The Seasoned Traveler

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


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Easy, Beautiful, Tasty Summer Eating!

Photo by Mark Weinberg at Food52

Photo by Mark Weinberg at Food52

Psyched to see that Food52 chose my Mahi Mahi and Avocado Tacos with Mango-Cilantro Salsa recipe as a Community Pick! Check out the recipe and beautiful photo by Mark Weinberg, plus a Food52 review, here. Cheers to summer feasting!

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Pork & Scallop Shumai (Open-Faced Dumplings)

ShumaiSquare3TSTEarlier this year, when I made Gingery Pork & Chive Pot Stickers, I declared 2014 The Year of the Dumpling. As a second foray into making these bite-sized morsels, I tackled another favorite of mine, shumai (in Japanese) or shãomài (in Chinese). I roughly followed Andrea Nguyen’s lovely recipe for pork-based dumplings (from her exquisite Asian Dumplings cookbook) except combined the pork with scallop to create more of a Yokohama-style shumai that I loved from my time in Japan (true Yokohama style also uses shrimp in the mix). Continue reading


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Shrimp Pad Thai

PadThaiTST There’s so much to love about Thailand’s most famous noodle dish — the variety of fresh ingredients, the ribbons of rice noodles, and the flavorful sauce just to name a few. This version of pad thai gets a mouth-watering tangy-sweet deliciousness from tamarind paste and lime, and lots of vibrant freshness from cilantro and mint. You could easily saute some chicken if you prefer, but I’ve used little sweet shrimp here. Some lightly scrambled egg, chopped peanuts, scallions and chives round out the balance of flavors and textures. With all the protein and fresh ingredients in this, you can enjoy a bowlful or two guilt-free.

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Chinese-Style Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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To me, the ideal summer meal comes together relatively quickly without turning on the oven. These chicken lettuce wraps are just that; the most labor-intensive part is in chopping all the fresh produce, and then it cooks up in less than 15 minutes on the stovetop. It’s a wonderful family dinner or summer party finger food. I love the vibrant colors and flavors here, especially the kick of ginger and sweet hoisin sauce and the subtle notes of orange. Some lightly sautéed bell pepper and crushed peanuts give it some lovely crunch. I use romaine lettuce as I think it stands up better than traditional iceberg to hold all that delicious filling inside and to me has more flavor. Make these fresh & vibrant chicken lettuce wraps and you won’t ever crave the Chinese restaurant ones again! Continue reading


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Beet, Carrot & Goat Cheese Stack with Chive-Pistachio Pesto

BeetStackTSTI believe there’s some wisdom in the mantra, “Eat Your Colors,” and this little stack of goodness embraces it. Just the sight of these colorful layers of earthy red beet, crisp grated carrot, soft melt-in-your-mouth goat cheese and a drizzle of chive-pistachio pesto energizes me. As an appetizer, lunch, or side dish, this is one mighty tower of wholesome goodness. Have you filled your plate with colors today? Continue reading


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Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Avocado, Mango Salsa & Sambal-Lime Mayo

FishTacosTST2Our family doesn’t have a regular taco night, but we’re thinking of starting one after having these. Just look at all those colors and textures on the plate — the slightly spicy and zesty mayo drizzled over pan-seared mahi mahi, a bright mango-cilantro salsa, some crisp red onion and raddichio and soft slices of avocado. Playful, flavorful and healthful, these make a great quick meal for a summer evening with family.

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Meatball Sliders with Basil Marinara

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Just a little something for the weekend — these meatball sliders can be prepared ahead of time on the stovetop and could feed a crowd while you fire up the grill and get sides and salads ready. The meatballs are super soft and moist on the inside so they’re easy to scrunch down in a sandwich roll. I like them smothered in marinara sauce and garnished with mozzarella and extra fresh basil leaves.  I hope the crowd at Fiesta Friday enjoys them. Happy weekend, everyone!

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Vegetarian Sushi, Maki-Style

SushiTST2While living in Japan, I grew to love sushi, not only for its fresh flavors but also for the playful variety of colors and textures. When I saw Emma Galloway’s vegetarian sushi tutorial on Food52 last week, I decided to get creative and come up with my own variations. Like Emma, I love avocado + sesame seeds + mayo, so I made that one, then looked to other colors and flavors for inspiration. Beets, asparagus, cucumber, carrot, sprouts and baby lettuces also made great sushi fillings, I discovered. Then I wanted to mimic the texture of that orange roe (fish eggs) you often see atop sushi, so I made little carrot juice bubbles, thickening them with some cornstarch and piping out little spheres and letting them gel in the fridge. It was fun getting playful, creating a feast for both the palate and the eyes. Continue reading


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Creamy Pasta with Salmon, Asparagus & Peas

PastaSalmonTSTI love wholesome dinners that come together in under 30 minutes and use fresh seasonal produce. I can’t get enough of asparagus! Here it’s cooked up quickly with the pasta and combined with pan-seared salmon, peas (I used frozen, since we don’t have spring peas yet), and a creamy tarragon sauce. This one is easy enough for a weeknight (even our pre-schooler ate seconds!) but fancy enough for a special occasion.

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Mediterranean Eggplant, Spinach & Ricotta Rolls

EggplantTSTThis dish is our new favorite for a Meatless Monday, because for relatively little effort, we can have a rich, wholesome, flavorful meal that doesn’t leave us missing meat. And by “us” I mean my husband. My dear carnivore loves his steaks and this kind of meal, and rarely does he feel satisfied without a little meat. Except with this dish. I think it’s because of the rich texture of the eggplant. I love it because of all the flavors reminiscent of the Mediterranean, with fresh and dried herb seasonings, and creamy ricotta and spinach that oozes out of these little eggplant rolls. The tomato sauce is simple and rustic, and the whole meal comes together in about 40 minutes. We’ll be making this again for a meatless meal any day of the week!

For more eggplant ideas, check out Nancy’s delicious Eggplant Stacks at Feasting with Friends, as well as Johnny’s delectable Eggplant Slices in Spiced Batter at Kitschnflavours and Elaine’s lovely Baba Ganoush at Foodbod. I know I’ve probably left out other great eggplant recipes I’ve seen lately – please feel free to add your favorite eggplant links in the comments. Enjoy!

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