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Archive for the ‘Placemats’ Category

Healthy Pancake Variations for #BetterBreakfastMonth

Friday, September 16th, 2016

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One thing I look forward to every weekend is the ability to actually cook a real meal for breakfast instead of my usual instant oatmeal or cereal during the week. Due to the monotonous nature of my workweek eating habits, when Saturday morning rolls around I try my best to test out new exciting recipes (often to my husband’s dismay). One morning in particular we were trying to decide what kind of pancakes we wanted, and after a very rousing 15 minutes of ‘No you choose!’ I had a brilliant idea. Why not just make a healthy base and then we could divide it and add all the fun ingredients after? That way each person could have exactly what they want, or at the very least we would have a multitude of pancake options (what a sweet predicament to be in!) Not only was this a great option for us (no more WHAT DO YOU WANT TO EAT pep talks before coffee-hah!), but I thought about how great this would be for families with picky eaters (or with multiple kids who all want different things). What’s also great is that both variations I’m sharing are gluten-free and low calorie, AND you can refrigerate the batter and use it to make a quick healthy breakfast during the week!
Presentation is also big for me on weekends, since during the week my breakfasts are generally of the ‘to-go’ variety. I like each meal to feel as though we just stepped into the fanciest boutique brunch restaurant (minus the hefty price tag!) These acacia plates from Pacific Merchants are always a great touch, and since there is sticky syrup involved I love using our poly vinyl placemats (super great for not only protecting your table, but also are incredibly easy to clean). It seems like a little overkill, but after 15 years together with my husband, I love every opportunity I can find to create a special date experience for both of us. Plus when you’re on a budget, eating out every weekend is just not an option. And thanks to Pacific Merchant’s products, I’m able to really give my spouse the ‘fine dining’ experience at home (which is not only cute, but practical). Check out the gear I used for this post:
The Acacia Serving tray
The Acacia Round Plates
Our Laguna Linen Placemat
The Into the Woods Deco Parchment Leaves
…and try hosting your own fancy brunch-date at home with the people you love!
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Healthy Pancake Batter

2 cups Oat flour (or you can ground your own oats!)
2 tsp Baking Powder
½ cup organic unsweetened applesauce
1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk
1 egg
Coconut oil for pan

Method

1. Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet ingredients in another. Slowly add the combined wet ingredients to the dry mixing as you go.
2. Decide how you want to customize them! Today I’m making Lemon Poppy Seed for myself, and mixed berry cereal pancakes for the husband!

Lemon Poppy Seed Variation

1 tbsp Organic Poppy seeds
3 tsp Lemon Juice (Fresh or pre-bottled)
1. Half the batter you just made and set one half aside.
2. Add the organic poppy seeds and the lemon juice, and stir into batter until combined.
3. Add a spoonful of coconut oil to pan (do so before pouring each pancake)
4. Ladle a small amount of batter onto the pan and let cook for roughly 2-3 minutes each side (or until brown). Repeat until you finish batter.
5. Add some organic maple syrup and these bad boys are ready to eat!

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The Arnold’s Mixed Berry and Cereal Variation

½ cup organic blackberries
1 cup of any cereal (today we are using Honey Bunches of Oats)

1. Add a spoonful of coconut oil to skillet (do so before pouring each pancake)
2. Take the other half of the untouched batter and ladle it onto your pan.
3. Sprinkle a couple berries and a pinch of cereal on top of the pancake. Ladle more batter on top (lightly- you still want to see bits of berry and cereal poking through)
4. Once the pancake begins to bubble, flip it over. (Each side should take roughly 2-3 minutes to cook through). Repeat until you finish batter.
5. Add some organic maple syrup and voila!

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Side notes if you’ve never made pancakes before!
*keep pancakes relatively thin and small when you pour them onto the skillet. It allows them to cook more evenly, and you don’t have to worry about an uncooked middle section.
* If you feel like your pancake batter is too thick you can always add more almond milk. BUT if you do add some to it, add it in small increments or the batter will become too runny. You do want the batter to be relatively thick, and if it becomes too runny you’ll have something more akin to crepes!
* The best way to tell if your pancake is ready to flip is to watch the top of the pancake for bubbles. These usually come after 2-3 min on medium heat.
* Don’t crank your burner up to full blast! It’s always better to cook at a lower heat as it will save you from burning your pancakes.
* Fun fact- if you just add the berries and cereal to the batter, the ingredients will come out soggy! Be sure to follow the steps for some delicious crunchy pancakes!

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Labor Day Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

Friday, September 2nd, 2016


Summer is finally coming to a close this weekend, which is no surprise for anyone- what with grocery stores and coffee shops already pushing pumpkin – flavored everything in our faces. But before we jump onto the ‘I heart fall’ bandwagon, let’s pump the breaks and get you ready for your Labor Day BBQ.

Labor Day is actually one of the best holidays in the US if for nothing else than the country takes a single day to honor all of its hard workers. The idea being that we are supposed to take the holiday and treat ourselves to some relaxation and fun, whether it is extra family time or a cookout (or heck a mid-day nap!). Now if there’s anything we love at Pacific Merchants it’s a good BBQ, and if there is anything we love more than that it would likely be guilt free snacking. BBQ fare is notorious for junk-food items and over-indulgence, but it doesn’t have to be! You can still over-indulge (now sans guilt) with this Vegan Gluten-Free Spinach Artichoke dip. Not only is it creamy and delicious, but a normal order of spinach artichoke dip comes in at a whopping 1,600 calories per order – whereas its vegan counterpart clocks in at roughly 83 calories per cup (WHICH IS A LOT OF DANG DIP FOR UNDER 100 calories). Plus (and this is from experience here) if you don’t tell anyone it’s vegan…NO ONE WILL KNOW- Which is especially helpful if you come from a family like mine, who thinks the word vegan is a synonym for bland.

Now aside from the fact that this recipe is incredibly healthy, it’s also super easy to make! And if you’ve been vegan for long you know how rare it is for those two things to go together. So here we go.

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Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

1 Jar marinated artichoke hearts
3 cups of frozen chopped spinach (you’re welcome to use fresh)
1 cup frozen chopped onions
1 brick of Jalapeño Havarti Almond Cheese
1 brick of Soy Mozzarella
1 cup Almond milk
2 tsp of Olive Oil (or coconut)
1 tsp of garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Assorted Veggies & multigrain whole wheat pita chips (for dipping)

Method

– Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
– Prep a medium sized casserole dish (I spray mine with coconut oil for easy cleanup)
– Cube the 2 bricks of cheese and set in a large bowl
– Dice the artichoke hearts and set in the same bowl as the cheese
– Pour in the spinach and onions
– Add spices and oil to the bowl (I also toss in about 2 tsp of whatever the artichoke hearts were marinating in)
– Toss all ingredients together to mix everything up
– Pour bowl continents into your casserole dish
– Pour the cup of almond milk over the spread evenly (can add more later if you feel like your dip is too thick)
– Set casserole dish in the oven, cook for ten minutes, stir dip, and then cook for another ten minutes (so 20 min total). This is also the point to add more milk to the mixture if you want a runnier consistency.
– Once fully cooked, you can brown the top of the dip by switching the oven to broil for 2-3 minutes. Be sure to check on it frequently so it doesn’t burn (it browns up super quick!)
-Let cool for 5 minutes, and then plate the dip in your beautiful acacia 7 part flower tray from Pacific Merchants! I chose to use an assortment of veggies and whole grain pita for dipping (to keep this dish as healthy as possible). However, I will occasionally serve this with a nice bread (whole wheat challah or sourdough is my favorite).

Get your own Pacific Merchants Acaciaware serving tray here.

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Fall Into the Woods: Trail Mix Recipe

Monday, August 31st, 2015

National Eat Outside Day falls on the last day of August. And speaking of fall, autumn is rapidly approaching. If you want to get specific, the fall equinox this year lands on September 23rd at precisely 4:21 a.m.
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Happy Bastille Day, Have a (Healthy) Crêpe!

Monday, July 13th, 2015
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Photo source: DCAfter5

July 14 marks La Fête nationale, or more commonly known to us in the United States as Bastille Day!

What is Bastille Day, you might ask? No, it’s not just the day you get to troll Instagram, fuming at all the amazing firework photos posted by your friends abroad. Bastille Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution, and the storming of the Bastille, on July 14, 1789. This holiday celebrates the unity and culmination of the French people as a nation.
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S’Mores Ideas and a Labor Day Sale

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

It’s hard to believe that it’s the last week of August and summer is drawing to a close.  We thought that the perfect way to celebrate the end of summer would be to celebrate with some gooey, melty s’mores. Fair warning – we haven’t mastered the art of taking perfect pictures of massively messy concoctions, so brace yourselves – this gets gooey. But MAN, if you’re throwing a Labor Day Barbecue or a beach bonfire, consider setting out the fixings for s’mores. They’re a great picnic food idea – with the right mix of ingredients and options, everyone can customize their own.  If you’re only here to find out about our Labor Day Sale, scroll down to the bottom of the entry.

As you can see, we have a bit more than the traditional fixings on the table. But I always do start with traditional s’mores ingredients – milk chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers. No matter how many delicious fixings you have, someone in your crowd will be a purist. And that’s totally fine.

For those of you who don’t know, here’s how to make smores (and also, how to make s’mores in the oven, in case you don’t have access to a bonfire.)

  1. Toast your marshmallow. Either toast on a stick over a fire, or lay on half a graham cracker and broil in the oven.
  2. Layer your s’more.  You’re making a sandwich here, with the graham crackers as bread. 1 cracker, then the chocolate, then a hot marshmallow (for maximum meltiness) then the second graham cracker.
  3. Enjoy. It’s really that simple, and it works for pretty much everyone.

So, you’ve got the basics down and want to know how to make a s’more that’s a little more gourmet? The only thing that really needs to stay constant is a marshmallow.  Beyond that, listed below are some flavorful twists we’ve created to switch it up. Also, for fun, some ideas from other bloggers we love!

Gooey, Melty, Delicious S'mores

Items Shown: 7 Inch square plate

  • Add something salty. We did a layer of potato chips between the chocolate and the marshmallow for that super-trendy sweet and salty thing. I’ve also used pretzels or even a sprinkle of salt.
  • Change up the chocolate. As you can see above, we love our peanut butter cups in s’mores. I’ve also swapped the milk chocolate for dark, used favorite candy bars (make sure they’ll melt all the way through – Heath bars don’t work.)
  • Use fancy marshmallows. I recently came across some DELICIOUS coffee flavored marshmallows at a gourmet store. SO good in s’mores. Check gourmet websites and stores for interesting flavors.
  • Change out the cookies. Graham crackers are traditional, but as long as your cookies are big enough to contain the deliciousness of a s’more, you’re good.  Chocolate chip cookies work, gingersnaps are delicious. Also, ritz crackers and mini marshmallows are insanely good for s’mores. YUM!
  • Add sliced fruit. Thin sliced strawberries, crushed raspberries or slices of orange work so well with chocolate, marshmallows and the smokiness from a fire. It’ll add something addictive and unexpected!
  • Get saucy – add nutella, peanut butter or even caramel sauce for a little something unexpected!

And from some of our favorite bloggers, even more fantastic s’mores ideas.

 delicious smores, bacon smores, lime smores

smores are delicious

From Left to Right: (Top) Bourbon Bacon S’mores from Beyond Frosting, Key Lime S’mores from The Kitchn, Roasted Berry S’Mores from Jelly Toast Blog. (Bottom) Peach and White Chocolate S’Mores from  Peanut Butter and Julie, Dark Chocolate Passionfruit S’mores from Blogging Over Thyme. See how many amazing options there are?  Also, if anyone wants to give us some tips on photographing s’mores, we’d be interested. Clearly, it is possible.

Annnnd, Last but certainly not least, let’s talk about the sale.  We’re doing a labor day weekend Placemat and Wood extravaganza! Our placemat line and our Acaciaware wood line are beautiful transitional pieces – they work both outdoors and indoors, so whether you’re out on your patio enjoying the end of summer or dining indoors, they’ll look lovely.  Enter “LaborDay” at checkout for 25% off all retail orders of our placemats and our wood products.  Good stuff, right?

Happy Labor Day, friends! Enjoy your holiday. You’ve earned it.

 

 

Pacific Merchants Presents: DecoLeaves Cheese leaves

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Leaves for food presentation. Foodsafe cheese leaves parchment leaves french leaves

We’ve got exciting changes afoot here at Pacific Merchants! If you’re a regular on our website, you may have noticed a few new items, and even a few new categories!  Over the next week or so, we’re going to be featuring a ton of new items, so get ready!  First up, we’re thrilled to introduce our new line of DecoLeaves – totally food safe parchment cheese leaves to amp up your food presentation.  Whether you’re decorating a table or lining a cheese board, these beautiful, detailed leaves and flowers will add color and visual interest to your table! Plus, they’re made and packaged right here in the USA!

leaves for cheese, food, table decorations

We’ve got cheese leaves (and flowers, too!) for all seasons.  If you want to deck a spring table in roses  and sunflowers, we’d love to help you. If you’re putting together a wine and cheese tasting, we’ve got the perfect grapes and grape leaves to compliment your spread. If you’re already planning that perfect summer luau, we’ve got banana leaves and tropical leaves to help you decorate. Bonus: our cheese leaves and flowers compliment our acacia wood trays SO perfectly. If you’re putting out a cheese board or a tray of appetizers, look into acacia (if you haven’t already!) We’ve even got leaves for holiday decor, though we know that’s a long way off.

foodsafe parchment leaves decoleaves euroquest leaves, french leaves

No matter what kind of gathering you’re planning this spring/summer, make sure to invite decoLeaves! They’re an easy way to add a splash of color to even the most casual barbecue or picnic, and they’re a beautiful way to bring a touch of whimsy to more formal affairs! We’ve even seen them incorporated into gift wrapping or used for crafts!

party supply leaves, party decor, decorations, cheese leaves

 

 

Happy Labor Day: Garnish your Barbecue with our Best Guacamole Recipe

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Labor Day doesn’t mean “back to school” now that most schools seem to start in August, but it’s a really good time to throw a great, end of summer barbecue and enjoy spending time outside before the weather turns cold.  Of course, now that it’s the end of the summer, you might be a little sick of a traditional BBQ with burgers, hot dogs, and even ribs, so we’ve got some great tips to add some color (and some spice) to your Labor Day Barbecue!

First up, Set a colorful table! There’s something about bright, lively colors that make even the most casual get-together feel like a party.  Use flowers, colorful foods, and vibrant placemats.  For a recent party, we used 24 of our Laguna placemats as a tablecloth, and it looked great! As a labor day gift for you, we’re offering 25% off of our ENTIRE Laguna line to our retail customers from now until Tuesday, Sep 3. Just enter LABORDAY at checkout! Laguna mats look great indoors and out, so they’re perfect for entertaining as the seasons change.

Second, make (or buy) snacks that you can set up ahead of time, like our chips, salsa and guacamole in the picture above.  They’re easy to set out an hour ahead of time, and they’ll help keep your guests snacking and mingling if you need a little extra setup time. We love making and serving guacamole in our Mason Cash Mortar and Pestles.  They’re perfect for crushing garlic, cilantro and spices and mashing avocado. Plus, they’re made of heavy stoneware that looks great on the table.tacos

Here’s our signature guacamole recipe. It’s simple to make, and whether you’re grilling hot dogs and burgers or carne asada for tacos, it works.  If you like more heat, add a chopped up jalapeno.  If you like more tang, add more lime.  This serves 4-6 people and is the perfect amount for the large Mason Cash Mortar and Pestle.

  • 3 avocados
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ tsp whole cumin
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. In the bottom of your mortar and pestle, crush together the garlic, cilantro and cumin until they form a paste
  2. Add the lime juice and half the avocado
  3. With the pestle, grind until very smooth. Add the other half of the avocado, the onion, and the tomato
  4. Combine with pestle (you may also need to use a fork) until thoroughly combined
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve right in the mortar and pestle!

If you want to make a bigger batch, the recipe doubles or even triples really nicely.  Just grind up the cumin, mince the garlic and cilantro, and make the whole thing in an Acaciaware bowl. Just like when you serve in the mortar and pestle, there’s one less dish to clean, since your serving dish is also your prep bowl.

Since you’re already making guacamole, I suggest you grill up some simple carne asada to go along with it.  This flavorful dish is easy to prepare and uses a cheaper cut of steak, so even if you’re cooking for a crowd, you won’t break the bank.  Do most of the prep the night before to save time!

  • 2 lbs flank or skirt steak
  • 4 garlic cloves,
  • 1 jalapeno,
  • 1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves,
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black peppe
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • Zest of one orange
  • Zest of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  1.  In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients except the flank steak. Blend until smooth.
  2. Put flank steak in a gallon-sized sip top bag.
  3. Pour marinade in on top of steak and seal bag, pressing as much of the air out as possible.
  4. Allow steak to marinate for at least 1 hour, or as long as 12 hours.
  5. Heat your grill to medium high. If using a gas grill, allow at least 10 minutes for the whole grill to heat.
  6. Brush grate with vegetable oil carefully to avoid flare ups.
  7. Grill the steak for 7-10 minutes on each side, turning once for a medium-rare steak.
  8. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes
  9. Slice across the grain, on the diagonal, into thin slices.
  10. Arrange on an Acaciaware plate.

We suggest serving the carne asada with fresh tortillas, grilled corn, our amazing guacamole, and some cheese and salsa.  If you want, you can put together a whole condiment bar using small acacia bowls and  condiment serving sets  Consider filling bowls with pico de gallo, shredded cheese, pickled jalapenos, grilled peppers, grilled onions, and sour cream.

From all of us here at Pacific Merchants, have a really happy Labor Day. We hope you enjoy these last few weeks of summer and get to have a fun, relaxing 3-day weekend. And remember to enter LABORDAY at checkout to get 25% those colorful Laguna mats from now until September 3! You deserve a treat.

Our Father’s Day Gift Guide!

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost Father’s day already. That’s right, Father’s day is coming up right around the corner on June 16, which means that you have until June 10 to get those orders for dad in.  We’re told that fathers sometimes get the short end of the stick when it comes to the holiday. They’re given a tool as a gift and told to fix something, or given a grill and told to make everybody dinner. Not quite the restful, fun filled day they had in mind. Here at Pacific Merchants (a company owned by a dad, FYI) we’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen with this great Father’s Day Gift Guide.

Now, if you have an unlimited budget, we suggest you bookmark this page and run out and by your dad something really shiny and fancy, like this Tesla. It’s good for the environment (we try to keep things green at Pacific Merchants) and your dad will love it.

If you don’t have a spare $80,000 lying around, we’ve got some more wallet-friendly gift ideas that your dad is sure to love just as much as he’d love that fancy, shiny car. So let’s get it started.  And remember, when you check out, enter DADROCKS checkout! We’ll give you $5 bucks off your order of $30 or more!

 

Our first suggestion for celebrating dad: Throw him a party. It’s beautiful this time of year, so we suggest that you throw him a picnic or barbecue. If you really want to wow him, make sure to include personal touches. Set the table with placemats in his favorite colors. Our Laguna Placemats come in 12 vibrant, bright colors, and we’re sure that your dad’s favorite is among them. To make that barbecue even more special, we’re including our amazing brown sugar bourbon spice rub recipe. It’s amazing on ribs and pork loin, great on chicken, delicious on steak, and succulent on salmon. It’s also really good on hearty vegetables such as mushrooms, squash, carrots and peppers.  Scroll on down to the bottom of this post for the recipe

 

If your dad’s idea of a great Saturday is spending time at the grill cooking up a storm for family and friends, we’ve got some wonderful pieces for him. We’re highlighting serving dishes and accessories that the grillmaster in your life will go nuts for.  From Condiment serving sets to acaciawood plates (great for burgers) to amazing serving trays, we suggest that you help dad trick out his next barbecue with Acaciaware®barbecue supplies from Pacific Merchants!

 

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Round Condiment           Set of 4 7″ Plates            Wood Oval Tray                  12″ Calabash Salad Serving Set

 

s2525025250Another great gift for dad is our Mason Cash Mortar and Pestle. These high-quality earthenware Mortar and Pestles are made in a design that is based on the original high quality models produced over 200 years ago. Mason Cash Mortar and Pestles are the best way to crush and grind herbs and spices. Collectable Mason Cash Mortar and Pestles have no wooden parts to absorb flavor or stains. The special matte finish inside the bowl and on the pestle enables improved crushing and grinding.  With a wider than usual pestle is easier to use than a conventional one – just easy circular movements of the wrist are required.  The Mason Cash mortar pestle is highly collectable (when you can find them) and are considered the world’s finest!

 

 

Brown Sugar Bourbon Spice Rub Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more if your dad likes spicy food)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tbsp rubbed sage
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • ½ cup apple juice/apple cider
  • 2 oz apple cider vinegar

Instructions  – the long way for maximum flavor

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl to make a thick paste.
  • Pour into a large ziptop bag or air tight plastic container large enough to fit meat/vegetables of choice.
  • Add meat/fish vegetable to marinade.
  • Marinate according to times below.
    • Ribs – 4 hours to overnight
    • Pork Loin – 2 to 4 hours
    • Flank Steak – 1 to 2 hours
    • Chicken – 1 to 2 hours
    • Salmon 30 minutes to an hour
    • Carrots – 1 to 2 hours
    • Squash – 1 to 2 hours
    • Mushrooms – 30 minutes to an hour
    • Peppers – 30 mintutes to an hour
    • After marinating, allow food to sit on a wire rack for 30 minutes so that the sugar mixture dries.
    • Grill over low heat to desired done-ness, keeping in mind that the bourbon will cause flare ups.
    • Brush any remaining marinade over meat in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
    • Once meat is finished cooking and your marinade has caramelized and formed a nice crust, remove from heat
    • Allow meat to rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving

Instructions – the quick way for more time with dad!

  • Combine marinade ingredients to form a paste
  • Salt and pepper your desired food
  • Grill over medium grill until almost done
  • Turn grill to low heat when food is about 10 minutes from done
  • Brush the marinade onto food for last 10 minutes of cooking. Be aware of flare-ups caused by bourbon.
  • Once your meat is done and your  marinade has caramelized and formed a nice crust, remove from heat
  • Allow meat to rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

From all of us here at Pacific Merchants Trading Company, we hope that your dad has a really happy father’s day, and we hope that whether you buy your dad a mortar & pestleor the Tesla, we were able to help make shopping for dad (or cooking for dad) a little easier.  Just remember to get those orders in by June 10 so that your father’s gift gets to him on time. And remember to enter DADROCKS at checkout!

 

Transform from an Amateur Griller into a BBQ Pro

Friday, August 5th, 2011

The sun’s shining, temperatures are heating up, and friends and families are regularly gathering outdoors around the grill to enjoy some summertime R&R and a savory meal.

Besides maybe swimming, nothing is more synonymous with summer than barbequing. And although barbeque season is already in full swing, it’s never too late to up your game and learn a few new tricks of the trade. After all, the Labor Day holiday is just around the corner and is the perfect time for aspiring BBQ chefs everywhere to show off their skills.

Charcoal versus Gas

A debate worthy to rival plastic or paper, choosing the right barbeque is simply a matter of preference. Both types churn out delicious eats, and have their strong suits and not-so-strong suits.

Charcoal grills are known for adding that signature, smoky flavor to food, lend themselves to adding wood chips for an added layer of flavor and often retail at lower prices than their counterpart. Gas grills produce a lot less smoke, eliminate the fuss of dealing with briquettes and lighter fluid, and cut down on cooking times.

Whichever type of grill you prefer, practice makes perfect. So fire up the grill and give these sizzling grilling tips a whirl, and before long you’ll be the Bobby Flay of your neighborhood.

Start with a Clean Grill

Put some muscle into it and scrub that grill ’till it sparkles. You don’t want yesterday’s lunch of hamburgers and hotdogs to taint the taste of dinner’s succulent salmon. A clean grill improves the taste and quality of your food. Charcoal users will also want to get rid of old ashes to promote better air circulation.

Be Prepared

To keep your grilling endeavors running smoothly, keep supplies like utensils, paper towels, antibacterial wipes and serving dishes within arm’s reach. It’s important to continually wash your hands after handling raw meat, and use separate plates and utensils for cooked and raw meat to eliminate any bacterial cross-contamination. You don’t want to be running inside for supplies while your meat starts to overcook on the grill.

Make things even more convenient, and bring your Cutting Edge Flex Mat from Pacific Merchants outside by the barbeque so that you can chop and prep vegetables and more while you grill.

Preheat the Grill

It’s important that your barbeque reach the optimum cooking temperature before placing food on the grill to avoid burning or drying it out. Preheat the grill 15 to 30 minutes before you begin cooking. If you’re cooking on a charcoal grill, eyeball your briquettes. Once they take on a grayish hue, it’s time to put the food on.

To increase the heat, you can push the coals together or lower the cooking grate. To decrease the temperature, sprinkle the coals with a little water or raise the cooking grate. Opening and closing the barbeque lid is another tool to help you control the temperature. Open the lid for thinly cut foods that cook quickly or require supervision. Close the lid for thicker cuts of meat and controlling flare ups.

Cooking Tips

  1. To keep food from sticking to the grill and ease cleanup, always coat the cooking grate with cooking spray or brush with cooking oil. There is one exception to this rule, however. If your marinade or sauce contains oil, don’t grease the grill to avoid flare-ups.
  2. Undercooking and overcooking is probably the biggest occupational hazard for a bbq chef. Take the guesswork out of grilling by using a meat thermometer to ensure that all meats are cooked through.
  3. Tongs beat spatula when it comes to barbequing. Invest in a good pair of tongs to flip meat and vegetables with ease. Tongs offer a better grip than a spatula and you don’t run as much risk of dropping your food or accidently pushing it through the gaps in your cooking grate.
  4. Don’t puncture or press on the meat with a spatula to “flatten.” This technique squeezes out the natural, tantalizing juices and dries meat out.
  5. Give meat a chance to cook. Constantly turning meat or opening up the grill takes away from the cooking process. Meat only needs to be flipped about once per side.
  6. When grilling vegetables, season and then loosely wrap them in a foil “packet” before placing on the grill.

Marinate, Marinate, Marinate

A good marinade is the hallmark of sensational, flavorful BBQ. As a rule of thumb, the longer you marinate the better with one exception. Tomato-based or sugary glazes and BBQ sauces should be applied close to the end of cooking time to prevent burning.

Do You Have Your Own Mouth-Watering Marinade or BBQ Sauce?

Enter our Pacific Merchants BBQ Sauce Recipe Contest 2011 today by going to the Pacific Merchants facebook fan page. Contest ends August 27, 2011. Winners will be announced on September 2, 2011, just in time for Labor Day weekend!

Share your recipes with us for a chance to win the Grand Prize of a beautiful Eco-Friendly Acacia Wood Salad Bowl and Salad Serving Set. Second Prize is an Acacia Wood Serving Platter from Pacific Merchants. Acacia Wood Serving Trays and Bowls are both durable and beautiful, making them the perfect serving ware for your next backyard barbeque.

Check out our Spring Special Placemats!

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

This Spring, Pacific Merchants has decided to offer a line of limited edition place mats at a special value.

We’re dedicated to helping our customers keep their tabletop looking stylish, as well as saving our customers money. From our line of polyvinyl placemats we’re pleased to offer our Spring Promo selection. Available only while quantities last, these nine patterns are offered at an excellent price point- only $3.95 each!

Measuring 12″ by 17″, these place mats have the same wonderful qualities you’ve come to expect from us- they’re UV resistant, bacteria resistant, are easily cleaned with soapy water, and even top-rack dishwasher safe!

Khaki Placemat

Truffle Placemat

Dijon Placemat

Whatever color scheme you decorate with, we’ve got the placemat for you; our promo placemats come in Khaki, Truffle, Dijon, Cornsilk, Aqua, Ruby, Cantaloupe, Lemonade, and Cobalt. Hurry and get your order in before this deal, and these colors, disappear for good! For more colors, patterns, and size selections, be sure and check out the rest of our place mats.


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