Among the fifty-some local food artisans I talked with in 2012, there were some real standouts, products I purchase again for myself and as gifts. Some of them are straight-out-of-the-package delicious, while others play a shining supporting role in preparing other foods, but they're all pretty spectacular.
'Monk's Meat' on Serious Eats
Rebecca Lopez-Howes and her boyfriend, Chris Kim, both vegetarians, started making their own seitan because they were frequently disappointed by what they were able to buy in stores, often finding the texture to be unpleasantly stringy or spongy. The ideal texture of the wheat-gluten meat substitute, says Lopez-Howes, is "a little firm, more like a portabella mushroom. It should be a little dense."