The Seasoned Traveler

Recipes and remedies using herbs, spices, and other natural ingredients from the world's pantry


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Kohlrabi, Apple & Mâche Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

KohlrabiTSTI decided it was time to try one of these funny-looking vegetables I keep passing by at the grocery store — the kohlrabi. High in Vitamin C and containing heart-healthy nutrients and antioxidant properties, kohlrabi seems to be gaining in popularity and attention; Time Magazine called it the next superfood. Some studies show it might even have protective benefits against certain kinds of cancer (Source: Livestrong/University of Maryland Medical Center). Kohlrabi’s flavor is somewhere between cabbage and broccoli stems, and it has a nice crunch to it when eaten raw. In terms of its appearance, I think it’s kind of an eerie, other-worldly thing:

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Gingery Pork & Chive Pot Stickers

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Dumplings taste better when filled with memories.” ~ From an NPR series, “Dumpling Week.”

First it was NPR’s airing of vignettes about dumplings from around the world that got my memories and taste buds stirring last August. Then in October, fellow blogger Amanda from What’s Cooking ~ Fine Dining My Way posted these jaw-dropping delicious photos and description of her  Chicken & Chive Pot Stickers with Ginger Chili Soy Dip. You could say I’ve had dumplings on the brain for a long time.

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Dried Fig, Apple, Ricotta & Toasted Almond Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Assembling a salad from leftover ingredients in my pantry can be a risky endeavor. In my college days, one could search my kitchen and find a stash of ketchup, marshmallows, and some questionably fuzzy-looking bread (Oh, how did my roommates and I survive?). These days, I feel so grown-up to say that I can find an array of well-stocked items: a bag of dried figs I planned to use over the holidays, a beautiful bottle of balsamic vinegar I’d been meaning to open, half a bag of sliced almonds, an apple, leftover ricotta (from the Eggplant-Ricotta-Tomato Crostini that we made again as our entire dinner the other night), and some orange-blossom honey. Put them all together with some greens, and they seem like they were meant for each other, melding into a flavorful, colorful, and fresh salad. Here’s to a grown-up pantry. Enjoy!

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Spiced Carrot, Apple & Ginger Soup

IMG_6708Some days, a kind gesture means everything. After our recent six-night stay in the hospital with our little one, we came home and collapsed in a heap. I was too exhausted to even boil water. Seriously. And then, a friend stopped by with warm, velvety carrot soup. And warm biscuits to boot. I cannot tell you how utterly delicious it all was, how absolutely soothing and healing. It was a great reminder to me how a kind gesture like this — not to mention delicious home-cooked food — can make a world of difference to someone going through a difficult time. Thank you, Teresa!

I haven’t stopped thinking about that carrot soup, and now that we’re feeling better, I thought I’d try creating one with a bit of a kick from ginger and other warming spices from my pantry. I decided to add some sweetness from an apple too, and to keep it vegan (with veggie broth) and dairy-free (no cream or butter) for another healthful and soulful soup. Doesn’t that bright orange color just cheer you? Don’t forget some warm biscuits for dipping. Enjoy!

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Chicken Satay Skewers with Peanut Dipping Sauce

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We were supposed to be in Thailand now, lounging on a beautiful beach, listening to the palm trees sway and rustle, dipping our toes into warm blue waters. Instead, our family was hit with Flumageddon and then our little one was hospitalized with pneumonia over the holidays. Alas, we decided we had to cancel the trip and focus on a healthy recovery at home.

As I hear news about protests and roadblocks in Bangkok, I wonder if it’s a good thing after all that we didn’t travel there now. Still, the allure of Thailand’s beauty, warmth, and delicious cuisine remains. For now, we’re enjoying a modest little taste of Thailand at home, in the form of chicken satay skewers with a tasty sweet peanut sauce. Here’s a toast to health and family, and the promise of Thailand another day. Continue reading


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Avocado-Tomato-Feta Stack

IMG_6560This nutritious and scrumptious salad tower can be enjoyed any time of year, but I think it is festive and perfectly color-coordinated for the holidays. Plus, it helps to balance out all those decadent meals and treats consumed at holiday parties. It’s great as an appetizer, as a healthful snack, or for lunch, and can be tweaked with different ingredients to your taste: optional layers of artichokes, olives, crab, tuna or chicken salad. Enjoy! Continue reading


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Shrimp in Kimonos

IMG_6534What could be a more festive starter than shrimp wrapped in prosciutto, tied with chives and smothered in a spicy maple sauce? As I made these, knotting the chives across the prosciutto-wrapped shrimp reminded me of tying an obi over a kimono during festivals in Japan. I think these would be great for entertaining — These little lovelies come dressed for your holiday party and are sure to please with their savory-sweet taste. Continue reading


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Pear, Gorgonzola & Thyme Crostini

IMG_6434Call me old-fashioned, but I love hors d’oeuvres at parties. Not complicated or fancy or difficult-to-eat ones, just little nibbles of things like a beautiful cheese plate, some fresh fruit, or warm bread with aromatic herbs. And when I am hosting, this is my favorite one to serve (and eat!) — it’s a decidedly unfussy but delicious combination of cheese, fruit, warm bread and herbs all in one. Continue reading