Whole Roasted Greek Salmon

No one in my family is Greek. It’s really unfortunate because the Greek culture is so awesome. And Greek food is even better! Lucky for me one of my best friends in college was Greek, and because I went to school out of state and it was tough to travel home for every holiday, I got to spend a lot of holidays with her and her family. And let me tell you, the Greeks go all out. Some of my most fond food memories are at Greek holiday parties!

This Greek salmon with a cucumber and dill spiced dip is one of my favorites! We would usually have it for Greek Easter, but now that I’ve moved away from her and her family, I’ve adopted it as a pre-Thanksgiving meal. It’s especially nice the night before Thanksgiving because it’s light and refreshing, which is exactly what I need before a day full of feasting.

I get a whole salmon filet from my fishmonger and ask them to take the skin off. Then it’s doused with Spice Islands Dill Weed, salt and pepper, and roasted in the oven for a bit until it’s perfectly cooked and flaky. I serve it with a yogurt dip with cucumbers, olive oil, lemon juice and more Spice Islands Dill Weed mixed in. It’s a simple but flavorful dish that really packs a punch!

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Posted in Dill, Gaby Dalkin, Holiday, Sea Salt | 2 Comments

Bavarian Mulled Wine

Spiced wine is one of my absolute favorite things about the fall and winter months. It’s so lovely to cozy up with some winter socks, a big fluffy blanket, a mug of spiced wine and a group of friends surrounding a fireplace!

Every year we venture up to Northern California to a sleepy little ski town called Mammoth Lakes. It’s magical. And freezing. We go up for a weekend for a festival called Night of Lights, which is a fireworks extravaganza that takes place on the side of the mountain, and it’s a huge party. There is an endless amount of wine and cheese, and it’s the perfect start to the season. What’s even better is going home after the Night of Lights to our house and sitting around with friends drinking this Bavarian Mulled Wine.

I first created this recipe while we were in Mammoth Lakes. The friends we go with are all from Germany, so this recipe is a take on one of their favorite mulled wines.  I like to impress people, so I got a little fancy and added some Spice Islands Whole Cloves, Spice Islands Star Anise and a Spice Islands Vanilla Bean. I’ve never had another mulled wine that features vanilla bean, but it really is the perfect way to round out this drink. The drink itself is super easy to make, but all the spices really give this warm beverage such a complex and delicious flavor!

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Posted in Cinnamon, Cloves, Cocktails, Gaby Dalkin, Holiday, Star Anise, Vanilla Bean | 1 Comment

Pumpkin Pie Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Are you guys ready for this one? It’s a recipe that might just change your life. These Pumpkin Pie Chocolate Chip Pancakes are decadent, as they are laced with semi-sweet chocolate chips and then drizzled with the maple syrup of your choice. It’s basically like eating dessert for breakfast, but since it’s called a pancake, it’s 100 percent acceptable!

I like to make my own pumpkin pie spice blend with a combination of Spice Islands spices. Saigon Cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg and ground cloves give these pancakes tons of flavor that just makes you want to pile these on your plate and go to town!

These are always a hit for us the day after the holidays. It’s so nice to be able to sit down to a leisurely breakfast with your family after the big event and just catch up and relax. These pancakes are the perfect things to serve for just that. Pour yourself a glass of milk or a steaming cup of coffee, and throw a big platter of these pancakes on the table for you and your guests to enjoy. I can promise that everyone will leave the table with a smile on their face!

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Posted in Breakfast, Cinnamon, Cloves, Gaby Dalkin, Ginger, Holiday, Nutmeg, Sea Salt | 2 Comments
Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth

Asian Niçoise Salad with Seared Black Sesame Tuna

How many times, in the midst of the endless food of the holidays, have you wished for a simple salad? After a second helping of turkey, bowls of creamy mashed potatoes piled high with rich gravy and a larger-than-you-really-needed slice of decadent pumpkin pie for dessert, sometimes a salad sounds downright divine.

For those momentary healthful cravings, this salad is perfection. It’s not just an ordinary Niçoise salad (which usually contains canned tuna fish), but instead features slices of black-sesame-crusted tuna atop a bed of bright baby greens and tossed with an Asian-style wasabi vinaigrette.

As if this salad wasn’t good enough, want to add something magical to it? Try adding fried bean threads for an irresistible crunch. You can purchase bean threads (also called glass noodles or Chinese vermicelli) in most major grocery stores. They are delicate noodles made from mung bean starch. Here’s the magic part: when deep-fried (we recommend an inch or so of oil heated to 350ºF), they puff up instantly into airy, crunchy garnishes. They are a wonderful textural addition to this salad or other Asian dishes such as stir-fries and lettuce wraps.

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Posted in Coriander, Holiday, Love & Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Sesame Seeds | Comments Off
Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth

Sicilian Pan Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Homemade pizza is the perfect dish to please a crowd – large or small, young or old. This recipe makes one half-sheet, pan-sized pizza with a thick and chewy Sicilian style crust, a spicy sun-dried tomato pesto in place of tomato sauce and layers of melty mozzarella and pecorino cheese.

And yes, there is an anchovy in it. Alert the authorities! Leave it out if you must, but know that there is a reason anchovies do still exist as pizza toppings despite their seemingly universal scorn. For pizza is truly Italian, a land surrounded on three sides by the sea. It only makes sense that a piece of that sea, in all its salty and briny glory, would make its way onto the country’s signature dish.

I admit, I too, once loathed the idea of anchovies on pizza – until two years ago on our honeymoon to Italy. The little restaurant with the blue awnings and the checkered tablecloths is just the backdrop, but the true memories from that night revolve around the pizza we enjoyed. Which was – wait for it – covered in anchovies. My opinion of these little salt-cured fish was forever changed that night, for you cannot truly judge anchovies until you’ve had anchovies in Italy, sitting mere meters away from the ocean in which they once swam. Since then, well, I’ve been more receptive to the fishy presence on my pizza, and I’d encourage you to be too. The anchovy in this dish almost melts into the pesto, and beneath layers of warm cheese and savory Italian herbs provides a richness and depth, the fishy aftertaste is nowhere to be found.

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Posted in Holiday, Italian Herb Seasoning, Love & Olive Oil, Red Pepper, Sea Salt | Comments Off

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts

You know what makes a little get-together even more special? Sweet and spicy roasted nuts. It’s a quick and simple recipe that is a really nice touch when you’re welcoming people into your home. Plus, making them ahead of time makes your house smell welcoming, and your neighbors might start wandering over to see what’s going on in your kitchen!

Since I’m the only one in my family that has been to culinary school, I’m typically the one that’s always in the kitchen working on whatever is for dinner. But, these sweet and spicy nuts are so easy that I can delegate them to my husband to put together. The best part is, he feels like he has been super helpful in the kitchen! You can use your favorite assortment of nuts, but I prefer a combination of cashews, walnuts, almonds and pepitas. I use egg whites and water to create a natural binding effect on the nuts with the spice mixture consisting of Spice Islands salt, cayenne pepper and ground cinnamon. The sweet and spicy flavors make for an interesting but welcome surprise as a pre- or post-dinner snack!

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Posted in Cayenne Pepper, Chipotle Chile Powder, Cinnamon, Gaby Dalkin, Holiday, Sea Salt, Snacks | 2 Comments

Spanish Paella

I think I would be a very happy camper if I lived in Spain. I just love their lifestyle, and I especially love their food. This Spanish paella transports me over the ocean to Spain, where siestas are highly encouraged and it’s not abnormal to have a dinner party into the wee hours of the morning.

Here’s a question for you. What do you serve the night or two before Thanksgiving? All your friends and family are in town and awaiting the main event tomorrow, but you’ve got a big meal to deal with before the Thanksgiving madness even starts. I’ve got you covered. Spanish paella is always the answer! It’s a one-pot dish – so hello easy cleanup! And it definitely serves a crowd. Loaded with chorizo, chicken, clams, mussels and shrimp, this paella has a little bit of everything for everyone!

Pop open a few bottles of your favorite Spanish-style wine, place the paella pan in the middle of the table and let your guests help themselves. It’s sure to be an extraordinary meal for a special night.

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Posted in Gaby Dalkin, Holiday, Oregano, Saffron, Sea Salt, Smoked Paprika, Thanksgiving | 3 Comments
Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth

Coconut Beef Stir-Fry Rice Bowls

For all the thought and planning we put into the holiday meals, we put surprisingly little effort into the before and after, often throwing together mishmashed cheese plates or frozen pizzas, or simply ordering out. In our house it’s no different. In fact, we’ve been known to eat waffles and popcorn on the night before Thanksgiving.

Because after you’ve decked the halls, trussed the turkey and cleaned the bathrooms, my guess is that ordering Chinese takeout has probably crossed your mind. More than once, even. You’re not alone in that fact. Perhaps that’s why the nights before Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s happen to be some of the busiest nights of the year for takeout delivery drivers.

But why not keep it in-house this year and whip up this quick and flavorful coconut beef stir-fry. The thin slices of steak practically melt within a savory coconut broth spiked with soy sauce and lime. Served over a generous bowl of white rice, it makes for a hearty and satisfying meal.

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Posted in Cilantro, Holiday, Love & Olive Oil, Sesame Seeds, Thai Seasoning, Thanksgiving | Comments Off

Citrus and Vanilla Sparklers

Have you guys ever heard of Friendsgiving? It’s basically a warm-up to the main Thanksgiving event that typically happens a week or so before the real holiday. It’s become one of my favorite food days of the year. Not only do I get to practice lots of recipes before the big day, but also it’s a chance to gather with some of your favorite friends and celebrate a holiday that most people typically spend with their families.

Friendsgiving is a daylong event for us. We host it every year the week before Thanksgiving on a Saturday. That way people have the whole next day to recover before heading back to work. It’s a big event, and we go all out!

What better way to start a fun Friendsgiving than with a round of these Citrus and Vanilla Sparklers! Since I’m usually in the kitchen getting things prepped and ready to serve, my husband takes on the responsibility of mixing up these delicious pre-meal concoctions. These are a combination of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, lemon juice and orange juice with the most delectable Spice Islands Vanilla Bean seeds to kick things up a notch. I typically serve them with vodka, but gin would be a great substitute if that’s more your thing. These citrus sparklers transport me back to some of our Caribbean island getaways, but with the addition of the Spice Islands vanilla, it’s a whole new experience!

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Posted in Cocktails, Gaby Dalkin, Holiday, Thanksgiving, Vanilla Bean | Comments Off
Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth

Spaghetti Squash Bruschetta

We sometimes like to think of spaghetti squash as the gateway squash, a bridge between the tender zucchini and yellow crookneck squash of summer and the heartier winter squashes like butternut and acorn. While you can usually find spaghetti squashes in stores year-round, they are at their peak from early to late fall.

In this unusual take on a traditional Italian bruschetta, we toss the roasted squash with a simple blend of Spice Islands salt, pepper and crushed rosemary. Paired with creamy mozzarella (use fresh whole milk or buffalo mozzarella, if you can find it) and bright tomato, it’s easy to prepare and a perfectly impressive appetizer for your next gathering.

If you haven’t had spaghetti squash, its name will be obvious once you have: the flesh, once cooked, separates from the outer skin in delicate, spaghetti-like strands. In fact, it is often used as a spaghetti substitute (carb haters, take note) and goes great with any topping you’d normally put on spaghetti (like pesto, or butter and parmesan, for example). The flavor of the squash itself is very mild, so it tends to take on the flavors of the ingredients surrounding it.

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Posted in Appetizer, Holiday, Love & Olive Oil, Rosemary, Sea Salt, Snacks | 4 Comments