Archive for December, 2011

Pacific Merchants and Chef Louise Pomegranate Tips

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Great entertaining begins with a healthy dose of fun and a burst of color. That’s what you and your guests get when using pomegranates for all sorts of exciting recipes from main dishes, to salads, to cocktails.  Serving your dishes on beautiful Pacific Merchant Acacia Wood bowls, trays, and plates adds a wonderful and fun elegance to your table. Also, check out our associated video.

Meanwhile, here are some tried and true Pomegranate Tips that can help bring your next meal to life.

  • To remove tendrils – cut the pomegranate into fourths and soak in cold water for just a few minutes.
  • Tap the skin with a wooden spoon – the seeds should fall out easily into a bowl.
  • You can also gently submerge the pomegranate and gently loosen the tendrils with your fingers.
  • Pomegranate molasses is available at Middle Eastern Markets or is available online.
  • Molasses may be substituted with pomegranate juice that has been reduced down over low heat into syrup.


Coriander Chicken Kebabs
makes 16 kebabs

1 pound ground chicken (leg and thigh meat)
1 small shallot –finely chopped
5 mint leaves-finely chopped
½ bunch of cilantro- trimmed from stems and finely chopped
16 skewers

• In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well.
• Separate the meat into 16- 1 ounce portions.
• With the palm of your hand carefully press the meat onto the end of the skewers to form kebabs, lay flat onto a lined baking sheet.
• Refrigerate the kebabs for 15-20 minutes to allow them to set.
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Heat a nonstick griddle and lightly oil.
• Cook kebabs for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side until golden.
• Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until done.
• Serve Warm


Pomegranate Vinaigrette
makes 1/2 cup

¼ cup Pomegranate molasses
1 Tablespoon orange vinegar or balsamic
Zest of 1 Orange
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Small Shallot- finely chopped
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 Garlic Clove – minced
½- ¾ Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

• In a small jar with a lid combine all the ingredients and shake well.
•Serve at room temperature (the molasses will thicken and separate if refrigerated).


Pomegranate Pistachio Salad with Feta and Oranges
Serves 4

7 ounce bag of mixed baby greens
1/8 cup pomegranate tendrils
1/4 cup roasted salted shelled pistachios
1/4 cup crumbled dry feta cheese
2 oranges peeled and cut into supremes

  • Toss ingredients in a medium bowl and chill, serve with Pomegranate Vinaigrette


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Pacific Merchants & Chef Louise presents Holiday Roasted Nuts

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Pacific Merchants Holiday Roasted Nuts

Nothing is tastier at a cocktail party than great finger foods and cold cocktails.  A big bowl of roasted nuts are the perfect do-ahead, easy appetizer for entertaining.  When hosting a party, give yourself a break and choose menu items that can be prepared ahead of time.  You will thank yourself when you aren’t running around in the kitchen, but instead, enjoying your guests.   These roasted nuts have a gourmet flavor but are very simple to prepare.  They have a salty, lemony, addictive taste that your guests will leave your guests begging for the recipe.  This appetizer would pair nicely with sliced apples and a wedge of blue cheese.  Another great accompaniment would be a jar or prepared roasted red peppers, crackers, and an herbed log of goat cheese.  Caramelized onions with toasty bread always seem to be a crowd pleaser, and also can be served at room temperature.


A successful party is in the details.  A simple bowl of roasted nuts served in a beautiful Acacia bowl is what I call, elegant, easy entertaining.  Another suggestion would be to serve the nuts in a (name of platter with 3 parts) next to marinated olives, and cheese cubes.   With beautiful serving ware in your pantry the combinations are endless.  After years of catering and event planning with a lot of fancy equipment and dishes galore, I now enjoy having just a handful of my Acacia wood neutral bowls and platters to make my own parties a success.


For this recipe I used, my small Mason Cash mixing bowl and served the nuts in the trendy Pacific Merchants Acaciaware® condiment bowl, with lemon and rosemary for garnish.


Roasted nuts pair nicely with Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and my favorite -Champagne.

Roasted Nuts with Lemon, Rosemary, and Sea Salt


4 Cups of roasted unsalted nuts

2 Tablespoons of butter

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

2 Tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary

Zest of 2 lemons

1-2 teaspoons of sea salt


Preheat your oven to 325 degrees

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

In a small sauté pan melt the butter and warm the olive oil.

Add in the lemon zest and rosemary, and stir to combine.

Place the nuts in a small Mason Cash mixing bowl, and pour the butter mixture over the top.

Stir to combine the nuts with the butter and olive oil mixture, and sprinkle.

Lay the nuts out evenly onto a lined baking sheet sprinkle with the sea salt.

Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring half way through the cooking process.

The nuts will become aromatic and golden brown when done.

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