sauces

Caroline Barret wrote this story about Larry's Southwestern Sauces on her Times Union blog.

Nachos and Larry's Southwestern Sauces

Wanting to redeem myself after the butternut squash soup debacle, I decided I would treat my family to nachos. There was a jar of this wonderful stuff in my cabinet that I picked up at the farmers market. It was Ranchero sauce, one of three made by Larry of Larry’s Southwestern Sauces. Larry lives here in Delmar, vends at the markets around town, and always has a smile and kind word for his customers.
I love his products, rich, tomato-based sauce for chili, enchiladas, tacos, any Mexican style food. For my dad’s birthday I made him a gift basket with products from the farmers market, and he especially loved this sauce.
Last night I cut up corn tortillas, brushed them with oil, sprinkled on a little salt and baked them on cookie sheets until they were crisp and golden. We melted cheese over those, and served it with steamy black beans, guacamole and ground turkey that I simmered in Larry’s Ranchero Sauce. The Ranchero is mild and has a sweetness that comes from tomatoes and mild chiles. Elliot helped by smashing the avocados (oh, how he loves to smash things,) Zoe tossed a salad and Lucy stirred the turkey. We tossed up a simple green salad and all were happy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Veteran's Chili Cook-off Fundraiser

Larry's Southwestern Sauces will be featured in one of the entries of the University at Albany Veteran's Organization Chili Cook-off fundraiser, Thursday, March 17th from 11 am till 3 pm at the UAlbany Bookstore Atrium. Six types of chili will be entered, including a vegetarian selection.

Tickets are $5 for students and $8 for faculty and staff and it includes a bowl of chili, a roll and a beverage. There will be musical performances, raffles and a 50/50 drawing.

Proceeds will benefit the educational opportunities for the Veterans and Military Courtesy Room at the Albany International Airport.

Everyone is invited.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mole Grilled Chicken Wings

Mole Grilled Chicken Wings is a tasty new southwestern way for you to serve wings at your next party. Mole is the blend of chocolate and chilies. Mix the mole sauce with vinegar to create a marinade for the wings before grilling. So good! Serve with Larry's Homemade Chunky Guacamole and tortilla chips and you have snacks ready to go.

3 pounds chicken wings
1 cup Larry's Southwestern Mole Sauce or your favorite mole sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon each coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the wings in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper and toss.
2. Add the mole sauce and the vinegar and toss to coat.
3. Cover and marinate for one hour at room temprature or up to overnight in the fridge.
4. Remove the wings from the marinade and grill or broil for ten minutes on each side until the wings are cooked through.
Serves 4 to 6.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spotlight Story on Larry's Southwestern Sauces

Local man's line of southwestern sauces sees greater play
Larry Sombke knows a thing or two about food.

He's written about it, he's eaten it, he's cooked it and now, he's selling it.

In what is bound to be an encouraging success story to farmers market vendors all over, Sombke's line of natural sauces has gradually expanded to store shelves all over the immediate area and New England. He recently announced his southwestern sauces will be carried in area Price Choppers, a great step for the product line.

His recipe for success is simple.

“I'm slowly expanding, because when people taste my sauces they like it, then they buy it,” Sombke said.

The first jars of Larry's Southwestern Sauces were packed in the summer of 2009. He toured area farmers markets at first, including in Delmar, Voorheesville and Ballston Spa, before making it to shelves in independent grocers like McCarroll's in Delmar and Putnam Market in Saratoga Springs.

The brand grew to find a distributor, and is now in 70 stores, including 26 Whole Foods Markets all over New England.

Though he now resides in Delmar, Sombke developed his sauces far from the Capital District, in Missouri. There, as a chef at a natural foods restaurant, he developed his recipes.

“We used to go down to Texas and Mexico, traveling a lot, and I've always liked Mexican, southwestern food,” he said. “I started cooking that at the restaurant and people liked it...I've been cooking this for friends and family ever since.”

Sombke's sauce line includes a traditional Ranchero sauce, a smoky Chipotle sauce and a unique Mole sauce. All will assist in the creation of quality and authentic southwestern/Mexican dishes, and all are natural, preservative-free and gluten-free. The sauces are packaged by Casa Visco Fine Foods in Rotterdam.

For Sombke, selling his creations is another step in a long line of careers. He's worked in newspapers and television news, authored six cookbooks, writes a gardening column and was a producer on shows for CNN and PBS.

He also does substitute teaching and runs a consulting business. Of his varied roles, however, Sombke said he hopes Larry's Southwestern Sauces is destined for the most success.

“It's an exciting time to be a food producer. People are really interested in natural food, they're interested in foods that have great flavor...they're interested in foods that are produced by small companies,” he said. “It's daunting to get bigger, but it's a good thing.”

In addition to the stores mentioned above, Sombke's sauces can be found in Price Choppers in Queensbury, Wilton, Saratoga Springs, Clifton Park, Latham, Westgate Plaza in Albany, Rt. 155 in Colonie, Glenville/Scotia and Bethlehem in the natural/Tex-Mex section. For more information or to order online, visit

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spotlight Newspaper Story about Larry's Southwestern Sauces

The Spotlight Newspapers published a nice story about Larry's Southwestern Sauces and Larry in this week's edition. The Spotlight covers Bethlehem, Guilderland, Colonie, Schenectady and Saratoga Counties. Larry's Southwestern Sauces are available in Price Chopper Supermarkets in all of those areas.

The Spotlight is a weekly and they haven't posted the story to their online edition. I will send that along when they do. But, in the meantime, pick up a copy of the Spotlight at your favorite grocery store or news stand.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Chunky Guacamole

Make this fast, simple and delicious guacamole and you will never feel the need to buy a pre-made guacamole from the store ever again.

2 whole ripe avocados
1 lime
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon each coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh tomato

1. Cut the avocados in half lengthwise, remove the pit and scoop the insides into a mixing bowl.
2. Squeeze the juice of the lime over the avocado right away to stop any discoloring and to add that citrus flavor.
3. Mash the avocado with the back of a fork or potato masher.
4. Add the onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, salt, pepper and tomato. Mix it all together.
5. Serve with your favorite chips or spread on fresh or toasted whole grain bread for a wonderful sandwich.
Serves two to four.