Do you find that January inspires the need for a burst of excitement in the kitchen, like perhaps a few new ingredients and new recipes to reignite a culinary lull?
Local farmers markets never fail to provide a welcome dose of inspiration. On Saturday at the weekly market at Marin Country Mart in Larkspur, I came across Margot’s Morsels and Crazy Crumbs, both made with sourdough bread from San Francisco.
“The chunks are a tasty snack that’s healthy for you and low in fat, salt, and carbs,” says Southern Marin founder and resident Margot Hirsch, elaborating on the short ingredient list and observation that many consume them by the handful from the bag. .
But she and other members of her fanbase invented all sorts of ways to use Margot’s Morsels as well as her Crazy Crumbs, a later addition to the product line.
“The pandemic seems to have accentuated the need to appeal to sophisticated palettes and create delicious new foods to liven up what’s cooking,” she says.
Her suggestions for livening up your meals include sprinkling them on soups and salads, adding a touch of umami and crunch to pasta or roasted vegetables, or using them to coat chicken cutlets or fish.
If my ambitious cooking plan holds, a few of the recipes from his website will soon appear on my table, like White Chicken Chili with Primo Parmesan Crunch; Swiss chard and kale gratin and chicken piccata meatballs made with Killer Garlic Crazy Crumbs; five caramelized onion dip with Margot’s Morsels on the side for dipping; s’mores pie with Simply Sea Salt breadcrumb crust; and maybe, if I’m not too tired, cheesy mushroom breakfast strata topped with Rockin’ Rosel Morsels.
Hirsch has a professional background in technology, but has long thought about food-related entrepreneurial ventures. Why Margot’s Morsels? Something had to be done with the abundance of leftover sourdough bread baked by her husband, Milt Reeder, a longtime trained bread lover whose high production rate exceeded what the couple could give away or store in the freezer.
Hirsch cut up the remaining loaves and smeared the pieces with garlic butter to make the original batch of croutons. From there, she used her professional sales acumen and the extra time given during the pandemic lockdown to perfect her recipes and create additional flavors. She says it was clear from the start that she wanted to use premium, all-natural ingredients. These include aged Italian Parmesan that her husband grates, fresh rosemary from Green Gulch Farm in Muir Beach for the infused olive oil, and heirloom garlic from Christopher Ranch in Gilroy.
In May 2020, Hirsch was ready for local farmers markets, where she says she found the vendors to be “the most amazing, hardworking, supportive and helpful people you will ever meet and a great community to be part of during the pandemic.”
When she expanded her reach to supermarket shelves, it was time to reduce Reeder’s baking load and find a commercial baker.
“The most critical element when outsourcing bread was making sure we always maintained our very high standards, and we believe we did that,” Hirsch says of the anonymous San Francisco baker who now takes care of baking bread.
The sourdough is delivered early in the morning when a labor-intensive, multi-step process begins at a Community Action Marin commercial kitchen in San Rafael, where it is sliced in two directions, coated in ingredients specific to flavor, hand tossed, baked, dried and packaged sealed.
Hirsch is committed to giving back to the community and hires many of its kitchen employees through Integrated Community Services, a San Rafael-based nonprofit that provides employment services and training to life skills to people with disabilities in the county.
Buy Margot’s Morsels and Crazy Crumbs in Marin at Mill Valley Market, Andronico’s Community Markets in San Anselmo, Driver’s Market & Deli and Golden Gate Market in Sausalito, and the Farmer’s Market at Marin Country Mart from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Or go to margotsmorsels.com for a list of stores in the Bay Area and beyond.
Soup Bowl ’22
Maybe your typical Super Bowl weekend is more about buffalo wings and a sectional couch than strolling outside sipping soup, but if you haven’t been to the lively version of Sausalito on the big game, Souper Bowl Saturday is back after a hiatus in 2020. Don’t worry about missing the real deal – Souper Bowl Saturday is one week before the Feb. 13 football game.
Purchase a wristband for $10 in advance or at the event, from 1-5 p.m. on February 5, and stop by participating Bridgeway and Caledonia Street restaurants to sample the soup contenders and vote for the winner. best of Sausalito bowl.
Defending Champion Seafood Peddler defends his title against Sausalito Yacht Club (2018 Champion), Barrel House Tavern, Equator Coffees, the Spinnaker, Salito’s Crab House & Prime Rib, Zalta, Driver’s Market, the Trident, Bar Bocce, Sartaj India Café , Sushi Ran, ThaiTanic Street Food and Sausalito resident Tim Sanner serving his soup near the event registration table.
Other businesses in town that don’t serve soup but offer Saturday Souper Bowl discounts, specials, and/or freebies include Lappert’s Ice Cream (free junior ice cream); Bacchus & Venus and Real Napa tasting rooms (buy one glass of wine, get one free); Salty (free gift to the first 100 people); Firehouse Coffee & Tea (free hot chocolate taste); Katya Studio & Store (buy one and get one 50% off); and the Sausalito Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center (20% off select items).
Keep the party going at Smitty’s Bar, where all draft beers are $5 from 5-7 p.m. on February 5.
Visit sausalitosouperbowl.com to purchase tickets in advance. Same-day tickets are available from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the downtown Sausalito ferry landing near Humboldt and Anchor streets.
Direct inquiries to Event Producer Julie Myers of Sausalito City Parks and Recreation at 415-289-4198 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leanne Battelle is a freelance writer and food columnist. Email her at email@example.com with news and recommendations and follow her on Instagram @therealdealmarin for more local food and updates on the launch of the Real Restaurant Guide Marine Deal.