It’s that time of the year when the weather starts cooling down, and kitchens start heating up with soups, stews and all kinds of delicious takes on chili. We’re also just ahead of Holiday baking. Here are a few tips from our kitchen to help you welcome in the season.
Chili can be complicated or quick and easy. Our Cha Cha Chili blend makes a pot of delightful chili in about an hour or less. VSpicery believes that when cooking with tomatoes, keeping it at a simmer a little longer always makes a big difference.
Suggestion: Cha Cha can also be used to make a delicious tasting dinner using simple ingredients. Make a pot of yellow rice, then season chicken tenders with Cha Cha Chili blend. Sauté chicken in olive oil until cooked through, serve over yellow rice with a bit of shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. A side salad works nicely to round out dinner.
If you want to make a different type of chili, we recommend using ground turkey, black beans, a can of tomatoes and our Cocoa Loco Taco Mix. It not only makes great tacos, but this chili is deliciously different.
Now if you want to make an all day pot of chili, we have a large variety of chili powders, from mild to wild. We simply love the combination of Ancho, Pasilla and Chipotle chili powders to season the pot, and Mexican Oregano is a must. This oregano makes a huge difference when seeking that special background flavor. Most “oregano” in the grocery stores is sweet oregano. Mexican oregano is earthly with hints of citrus and licorice (in a good way), and has a spicier flavor. VSpicery also has super fresh cumin, which makes your dishes even more delicious.
We love making a nice pot of stew to warm us up on cool nights! Our blend, Herbal Crust Seasoning, was originally developed for venison, this blend has taken us on all sorts of culinary journeys. We use it to season flour to dredge the beef and add a bit to the vegetables for beef stew. The end result is one of our favorite fall flavors. VSpicery also uses Herbal Crust Seasoning in turkey burgers, eggplant burgers, on our Thanksgiving turkey, and in a vegetable stew. We have discovered that our Thanksgiving Day gravy is ridiculously delicious just from using the pan drippings after baking a turkey with Herbal Crust Seasoning.
Baking season is just around the corner and VSpicery has all your fresh baking spices – whether you are looking for Korintje cinnamon, whole vanilla beans, Grains of Paradise, cardamom … we help your kitchen creativity soar!
For the Holiday season, VSpicery freshly blends brines, mulling spices, poultry seasoning, pumpkin spice, and apple pie spice. We want you to have the freshest possible flavors for your eating pleasures.
One last thing, we were astounded at the price in the grocery stores for cloves. VSpicery has fresh cloves priced just like all our other spices – only $4.00, and far fresher than you will find anywhere else in the bay area.
Remember, good ingredients equal great results.
On a sad note, VSpicery has decided to sit out the market season this year so we will not be at the Saturday Morning Market, this was a decision made due to changes in our personal lives. We will miss the market and hope you all attend and enjoy.
Heading towards the end of summer. Of course, being in Florida, it feels like summer most of the time.
Did you know that Labor Day became an official holiday to honor the contributions of American workers in 1894. That’s 123 years of cookouts and, wow, how cookouts have changed through the years. Baked beans were around during the cookouts of the 1800’s. Potato salad as we know it today didn’t make an appearance until approximately 1940, when mayonnaise replaced a French style dressing. Deviled eggs have actually been around longer than baked beans.
Most of us just open, add a few enhancements and bake the beans from the can then call it baked beans. Here’s how you can make them from scratch.
Serves 10-12 as a side dish
1 lb dried navy or Great Northern beans
8 cups water
1/4 lb bacon (or salt pork), diced
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup molasses or maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Rinse 1 pound (about 2-1/3 cups) dried navy beans or Great Northern beans in a colander under cool running water. Be sure to sort through the beans to remove any debris. Soak the beans overnight. The next morning, drain and rinse the beans.
In a large Dutch oven combine the beans and 8 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Drain beans, reserving the liquid.
Now, it’s time to add the Flavorings! In a 2-1/2-quart casserole combine the beans with bacon, onion, molasses, brown sugar, mustard, salt and pepper.
Cover the casserole, and bake the Beans in a preheated oven at 300°F for 2-1/2 hours or until the beans reach the desired consistency.
Baked Beans Tip: You can get a head start on baked beans by soaking them and cooking them in advance. Cover and store the cooked beans in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Some cooks like their beans saucy, while some prefer them more dry. If you like them saucy, add additional reserved bean liquid during cooking. If, at the end of cooking time, the beans are not as dry as you like, continue to bake them, uncovered, until some of the liquid has evaporated. Keep in mind, though, that beans will continue to soak up the liquid after cooking.
Okay, that takes care of the baked beans, now on to the potato salad!
This is VSpicery’s take on potato salad using simple ingredients for great flavor. Wash, peel and chunk 5 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes. Place in pan large enough to cover potatoes with an inch of water. Add 3 eggs to the potatoes so that they will cook with the potatoes. Bring water to a boil, adding 1 tbsp. salt and cook until fork tender.
While potatoes are boiling dice 2 carrots and a medium red onion. When potatoes are ready, remove eggs and drain water from potatoes. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl, stir in carrots, cover and cool.
Peel and dice 2 eggs, third egg should be sliced to place on top of completed salad. Combine 1-1 ½ cup of mayo with VSpicery’s Salad Seasons to taste, set aside so flavors mingle together to make this tasty dressing.
When potatoes are cooled, fold in onion and dressing until totally covered with dressing. Place sliced eggs on top; sprinkle VSpicery’s Hungarian or Smoked Spanish Paprika for color and bit more flavor.
We also love deviled eggs and lots of our blends make delightful deviled eggs. Some suggestions to add to the mayo are: Shallots N’ Pepper, Salad Seasons, Greek Seasonings or even Red Hot Sting. Something as simple as Black Truffle Salt and Chervil make a lovely deviled egg. Our curries also make delicious additions to deviled eggs. Our favorite to use is Madras Curry Powder, but Ral El Hanout and Sweet Curry powder work really well too. Be unique, not traditional here!
We have a delightful Strawberry Champagne Finishing Sauce which adds amazing flavor to a cut fruit salad.
If you’re grilling burgers we got your seasonings. Java-Jo Steak Seasoning, Soulful Seasons, Chophouse Kitchen, and Savory Steak Seasoning go great. Combine Chophouse Kitchen and Savory Steak Seasoning for that WOW factor! Of course, if you’re grilling steak, any of these will work perfectly as well!
Don’t forget the mustard if you serving burgers, hot dogs or grilled shrimp. We have a variety to change it up and delight your guests at any cookout.
VSpicery has all kinds of suggestions and we are always happy to share our ideas. Those of you who have stopped by the shop know we love talking recipes and how to’s. If you need a suggestion or have a question feel free to call, email or stop by the shop.
Well that’s it for now. Hope you all have a great Labor Day Weekend. Happy grilling!
Seminole Pumpkin Chicken Curry
We like to grow lots of different veggies in our garden, and recently harvested some Seminole pumpkins. We thought about making soup or roasted pumpkin for a side dish, but really wanted something different. That’s when Val came up with this scrumptious curry dish. We think you will love just as much as we did! If you don’t have pumpkins available, use butternut or acorn squash. This recipe is also delicious to make without the chicken and bacon for a great vegan curry.
1 Seminole Pumpkin
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Salt
Cut pumpkin in half lengthwise, and season each cut side of the pumpkin halves with the olive oil and salt. Place seasoned pumpkin, cut side down, on foil lined baking pan. Roast in 350 degree oven 30 – 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
1 Red, Yellow or Orange Bell Pepper, diced
1 medium Onion, diced
3 strips of Bacon, cut into pieces
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can Coconut Cream
1 cup Water
1 cube Vegetable or Chicken Bouillon
1 – 2 tbsp VSpicery’s Madras Curry
1 roasted or store brought chicken, shredded (leftover chicken works fine too)
Render bacon and cook until crispy. Add onion and bell pepper, season with a bit of salt and saute until tender. Add tomatoes and cook until softened.
Add water and bouillon, bring to boil crushing bouillon until dissolved. Lower heat and add coconut cream and curry stir well to combine.
Skin pumpkin and cut into chunks, then add to sauce along with the shredded chicken. Simmer on low heat, until all ingredients are fully heated. Serve with brown rice.
Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner, and if you are hosting a Super Bowl LI party, you know that the food is one of the most important aspects of the day. We have a few traditional recipes and a few unique spins on old favorites that will keep your guests happy no matter what team is winning.
Sunday, February 5, 6:30 PM on FOX
NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons
Here is something a little different for your Superbowl party that you can make in place of potato chips. These pita chips are also great with hummus, dips or on their own.
2 pita breads (get the thicker, Greek style)
2 tbs. water
3 tbs. olive oil
¼ tsp salt
1 tbs. VSpicery’s Za’atar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice pita into bite-size squares and place them in a small salad bowl. Drizzle with water and olive oil; season with salt and Za’atar. Toss gently to mix and coat. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. (serves 4 – 6)
Crab Dip with Bacon
This delicious dip is great with the pita chips or regular crackers. Either way, your guests will gobble it up and may ask for more after the dip bowl is empty.
6 oz crab meat
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Fines, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon Fresh Bay Seasoning
Crackers for serving
In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and sour cream on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Shred the crab and stir in all remaining ingredients except for the bacon. Cover and chill for two hours. Sprinkle with bacon pieces and additional chives right before serving. Serve with pita chips or crackers.
Cha Cha Chili
Our award-winning Cha Cha Chili seasoning includes 5 different varieties of chili peppers along with cumin, paprika and a number of other ingredients. This blend has a pleasant, mild-to-medium heat and is big on flavor.
16 oz can tomatoes, chopped
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 lb ground beef
2-3 tbls Cha Cha Chili
16 oz can beans (optional)
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbls olive oil
Season ground beef with salt, pepper and garlic powder, then brown meat over medium heat. Remove from pan when cooked through and drain fat.
Heat oil in large pot and saute onions and peppers until soft, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add browned ground beef to the pot, then add tomatoes and chicken stock and stir until well combined.
Bring chili back to a low boil over medium to medium high heat and add Cha Cha to taste. Add beans (if using) and let simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.
Taste before serving and adjust spices to your liking. If you want to bump up the heat level, use our Habanero or Ghost Pepper Salt in place of regular salt. Taste as you go to make sure it’s not too hot for everyone. Serve with chips, cheese and sour cream, if desired.
Put wings, or chicken breasts into a bowl or ziplock bag, add enough olive oil and seasoning to evenly coat the chicken. Marinate from 1 hour to overnight, and grill or smoke until done.
Anytime we smoke chicken wings for a party with either of these delicious blends, they never last more than an hour after they come off the grill. Become an instant gourmet with a simple and delicious way to get big flavor in your wings with our seasoning blends!
You and me by the pool oh how happy we’ll be, but only if we don’t have to fire up the grill! Yes, it’s summer and here in Florida it is so HOT that you may want to hang out in a kiddie pool full of ice 24/7. Cooking? Oh please, not today.
We have some tasty no-cook options for you to try this summer, so you can spend more time in the pool, without melting behind a grill. It does, however, involve a bit of work in the kitchen with some chopping, dicing and such, but prep time shouldn’t take too long. Here’s some of our recommendations for a cool time by the pool with family and friends.
Almost everyone has their own recipe for Chicken Salad, but we put some delicious twists on this classic dish. Practice your dicing skills with these ingredients and put it all into a large bowl to give you room to mix.
Roasted chicken (found in grocer’s deli section or use leftovers if you have some)
1 medium red onion
1 celery stalk
Now, here’s the twist… Using a blender or small food chopper, grind down smoked almonds until they are almost dust and then combine with other ingredients in the large bowl.
In a small bowl, mix 1 – 1 ½ cup(s) of mayo with VSpicery’s Sweet Singing Seasoning to taste, then add to the other ingredients, mix well and chill. Serve on a bed of lettuce or half of a nice sized avocado and crackers.
Enjoy Tuna Salad, but bored with the standard recipe? Here are a few ways you can bump up the flavor, and love tuna salad again. We like to chill a can of tuna in the fridge before mixing this salad, but you can also use the tuna off the shelf, and chill after it’s mixed. We use canned Albacore tuna in water because the chunk light version is typically too wet for this recipe, but feel free to use whichever option you prefer.
One can of tuna, well drained of liquid.
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 – 2 tbsp Champagne Pear Vinegar, to taste
1 tsp granulated roasted garlic
1 tbsp Salad Seasonings
1 – 2 tsp Applewood Smoked Salt, to taste
1 tsp Special Peppercorn Blend
1 – 2 oz Shredded cheese, optional (Sharp cheddar, swiss, or aged provolone works really well.)
1 – 2 tbsp mayo
Make sure to drain as much liquid as possible out of the tuna, and mix with the vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 10 – 15 minutes, while you chop the onion and get the rest of the ingredients together. This step is critical to create a nice depth of flavor.
Add onion and all spices to the tuna mixture, and combine until well blended. Taste it at this point to make any necessary seasoning adjustments, then when you are happy with the flavor, add cheese and mix well. Stir in mayo, give it one last taste, then chill until you are ready to serve.
We like to put a scoop or two on a bed of lettuce, but it’s also wonderful as a sandwich, tuna melt, or as a stuffing in a tomato half.
Feeling a bit fancier? Try this Fresh Salmon Ceviche. You’ll need the following ingredients:
1 lb. sushi grade salmon filet, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ tbsp. Alderwood Smoked Salt
¼ cup red onion, minced
½ tsp Sriracha Sauce
1 ripe tomato, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp granulated sugar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Haas avocado, chopped
In a large glass bowl, dissolve the sugar, salt and Sriracha sauce in the lime juice, then add cumin. Stir in the olive oil, garlic, onion, tomato and cilantro. Gently mix in salmon, then cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.
To serve, drain liquid and gently stir in the avocado. Allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Serve with toast points, crackers, or taco chips.
Now if you decide that you do need to use the grill, we have got you covered there too! Lovely rubs for all your meaty delights or get the world’s best mustard, VSpicery’s Roasted Garlic Champagne Mustard, to take simple hot dog to great heights! It’s just silly that a mustard can make this much difference, but wow! You’ll understand when you try it, just make sure to get 2 jars because it won’t last long.
For more seasonal delights, stop by VSpicery and discover the difference that truly fresh spices can make with your food.
Easter is right around the corner. Are you gathering thoughts for your special dinner? A traditional Easter dinner usually include deviled eggs, crudities with dipping spread, pork loin, ham, lamb, salmon, scalloped or mashed potatoes just to mention a few.
VSpicery has the ingredients you need to elevate your Easter dinner to flavorful bliss.
For a limited time*, we will once again offer “Flavor Effects” little packages bursting with flavor. These can be used for dips, deviled eggs, compound butter and more. Select from: Garden Veggie, Forest Mushroom, or Tomato, Bacon & Horseradish.Of course, our spice blends are delicious. Try Sweet Singing Season on ham; use Dillious directly onto salmon or to make a cream sauce. Marinate That Pork – well yes, for pork, but also Soulful Seasons for more zip.
Use Greek Seasoning, Maroon Jerk, or any of our hand-crafted curry spices for lamb. Herbs de Provence stirred into mashed potatoes is divine and Dillious will liven up scalloped potatoes. You can use our Greek Seasoning on roasted potatoes and asparagus.
Baking usually includes Easter bread, pound cake, cookies and carrot cake. Most baking requires some form of vanilla, whether in extract form or bean scrapings, and you can get it all here at VSpicery. Vanilla beans, of course, we have vanilla beans! We also have ground Vanilla Beans. Yes, ground, no more scraping. You get great flavor for less cost and can also use in smoothies, coffee and oatmeal.
VSpicery also offers poppy seeds, orange and lemon peel, nutmeg, four different types of cinnamon, cloves, allspice – all your favorite spices for baking. VSpicery has the freshest seasonings and flavor available, it is amazing what fresh, quality spices can do for your food.
St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner! While deciding where to go for your pint(s) of green beer this year, lets talk about flavor, and get ready to change the way you think about Irish food. Historically, Irish cuisine wasn’t on the map for most foodies, but Irish food has evolved in some delicious ways. Many modern chefs have embraced the basics while raising the bar on their national cuisine, and Irish food is not just about boiled dinners or corned beef and cabbage anymore.
Ireland is rich with a diversity of proteins like mackerel, scallops, lamb, beef, ducks and geese, to mention a few. Dishes like roasted leg of lamb with garlic, thyme, and juniper berries, then adding stout beer and honey sounds deliciously palate pleasing. A stout reduction cream sauce with chives and mushrooms for salmon would be luscious with garlic smashed potatoes. We just may have to make that tonight for dinner! Or, how does a roasted duck breast with a whiskey orange sauce or peppered duck breast with wild mushrooms and cream sound? I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering, and I can’t decide if we should have lamb, salmon or duck for dinner now.
Traditionally, Irish cuisine incorporates seasonings such as caraway seeds, thyme, parsley, rosemary, sage, salt and peppercorns. Now, we are all familiar with most of these seasonings. However, from being in the spice business, I can tell you that most of us are not familiar with ways to use caraway seeds other than bread, or how a touch of caraway can bring a whole other level of complexity to the flavor of a dish.
Caraway seeds have a fennel, or anise, like flavor and crunchy texture. They help create traditional Irish flavor in diverse dishes from soda bread to corned beef. Caraway can be lightly crushed and added to mashed potatoes, we also suggest that the dry roasted and crushed seeds be added to milk and butter to infuse into the mixture before the mashing begins. You can add caraway seeds to a brining solution for roast chicken, it is also a traditional ingredient in Irish sausages instead of fennel, and it can also be added to ground beef for shepherd’s pie. Combine a bit into supermarket ground sausage, form into patties, cook and serve with soda bread and eggs for a tasty Irish breakfast. There are so many different ways caraway can be used to create great flavors for your food, give it a try!
Here’s a little St. Patty’s Day story. A couple of years ago we were at the Seminole Heights Sunday Morning Market, and getting ready for a 2 market weekend kept me very busy all week. As the market came to a close, I realize it was St. Patrick ’s Day and I hadn’t planned dinner. Oh no….. What to do? I was exhausted and wanting a delicious dinner. The best thing available in my dazed state was the boneless/skinless chicken breast, then gathered some cabbage, onion, potatoes, and carrots, and this is what I did with them.
4 chicken breast seasoned lightly with VSpicery’s Calgary Crush
2 tbsp. Seraphino Olive Oil
Onions, sliced thinly
Potatoes, peeled and cubed
Carrots, peeled and cut into 1” inch pieces
¼ cup water or chicken broth
In an oven proof Dutch oven, brown the chicken breast in oil until mostly cooked through. Remove.
Sauté onion until tender. Layer potatoes, carrots, cabbage and add water/broth, sprinkle about 1 tbsp. more of Calgary Crush over the vegetables. Return chicken to pot cover and place in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. It may not be corned beef and cabbage, but it was ridiculously tasty.
That’s it for this month. If you give any of these recipes a try, let us know how well you impressed your family or guests. Until next time, bon appetit.
Here are some other interesting recipes we ran across are:
Irish Scallop Bisque
8 large sea scallops
1 qt seafood stock
3 stalks celery
2 medium carrots
1 large potato (preferably Russet), diced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp. thyme
1 cup half and half
salt and pepper
In a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter and sauté over medium heat the onion, carrots, celery and potato. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add dry white wine and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook for another couple of minutes. Slowly add seafood stock, bay leaves and thyme. Cover and gently simmer for 20 minutes.
Turn off the heat, remove celery stalks, bay leaves and thyme and puree the mixture with a blender until smooth. Return the bisque to low heat; add half and half while stirring. Adjust salt and pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes. Meanwhile, in a pan, heat olive oil until very hot but not smoking. Sear scallops about 2 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside. Serve the bisque in bowls, adding scallops on top and sprinkle with some fresh chopped chives.
6 lamb shanks
Flour, for dredging
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
12 small white onions, peeled
3 large carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Pinch of dried rosemary
Pinch of dried thyme
1 cup Guinness Stout
3/4 cup beef stock
12 small potatoes, peeled
Lightly moisten the lamb shanks with water. In a large bowl or plastic bag, combine the flour, salt, and pepper and dredge the meat in the mixture. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the lamb shanks and cook on all sides until browned, which should be about 10 minutes. Transfer to a Dutch oven or flameproof casserole dish.
Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, rosemary, and thyme to the skillet and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the pan. Pour the vegetables and pan juices onto the lamb. Add the Guinness and stock, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Add the potatoes, correct seasonings, re-cover, and cook until meat is fork tender, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.
To serve, place 1 lamb shank in the middle of 6 shallow soup bowls and spoon some vegetables and broth around. Serves 6.
Pan-Seared Loin of Pork with Derry Apple Relish
2-pound boneless loin of pork, trimmed of excess fat and sinew
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tablespoon safflower oil
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced
1 rib celery, finely diced
1 teaspoon finely chopped sage
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 1/2 cups apple cider
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Slice pork into 8 equal pieces. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, over the medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and celery, sweat, without coloring, for 2 minutes. Transfer to 2-quart casserole. Dust pork pieces with seasoned flour.
In a skillet, over high heat, sear pork pieces on the oil. Remove. Arrange apples on top of onion in the Dutch Oven. Add the pork, mixed with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer, 1 hour.
Presentation: Transfer the pork, apple, and onions to a serving platter. Reduce the cooking liquid by half. Strain and pour over the pork. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Your kitchen appliances aren’t the only things that can spark a flame! It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and we have some suggestions to spark romance while preparing a dinner together. Shop the day before… Prior to the dinner preparations, set the table. Add a bottle of wine (opened), flowers and candles – corny, yeah, but cozy and beautiful. Do as much ahead as possible. Scrubbing potatoes and cleaning veggies isn’t romantic, but necessary. Oh, and make sure to keep portions light so no one is too full.
The big night has arrived. Remember this is supposed to be fun and entertaining for you and your companion. Mise en place (everything in place) have your cooking tools, pots, pans and serving utensils ready. When your companion arrives give them an apron and hand them a glass of wine, or tea.
Think of cooking together like a dance, but you’re the host so you lead the dance. As you sauté, have your companion prepare the lettuce for the salad. While you grill or roast the meat, have them prepare the side dish. Always have an appetizer prepared to share and circle back to glass in hand. As the meal preparation draws to an end lower the lights, provide flame to the candles, turn on the music and seat your companion. Serve, eat, enjoy. Here are some suggestions to prepare. They are easy, delicious, and set the table for romance.
1 – 4 lb. Skirt Steak seasoned to taste with VSpicery’s Java Jo Steak Seasoning
2 pints Cherry Tomatoes
2 Limes, juiced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Red Onion sliced thinly
1 Serrano Chili, sliced thinly
2 Tsp. Cilantro
½ lb. Feta Cheese crumbs
Heat the broiler. Put the cherry tomatoes onto baking sheet drizzle over some Extra Virgin Olive Oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil until the tomatoes burst (about 4-5 minutes). Remove from oven and allow them to cool a bit.
In a large bowl add ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, juice of 2 limes, onion, chili, cilantro, cheese and the tomatoes. Mix carefully to avoid breaking up the tomatoes. Taste and adjust seasoning, set aside.
Heat grill or grill pan to medium. Grill the skirt steak, browning on all sides until it is medium rare, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the meat to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice the meat thin, placing it on platter, spoon on the cheesy tomato dressing. Garnish with a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and cilantro leaves.
We suggest keeping it simple and just serving a lettuce leaf salad or a baked potato.
Love Italian? How about a quick sauce?
2 pints cherry tomatoes *
3 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 med. onion diced
1 green bell pepper diced
6 cloves garlic diced
1 cup red wine
1 sm. can tomato paste
Sea Salt (to taste)
2 tbsp. dried basil
2 tbsp. sugar
*If you don’t have a stick blender use 2 – 15 oz. cans of tomato puree
You can add browned ground beef and browned Italian sausage to the above for a meat sauce or we like cauliflower for a veggie dish.
In a large 5-7 qt. pot pour olive oil, onion and green pepper sauté until onion is almost transparent. Add garlic and sauté slightly, if you can smell it it’s done. Add tomatoes and sauté until tomatoes soften. Pour wine and stir until reduced by half. Add tomato paste stir until smooth. Add basil, sugar and salt. Let cook for 25 minutes uncovered on medium to low heat, just enough for a slight boil.
Add hot tap water if sauce is too thick. Bring it back up to a slight boil, cover and cook for another 40 minutes. Cook your choice of pasta according to directions on box. Time to serve. If you are doing the veggie version we like to layer pasta and sauce with romano cheese in a casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes. Serve with a nice salad.
Chicken Sweet and Simple. This dish is very satisfying and pleasant.
In a bowl, combine Kale, 2 tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Make a pocket in the middle of the chicken breast. Place 1 strips of cheese at the top of the pocket and one at the bottom, stuff kale between the two strips of cheese, repeat with second breast. Pour remaining olive oil over chicken breast, sprinkle VSpicery’s Shallots & Pepper blend evenly on chicken to cover. Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Delicious with VSpicery’s French Inspired Rice & Spice.
Fish – Salmon
2 Salmon Steaks (also works well with thick cuts of white fish)
2 tsp. VSpicery’s Tasty Tango (or more as you like)
1 tbsp. Olive oil divided
1 cup White Rice
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat each salmon steak with ½ tbsp. olive oil. Season both sides of each steak with ½ tsp. Place on a foil lined baking sheet. Put in the oven for 20 minutes.
Cook rice. 1 cup rice – 2 cups water 1 tsp salt. Cook over low heat covered for 20 minutes.
Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to cooked rice. Serve with a nice salad and green vegetable.
Holiday Special on VSpicery Rubs – Buy 3, Get 1 Free!
Use Code: RUB4FREE
Offer Expires 12/14/14
Prime Rib is a delicious, and beautiful main dish to share with your family and friends for the holidays. This video shows how to use cedar planks with this recipe. When making the seasoned butter, there are many options. The video recipe suggests mixing an Italian seasoning into butter to coat the Prime Rib. Here are a few other options to use for the compound butter:
Herbs de Provence is a French blend of herbs with lavender buds that imparts a slightly floral aroma to the meat.
For something a little different than the traditional flavors for prime rib, Java Jo is your answer! This delicious rub has a little bit of coffee in it that naturally tenderizes the meat, and allows the spices to really penetrate into the meat. Great for steak and burgers too.
Cedar Planked Prime Rib