Archive for May, 2019

Artichoke 101: Boiling, Grilling, & Eating Method

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

From Bruce:

One of the things that excites me about this time of year is that this is the first crop of artichokes.

I will preface that I am an artichoke freak and will eat artichoke diced, sliced, marinated, grilled, in any place, at any time, any shape, or form. Boiling an artichoke is not particularly considered gourmet cooking but sometimes the simplest can result in something delicious! I also like EASY prep and especially love the basic boiled artichoke with a simple garlic butter dipping sauce.

$2 apiece. I love the start of artichoke season!

I went to the store yesterday and bought 4 artichokes at $2 apiece (normally $5) and each of them measures about 4 inches in diameter. I plan on:

  • Trimming the tops off at about 3 inches down
  • Cutting off the stem at the base of the artichoke
  • Plopping them into boiling water
  • Generously seasoning the water with Italian seasoning, fresh garlic, garlic salt, pepper, and patience!

It usually takes about 15 minutes in boiling water but you just need to check. The best way to tell if an artichoke is properly cooked is to use the tip of a knife and poke the bottom of the stem. If it goes in easily, you are done!

Take out the artichoke and dribble some olive oil with fresh garlic and balsamic vinegar. Melted butter with fresh garlic and pepper works perfectly as well. I will also have some melted garlic butter to dip the leaves and that elusive prize: the heart!

How to Eat An Artichoke

An artichoke field I came across on the Monterey Peninsula.

It takes some skill and knowledge to properly eat an artichoke, but don’t let that deter you! From my experience, here’s the tastiest and most efficient way to eat an artichoke:

  • Eat the ends of each outside leaf until you get to the tender leaves—then you can eat those entirely.
  • Scoop out the hair-like center to get to the heart of the matter. The heart is the ultimate culinary prize if you are careful.

Artichoke hearts taste fabulous when grilled! Take the hearts, glaze them with olive oil and fresh garlic, and grill them over mesquite until golden brown.

You can also buy the mini artichoke that can be grilled whole, leaves and all. I have often dared myself into making 36 large artichokes and then grilling all of the hearts at once. That makes for a great dinner party when I invite my friends over to have artichoke hearts and a nice Sauvignon Blanc. I’m definitely inspired after writing this to grill artichokes over the 4th of July holiday!

Artichokes will never be as huge and inexpensive as they are this time of year so don’t miss out! I’d also love to see photos of your artichoke creations! Send to [email protected] and we will share your recipe on social media.

Easy Guacamole Dip Recipe for Memorial Day

Monday, May 20th, 2019

From Bruce:

March 23rd is National Chip and Dip Day in celebration of America’s favorite party appetizer. If you’re hosting a Memorial Day party, it is almost certain that chips and dips are on the snack list. Here’s my quick and easy guacamole recipe that will take you just five minutes and make you look like a star!

Easy, Easy, Easy Guacamole Dip Recipe


  • 4 avocados
  • 6 oz La Victoria Salsa Victoria Hot
  • Sliced jalapenos (fresh or jar is fine)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Red onion


  1. Mash avocados with La Victoria Salsa Victoria Hot and crushed garlic.
  2. Mix in diced tomatoes, diced red onion and jalapenos (to taste).
  3. Add Tabasco sauce to taste to add some heat to your spice. This recipe can be made without the spice and heat – just omit the Salsa Victoria, jalapenos and Tabasco. It’s fast, tasty, and your guests will be in awe of your “secret” recipe!
  4. Now let’s talk about chips – most people will use tortilla chips. I like to offer both tortilla and corn chips because, well, I LOVE corn chips. For those of you who want something more healthy, cut some carrots, celery, radishes, and other veggies for dipping.

Have fun on Memorial Day!

May: National Salad & Photograph Month

Friday, May 17th, 2019

There may be 12 months in the Gregorian calendar, but within each month lies a multitude of “months” which celebrate or encourage a particular subject/theme.

Here’s what May brings:

    • Asian American Month
    • Date Your Mate Month
    • Foster Care Month
    • Gifts from the Garden Month
    • Lupus Awareness Month
    • National Barbecue Month
    • National Bike Month
    • National Blood Pressure Month
    • National Hamburger Month
    • National Photograph Month
    • National Recommitment Month
    • National Salad Month
    • Older Americans Month
    • Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Now that’s a lot of months for May! I like two of them for this blog: national salad and national photograph month. The reason being is we have some killer photographs of salads using our acacia wood salad bowls and serving trays. What a great excuse to post some here. Enjoy and have a nice weekend! -Bruce

A scrumptious assorted salad in the Acaciaware™ Deep Bowl (K39103).

Salad, peppers, dips, and fruits: a great prelude to an exciting meal!

Fruits and sushi go well together!


Bruce’s National BBQ Day Grilled Salmon Recipe

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

From Pacific Merchants’ Bruce:

I just found out that today, May 16th, is National BBQ Day, and that May is National BBQ Month! Now who would have thought of grilling in the middle of Spring showers? I think this is some sort of internet hoax but I am one of those people who thinks about grilling and BBQ all year long.

Here are some fun facts about BBQ courtesy of Foodimentary:

  1. Grilling is no longer considered a male dominated activity. While 51 percent of males cha-cha with the charcoal, 49 percent of women flamenco with the flames.
  2. 263,000 moist towelettes will wipe up BBQ sauce covering fingers and faces.
  3. The most common ingredient added to barbecue sauce is garlic, followed by brown sugar.
  4. The original barbecue sauce, dating back hundreds of years, consisted of vinegar and pepper.

In honor of this national food holiday, I thought I would share my “go-to” quick and easy grilled salmon recipe. It’s so simple I don’t even want to give the secret away but oh well. Spread the love, right?

BBQ Grilled Teriyaki Salmon


  • Salmon (with skin if cooking on grill)
  • Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce
  • Lemon
  • Fresh dill
  • Mesquite charcoal (if cooking on grill)


  1. Marinate your salmon (with skin) in Kikkoman teriyaki sauce marinade for 1-4 hours. Don’t soak more than that because then the sauce saltiness completely overwhelms the delicate salmon flavors. You must use mesquite charcoal because it burns hot and imparts a lovely smoked flavor that melds with teriyaki flavors.
  2. Grill your salmon skin side down until your desired result (rare, medium, etc.) depending upon the color—darker looking salmon is more rare. I like to flame the salmon at the end to give it a flavorful crust-like finish. Squeeze a fresh lemon and add a sprig of fresh dill and you’re ready to go!
  3. This recipe also works in the oven! Line a Pyrex baking dish with tin foil. Lay down your salmon skin side down (you can use skinless in the oven not on the grill). Bake the salmon for 30 minutes at 400°F. Serve on Acaciaware™ plate or tray!
  4. Bonus Step: Enjoy your delicious BBQ teriyaki salmon with a glass of Pinot Noir!

This simple recipe will make you look like a star chef to your friends and family. Isn’t easy and tasty what we want during Spring showers? Enjoy!

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