May: National Salad & Photograph Month

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

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

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!

Perk up your lazy weekend mornings with mini breakfast galettes

January 8th, 2019

Winter sets the perfect mood for hitting snooze and staying in bed on the weekends because, well, we can. The comforting cold keeps the best of us bundled up at home to relax, unwind, and make the best out of our time off.

Ileana at A Little Saffron created the perfect breakfast in bed meal for these idle mornings, and we’re so excited to share it with you. The combination of flawlessly flaky pastry crust and the classic bacon and eggs is the ideal starter to the day.


Mini Breakfast Galette

Photo credit: @ileanamvalentine

Ingredients

  • Pâte brisée
    • 2 1/2 cups (320 grams) all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) cold butter, cut into small cubes
    • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheese (a blend of mozzarella, fontina, parmesan is great)
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 2 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 3 eggs (1 is for egg wash)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chives, chopped

Directions

Making the pâte brisée:

  1. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a stand mixer or food processor.
  2. Add the butter and combine at slow speed or pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal with different sized piece of butter, including some larger pieces.
  3. Drizzle 1/4 cup ice water over the mixture. Mix or pulse until the mixture just starts to hold together.
  4. Add up to another 1/4 cup ice water, a tablespoon at a time, if the mixture is too dry.
  5. Divide the dough in half and place each on a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap loosely with the plastic and press into a disk using a rolling pin.
  6. Refrigerate until firm, wrapped well, for 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Making the breakfast galette:

  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. Divide disk of pâte brisée into two equal pieces. Take one and use a rolling pin to spread dough out into a circular shape about 1/4-inch thick. It helps to use a floured surface and to sprinkle some flour on your rolling pin as well. Transfer to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Sprinkle 1/3 cup cheese on the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle half of the minced shallots and half of the cooked bacon over the cheese. Use your fingers to create a slight well in the center. Fold the edges of the dough over. Repeat these steps with remaining dough, cheese, shallots, and bacon to make a second mini galette. Place it on the large baking sheet next to the first one.
  4. Make an egg wash by cracking 1 egg into a small bowl and adding a splash of water. Use a fork to break up the egg and combine. Brush egg wash lightly on folded edges of each galette. Season each galette with a pinch each of salt and pepper.
  5. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until edges are starting to turn golden. Remove baking sheet from oven and quickly add 1 egg yolk (I tossed most of the egg white so it wouldn’t take over the galette, but it’s nice to hang on to some along with the yolk for both looks and taste) in each center. Bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, until egg yolk is set and the crust is golden brown. Garnish with chopped chives and serve.

Bring a savory twist to the classic holiday potato salad

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!

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!

From Bruce – there’s only one way to make a truly great margarita!

February 22nd, 2017

Mexican food is probably my favorite, although I’ll basically eat anything. Besides a nice cold Mexican beer, there’s one cocktail that I will never pass on if done correctly: the classic top-shelf Margarita.

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(From left to right: a piece from our collection of chip & dip trays and our 12X12 Acacia Square Wood Plates).

So Bruce, you might ask, what makes your hand-crafted margaritas any better than the ones I might buy at my favorite bar? Besides you are probably mixing the cocktail with friends and an awesome guacamole or taco salad (lower calories to make up for the alcohol), this is a classic recipe known by many margarita and tequila aficionados. On-the-rocks is a classic, but you are perfectly welcome to blend. It accomplishes the same thing, right?

Bruce’s Classic Top-Shelf Margarita On-The-Rocks Recipe

1.5 oz. of any tequila meeting your taste requirements

1.5 oz. Sweet & Sour Mix

1/2 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec

Ice Baby, Ice!

Salt for the rim (optional)

Lime Wedge

Arriba!

In Honor of Random Acts of Kindness Day: Thanks for ‘Spooning’ Us

February 17th, 2017

Tired of being bombarded with scary stories of these tumultuous times? At Pacific Merchants, so are we.

So we turned to the power of spooning for comfort.

That’s right… our team loves to “spoon” our customers with a fine collection of hardwood spoons from France. Recently we invited you to share the love by taking pictures while ‘spooning’ for the chance to win prizes, and you did not disappoint!

In fact, when we cooked up this project, we never anticipated the amazing amount of creativity and playfulness you all responded with.

Picking a winner created quite a ‘stir’ around here.

The recipe for winning was ultimately served by Lisa of Cookery Ware Shop. For the awesome picture you see below, she won a fully stocked French Utensil Flower Box (with $1,500 worth of merchandise!). Congratulations, Lisa!

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Below are some honorable mentions, though there were so many more great ones:

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Khristopher from Khristopher’s Culinaire in Ouray, CO

Katy spooning

Katy of Mr. Marcel in Los Angeles, CA

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Staff of The Extra Ingredient in Greensboro, NC

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Chef’s Shoppe in Edwardsville, IL

Even our office got into it:

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The Ragtag Bunch at PMTC

Want to be a part of the fun? You’re in luck. Our February contest is well under way!

This time, we welcome you to spoon with ANY Pacific Merchants product. Get creative and you’ll receive FREE FREIGHT just for entering, not to mention prizes for winning.

So what do you need to do to enter?

It’s simple: take out your cell phone, snap a photo of yourself (or your team, or your friends, or your family, the possibilities are endless) spooning one of our products, and receive Free Freight on that order. Send all photos to: [email protected] Please note: customers may submit only one time so stores that have previously sent photos are not eligible.

We look forward to your future entries. As for other creative ways to get involved in Random Acts of Kindness Day (Feb. 17 this year), check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. Until next time, happy spooning!

Top 10 Creative Holiday Gifts

December 2nd, 2016
  1. These Whimsical Parchment Cheese Leaves

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    For your fanciful loved one we have these adorable and food friendly parchment leaves. Whether you gift the leaves themselves or use them to construct one of the centerpieces above, these table decorations give any holiday table a festive aesthetic without being too “campy”. I use mine to serve appetizers to guests, but there are a ton of creative crafts you can use them for as well as decorating your table (without having to actually use dead leaves – yuck!)

    2. This Rustic Acacia wood Cheese Paddle Set

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    The holidays are a time for family, friends, and appetizers. When I hosted my first holiday dinner I had poured my all into the menu, without giving any thought to how I was going to actually going to serve my delicious dishes. Save your new host/hostess from scrambling around the kitchen with this live edge cheese paddle, that is sure to give your holiday cheese log that festive country-chic vibe.

    3. This Acacia Wood Condiment Set

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    These are perfect for the person in your life that is obsessed with that ‘food blog’ look (or like me just can’t stand to see plastic bottles on a beautifully set table). Get them all set up for an Instagram worthy table top with these guys.

    4. This Mortar & Pestle with a Potted Fresh Herb

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    Fresh ground herbs are a gift in themselves (fresh ground mint in green tea is one of my favorite things on this planet), but I also love the action of grinding my own herbs. Mostly because I enjoy pretending I’m on chopped as soon as I step into my kitchen, but also because it makes the herb brighter in whatever dish you add it to (at least in this poster’s humble opinion). Pair one of our mortar & pestle sets with an herb of your choosing (I always suggest mint or basil), to help your host/hostess discover their inner Chopped contestant this holiday season.

    5. This new Fusion Wood Serving tray

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    If your friend has a family like mine, then you spend your holidays with about 50 plus people. When the bird comes out everyone makes a mad dash for the aluminum tray (that inevitably ends up leaking from all the knives/forks stabbing into the bottom) and results in a cleaning nightmare that not even Martha Stewart would want to deal with. Save your loved one the hassle with this beautiful Fusion Wood (blend of Black Walnut, Oak, Ash, Hard Maple, Acacia, Sapele & Teak) serving tray, perfect for this holiday’s main entrée.

    6. These 4 section Acacia wood serving trays : Get the first one Here, and the second Here.

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    Does your loved one have kids who are picky eaters? Are they themselves picky eaters? This tray is perfect for them! Aside from being the perfect snack tray, it’s a great way to pile on your dinner feast without any of the foods touching each other. Or if you’re like me and can never decide between salsa, guacamole, or queso now you can have all three (ITS LIKE GROWN UP LUNCHABLE NACHOS- You’re WELCOME).

    7. The Movie Night Bowl “basket”

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    Let’s face it, going to the movies is now more expensive for two people than tickets to Disneyland (ok-slight exaggeration but I miss the old days of $5 movie tickets). I love doing movie night at home, and what better surprise for your newly married friends or your parents (or friends with kids even) than with their own home movie night! Get a big ‘Popcorn’ bowl, throw in their favorite movie (or if you want it holiday themed hit the $5 dollar movie bin for some seasonal favorites for cheap), some popcorn & snacks, and maybe a bottle of wine. Then poof! You’ve got your very own adult movie night set (side-note you probably shouldn’t share the wine with the kids- but hey you do you). 😉

    8. Guys Night Out Bowl

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    My husband used to get together with his buddies for poker night once a week when we all used to live closer, and his game nights are the main inspiration for this “basket”. For this gift stuff the bowl with the mixings for some good Dark ‘N’ Stormy’s (one bottle of dark rum & ginger beer), a deck of cards (or Risk), poker chips, chips dip and other assorted snacks, a few cigars if that’s your bag, and follow it up with a Die Hard DVD (in my opinion the best Christmas movie ever made). The men in your life will thank you, I promise.

 

  1. Girls Night Bowlk0475 9509632741_d8e4c32522_b

    This is gift is all about treating yourself. Stuff our Acaciaware ‘popcorn’ bowl with snacks, movies, a massage coupon, and a mandala coloring book and your girlie best friend will be in heaven! Throw in one of our mortar and pestle sets so she can make her very own face masks from scratch. Give her the ultimate night of relaxation and self-care, I bet she deserves it!

#Betterbreakfastmonth Round Two: The Vegan Cranberry Orange Breakfast Loaf

September 24th, 2016

 

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Fall is upon us! Well sort of- I want to believe it’s fall, but it’s still 100+ degrees here in Southern California so I’m fabricating fall smells in my kitchen while I pretend to be back on the East Coast with all its cool weather and changing leaves.

There’s something about fall that always inspires me to spend more time in the kitchen. I think it brings back a lot of nostalgic feelings surrounding my Mom, and my parents’ home back on the East Coast. I remember being young and having zero interest in learning to cook, but there was something magical about watching my mom in the kitchen. Some might call it observing her in her element, but knowing what I know now- it was more than that. My Mother is an amazing cook and baker, and spent most of my younger years cooking for an entire neighborhood (you laugh, but there were at least 15 extra kids at my house every night). Baking for my Mom was her way of showing those around her she loved and cared for them, and that act of service is something that has always stuck with me. Now don’t get me wrong- she cooked her butt off year round, but fall was really when she pulled out the big guns. Every day after school my friends would express their jealousy at the delicious smell of home baked cookies wafting from our little apartment (I’m talking oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies…this is just one afternoon y’all). People would randomly drop by during that time, as it was pretty well known in the area that if you came by Janie’s house you were leaving with a huge bag of baked goods, a hug, and likely some extra groceries to tie you over until payday (yea my Mom and Dad are the bee’s knees). So when I started putting together a recipe for this week I thought about a breakfast dish that you could easily share with loved ones, or co-workers, or friends that was comforting but still healthy. I decided I would borrow an old fall favorite, Vegan Cranberry Orange Loaf from Jennifer at the NeuroticMommy blog. She took out the eggs, the processed sugar, and milk, really knocking the calorie count down (and made it more restrictive diet friendly (I’m looking at my fellow lactose intolerant friends!) The recipe is incredibly simple and easy to share! I encourage you readers to whip up your own breakfast loaf and share it with the people you love, and in this case I got to share it with my super sweet co-workers!

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I whipped up this super tasty recipe using Pacific Merchants’ French wood utensils, which are fabulous not just because each utensil is unique (each utensil is hand crafted and therefore each one is like a little snowflake), but since they are made of wood you don’t get any plastic-y taste from the kitchenware. Plus since we have numerous cancer survivors in my family, we don’t have to worry about any plastic based carcinogens that may contaminate the food. I’ve plated the loaf on Pacific Merchants’ responsibly forested 16” x 7” acacia serving tray (so my wonderful coworkers don’t have to fight to get a “slice” of the action), and decorated our table with the Red Tone Fall Deco Parchment leaves so my co-worker’s get the full Fall experience (they may think I’m slightly insane in this 100 degree weather, but oh well- haha!)

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Vegan Cranberry Orange Breakfast Loaf
(Many thank yous to www.neuroticmommy.com)

Ingredients
1 ½ cups cake flour or GF whole wheat flour
1 tsp of Baking Powder
1 cup of organic sugar or ¾ cup of honey (Grade B)  (if you use the honey decrease the liquid in the recipe by 3 tbsp)
Zest of ½ an orange
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
¾ cup unsweetened Almond Milk (or any nut milk)
½ cup organic safflower oil
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh cranberries

Orange Glaze (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp orange juice

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly spray standard loaf pan with coconut oil or nonstick cooking spray
2. In a large bowl sift together dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and orange zest. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients, almond milk, safflower oil, applesauce, orange juice, and vanilla extract.
4. Slowly mix in wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until just combined then fold in the fresh cranberries.
5.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. The original recipe calls for 70-75 minutes but because of the ingredient switches, the time varies. Mine loaves were done at an hour and 20 minutes. 6. At the hour mark, just keep an eye on it from there. If you want to keep it in longer but don’t want the top to brown too much, lower the heat and keep it in longer. And of course do the whole tooth pick inserted check.Once done remove from oven and let cool in pan 15 minutes. After that transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before icing (if using).
7. Make the glaze by whisking both juice and sugar together until completely smooth and no sugar clumps are left.
8. Drizzle that yumminess like crazy on top of your loaf cake. Cut, serve and Enjoy!


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