Archive for the ‘General’ Category

The Perpetual Salad Dressing aka the Dressing that Never Ends

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

As you might already be able to tell from our blog, I love giving out my best tips on making the tastiest salads. Here is another one of my favorite closely-guarded recipes I call my “Perpetual Salad Dressing”—it’s perpetual because you never run out!

As you use the salad dressing, you continually add and replenish ingredients like rice wine, balsamic vinegar, first-press olive oil, fresh garlic, cracked black pepper and salt. There are no rules so you can add more or less of any of the ingredients, or add your own ingredients like red pepper flakes.

I have a confession to make: I use Lawry’s seasoned pepper and garlic salt. While I love the simple taste that freshly ground pepper and sea salt bring to a recipe, I am also very much into easy, simple and tasty ingredients. Lawry’s blended spices are easy and add a little more ‘zip’ than just plain salt and pepper.

Perpetual Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 32 oz bottle of Marukan seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 oz balsamic vinegar (or to taste)
  • 1-2 oz olive oil (or to taste)
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • ½ teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Lawry’s garlic salt

Directions

You can make this concoction right in the Marukan bottle or use an empty bottle that reseals. Add all the ingredients into the bottle and SHAKE! Yes, this is a complicated and difficult recipe (joking).

Note: if you do use the Marukan bottle as your container you will have to pour off enough of the rice wine vinegar to accommodate the other ingredients. Use the poured off vinegar later when you need to pour more into the bottle.

This is a delicious a vinaigrette that is slightly sweet and refreshing. It can be used on other foods like fresh veggies or grilled seafood (yes, it is that versatile).

There you go – another easy secret recipe that will make you look like a star!

National Fruit & Vegetables Month: The Fruit Smoothie

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Dubbed National Fruit & Vegetables Month, June is a month dedicated to the healthy side of eating.

There are so many people following healthy diets that it’s almost cliché to have a month dedicated to fruits and veggies, let alone write about them. However, I have stumbled upon something which has helped me feel fuller and lose weight: fruit smoothies!

Fruit smoothies are easy to prepare, low caloric, low in sugar and make my stomach satisfied, taming my voracious appetite. It feels much easier to go through the morning after drinking a smoothie versus eating an omelet (at least for me).

An assortment of delicious fruit in a large Acaciaware™ serving bowl.

Fruit smoothies are easy prep, and they only require easy refrigerator stocking for several mornings: fruit, Greek yogurt, ice and non-fat milk (or coconut milk if you prefer). I use both fresh and frozen fruit, but fresh is always preferable.

A great nutritious addition I love is flax seeds. They do not interfere with the taste and are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, lignans and fiber, all of which have been shown to have many potential health benefits. They can be used to improve digestive health, lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, reduce the risk of cancer and may also benefit people with diabetes.

So far, I have not graduated and made myself a veggie smoothie yet. While I love salads, I don’t think veggie smoothies are for me… then again, I haven’t tried one yet. I think I’ll ease into it by steaming some broccoli and throwing them in a blender with some chicken broth. That will make a broccoli soup, which is kind of a warm smoothie, right? Add garlic salt, pepper, tobasco sauce, a little Worchester and I think we’ve got something!

I fully admit that I am an inexperienced person with regards to smoothies, flax seeds or the discipline to lose weight. But if I can take the first step towards healthy eating, anyone can too. An easy trick like drinking smoothies is worth sharing. Happy fruits and vegetables month!

World’s Stinkiest Cheeses

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

There’s something beautiful about stinky cheese that draws me in. Maybe the aroma?

Stinky cheese should be eaten, not thrown away!
Acaciaware™ appetizer trays add to the beauty of serving cheese and charcuterie!

What is it about stinky cheese that some people can’t get enough of? I used to think my love for stinky cheese was because my taste buds were shot from the spicy foods I’ve eaten over the years, but its global popularity shows that it is more than that.

I hear that stinky cheese releases endorphins, which sounds pretty amazing because unfortunately, that’s just fake news.

But how can something that smells so awful attract so many people and constitute an entire cultural history in France? It’s all too much for me—I just like it to taste as trashy as possible (i.e. “should be eaten, not thrown away”).

Check out this article by Kick Ass Facts which has a kickass list of the stinkiest cheeses that will make both your mouth and your nose water!

National Gardening Week: The Succulent Acacia Bowl

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

There’s something about puttering around in the garden that feels rejuvenating. Being in the outdoors, getting your hands dirty, the fresh smells, gofers, all of it (well, maybe not all).

You may have used our beautiful acacia wood bowls as acai bowls and teriyaki bowls, but here’s a unique way to put our large bowls to use: introducing the Acaciaware succulent bowl!

It’s amazingly easy to pull together a gorgeous indoor planter or hostess gift using an Acaciaware acacia wood bowl. We have certain bowls that are perfect for this in various sizes. The 6-inch diameter bowls have a 4-inch height; the larger 12-inch diameter bowl also is 4 inches tall.

Succulents planted in an assortment of Acaciaware bowls of various shapes and sizes.

Go to your local garden store and pick up soil and your favorite miniature succulents. The bowl will keep moisture in the soil longer than a normal pot will. There is no hole in the bottom so you need to make sure not to over-water the plants.

Ready to work those green thumbs? Check out our assortment of wooden bowls! The rich grain of our Acaciaware bowls will complement your succulents so beautifully and add a unique stylish touch to your display.

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.

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

  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!

Turkey: A unique twist on the taco salad

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

From Pacific Merchants’ Bruce Mannis:

I have had many people over the years compliment me on my taco salad. I have to admit it’s pretty good. So to celebrate Spring, I have decided to share my special recipe. This is how I do it but any ingredient can be eliminated or added, depending upon what you think tastes good!


Turkey Taco Salad

Ingredients

  • ½ head Romain Lettuce
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 large onion
  • 8 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped baby carrots
  • 1 diced tomato (chop into large pieces)
  • 1 can whole kernel sweet corn (or off the cob)
  • ½ cup garbanzo beans
  • ½ cup kidney beans
  • ½ cup of Jalapenos
  • 1 jar marinated artichokes (drained)
  • ¼ cup Med sliced black olives
  • 1 bottle La Victoria Salsa Suprema
  • 1 bottle Girards champagne dressing
  • 1 glass of wine to drink while you are cooking

Directions

Chop onion and garlic cloves and saute both in olive oil. Add ground turkey once the onions start to brown. Simmer until turkey is cooked through. Toss washed lettuce with all of the other ingredients. Add ground turkey mixture. Add salsa and salad dressing to taste. Serve with a sauvignon blanc or rose.

Ouala! It’s easy and quite yummy. Enjoy!

Bring a savory twist to the classic holiday potato salad

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

The potato salad is a classic American side dish that dates as far back as the mid-1800s, when German immigrants brought this simple but tasty recipe to the United States.

Today, potato salads are a staple at any dinner table, complementing virtually any occasion and cuisine. As scrumptious as they are in their traditional form, we’re always looking for novel new ways to spice things up here at Pacific Merchants.

This flavorful twist by Dani Meyer of The Inspired Home incorporates turmeric to elevate the taste and color of the salad, while at the same time reaping the health benefits of the spice such as its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. We love this unique recipe and we’re sure you’ll fall in love with this sprightly potato salad too!


Turmeric Potato Salad

Photo credit: @theinspiredhome_com

Ingredients

  • 1 pound yellow potatoes
  • ½ onion, minced finely
  • 5 slices bacon, crumbled
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • ½ cup diced pickles
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons pickle Juice
  • ½ tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Boil potatoes. Chop into ½ inch cubes. Cool.
  2. Combine all ingredients.
  3. Serve immediately or store for up to 2 days. Note: If storing be aware that potatoes will continue to absorb liquid and may need an additional addition of sauce ingredients and salt and pepper to taste properly seasoned

 

Kick off holiday mornings with a healthy hearty breakfast!

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

Big, sinfully delicious meals are the core of the holiday season. Whether you have a large glazed turkey or a flavorful pasta on the agenda, the holidays are without a doubt the best time to eat your heart out.

In the midst of the holiday frenzy, it’s always good to strike a nutritious balance to keep your body in check and upkeep your health. As the most important meal of the day, eating a healthy nutritious breakfast can set your day off to a great start, supply you with increased energy to participate in holiday festivities, and allow you to eat hearty holiday dinners with reduced guilt.

Our friends at Mindful Morsels put together this delicious family-sized muesli recipe that we’re excited to share with you. It combines raw nuts, seeds, fruits, and spices to create a breakfast bowl as appetizing as it is nourishing. Happy holidays, and bon appétit!


Raw Sprouted Muesli

Ingredients

Nuts and Seeds:

  • ½ cup raw hazelnuts
  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut ribbons (or shredded)
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • ½ cup hemp hearts
  • ½ cup chia seeds

Dried Fruit:

  • ½ cup dried white mulberries
  • ½ cup dried chopped apple
  • ½ cup chopped pitted dates
  • ½ cup dried berries (blueberries and raspberries)

Whole Grains:

  • 3 cups rolled old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup oat flour (if you have a high powered blender you can blend ½ cup rolled oats)

Spices:

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. Add hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds to a jar or bowl and cover with water until the water is approximately an inch above nuts (as they will soak in some of the water) .
  2. Let soak overnight. Drain and rinse.
  3. Add to dehydrator on a mesh sheet, spread evenly so they are not overlapping and dehydrate for a few hours (or until dry) at 115°F.
  4. Add all ingredients to a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed.
  5. Store in the fridge in an airtight jar or container. Enjoy!


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