Posts Tagged ‘summer recipe’

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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National Ice Cream Month: Banana “Nice” Cream Recipe

Monday, July 6th, 2015
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Peanut butter and plain banana ice cream. Item shown: Dipping Bowl 4″

It’s the quintessential summer staple. Cold. Creamy. Customizable. I’m talking about ice cream. From the humble ice cream truck you chased as a child (or adult, no judgment here) to decadent concoctions from the local parlor, it’s plain to see that ice cream is a crucial component of a happy, healthy life.

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Celebrating Summer Produce: Tomato Sauce Recipe From Scratch

Friday, August 16th, 2013

023Last week we showed off beautiful raw tomatoes with our heirloom tomato panzanella salad. This week, we’re switching it up and teaching you how to make and preserve a lgreat tomato sauce. That way, you’ll get to enjoy the flavor of sun-ripened tomatoes all year!  As a bonus, this recipe works best with extremely ripe and even slightly overripe tomatoes, and they don’t have to be pretty. If you have any bruised, slightly squishy, cracked tomatoes, this is the perfect way to use them up!

 

This recipe makes 4 pints of tomato sauce and is pretty easy to multiply if you have a huge surplus of tomatoes. Just make sure you’re using a big enough pot, like one of our Kilner Jam Pans, and you’ll have perfectly thick, flavorful tomato sauce. You’ll never want to go back to store bought stuff again!

As with any canning project, make sure you have all your ingredients and all your equipment ready before you start!

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Equipment    Preserve Accessories

Ingredients

  • 8 lbs ripe or overripe tomatoes
  • ¼ cup bottled lemon juice *
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

* It is important to use bottled lemontom_paste-vars-harvest juice instead of fresh since bottled lemon juice has a consistent level of acidity and will ensure the shelf life of your tomato sauce.

You’ll notice that this is a pretty simple sauce. If you want to spice it up, feel free to add sautéed garlic, fresh basil, chili flakes, sautéed mushrooms, or anything you like in your tomato sauce. We keep ours simple because we don’t know what we’ll be pairing it with 6 months from now!

Let’s get down to business and make some sauce!

First, Prepare the jars and lids:
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Wash all jars and lids thoroughly with soap and water and rinse well. Fill your large pot with enough water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Place one of the towels at the bottom of the pot and bring to a simmer. Using a pair of canning tongs, lower the jars in gently, tilting them to fill with the hot water.  Add the screw-bands to the pot as well, but keep the flat metal seals out of the water for now, but have them handy.

 

Meanwhile, rinse the tomatoes and pat them dry.

Option 1: Cut a small “x” in the bottom of each tomato and blanch them for about 30 seconds in boiling water, remove to an ice bath, slip off their skins, cut in half and squeeze out the seeds.

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Option 2: Roughly chop the tomatoes and run them through a food mill.

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Option 3: Whirl the tomatoes quickly in a blender and push the puree through a fine sieve.

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Personally, I find option 2 to be the easiest, but not everyone has a food mill. If you’re going to become serious about canning, it’s a tool you should have. But any of the 3 options will do the trick!

Once you’ve got your tomatoes peeled, coarsely chop them (if they’re not already broken up) and add them to your Kilner jam pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and stir/crush your tomatoes to break them up further and keep them from burning.

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Bring the tomatoes to a boil, then reduce heat and keep at a low boil. Reduce to the desired thickness, by a third for a thin sauce, or by half for a thick sauce.

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With your tongs, carefully remove the jars from the pot, tipping water out and setting jars upright on a clean dry surface.  Add the seals to the pot, continue to simmer.

Using your funnel, carefully fill your jars, leaving a half inch of headspace at the top of each jar.images5

 

Run a chopstick around the sides of each jar to help release any trapped air, then wipe each jar’s rims clean with a dish towel.

Using a magnet or a pair of kitchen tongs, remove the jar seals from the water and place them on the mouths of the jars. Place the screw bands on the jars and screw on the rings, then loosen each ring a quarter turn to allow steam to escape from the jars.

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Empty the stock pot you used to sanitize your jars and fill it with water again, keeping the dish towel in the bottom of the pot.  With jam jar tongs, place each jar carefully into the water and check that jars are submerged by at least an inch.

Bring water to a boil and let boil for at least 20 minutes, checking periodically to see that the jars are covered with water.

After 20 minutes has passed (longer if at high altitude.) remove jars from water, and set on a cooling rack. Leave undisturbed for 12 hours, then test seals. If any of the jars have not sealed, reprocess using method above or refrigerate and use immediately!

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We hope that this simple tomato sauce recipe helps you enjoy the rest of the year. If you need more help figuring out how to choose great tomatoes, click back to last week’s blog post for advice! From all of us at Kilner and Pacific Merchants, happy canning!

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?

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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