National Love Your Pet Day or Pamper the Puppy!

February 18th, 2020

February 20th is Love Your Pet Day. That’s not to say we don’t love our pets every day. It’s more like a “Pamper” your pet day. For example, why don’t you grill a steak for your dog? Our photo shows our mascot Murphy the golden retriever as he flashes appreciative eyes and tongue for his tri-tip, grilling on the BBQ. I made a bacon, lettuce & tomato sandwich shown on our Acaciaware acacia wood tray but decided it is for ME!

How about a fillet of sole for kitty? There are more than just dog and cat pets so you need to figure out what your pet would love. Like Pistacios for the Parrot?  I think a spa treatment using blueberry shampoo for Murphy my golden also sounds intriguing. Then we both get pampered because there is no better aroma than a puppy just after bathing. And of course clean dogs receive more kisses.

But I digress: pamper your pet and you will receive love back many times over. Aren’t they (and you) worth it?

Want a FREE BOWL?

February 13th, 2020

Follow us on Instagram!

Want to try out the Acaciaware™ line of sustainable wood serveware? Want an extra bowl to complement your Acaciaware™ collection? Look no further: we’re giving you one 4″ round dipping & nut bowl for FREE!

Acaciaware™ 4″ x 1.5″ round dipping & nut bowl (K0009) – $6.95 value

All you have to do is follow us on Instagram, email us, and you’ll have the perfect starter wooden bowl for condiments, spices, dips, nuts, and more!

Steps:

  1. Follow us on Instagram (@pacificmerchant)
  2. Email your Instagram username and U.S. mailing address to [email protected] with the subject line “FREE BOWL PROMO”
  3. Wait 5-7 business days for your bowl to arrive (while supplies last)

Terms & Conditions:

  • Only open to residents of the contiguous United States.
  • Mailing address cannot be a P.O. box.
  • Pacific Merchants Trading Company is not responsible for any product damage sustained during transit and delivery.

The Acacia Açaí Bowl

February 10th, 2020

As a natural and sustainably harvested wooden bowl, Acaciaware™ bowls are the perfect shell for a healthy, scrumptious açaí bowl.

The açaí berry is not only incredibly rich in antioxidants – it also tastes wonderful blended into a thick frozen yogurt-like smoothie. Learning to make açaí bowls at home will not only save you a few bucks, but will also be the perfect companion for a clean-eating lifestyle.

PMTC Acai Bowls
PMTC Acai Bowl prep
PMTC Acai Bowl
PMTC Acai

Earth Day Açaí Bowls

Serves 1.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pouch of frozen açaí purée
  • 1/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/4 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 frozen ripe banana
  • 5 fresh strawberries
  • A splash of apple juice

top with:

  • Hemp seed granola
  • Almonds
  • Goji berries
  • Coconut flakes
  • Fresh fruit
  • A drizzle of honey

3 SIMPLE STEPS:

  1. Place the frozen açaí purée, pineapple chunks, mango chunks, banana, and strawberries into a blender. Pulse until the frozen fruit is broken down slightly.
  2. Slowly add in a splash or two of apple juice, just until the mixture comes together. Be careful not to add too much! Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the smooth and creamy blended açaí into an Acaciaware™ bowl, decorate with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

The key to achieving the perfect açaí bowl is thickness: the blended açaí mixture should be thick enough to eat with a spoon!

BBQ Chicken Breast: The Simple Secret To Success!

August 8th, 2019

Such a simple concept: light the charcoals, throw on some chicken breasts, thighs, and drumettes. It is actually quite simple but there is A SECRET!

Yes, I said it. I have a secret method to grilling chicken that I am about to impart on to the world. You know how white meat can grill and become dry? Not to mention the few seconds you look away and the breasts are afire and burned. Those days are gone after you read this!  You will thank me…I love cash.

I only use a Weber grill and mesquite charcoal. There’s something alluring about pouring lighter fluid over wood and lighting it. But that’s the pyro in me coming out.  The real reason for mesquite wood is because it is burns hot (and I mean HOT!), which sears the juices into the chicken.

Are you ready for the secret? Here it is: indirect cooking. Never cook your chicken breast directly over coals. Use the BBQ as an oven, not a broiler. You can cook drumettes and thighs over the coals directly because they are fattier than white meat.  Make sure you turn your chicken frequently.

BUT THE REAL SECRET is to slather your favorite barbecue sauce at the end (during the last 30 seconds) so it does not burn. So many people put BBQ sauce on way too early. If you did not know this, I just made your BBQ chicken taste fabulous!

I told you it was simple…

Photo credit: SkinnyMs.

BBQ Planet: Flank Steak with Garlic and Cracked Pepper

July 24th, 2019

I am fully into BBQ grilling season with grilled veggies swirling in my head and zesty marinades on the mind. I admit: I like easy and tasty. Here’s a flank steak recipe which is both easy and tasty!


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 large flank steak (around 2 lbs)

Directions

  1. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a shallow baking dish.
  2. Add steak and turn to coat with marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 6 hours.
  3. Prepare barbecue (high heat) using mesquite coals. Mesquite burns at a very high temperature, which is perfect for this recipe.
  4. Grill steak to desired doneness, brushing occasionally with marinade for about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.
  5. Thinly slice steak across grain and serve.

This recipe goes absolutely perfect along with a Pinot Noir. Flank steak also works well for soft tacos, fajitas or a fresh steak salad.

Photo courtesy of delish.com by Ethan Calabrese. Recipe by Bon Appetite

Corny Corn Grilling

July 12th, 2019

Approach the grill with confidence! You are about to make some of the best corn you have ever tasted. Mid-summer is the perfect time for farm fresh corn at your local farmers market. Here’s a quick and easy grilled corn technique using butter, garlic, salt and indirect heating.

Spread the butter evenly along the entire length of the corn, season with garlic and salt, then wrap with tin foil, butter side up.

Buy the largest corn cobs you can find. Tip: shuck the corn at the market to avoid a mess at home (whew I’m glad I looked up the spelling of shuck). Once at home, cut off both ends and lay the shucked corn on a 12″ long piece of tin foil. Then, spread about 1/4 thick layer of unsalted butter along the entire length of the cob, along with freshly crushed garlic and then lightly salt. You can mix the butter, garlic and salt together and spread the mixture onto the corn if you really want to simplify things but I am a purist.

I use my hands for spreading the butter as this makes the process easier, and I like to lick my fingers afterwards (just kidding folks). If you are lazy like me, you will use garlic salt which when used on corn has a surprisingly close flavor to fresh garlic. Wrap the corn with the tin foil butter side up.

Lay the foil wrapped corn cobs butter side up along the outer edge of the grill, not directly over the coals. Cover the grill. This is called the indirect heating method, using the BBQ more as an oven than grille. You can cook your corn alongside anything you are grilling directly in the center so don’t worry about cooking corn separately from your main protein.

Turn the corn 1/4 turn every 5-6 minutes. After four turns, use a fork and poke a cob. If the corn seems under cooked (the fork doesn’t penetrate easily), just keep turning until the kernels are tender and the fork penetrates with ease.

I used this recipe and technique over the July 4th holiday and everyone was raving how good the corn was (with garlic butter all over their faces I might add – ha!). Some say corn is cliche’. I say nay, nay!

Mesquite Grilled Tri-Tip With Garlic Marinade

June 26th, 2019

One of my favorite red meats for grilling is the tri-tip. It has enough fat to be really tasty but it’s not too fatty and reasonably healthy. The best way to grill a tri-tip is first, to use mesquite coals (coals, not chips). Mesquite is usually available at your local store who carries BBQ briquettes. There’s something artificial tasting about those briquette coals, don’t you think? Mesquite is 100% natural wood and is not such a strong, overwhelming flavor as other woods for grilling (like maple or alder). Mesquite imparts subtle smoke overtones but does not hit you over the head screaming “I’M SMOKED”. All meats and seafood do well with hot burning mesquite, as the high burning temperature seals in juices and flavors.

I have an easy way to marinade a tri-tip prior to grilling that is easy and will knock your socks off (I tend to walk barefoot). For those of you who read this blog, you know easy and tasty are my cooking metrics.

OK then. Take a bottle of Girards champagne dressing (yes a bottled dressing) and pour over the tri-tip placed inside a pyrex baker. Then, take a head of garlic and crush the living daylights out of the cloves onto the meat. I crush as many as 10-12 cloves but I am a garlic freak. Spread the crushed garlic all over the surface of the tri-tip. Then flip over and do the same thing. Take a turkey baster and baste the meat on both sides with the dressing and garlic. Let sit for at least one hour. You don’t have to let it sit (you can grill right away) but the longer you let it marinade, the better the garlic flavor.

That’s it. I told you it was easy. For those of you who say bottled dressing is not the way, I say ney, ney! Just like my pitch for Lawry’s seasoned pepper and garlic salt in my perpetual dressing article, try the Girards champagne dressing with freshly crushed garlic. The hint of smoke from the mesquite melds with the garlic marinade and you won’t believe the wonderful flavor!

The Perpetual Salad Dressing aka the Dressing that Never Ends

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

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

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!


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