Posts Tagged ‘Summer’

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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Celebrating Summer Produce: Tomatoes and a Tomato Salad Recipe

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Tomatoes are no longer just a salad bar garnish. With such a huge variety of heirloom tomatoes available, especially in August and September, tomatoes are quickly on their way to becoming the star of the dinner table.  Magazines from Food and Wine to Martha Stewart Living have featured tomatoes on their August covers, and we’re taking inspiration both from them and from the colorful heirloom tomatoes at our local farmer’s market. For the next two weeks, we’ll be showing off beautiful, versatile tomatoes.

 

Here are some quick tips to buying and storing tomatoes.  It’s the height of the season, so making sure to pick the right ones and keep them fresh and flavorful is key.

  1. Look for tomatoes that are heavy for their size, have smooth skin, slight give when touched, and are noticeably fragrant. If you can’t smell them, they’re not ripe.
  2. If you see a tomato that looks unusually puffy or bloated, don’t get it. That’s probably a waterlogged tomato.
  3. Remember that tomatoes, especially heirloom tomatoes, come in a rainbow of colors. Green heirloom tomatoes can be perfectly ripe, as long as they’re heavy for their size and smell fragrant.
  4. If you’re not sure, ask the farmer’s market vendor or your store’s produce person to help you chose. They want to keep your business so they’ll make sure you get the best fruit possible.
  5. Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator. I get it, they last longer, but refrigerating tomatoes makes them mealy. The cold also shuts down the compounds in the fruit that make tomatoes so flavorful.
  6. Keep tomatoes out of direct sunlight. Tomatoes will ripen off the vine, especially in sunlight, and leaving them in the sun can overheat them and cause them to ripen unevenly.
  7. Don’t pile tomatoes on top of each other when storing them. This could cause them to bruise. Instead, spread them out on a tray or a countertop. We’ve noticed that our baguette trays are the perfect size and shape for lining up tomatoes!

 

 

We’re starting off with a beautiful raw presentation in one of our Acaciaware salad bowls. This rustic Panzanella Heirloom Tomato salad is hearty enough to be a meal all on its own. It also makes a wonderful accompaniment to grilled chicken and steak.  The keys to making this salad perfect are picking great tomatoes, leaving the bread out until the very end, and using a big enough bowl that all the tomatoes, bread, and cucumbers end up doused in that rich, garlicky dressing. We suggest our 12” Calabash bowl. The rich tones of the acacia wood set off the colorful tomatoes nicely, and the bowl doesn’t absorb odors from the rich, garlic-infused dressing.

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Ingredients:008

  • 4 cups cubed French bread.
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, cubed and seeded
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 3-4 large cubed heirloom tomatoes, any color
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 10 basil leaves, diced
  • ¼ cup diced parsley013
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or run through garlic press
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt, pepper, chili flakes to taste
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

 

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Toss cubed bread in melted butter, salt and pepper. Spread in a single row on baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove and set aside.

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  • In the bottom of your salad bowl, whisk the Dijon, salt, pepper, chili flakes and garlic together.
  • Add the vinegar and whisk until well combined.

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  • Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixture, whisking well to combine.
  • Prepare vegetables. Add tomatoes to dressing first, toss well to combine.
  • Let tomato and dressing mixture sit for 5 minutes in order to draw the juice from the tomatoes.

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  • Add other vegetables and herbs, toss to combine.
  • At this point, the salad can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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  • 5 minutes before serving, toss the bread cubes into the salad and serve.

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We hope that this beautiful panzanella salad inspires you to get out there and experiment with the best that the season has to offer.  Make sure to check back next week when we put our Kilner jars to work and teach you how to make and preserve the perfect tomato sauce you’ll be sure to enjoy all year long!

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National Watermelon Day and a Great Watermelon Recipe

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Nothing says “summer” like biting into a big, juicy slice of watermelon. Since tomorrow, August 3, is National Watermelon Day, we think it’s the perfect time to introduce you to a more grown up watermelon recipe. It’s not that we have  anything against biting into a big, juicy slice of melon, but should your occasion call for something a little less messy, here’s a great, summery alternative!

This colorful savory watermelon salad is most beautiful when served in our round Calabash serving set. The shape of the bowl mimics the shape of the watermelon in a cute way and the rich brown tone of the Acacia hardwood offsets the reds, pinks and greens in this salad beautifully!  This dish serves a crowd, so it’s great to bring to a picnic or party.  If you’re making an extra-large batch and need a bigger bowl, try one of our larger Mason Cash Mixing bowls!

 

 

Sweet and Spicy Watermelon Salad

Ingredients

–          1 medium watermelon, cubed (about 15 cups) Not sure how? Here’s a tutorial

–          1 red onion, thinly sliced

–          ½ cup fresh mint, minced

–          3 cucumbers, cubed

–          8 oz crumbled feta cheese

–          1 heaping tsp cayenne pepper

–          1 tsp black pepper

–          2 tablespoons lime juice

–          2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

–          ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

–          Sea salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. In the bottom of your serving bowl, whisk together the spices
  2. Add the lime juice, vinegar, and olive oil, whisk to combine
  3. Add in cucumbers, red onion, mint, and feta. Stir to combine well.
  4. Toss the watermelon in with everything else.
  5. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper, lime juice or cayenne if necessary
  6. Serve cold or at room temperature.

One of my favorite things about this salad is how easy it is to change up. Sometimes I add tomatoes, sometimes I leave out the feta, and sometimes I use basil instead of mint. No matter what variation I use, it tastes great! This salad is as delicious as it is easy, and it’s a great way to turn a classic taste of summer into something a little more sophisticated!  What’s your favorite way to eat watermelon?

Perfect Pecan Pie Recipe and Tips

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Today is National Pecan Pie day!  Like so many of those other food related holidays, we think that it’s a pretty good excuse to get creative in the kitchen and bake something delicious, and pecan pie is one of  my personal favorites! Even if you’re not a pecan pie fan, this simple recipe is sure to change your mind. It is fragrant with orange peel, rich with bourbon and cinnamon, and amazing with vanilla ice cream.  So let’s get started!   This is a great pie to finish off a summer BBQ, but it’s also wonderful for the holidays, so make it now and bookmark it for later! Trust me, it’s a total crowd pleaser at Thanksgiving!

First, gather up your equipment.  You’re going to need a saucepan, a mixing bowl that can handle heat (our Mason Cash cane mixing bowls are perfect,) a rolling pin, a pie dish, a baking sheet and a whisk. If you’re making crust from scratch, you’ll need a separate bowl for that. I suggest popping a Mason Cash bowl in the fridge for your crusts. They stay cold forever, which makes for a better dough!

 

A note on pie dishes:  You’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of different kinds of pie dishes on the market. On a recent trip to the cooking store in my area I saw flimsy foil dishes along with metal, Pyrex, enamel, ceramic and stoneware.  For pies with a pre-baked crust, I’m partial to enameled pie plates like our Enamour dish.  It conducts heat really evenly which is essential for baking an unfilled crust.  For other pies, I really love terracotta bakeware. I use our Mason Cash terracotta pie plate for pretty much every fruit pie I make, along with this pecan pie. It promotes a really crisp crust, but keeps it flaky and buttery, rather than drying out the crust.  Now on to that pecan pie recipe!

Ingredients

  • Pie crust (either store bought or use our favorite recipe HERE)
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon or whiskey
  • Zest of one orange
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups lightly toasted pecan halves (1/2 pound)

 

Instructions

  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round.
  • Place in buttered terracotta pie dish.
  • Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang.
  • Fold overhang under and lightly press against rim of pie plate, then crimp decoratively.
  • Lightly prick bottom all over with a fork.
  • Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes (or freeze 10 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add brown sugar and cinnamon, whisking until smooth.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in corn syrup, vanilla, bourbon, orange zest, and salt.
  • Let cool for 2 minutes
  • Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl that can handle heat.
  • Gradually beat the corn syrup mixture into the eggs, whisking the whole time
  • Put pecans in pie shell and pour corn syrup mixture evenly over them.
  • Bake on baking sheet until filling is set, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Cool completely.

 

Enjoy! It’s National Pecan Pie day, so the calories definitely don’t count.

Summer Strawberry Shortcake

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Last week wasNational Strawberry Shortcake Day! For us here at Pacific Merchants, even if we’re late, it’s just a great excuse to get out our Mason Cash baking supplies and bake up a storm!

To make strawberry shortcake, you’re going to need a few bowls in a few different sizes: one for making the fruit filling, one for whipping the cream, and one for mixing up the dough.  Naturally, this was a perfect excuse for us to whip out our Mason Cash strawberry mixing bowls. They come in four sizes, so I used the littlest one to eat out of, the next  up for the whipped cream, the 2 quart for the strawberries, and the large mixing bowl to make the dough!

Mason Cash bowls are perfect for strawberry shortcake because both the bowls and the desserts are classics with a long history. Strawberry shortcakes were actually mentioned in Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor, so we felt it was natural to make a British heritage dessert in bowls from a British heritage company.  And while Mason Cash isn’t Shakespeare old, it does date back to the early 1800’s.  So let’s get cooking

You can use anything from angel food cake to pound cake to biscuits for your shortcake dough. Personally, I love this scone-inspired dough. It’s not too sweet,  it’s sturdy enough to hold up to juicy strawberries, and it comes together easily with just a little work and very little equipment, just a large mixing bowl, a couple of butter knives, and a wooden spoon.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg,
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup half and half

 

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and place rack in middle of oven.
  •  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  • Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.
  • Whisk together the egg, half and half, lemon zest and vanilla extract and add to the flour mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough.
  • Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat or roll the dough into a 7 inch round.
  • With a 3 inch round cookie cutter or an overturned drinking glass, cut out rounds and place the scones on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with a little cream.
  •  Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of a scone comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

Once those scones are cooling, start on the strawberry filling. Because strawberries are so good this time of year, they don’t need much, just a little sugar, some orange zest, maybe a splash of vanilla and (if you’re serving adults) a dash of bourbon, which really highlights the sweetness of the berries.  This mixture fits perfectly into a medium Mason Cash bowl, or you can use your large strawberry mixing bowl again.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries
  • ¼ cup granulated white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • Zest of one orange
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons good bourbon, optional (if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t use it)

Instructions

  • Wash, hull and quarter the strawberries.
  • Toss strawberries with the sugar, citrus zest, vanilla extract and bourbon
  • Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour before using

Next, use a small bowl to whip up some cream. You can use a larger bowl and more cream if you want more whipped cream, but 1 cup of cream is plenty for me (probably because I put ice cream on my shortcake as well.  Do this right before serving or your whipped cream will fall flat.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Combine cream, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl
  • Whisk until medium peaks are formed
  • Serve!

Now, assemble your shortcake!

  • Split each scone in half.
  • Put a few strawberries on the bottom of the scone.
  • Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • Put a generous helping of strawberries over the top of the ice cream
  • Top with the second half of the scone
  • Top with whipped cream and more strawberries.
  • Enjoy

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 kate@pacificmerchants.com! 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.

Pacific Merchants and Chef Louise Pomegranate Tips

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Great entertaining begins with a healthy dose of fun and a burst of color. That’s what you and your guests get when using pomegranates for all sorts of exciting recipes from main dishes, to salads, to cocktails.  Serving your dishes on beautiful Pacific Merchant Acacia Wood bowls, trays, and plates adds a wonderful and fun elegance to your table. Also, check out our associated video.

Meanwhile, here are some tried and true Pomegranate Tips that can help bring your next meal to life.

  • To remove tendrils – cut the pomegranate into fourths and soak in cold water for just a few minutes.
  • Tap the skin with a wooden spoon – the seeds should fall out easily into a bowl.
  • You can also gently submerge the pomegranate and gently loosen the tendrils with your fingers.
  • Pomegranate molasses is available at Middle Eastern Markets or is available online.
  • Molasses may be substituted with pomegranate juice that has been reduced down over low heat into syrup.

 

Coriander Chicken Kebabs
makes 16 kebabs

1 pound ground chicken (leg and thigh meat)
1 small shallot –finely chopped
5 mint leaves-finely chopped
½ bunch of cilantro- trimmed from stems and finely chopped
16 skewers

• In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well.
• Separate the meat into 16- 1 ounce portions.
• With the palm of your hand carefully press the meat onto the end of the skewers to form kebabs, lay flat onto a lined baking sheet.
• Refrigerate the kebabs for 15-20 minutes to allow them to set.
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Heat a nonstick griddle and lightly oil.
• Cook kebabs for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side until golden.
• Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until done.
• Serve Warm

 

Pomegranate Vinaigrette
makes 1/2 cup

¼ cup Pomegranate molasses
1 Tablespoon orange vinegar or balsamic
Zest of 1 Orange
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Small Shallot- finely chopped
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 Garlic Clove – minced
½- ¾ Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

• In a small jar with a lid combine all the ingredients and shake well.
•Serve at room temperature (the molasses will thicken and separate if refrigerated).

 

Pomegranate Pistachio Salad with Feta and Oranges
Serves 4

7 ounce bag of mixed baby greens
1/8 cup pomegranate tendrils
1/4 cup roasted salted shelled pistachios
1/4 cup crumbled dry feta cheese
2 oranges peeled and cut into supremes

  • Toss ingredients in a medium bowl and chill, serve with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

 

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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.

Endless Summer!

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Summer may officially begin on June 21, but unofficially, I like to keep it going all year round. Of course it helps to live in Southern California, where it’s not uncommon to celebrate Christmas at the beach or Valentine’s Day sunning with your sweetheart at the park. I can prime and fire up a grill with drill sergeant precision, conduct a picnic dinner at the Hollywood Bowl with symphonic grace, and throw together a softball tailgate party with the awesome speed and power of a line drive. And I do it twelve months a year!

Yeah, I’ve got game. But I like to think my “endless summer” is something anyone can enjoy, whether they live in Minneapolis or Maui. It’s simply a state of mind. And seeing as summer is strongly oriented towards entertaining (read: eating) there is one item from Pacific Merchants you simply can’t do without: The Cutting Edge Flex Mat™.

What is The Cutting Edge Flex Mat™? I’m so glad you asked. It’s a flexible cutting surface and placemat rolled into one. Perfect for prepping foods at the aforementioned picnics, and tailgate parties, it’s also great for the home grill or bar, and an outstanding choice for kitchens where the bulk and weight of a heavy cutting board is problematic. Cutting Edge Flex Mats™ come in 12 beautiful, vibrant archival photographic images that bring summer to your culinary pursuits any time of year. These designs are so attractive that most of our customers use Cutting Edge Flex Mats ™ on both their tables and counters. Made in the USA and designed of FDA approved polypropylene plastic, Cutting Edge Flex Mats™ won’t dull knives and are so flexible they can be used to funnel chopped foodstuffs straight from mat to bowl or pan. Unlike any other flexible cutting board on the market, Cutting Edge Flex Mats™ are dishwasher safe.

So, now that the season is upon us, pull out your Cutting Edge Flex Mats™, and let your endless summer begin!

Just Around The Corner

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
Acaciaware

Acaciaware® Salad Bowl

As I was making breakfast the other day, the blast of a car’s horn announced that carpool -usually 10 minutes late- was, on this particular Friday, 10 minutes early. My teenager, frantically searching for her physics book, intercepted a half finished tuna sandwich from her mother, grabbed a breakfast bar from the cupboard, and ran out the door in a jaw-dropping blur of speed. My wife sighed and muttered, “I can’t wait for summer.”

Neither can I.

I love the way life slows down just a bit during summer. Work still beckons, often seven days a week, but the days are longer, the sun is sunnier, and balmy breezes are redolent with flowers in full bloom, copious amounts of sunscreen, and best of all, the mesquite from my grill. Summer, I thought to myself, is just around the corner. I could almost smell it!

That night, I decided to pull the grill out of the garage in honor of the impending season. As I worked over smoking coals, my wife set the patio table with placemats from our Malibu Collection: several different colors from aqua to lime to cobalt, topped with square white dishes and multi-colored napkins. When the salad was tossed (in one of our beautiful Acaciaware™ salad bowls!) the chicken plated, and wine glasses topped off, we sat down to eat. There was still a bit of chill in the air, so I lit the outdoor heater. Nevertheless, I felt transported to that special state of mind that is summer. ..Almost.

Just as I closed my eyes to savor the moment, I heard the blast of a car’s horn. My daughter grabbed a chicken leg, and ran into the house with a vaguely familiar blur of speed. “Thanks for the barbecue! Gotta Go! Back by ten!” My wife and I shared a look, and a laugh. Then clinked our wine glasses together. “Here’s to summer!”

Note: Pacific Merchants Malibu Collection place mats have the look and feel of natural woven fabric, but are actually made from polypropylene. This easy to clean material resists moisture and bacterial growth and will not stain or fade. Simply wipe clean. Perfect for both indoor and outdoor use, as well as every season! Acaciaware™Acacia hardwood salad bowls are also ideal for any occasion, from barbeque to formal feast, and are as beautiful as they are durable!