The Seasoned Traveler

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


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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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Monsoon Curry

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An old acquaintance of mine once treated me to a homemade curry dinner. He had lived and worked in rural India and recounted how he learned about spices and herbs from the locals as he traveled from village to village. During monsoon season, he said, there was nothing to do but wait out the rains inside the villagers’ houses, and it was then and there he learned to cook curry. Since his time in India, he continued traveling the world, bringing along stashes of his prized Indian spices everywhere he went.

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“Jerusalem” Roasted Chicken with Clementines & Ouzo

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My new Jerusalem cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi enchants and entices me on every page. Somehow the authors manage to transform traditional and familiar dishes from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine into even more delicious, vibrant, and novel flavor combinations. We had the roasted chicken with clementines last night (substituting ouzo for arak), and it was sensational! The recipe heaps on intense anise seasonings from fennel, fennel seed, and the anise-scented liquor, but in the roasting process, it imparts just a subtle anise note with an enormous punch of wowing flavor. My tastebuds were dancing at each bite of tender and delicious chicken — slightly charred but moist — the softened fennel, the hints of thyme, and the delightfully bittersweet slices of clementines, peel and all.

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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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Warm Ginger-Sesame Chicken Over Carrot & Radicchio Salad

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Maybe it’s in anticipation of The Big Cooking Day next week, but lately I’ve been drawn to fresh and light meals that are easy to prepare. This bright salad combines a spectrum of flavors and colors to please the palate and the eyes. Continue reading


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Lemon, Saffron & Paprika Roasted Chicken Thighs

IMG_5606I love that this recipe achieves juicy, flavorful chicken and a nicely crisped skin, and can be made in one all-purpose pan. Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, is also the most exquisite, and is known in Persian culture to lift one’s spirit and treat depression. Here, combined with zingy lemon and paprika, it makes one happy dish. Continue reading


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Provencal Herb and Lemon Roasted Chicken

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As far as French cuisine goes, most days I’d choose cooking from the French countryside over fancy Parisian Michelin-star fare. I particularly love the culinary style of Provence, with its heavy reliance on aromatic herbs, lemon and fresh ingredients, and its rustic, no-fuss preparations.

One of my favorites to cook – and serve my family – is roasted chicken. Continue reading