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Let’s Talk Veggies

Vegetables play a huge part of our diet, whether you use them as side dishes with your proteins, as a whole meal or as the main component of your diet. These days, more and more folks are changing to a vegetarian lifestyle, in its many forms. We have many ways to help you keep these veggies interesting, elevating even the most boring vegetables to rockstars on your plate.

Roasted Cauliflower with Sunny Soiree Seasoning.

One of our newer rubs, Sunny Soiree, is absolutely fantastic on roasted vegetables. Especially broccoli and cauliflower. Herbal and citrus notes combine with a slight tarragon flavor that perfectly complements vegetables. One of our favorite ways to use Sunny Soiree is on roasted cauliflower. It is super quick, easy and delicious. Lightly steam cauliflower until fork tender, then place cauliflower on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle some Sunny Soiree and toss until evenly coated. Arrange cauliflower in a single layer on the lined baking sheet and generously sprinkle grated parmesan or romano cheese. Bake at 350°F until cheese is golden brown.


Eggplant Burger
This is a quick delicious meal to make any night of the week.

INGREDIENTS
1 Large Eggplant, cut in 1/2″ rounds
1 egg, with tsp water
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 Tbs Herbal Crust (blended with breadcrumbs)

DIRECTIONS
Cut eggplant into 1/2″ rounds. Dip eggplant into egg wash, then into breadcrumbs and drizzle olive oil over the eggplant rounds. Line rounds on a greased baking sheet and bake for 30 mins at 350°F, until golden brown and fork tender. Serve with pita bread and top with cheese and any condiments you like.


Roasted Broccoli with VSpicery’s Citrus Seasoned Salt.

Roasted Broccoli
This dish is truly irresistible, and so easy to make!

INGREDIENTS
1 pound broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1 ½ bunches of broccoli)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
VSpicery’s Citrus Salt
Pepper (optional)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet for easy clean-up. On the prepared baking sheet, toss broccoli with the oil until all of the florets are lightly coated. Arrange them in one even layer across the pan, then sprinkle with Citrus salt and pepper.

Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, tossing halfway, or until the florets are turning deeply golden on the edges. Season to taste with additional Citrus salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve warm.

If you like broccoli as much as we do, here are a few ways to change the flavor a little to keep it interesting for your taste buds. Prepare broccoli as instructed above. After the broccoli is done roasting add any of these options just before serving. Finish with a light drizzle of thick balsamic vinegar (like our Aged Balsamic Vinegar), a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (for extra lemony pop, add lemon zest too). Grated Parmesan is also a delicious way to finish the dish. A light sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes or Marash pepper flakes will give just the right amount of heat.


Baked Sweet Potato Wedges with Sweet Singing Seasoning.

Baked Sweet Potato Wedges
Roasted to perfection, these Baked Sweet Potato Wedges are a delicious snack, appetizer, or meal. They are super easy to make!

INGREDIENTS
5-6 small or 2-3 large sweet potatoes
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt, or more if desired
1 Tbs VSpicery’s Sweet Singing Seasoning

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or grease baking sheet lightly with oil.

Wash and pat the sweet potatoes dry. Remove any spots or blemishes. Cut potatoes lengthwise into quarters, and cut into 1 inch thick wedges. Place on baking sheet, drizzle with oil and give a good toss. Arrange potatoes in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and Sweet Singing Seasoning. Place baking sheet on the middle oven rack, and bake for 25-30 minutes, turning once or twice.

Remove from the oven, let cool for a few minutes and serve. If you would like a dipping sauce, Garlic Aioli (vegan recipe below) or a Sriracha Cream Sauce are both really tasty with these wedges!

For more caramelization, once sweet potatoes are done, place under the broiler for a few minutes. Just be sure to watch them so they don’t burn. Store leftovers, in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Garlic Aioli (Vegan)
This creamy, garlicky aioli is great as a dip for fresh or roasted vegetables, or use as a spread for burgers and sandwiches. It is gluten-free, vegan, super easy and quick, and has no oil.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup water
3 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Himalayan Pink Salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS
Place cashews, water, garlic, dijon, and juice of lemon in a blender and blend until creamy, about 45 seconds. Taste for flavor, adding a little more of any desired ingredients. Serve at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.


Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Spicy Shark Wing Sauce.

Buffalo Cauliflower
Our new line of Spicy Shark hot sauces includes a vegan wing sauce that is dairy free, gluten-free, and really good! Here’s a delicious way to enjoy the flavor with a fraction of the calories of regular chicken wings.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
oil spray or oil
1/4 cup flour, or almond meal
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp milk of choice
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (optional for crunchier texture)
1/2 cup Spicy Shark Wing Sauce
1 to 4 tsp oil

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large baking dish with parchment. Spray florets with oil spray or toss with a little oil. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with the flour and garlic powder until evenly coated. Then add milk of choice and then the breadcrumbs (if using) to the cauliflower, and toss to coat. Arrange in one layer in the baking pan. Bake on the center rack 25 minutes.

Combine the oil with Spicy Shark Wing Sauce (the added fat helps the sauce adhere to the cauliflower). Toss cauliflower in sauce, then bake another 15 minutes. For added crunch and color, broil for up to 5 minutes. Be sure to watch while broiling to make sure it does not burn. Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing, if desired, and serve.


Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean Burgers
Between homemade, restaurant, and store-bought, these are the best black bean burgers we’ve ever had. Our taste testers agree that this is the tastiest version they have tried too. The trick is to partially dry out the black beans so the burgers do not taste mushy. Grill or bake the black bean burgers and enjoy on a bun, plain, or on a salad. They’re big, thick, and hearty and even meat eaters LOVE these.


INGREDIENTS
1 (14 ounce) cans black beans, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper (1/2 of a pepper)
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion (1/2 of a small onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced (about 1/2 Tablespoon)
1 Tbs Sriracha (optional)
1 1/2 Tbs VSpicery’s Ra Ra Rio
1/2 cup panko
1 large egg
Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread beans evenly onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until slightly dried out. Meanwhile, sauté olive oil, chopped pepper, onion, and garlic over medium heat until peppers and onions are soft, about 5-6 minutes. Gently blot some of the moisture out. Place in a large bowl or in a food processor with the remaining ingredients. Stir or pulse everything together, then add the black beans. Mash with a fork or pulse the mixture, leaving some larger chunks of beans.

Form into patties– about 1/3 cup of mixture in each. Saute patties in 1 tbs butter and 1 tbs olive oil until heated thoroughly and slightly browned.

Bake: Place patties on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 10 minutes on each side, 20 minutes total.

Grill: Place patties on greased aluminum foil and grill 8 minutes on each side. Heat temperature is personal preference as all grills differ. Generally, black bean burgers should grill on medium-high heat about 350°F-400°F. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Make ahead tip: Cooked or uncooked black bean burgers freeze wonderfully! Stack between parchment paper in a freezer container or zipped-top bag. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat to your liking or, if uncooked, cook according to instructions. If desired, you can skip thawing and reheat/cook from frozen for an extra couple minutes. To make a Vegan version of this recipe, just replace the eggs with 1/3 cup mashed sweet potato.


Red Lentils

Berbere is an Ethiopian curry blend that is full of flavor with a bit of a heat kick. Authentic Berbere can be hard to find, but we have it in stock and hand mix this curry blend at the shop every few weeks.

Ethiopian Lentil Stew (Misir wot)
This richly spiced Ethiopian lentil stew recipe, known locally as misir wot, is packed with flavour from berbere and niter kibbeh. Niter kibbeh is a type of spiced butter found in Ethiopian cuisine. This is a really delicious and simple midweek meal for spice lovers.

NITER KIBBEH (SPICED BUTTER) INGREDIENTS
8 oz of unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 knob of ginger, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
4 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

MISSIR WOT (Lentil Stew) INGREDIENTS
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tbsp of tomato purée
5 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp of Berbere
8 oz of red lentils
16 oz of vegetable stock

DIRECTIONS
Begin by making the niter kibbeh. Place the butter in a saucepan along with the rest of the ingredients and simmer over a very low heat for about 20 minutes. The butter solids should be starting to caramelize into a brown butter but be careful not to cook too long, or it will burn. Line a sieve with a piece of muslin or coffee filter and strain the butter into a bowl.

To make the stew, add 4 tbsp of the niter kibbeh to a medium pan and add the onions and garlic. Cook over a medium-low heat until softened. Add the berbere and tomato purée and cook out for a further minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook down for 8 minutes until the tomatoes start to break down a little. Keep stirring to avoid them sticking to the bottom of the pan. Rinse the lentils, then add them to the stew along with the vegetable stock. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve the misir wot with extra niter kibbeh drizzled over the top and enjoy!


We could go for days about delicious veggies dishes, but we will save the rest for future blog posts. We hope that these recipes get your taste buds tingling with some ways you can make any vegetable taste incredible, especially when you use fresh seasonings like ours. Keep your food exciting and irresistible with VSpicery Flavor Shop.

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We’re Bringing the Heat with Lots of Flavor!

VSpicery recently partnered with a fantastic hot sauce company out of New England, called The Spicy Shark, and we have some exciting new products to share with you! But first, we want to tell you a little about this company, and why, after 16 years of being a hot sauce free zone, we decided to add hot sauce to our shelves.

If you have been a customer of VSpicery for a while, you know that we love to find interesting and delicious new products every 6 to 12 months. We have had many hot sauce companies approach us, begging to have their products on our shelves. Every time, we share the samples with our taste testers to see if the products have what it takes, but honestly, none of them hit the mark. In case you haven’t noticed, hot sauce is EVERYWHERE! You can even find some varieties of bottled hot sauce in convenience stores. For us to stock any product, it has to be an incredible stand out product from a company that maintains the same level of quality that we maintain at the shop. That means no preservatives or additives, high quality ingredients, and big flavor. Many hot sauce companies focus so much on trying to attain new levels of flames on the tongue, that they miss out on providing full flavors that can actually be used on food to make it taste better, not just hot af. The market is so saturated with mediocre hot sauces that we really wanted to find products that stand out from the crowd. We finally found what we’ve been looking for, and we think you are going to love them just as much as we do.

The Spicy Shark founder, Gabe and his Baby Shark (Dino).

Here’s a little background on The Spicy Shark, their mission, why we love this little company and the folks who own it. After growing up working in the restaurant business, and then 17 years in the beer industry, Founder Shark Gabe was ready for a change. He figured if he could take his two biggest passions, spicy food and sharks, and turn that into a career, it would be a pretty fun life. With some family recipes, and help from his family and friends, he took the summer of 2018 to put together the blueprints for The Spicy Shark. The feeding frenzy began in February 2019!

Their mission is simple: To make the best tasting and unique spicy products using the best ingredients, to help preserve and improve the lives of our oceans’ sharks, and to have a lot of fun along the way.

The Spicy Shark uses fresh peppers, veggies and fruits to create their amazing flavors, and you can taste each ingredient in every bite. We started with a selection of products that we really loved, all with a nice heat level and lots of flavor. Here’s the list:

Hot Honey
The Spicy Shark Original Hot Honey is a special blend of 100% pure USA Clover, Alfalfa, and Goldenrod Grade A Honey. We steep the honey with a touch of Cinnamon and infuse it with Habanero to add some heat to the sweet. Delicious with biscuits, pancakes, waffles, warm desserts, pizza, ribs, fried chicken, scallops, cheese, marinades, and hot beverages. Medium Heat Level. Gluten-Free.

Hot Maple Syrup
The finest Grade A Dark Pure Maple Syrup available in the USA creates the base for this tasty syrup. This rich, flavorful syrup is then infused with ginger, and heat from the Habanero Pepper. This unique blend of Sweet & Heat can be used on a wide range of food and drink. Works well as a glaze, in sauces, and BBQ sauce. Use on meat, fish, poultry, desserts, pancakes or waffles, ice cream, coffee drinks, and cocktails. Medium Heat Level. Vegan and Gluten-Free.

Nurse Shark Jalapeno Hot Sauce
Nurse Sharks are mellow by nature, but large in size, and unlike most other sharks, smooth to the touch. Like the Nurse Shark, this green Jalapeno sauce has a mellow smooth heat, but huge flavor. Undertones of tomatillo, apple, and melon balance the heat from the Jalapeno and Poblano pepper for an approachable, but unforgettable taste. Delicious with tacos, nachos, eggs, chicken and sandwiches. Warm Heat Level. Vegan and Gluten-Free.

Wing Sauce
The Spicy Shark Original Wing Sauce is our Dairy Free twist on a traditional wing sauce. Sweet Red Peppers meet Spicy Cayenne Peppers, with a smooth vinegar and garlic bite. Use on chicken wings and veggies. Spicy Shark Wing Sauce makes a really great buffalo cauliflower dish, as well. Medium Heat Level. Vegan and Gluten-Free.

Smoked Maple Sriracha Sauce
The Spicy Shark Smoked Maple Sriracha is our twist on a traditional Sriracha. We balance smoked vegetables with garlic, fermented hot peppers, and a touch of maple syrup. This sauce is one of our favorites and is delicious on anything that you want to add a little heat and a whole lot of flavor. Mild Heat Level. Vegan and Gluten-Free.

Thresher Shark Chipotle Hot Sauce
The Thresher Shark is known for its long unique tail that it hunts with. This complex smokey sauce with notes of coffee and chocolate packs a thresher whip of chipotle smoke and heat. Delicious with fish, poultry, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, fajitas, add to salsa, grilled shrimp, nachos, and eggs. Warm Heat Level. Vegan and Gluten-Free.

Check them out, and let us know what you think by adding your review to the product’s page on this site. We are having a lot of fun finding different dishes to use these sauces on, and can’t get enough of them.

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Flavors of the Sea

As February is waning and we head into March, VSpicery is ready to spice it up!
Lent means fish on Fridays for many, and here are a couple of fun fish recipes for you to try. We have a few spins on the “usual” and a couple of fun alternatives that will help you keep fresh fish on the table frequently without getting bored. Just because it is healthy for us to eat, doesn’t mean it has to be boring!

Venture down the bayou with a seafood gumbo featuring VSpicery’s Creole Seasoning. Try our Blackening Seasoning on shrimp or fish, and our Shallots N’ Pepper blend is wonderful on any fish variety. Add a touch of our Chophouse Seasoning to perk up an Oyster Stew or Clam Chowder.

Fish Cakes
Fish cakes are fabulous with VSpicery’s Shallots N’ Pepper blend. So easy and so delicious, these fish cakes will please everyone at the table, including our picky kiddos. Here’s all you need:

INGREDIENTS
1 ½ lbs. Cod
1 egg
1 med. onion
1 stalk of celery
¼ cup bread crumbs, plus ½ cup for coating outside
2 tsp. VSpicery’s Shallots N’ Pepper divided

DIRECTIONS
In a food processor, chop down onion and celery until finely minced, and set aside in a bowl. Season fish with 1 tsp. Shallots N’ Pepper (use more, if you like). Put fish into food processor until finely flaked.

Combine fish with onion, celery, egg and 1/4 cup bread crumbs, and mix together well. Combine ½ cup bread crumbs with 1 tsp. Shallots N’ Pepper, form cakes and coat fish cakes with bread crumbs.

Place on a baking sheet, and drizzle a bit of olive oil on the fish cakes. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and serve immediately.

One of our easy favorites is salmon seasoned with VSpicery’s Tasty Tango served with our French Inspired Rice. Simply bake the seasoned salmon at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes and follow the directions on the rice package. Another delicious combo for salmon is VSpicery’s Sweet Singing Seasoning paired with our India Inspired Rice.

If shrimp is your thing, try Shallots N’ Pepper or spice it up with Sriracha Sizzle. Here’s a quick and delicious shrimp marinade with our Sriracha Sizzle that is incredibly delicious and easy to make as an appetizer or main dish.

 

Sriracha Sizzle Shrimp
You can use fresh or frozen shrimp for this recipe. Try this marinade for grilled shrimp too!

INGREDIENTS
3lb bag of shrimp, medium deveined and peeled
3/4 c. Olive Oil
2 tbs Sriracha Sizzle
1/2 c. Soy Sauce (preferably the low sodium Kikkoman)
1 Lime, zested and juiced

DIRECTIONS
Whisk ingredients until well blended, pour over the shrimp in a ziplock bag or bowl, and let the shrimp chill in the fridge for 30 – 60 minutes.

Pour 2 – 3 tbs of Olive Oil in a large skillet, and put on medium-high. When the oil is hot, add shrimp to the pan, searing on both sides until shrimp turns pink and just starts to curl. Don’t overcook, or they become rubbery. Cycle shrimp out of the pan and onto plates as they finish cooking. Each batch should only need about 5 – 6 minutes total.

We like to place the shrimp on a small bed of arugula or any other peppery leafy greens, and a small lime wedge (or wheel) is optional. A fresh spritz of lime juice adds a bright, fresh touch. Serve and enjoy!