Posts Tagged ‘barbecue’

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.

Tips for a Great Fourth of July Barbecue!

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

US-flag-Florida-BridgeCan you believe that Independence Day is just around the corner?  That’s right, July 4th is almost here! Naturally, we’re getting ready for a big family barbecue with all the trimmings, from Red and Blue placemats to all-American apple pies to an incredible spread of food laid out on our eco-friendly Acaciaware serving dishes.  They come in a huge range of shapes and sizes ,  from baguette traysto bread boards to chip and dip

Acaciaware

Acaciaware® Salad Bowl

trays and they’re  perfect for serving a crowd. They’re durable and don’t shatter when dropped.

If you want to get in on the Acaciaware action this summer, enter code FIREWORKS at checkout! You’ll receive a FREE salad serving set with every 10” or larger salad bowl. After all, no one wants to serve a fruit salad with their hands.

We’ve actually already published a couple of recipes on this blog that would be absolutely great for your Fourth of July gathering.  Check out our National Burger Month post for a perfect, foolproof burger recipe. If you’re a ribs lover (and how could you not love ribs?) check out our Father’s Day dry rub recipe. Of course, one cannot live on meat alone – unless you’re a shark or lion – so today we’re going to feature a great vegetarian recipe to help you balance out your barbecue.

Before we get to that recipe, we’ve got our top five entertaining tips to share with you. We want to make sure that you can throw America a great birthday bash and still enjoy time with friends and family, instead of manning the grill all night.

Tip 1: Make as much of possible ahead of time. This seems like absolutely common sense, but it’s easy to forget. If I’m making burgers, I slice my tomatoes and onions the night before the party and put them in a sectioned serving tray like the Acaciaware tray featured below.   I also make all my salads and sides ahead of time and put them in the refrigerator in their serving bowls, so on the day of the party I can just pull them out, stick some serving spoons in them, and be done.  To keep salads fresh, I don’t add the dressing until the last minute – I make it separately and store it in jars, but beyond that, ¾ of my party foods are made ahead so I’m not running around like a chicken with its head cut off as guests start to arrive.

     Acacia Wood Deep Bowl, 12" x 12" x 6" Kilner Preserve Jar, 1.0 Liter/34 fl ozAcacia Wood Fork & Spoon Serving Set, 12"

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Tip 2: Keep it simple.  I’ve thrown parties where I’ve overdone it on the food and forgotten to enjoy the guests. You’re throwing a Fourth of July bash. Burgers, a simple salad and a dessert , like our strawberry shortcake should be plenty. By making no more than one entrée, 2 sides, and a dessert, you’ll spend less time fussing and more time having fun.

Tip 3: Get help. There’s no rule that says that you have to make everything just because you’re hosting. Buy something (or a few things) pre-made at the store.  Most grocery stores have great vegetable trays, cookies, chips and dips, and so much more. If you want a consistent look, put them on your own dishes. Your guests won’t know the difference! We’ve got Acaciware serving solutions that are perfect for veggies and dips, chips and dips, and even big platters for appetizers and desserts.

Tip 4: Don’t try too many new recipes at once.  Maybe make a new entrée, or a new side dish, but don’t overwhelm yourself with new recipes unless you’re 100% sure they’ll work out.  You’ll be stressed by the time the food is served.  Adventurous eating is awesome, but it’s always good to have at least one dish you can make in your sleep, whether it’s burgers,  pulled pork, or guacamole.  You’ll know it’s good without trying it, your guests will love it, and it’s one thing you won’t need to worry about.

Tip 5: Fire extinguisher. It’s the Fourth of July, which means that there’s a grill going, fireworks, and children running around with sparklers. We’re not saying there’s going to be a fire, but it’s better for your peace of mind to have an extinguisher handy. Like my mother always says, “better safe than sorry.”

And now, on to the recipe:  Mom’s Black Bean and Mango Salad. With the protein from the beans and the sweet tang of mangoes, this salad is hearty enough that it can be a meal on its own. It’s also a great side that everyone seems to love, and it’s amazing on tacos. It can be made up to 4 days ahead, which is great: July 4 is on a Thursday this year, but you can get the prep out of the way on the weekend. Just add the avocado at the last minute or it’ll get brown and mushy.

 

This colorful salad looks particularly beautiful in an Acaciaware salad bowl. The natural wood tones really make colors pop! I l especially love the way it looks in a flared bowl.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked black beans (Canned and drained or cooked and drained)
  • 3 cups corn (canned and drained, frozen and thawed, fresh and lightly steamed)
  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 3 ripe mangoes, diced
  • 3 avocados, diced right before serving
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro
  • ¼ cup minced mint
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (more to taste)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients except avocados in a large serving bowl.
  • Toss to combine.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper
  • Add avocado right before serving.
  • Serve on own, as a topping for tacos, or as a side salad.

We hope that this simple recipe and our helpful hints keep your Fourth of July barbecue as fun and stress free as possible. And remember, no one wants to serve that delicious salad with their hands, so enter FIREWORKS at checkout to get a set of free salad servers with any bowl 10 inches or larger.

Happy 4th, everybody!

May is National Burger Month!

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Did you know that May is National Burger Month? That’s right; you’ve got a whole month to celebrate delicious, juicy burgers. And why not? It’s America’s favorite food after all. Here at Pacific Merchants, we’re celebrating burger month by throwing a burger party. 270125_238766996140933_8032478_n

Now, the first step to any great burger party location. We suggest sprucing up your patio and grilling and partying outside.  In need of a spring style fix? Just set your table with designer placemats from Pacific Merchants. They’re weatherproof, water proof, and they come in bright cheerful colors. Plus, they complement our Acaciaware ® trays, bowls, and serving pieces. Pick a bright cheerful color like orange, yellow, or green to really make your table pop like spring has sprung. Bonus: Colors like orange and yellow actually make people hungry (it’s why they use them in restaurants a lot.) So you’ll really whet their appetites just by setting the table. Who knew it could be so easy?

21192_504466239619938_1692162355_nAlong with setting the table, you need to decide on what else you’re serving. Now, burgers are definitely the main attraction here, but consider a nice green salad, some fruit, and maybe even a whole grain side dish. That way, even if you’ve got people who can’t eat burgers, you’ve got something for everyone. Also consider putting out a spread of veggies and dip. We suggest serving up sides in some of our Acaciaware ® chip and dip trays. I mean, look how great food looks in them! We’ve got plates, serving bowls and even sectioned pineapple trays, so no matter what sides you’re serving, we’ve got you covered.

Now for the meat of the meal: that burger we’re celebrating all month! Think about your audience. Do they eat meat? Do they avoid red meat? Are they vegetarian? We’ve got a killer hamburger recipe below, but if  you need a great turkey burger recipe, we suggest this one from our friends at Real Simple. It’s the juiciest turkey burger ever. If you’re desperate for a delicious veggie burger, head on over to The Kitchn.  But if you’re like us and you want an all American beef

Juicy Beef Burgers ( Makes 4)thick-burger-mld108880_vert

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lbs ground chuck (80% lean, 20% fat)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • Canola oil

Instructions

  • Preheat grill to Medium High
  • Brush grates with oil
  • Gently form beef into 4 patties, about 4 inches in diameter. Be careful to only pack your beef loosely
  • Generously season each side with salt and pepper, forming a crust.
  • With your thumb, make a dent in the middle of each burger patty. This will keep the burger from shrinking too much while cooking
  • Grill for 3 minutes
  • Flip (top with cheese if you want) and grill for another 4 minutes to medium rare. Cook longer if you want a more well done burger
  • Serve with your favorite toppings.

So what do you do about toppings? Do a survey among your guests ahead of time or just pick your favorite 8. Include the basics like lettuce, tomatoes and onions, but also include some more unusual ones like grilled pineapple, fried eggs, caramelized onions, and guacamole. And don’t forget the condiments. Consider ketchup, mustard, ranch, and barbecue sauce are the basics, but what about bacon, blue cheese, or roasted garlic sauce?  Set them out buffet style and let your guests assemble their own dream burgers. It’s fun, it’ll get people talking, and having all those toppings spread out buffet style is like having really delicious table décor. Here are some of our favorite serving trays for toppings and condiments

 

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From Left to right we have our acacia plate, great for burgers, our baguette tray and bowls, great for guacamole, salsa, and caramelized onions , and our condiment set is great for sauces like ketchup and mustard. Our pineapple tray is great for stuff like grilled pineapple, tomato slices, lettuce, and onions!

Oh, one other thing! Don’t forget hamburger buns. I speak from experience.

We hope that everyone out there has a great time celebrating National Burger Month this May. Let us know what you did to celebrate America’s favorite food! We’re sure you’ll inspire us to throw another burger party later this month. But don’t worry, the whole month of May isn’t going to be unhealthy for us. It’s also National Salad Month!

Are you as psyched about burger month as we are? If so, send your favorite bbq sauce recipe to [email protected]! The winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to our website. Since Burger Month is the whole month of May, you have until May 31 to enter.


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