Posted on Leave a comment

Summer Sale and Cooking Class

Summer is definitely here – sun, heat, and of course, rain. While summer is not our favorite time to cook, VSpicery can make dinner quick and easy. We’ve had a lot of requests for our next cooking class and have devised one to help ease summer cooking blues.

Mark your calendars for June 29th (3:00 – 5:00) and register for our first Summer Cooking Class! This class will show three different, quick and delicious meals using shrimp, ground lamb and salmon, plus a side and delicious salad. Seating is limited. Cost is $30.00 per person, includes tasting and recipes. Register by June 26th by calling VSpicery – 813-870-1133.

Salads are a favorite item to eat all summer long. VSpicery is offering 20% off our Bellindora Fig and Bellindora Pomegranate Vinegar from June 11th – 15th so you can create your own spectacular dressings. These vinegars are also wonderful for marinades, vinegar reductions and sauces. Our Salad Seasons blend is great to use in vinaigrette recipes, using these vinegar flavors and our delicious olive oils.

Be on the lookout for our summer sale announcements all season long. That’s it folks. Enjoy the summer and come see us. We will leave the AC on for you.

Posted on Leave a comment

Summer Eats and Mother’s Day Sale

It’s Florida and while it’s only May, the heat is on. This time of year VSpicery folks start thinking about how not to cook. The challenge is how to make the simplest meals taste oh so good with very little effort. And with Mother’s day just around the corner, VSpicery can help liven up Mom’s kitchen or make your meals easy and delicious. The secret involves VSpicery’s culinary blends. By combining our delicious blends with various simple ingredients, a meal with multiple complementary flavors can be achieved.

Here’s an example of a simple meal. Take 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (we like thighs better but either option works well). Next, season both sides with VSpicery’s Harmony Chicken seasoning, place in a ziplock bag, add 3 tbsp. olive oil and 3 tbsp water. Remove as much air as possible when sealing, roll chicken around in bag to mix up well, place in refrigerator until ready to cook. Cut 3 Yukon gold potatoes into chunks, boil until folk tender, drain and let dry a bit. Then, transfer to bowl, coat with olive oil, season with VSpicery’s Greek Seasoning, and spread out on one half of a baking sheet. Place chicken on the other half. Take 1 package of frozen broccoli, spread out on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with VSpicery’s Sunny Soiree. Place both baking sheets in an oven preheated to 375 degrees and bake for 45 minutes. Dinner is done in about an hour. Simple, healthy, and delicious!

Need other suggestions? Come to the shop and we can make tons! Our customers frequently grab a pad of paper and a pen to make notes. We have been told that we need to put together a cookbook, and we are seriously thinking about doing one this summer.

It’s only early May, and we know that it will just get hotter from here. VSpicery has a carefully selected variety of vinegars to dress your salads. Our latest delight is a combination of Champagne Pear, part Meyers Lemon Oil, part good Olive Oil, salt, pepper, and VSpicery’s Salad Seasonings that make a lovely light salad dressing.

Praise Your Mom Sale from May 7th – May 10th
Buy 3 culinary blends for $18.00. Get ready for easy and delicious summer meals by getting some of our flavorful spice blends that make cooking a breeze.

Celebrate again with 20% off our popular Belindora vinegars! Get Apple Balsamic, Champagne Pear, Fig Balsamic or Pomegranate Balsamic. These vinegars make wonderful salad dressings for leafy greens or fruit salads.

While we’re talking Summer foods, how about a recipe for Chicken Salad. Yes, we know, kind of over it, but you really need to try this one. It is different from any other we have tried, and it is our favorite way to make it.
1 – Roasted Chicken, shredded
1 medium Red Onion, diced
¼ cup Smoked Almonds (ground down to almost dust)
2 stalks Celery, diced
Mayo (enough to evenly coat – start with ¾ cup)
VSpicery’s Sweet Singing Seasoning (to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, let sit for a minimum of 20 minutes then enjoy.

Memorial Day
Whether you’re planning good times on the beach or a backyard BBQ, there is lots of goodness to be enjoyed via VSpicery’s culinary blends. Roasted Garlic Champagne Mustard is a real treat, and amazing on just about any burger, brat, hotdog or sandwich you can image. It also makes a scrumptious substitute for dijon in vinaigrette recipes.

Deviled Eggs are great to bring to potlucks and picnics, and we have a few variations that will get your taste buds tingling.
– Curried deviled eggs with our Madras Curry and a little smoked salt.
– Dilly Devils with our Dillious blend.
– Truffled Deviled eggs with our Black Truffle Salt and Fines herbal blend.
– Smokey Deviled Eggs with Smoked Paprika (or Smoked Hot Paprika for a little kick) and smoked salt.
– Guacamole Deviled eggs by adding avocado, Cocoa Loco Taco seasoning and a little smoked salt.

Come on in and see us to get your goodness on!

Posted on Leave a comment

Here’s to VSpicery’s 16th Anniversary, the New Year and a dinner full of love.

We hope the holidays were fabulous for you and your family. There was an astounding array of delicious flavors floating through our home, highlighted by my talented daughter’s beautiful creation – a sumptuous Buche de Noel (or Yule Log Cake).

We look forward to 2019 being a year of developing more flavor combinations and searching out new flavors to add to our collection so that you can add them to your pantry. We currently have about 35 of our own spice blends and rubs, 11 curries (Indian, African and Thai), and over 5 seasoned salt blends that we hand mix at our shop every week. In addition, we have over 150 different individual spices, Greek, Spanish and Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oils, delicious high quality vinegars, flavored mustards and locally harvested honey from Eden’s Nectar. We are committed to sourcing the freshest spices we can find, and bringing high quality herbs and spices to you without chemicals, preservatives or additives.

At VSpicery we are kicking up our heels and sending out many thanks. VSpicery will be celebrating the 16th year of providing our customers with great spices, seasonings, blends, and other delightful flavors to incorporate in their everyday cooking.

We started our business at a farmers’ market back in 2001 and after two years decided to take our business to the next step, opening our brick and mortar location. The doors opened on January 23rd and we have been at the same location ever since, right next to Alessi Bakery. Lots of great stories have been created and shared here. We have had celebrity chefs, local chefs, local football players, restaurateurs, gourmet cooks, and most importantly, our folks who just love to cook. They recognize the difference our spices and seasonings make on their plates.

To celebrate our anniversary on January 23rd, we are offering 20% off your total purchase from January 23rd – January 26th (excluding Eden’s Nectar products).

The 10th customer through the door on January 23rd will receive a bottle of something very special. We look forward to many more years of supplying the very best in seasonings for your kitchen.

COOKING CLASS

With February just around the corner, we all know what that means – Valentine’s Day. Oh, the pressure! The flowers, the candy, the reservations, and on and on… Well, we would like to take some of the stress off by offering a COOK FOR YOUR LOVE CLASS.

The Cook For Your Love Class will be a full dinner featuring a light appetizer, salad, two different entrees (beef & salmon) so that you can have a choice of what you would like to prepare, and accompanying sides. With Spicy Kym in the house, perhaps we’ll feature a delightful dessert as well.

Class is on February 9th starting at 4:00pm. Seating is limited to 8 individuals. Cost is $40.00 per person, so bring your appetite because this will be a full dining experience and lesson in food love. This class is by reservation only, please reserve your spot by February 5th by calling (813) 870-1133.

Eat well and enjoy the best 2019 has to bring. If you have resolved to explore some new flavors this year, VSpicery is here to help.

Posted on 2 Comments

Class is in Session

Cooking class can be so much fun! Pretty sure we have just as much fun, if not more, than our students. Classes at VSpicery are all about demonstrating how to create maximum flavor with minimum effort. We love to answer questions about cooking techniques, and regularly help our students and customers perfect everyday dishes that wow the diners around their family tables.

In our November cooking class, we had some tasty alternatives on the menu for holiday dishes, and the results were delicious. We began with a simple and flavorful salad that pairs beautifully with fall and winter menus. To make the salad we added granny smith apple chunks, sliced red onion, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and toasted coarsely chopped pecans to a bed of fresh romaine and arugula lettuce. The sharpness of the cheddar cheese nicely balances the tart apple flavor and nutty toasted pecans, making this salad a serious taste bud teaser.

Next, we made our maple orange dressing using our Maple Flakes, maple syrup, honey, Himalayan Pink Salt, Green Peppercorns, Apple Balsamic Vinegar and Seraphino Greek Organic Olive Oil. We developed this dressing for our previous salad class, and it has quickly become one of our favorites! Our dried maple flakes are key to giving this dressing a delightful maple kick. The orange juice brightens the dressing and balances the acidity of the vinegar really well. Once the ingredients are mixed together well, and emulsified with olive oil, it’s ready for serving.

Our class moved right along to the main course with Herbal Crust Turkey Thighs. VSpicery’s Herbal Crust Seasoning was developed specifically for roasted meats, including game meats like venison. This blend is perfect for your holiday bird, and the pan drippings make the best gravy we have ever made. We normally roast a whole turkey for our Thanksgiving meal, but using turkey thighs is just as tasty. Turkey thighs take less time to cook, are really flavorful and no carving is needed. All you need to do is lightly coat with olive oil (or any oil of your choice), add Herbal Crust Seasoning, and bake. We tend to prefer using bone-in, skin-on thighs, since roasting with the bone in gives much better flavor and the skin keeps the meat moist throughout the roasting process. After the turkey thighs were cooked, we took the bone out, and sliced each thigh into 3 nice sized chunks. You can serve it with or without the skin.

We rounded out the meal with some yummy side dishes that are super easy to make, healthy to eat, and diet friendly. If you haven’t tried Delicata Squash yet, you really should! Delicata Squash is low in calories, and has a thicker consistency than other squash varieties. This is the perfect alternative to high carb sides like mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. All you need to do is roast the squash in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast cut side down. Once cooked, scoop out the meat of the squash into a bowl and mash it up with our new blend, Sunny Soiree, some butter and a tiny splash of heavy cream, then season to taste with salt and pepper. You can also add a little goat cheese, if you want a creamy tang of flavor, but it’s entirely optional. This simple dish will quickly become a go to side for any meal.

For the final two sides, we made steamed green beans and roasted carrots. This may sound uninspired, but as usual, VSpicery takes the bland and unexciting to flavor heights that will make you crave these healthy veggies regularly.

After steaming the green beans, we made a simple warm vinaigrette for them. We used our Champagne Pear Vinegar, Yellow Mustard Powder, Shallots, Honey and Himalayan Pink salt. We poured the vinegar into a sauté pan on medium heat, and added the rest of the ingredients as it warmed up. When vinegar mix is just coming to a boil, remove the pan from heat, then pour the mixture over green beans just prior to serving.

The last side dish we made was Spiced Roasted Carrots. We started by quartering the whole carrot sticks, then tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and thyme. While the carrots were roasting, we softened some butter and stirred in cumin, coriander, turmeric, and aleppo pepper. Then, we tossed the roasted carrots in the spiced butter and transferred them to a serving platter. You can use cumin and coriander ground powder, but you get a deeper nuttier flavor if you lightly toast the whole seeds, then grind them down before adding to the butter mix. This carrot side dish also pairs really well with roasted meats, baked salmon and pork.

Last, but definitely not least, is the gravy! As mentioned above, the pan drippings from roasting the turkey with Herbal Crust Seasoning is what makes this so incredibly good. Just make gravy as you usually would by adding the pan drippings to a sauté pan over medium heat. Stir constantly, while thickening it with flour to your desired consistency. For this class, we used a gluten free flour to accommodate our student’s dietary restrictions, and it turned out great! We discovered how tasty this gravy is a few years ago while cooking a Thanksgiving feast for a catering client, and now we look forward to it every year. If you want to read more about it, check out our original Tasty Gravy blog post.

That’s it for this class menu! This meal can be ready in a fraction of the time that it normally takes to fill up your holiday table, and will work for just about any diet. Treat your family to a healthy, quick and incredibly delicious holiday meal this year. VSpicery is here to help you with all of your flavor needs. Keep an eye out for our next class offering! We try to schedule at least one public class a month. You can also book your own private demonstration. We just need 6 or more to put your group on our kitchen calendar. We can create a menu for your private class, or you can choose. Call us at the shop 813-870-1133 for more info.

Posted on Leave a comment

Fall is in Season

Well here in Florida it’s more of a wish than a fact. Floridians hope for a cool down with highs in the low 80s or high 70s, and that’s pretty much how fall goes here. Even the illusion of fall makes us want those flavors! The lower temperatures and declining downpours make us more apt to fire up our grills in the evenings.

New Delicious Additions

Summer is a creative time for us, and we have been working hard on new spice blends that turned out to be pretty amazing.

Our first creation from the summer is Fin & Feather Schmacker. Not only did we have lots of fun naming this blend, but the flavor combination is delicious on fish, chicken, roasted potatoes, and veggies. About every couple of weeks, my taste buds light up wanting this spice blend, and a round of tasty chicken wings are just the thing to soothe my craving. Try this blend on your next roasted chicken or turkey for a different spin on your common roast. We love Fin & Feather Schmacker on mild white fish as well.

Our next creation is called Sunny Soiree. This is a delightful combination of herbs, shallots, with a hint of sea salt. Originally blended with vegetables in mind, but we are happy to say that this combination works really well on many dishes. We have a super easy and tasty recipe below with this new blend on cauliflower, and it is a definite gotta have, gotta try! Sunny Soiree is incredible on fish, seafood, chicken and turkey, or mix in with pasta or rice dishes.

Maple Flakes are also new to our shop. This is exactly what it sounds like, dehydrated Maple Syrup. What can you do with this? Well … salad dressings, salmon, pancake batter, smoothies, rim a glass for an Old Fashioned, and on and on. We have had a lot of fun finding new way to use maple flakes, and it is the perfect pairing to many fall dishes.

Anyone for Squash?

Fall is a great time to enjoy squash, whether butternut, acorn, or spaghetti, they are delicious and flexible. We also can highly recommend a squash called delicata. Delicata is delicious just roasted with salt and pepper, but our house blended curries such as Berbere, Ras El Hanout or Garam Masala would also be an outstanding addition. For those who don’t like curry, our Sweet Singing Seasons would work very nicely as a substitute.

For the Locals

Tune up for the holidays and join us on November 4th from 12 – 3 pm when our professional knife sharpener, Mark, will set up to get your knives sharpened up for the cooking season. There is nothing worse than a dull knife in the kitchen. Mark will be happy to quote the cost to sharpen all your knives while you wait or VSpicery will hold them for pick up at your convenience.

While Mark is busy with your knives, VSpicery will be working in the kitchen. We will have a cooking demonstration of holiday flavors, traditional and some original tastes. Class starts at 1:00 and is $25.00 per person with a tasting included.

To reserve your spot for sharpening or our cooking class please call 813-870-1133 by October 26th or register and pay online. Seating for the cooking class is limited.

Because We Like To Share

Roasted Cauliflower
This is a wonderful side dish that is perfect for fish, chicken, turkey or beef. The bright herbal notes of our Sunny Soiree are brilliantly balanced by the crunchy savory bites of Pecorino Romano cheese. This combo makes it difficult to stop eating because it’s so dang delicious!

1 head of cauliflower, stems removed
3 tbs. Olive Oil or more
Pecorino Romano cheese
Sunny Soiree

Place cauliflower in a microwave proof bowl with ¼ cup of water, cover and microwave for 7 minutes. Remove from microwave, drain, cool and dry.

Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with non-stick spray, and place cauliflower on baking sheet drizzle well with olive oil. Season nicely with Sunny Soiree, top with Pecorino Romano.

Roast in a 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes, check after 20 minutes.

Well that’s all for now. Remember, if you would like to attend our event on November 4th, please go ahead and register. Until then have a creative time with your food.

Food Should Be Delicious!

Posted on 1 Comment

Cool Eats for Hot Summer Days

I am August, hear me roar.

It is said that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. In Florida, August comes in like a lion wearing sunscreen and rain boots, and leaves like the exact same lion, except well stocked with hurricane and school supplies.

Speaking of supplies, if you are headed out to a beach condo or up to a mountain cabin, ask yourself this: when was the last time the spices in the kitchen were replaced? Can you name the president at the time? Our VSpicery flavor packs will bring the flavors at your favorite getaway up to date. Visiting with friends or family? Our flavor packs are a wonderful way of introducing them to the VSpicery experience.

It’s too darn hot!

It might be too hot to cook, but you still have to eat. Grilled seafood will make the cooking quick and easy. For grilled shrimp, we suggest one of our bodacious blends: Shallots N’ Pepper, Barista’s BBQ, Greek Seasoning, or Sriracha Sizzle. Simply skewer the shrimp, drizzle on a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with seasoning, and allow to marinate for 15 to 20 minutes in the refrigerator or cooler. Then pair with your favorite grilling veggies and fire it up. Not a shellfish eater? The same sublime simplicity applies to your favorite fresh fish filet. And when it comes to fish, be sure to check out our newest blend, Fin & Feather Schmacker.

Salad Days – Our Upcoming Event

So you think you know salads? Sign up for our next event and let us expand your herbivore horizons. On Saturday, August 18th at 3pm, we will be hosting a class on all things salad – everything from exploring various types of leafy greens, vinegars and oils to our favorite pasta and potato creations. And of course, we will dress for the occasion – learn how to ditch the store bought dressings and create your own. Class is limited to 12. $25 per person includes tastings. Reservations are a must – call 813-870-1133 to reserve your seat by August 14th.

Early Event Announcement

On September 8th we will be hosting a knife sharpening event with our guy Mark. We will also be doing something in the kitchen and will let you know in the next newsletter. So, get your blades ready and mark your calendars.

Sale in the Wind – Balsamic Vinegars and Extra Virgin Olive Oils

In celebration of salads, we are offering $2.00 off our Bellindora Balsamics – we have a pomegranate, a fig and an apple. If you would like all three, an additional discount applies. Also, be sure to take advantage of 10% off our extra virgin olive oils while supplies last. In store only special, sale runs from Aug. 18th – Aug. 24th.

Side Dish Success

VSpicery loves sharing recipes. We find that the side dish below is a perfect combination when you use VSpicery’s Greek Seasoning on grilled chicken. It’s a brilliant combination of flavors that will leave you with a satisfied palate and happy tummy.

Couscous, Asparagus, Cucumber, & Olive Salad

Serves 8

1 clove Garlic
3 tbs. Fresh Lemon Juice
½ cup EVO
1 tsp. Roasted Garlic Champagne Mustard
2 ½ cups low salt Chicken Broth
2 cups toasted Israeli Couscous (about 6 oz)
2 cups ½-inch pieces thin Asparagus spears, blanch for minutes
2 large green onions chopped
2 cups ½ -inch hot house cucumber
½ cup pitted Kalamata Olives, halved
¼ cup fresh mint leaves + sprigs to garnish (optional)
1 ½ cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese

Press garlic clove into small bowl. Add lemon juice and mustard; whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt & pepper. Bring broth to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Mix in couscous. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until couscous is tender and all broth is absorbed (about 10 minutes).

Transfer to large bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature, tossing occasionally (about 45 minutes). Mix asparagus, cucumber, olives, green onions and ¼ cup mint leaves into couscous. Add dressing, toss. Gently mix in cheese. Can be made two hours ahead, let stand at room temperature.

Hope to see you at our next events on August 18th to learn all about salads. Until then have a creative time with your food.

Food Should Be Delicious!

Posted on Leave a comment

Hello summer, our old friend!

That means Father’s Day is just around the corner. If your husband, dad or granddad is a grill master, he might appreciate a new flavor or two. That’s where VSpicery’s blends come in. VSpicery has a little something for just about anything you would want to throw on the grill, but will also work beautifully for inside cooking.

If you are grilling up hamburgers or hotdogs, you gotta try one of our splendid mustards. We offer Chipotle Honey Lime, Sweet Fire Ale, Smoky Onion Garlic, and our signature Roasted Garlic Champagne. Besides being the consummate condiment, these mustards can be used for salad dressings or marinades. Several customers have even taken a whole pork loin and coated it with Chipotle Honey Lime mustard, sealed it in a Ziploc bag and refrigerated it for a couple of days. It was then grilled it to porkfection.

You can toss potatoes with the Roasted Garlic Champagne mustard and roast them in the oven. Mix the Roasted Garlic Champagne mustard with tarragon vinegar and diced shallots for a delicious dressing on steamed green beans. We could go on and on, but you are the best guide for your own culinary adventure.

Something as simple and inexpensive as elevating salt and pepper can make a huge difference. We have a nice variety of various sea salts and peppercorns. Elevate your black pepper with our exclusive Lampong Peppercorn. Spicy, sharp with a pleasant heat level, it is truly a better black pepper.

Here’s what’s new at VSpicery:

VSpicery is launching our latest culinary blend this month! A delightful mixture of sea salt, herbs, garlic, smoky paprika, and other delicious spices, this new blend is fabulous on chicken and seafood. After much thought, we have christened it Fin & Feather Schmacker. Once you give it a try, you will be schmacking your lips from all that flavor!

A Black Olive Tapenade and a Green Olive Tapenade are new to our shelves, both bursting with flavor. The Black Olive really brightens up a regular tuna sandwich. Build a better sandwich with your favorite bread, tuna topped with your choice of tapenade, a touch of mayo, and crispy lettuce. Mix the Green Olive with sun dried tomatoes and olive oil and serve over pasta with freshly grated Romano cheese. Both are lovely additions to cheese and charcuterie boards.

Clearly, we can help you give a gift of flavor that will be enjoyed by all. So shop VSpicery and let your culinary adventure begin or continue.

Posted on Leave a comment

Salt Talk

VSpicery LOVES flavor. Whether chili powders or different cinnamon varieties (yes, there is a difference) VSpicery loves fresh, big and bold flavors. The same can be said about salts. We have a variety of 17 sea salts, 5 of which are VSpicery’s very own sea salt blends.

There is a difference in the flake and taste of each salt that we carry. For instance, we have two salts infused with activated charcoal to provide digestive and other health benefits, but they are vastly different.

Cyprus Black Lava is very salty at the front of your palate then finishes very smooth at the back of your palate. As you can see in the picture to the left, this salt forms in really cool looking pyramid crystals.

Hiwa Kai is a delightful tasting salt that is tossed in activated charcoal from coconut shells and versatile enough to use in pretty much anything. Although we don’t recommend putting it on rimmed drinks, as the charcoal can dust off and cast a shadow on the drink. As far as salts go, both Cyprus Black Lava and Hiwa Kai are good for you and have striking visual appeal for dramatic presentation.

Another Hawaiian sea salt is Alaea. Although they both are Hawaiian sea salts, Alaea is different from Hiwa Kai in that it is enriched with purified red alaea clay from the Hawaiian island of Kauai. This clay gives a slight mineral taste and is delicious when used with pork or other meats.

Pure Ocean Sea Salt is exactly what it purports to be. It has a clean, refreshing taste and is lovely to use as an every day salt. Delicious on everything, especially veggies, seafood, beef and poultry.

Our Black Truffle Salt is so flavorful! Italian sea salt is infused with real Italian black truffles to create a true truffle flavor. Perfect for popcorn, fries, potatoes, eggs, veggies, chicken, beef and more! Other salts in our array are Fleur de Sel, French Grey, Murray River, Himalayan Pink, and two smoked salts: Alderwood and Applewood.

One of the fun dinner games we play with our dining guests is to set various bowls of salt down the center of the table for them to try. Frequent diners can be seen separating the food on their plates and trying a bit of each salt to experience the subtle flavor differences each of the varieties imparts on the food. This is fun, interesting and educational. Note: I make sure to under salt the food when this game is played.

Intrigued by our wide variety of salts? Then do yourself a flavor and come on in to sample something new. Our extensive line of salts are also available right here on our salt page.

That’s it for this month. We hope our northern friends have finally thawed out and that Spring has sprung in their towns, while our locals are gearing up for Summer.

Posted on 1 Comment

VSpicery’s Knife Skills Day!

Look Sharp! Mark Your Calendars for a Special Sunday Event at VSpicery, April 15th from 12:00p – 3:00p.

This event is all about knives, the benefits of keeping them sharp and a class on how to use them, along with a few recipes and samples of the tasty treats being prepared.

To kick things off, Mark Bertsche of M&M Sharpening will be setting up his shop at our shop! Mark is an expert in sharpening kitchen knives and garden tools. You can watch Mark work his magic on your tools or drop them off and schedule your pickup date.

Starting at 1:00pm, Chef Tina Hurless will demonstrate proper knife usage and help you hone your skills with your freshly sharpened knife. Come learn how to dice, mince, chop, and julienne like a pro while creating some delicious delights.

Chef Tina will show you how to make baked vegetable fries – avocado, zucchini and chick pea sticks with creamy ancho salsa in the first session of the day.

At 2:00pm Chef Tina starts the second session where you will learn how to chop and dice your way to a perfect comfort food bowl using vegetables, grains and seasoned meat (or meat alternatives).

Each session is $10.00 and we will be serving the yummy samples. Knife sharpening is priced separately. Registration is required. Please call 813-870-1133 to reserve by April 12th.

Posted on Leave a comment

Springtime Holidays

It’s Easter. It’s Passover. It’s, it’s both and April Fool’s Day too! In some years, Passover and Easter fall on the same weekend, and 2018 is one of those years. A festive yet reflective holiday that celebrates the Jewish exodus from slavery, Passover has its own cherished food traditions. For many folks, the star of the Seder (the ceremonial dinner held on the first two nights of the festival) is the Matzo Ball Soup. Here’s our take on it.

Minnie’s Matzo Ball Soup

INGREDIENTS
4 large eggs
¼ cup rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) or vegetable oil
¼ cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup matzo meal (GF is available or make your own with ground GF matzo)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt V’s Version Garlic Salt (additional sea salt for cooking)
freshly ground black pepper (we recommend Lampong Peppercorns)

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, combine eggs, schmaltz or oil, stock, matzo meal, and nutmeg. Season with 1 teaspoon Garlic Salt and a few grinds of pepper. Gently mix with a whisk or spoon. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil, lightly salt. With slightly wet hands, take some of the mix and mold it into a small ball (about 1¼”). Carefully drop it into the boiling water, repeating until all the mix is used.

Partially cover the pan, reduce heat to medium and cook matzo balls for 30 to 40 minutes for a firm matzo ball, longer if you like them fluffy. To serve, place two or three in a single serving bowl, spoon hot chicken broth or vegetable broth over them and serve immediately.

Of course, you shouldn’t forget the brisket. We love seasoning brisket with VSpicery’s Herbal Crust seasoning and for an Eastern European kick add some Smoked Hot Paprika.

Easter, so much fun. Coloring, hiding, and finding eggs. If you have thought about coloring eggs naturally, we can say that it really works. Too many websites toting how to, so look it up.

Easter Sunday, a day to celebrate and feast. Growing up my Mom would make roasted leg of lamb, mashed potatoes, a green vegetable, salad, rolls and her famous Lemon Meringue Pie. Good memories.

We like to take these memories and update them. A boneless leg of lamb stuffed with cranberry, apricot and herbs, mashed potatoes a la Herbs de Provence, roasted asparagus, salad, rolls and dessert. This is a delicious and easy to make meal.

Here’s our big recipe share for the meal.

 

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Cranberry and Apricot Stuffing

INGREDIENTS
3 Tbsp Cognac
3 Tbsp Water
1/3 cup Dried Cranberries
1/3 cup Dried Apricot, coarsely chopped
¼ cup Almonds, toasted & chopped
1 med. Shallot minced
3 Tbsp unsalted Butter, softened
1 tsp. Fennel Seeds, toasted and crushed
½ tsp. Kosher Salt plus Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 – 4 lb. boneless leg of Lamb
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 cup Crème Fraiche or Sour Cream
½ cup Dijon Mustard

DIRECTIONS
Warm the Cognac and water in a small sauce pan. Add cranberries and apricots and set aside until plump. In a small food processor pulse the fruit and any unabsorbed liquid with almonds, shallots, butter, fennel seed, ½ tsp salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until coarsely chopped.

With a boning knife or other large thin knife make a cut 3 inches across in the center of the roast. Gently push and work the blade in and straight through the roast to the other end. Insert the narrow end of a wooden spoon into the opening to widen it a bit all the way through. Push the stuffing into the lamb working first from one end and then the other filling to the center.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; pat the lamb dry and season all over with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over a medium-high heat. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast the meat side down for 1 ½ hours. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Whisk the Crème Fraiche or Sour Cream with the mustard in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

We hope that whichever Holiday you are celebrating, the celebration is a grand event.