The Seasoned Traveler

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


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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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Miso Roasted Eggplant

MisoEggplantTST2Here’s a simple but healthful and umami-packed dish for a meatless Monday. It’s my take on the Japanese nasu dengaku, roasted eggplant dressed in a sweet miso glaze and garnished with scallions and black and white sesame seeds. My favorite way to eat it is to let it cool to room temperature and enjoy it with a little glass of cold beer. It’s a perfect way to chase off any Monday blues. Cheers! Continue reading


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Summer Fruit Crisp

CrispSquareTSTThe best summer desserts to me take advantage of summer’s bountiful ripe berries and stone fruits and are not too fussy. This one is easy enough to pull together for any occasion, anywhere, even (preferably) at a little rustic cottage. Roll up your sleeves and combine your favorite summer fruit with a simple oat topping. The oven’s magic will turn the fruit jammy and aromatic and the topping crisp; what could be more perfect on a summer evening? It’s delicious served with a scoop of ice cream but is lovely as is, especially if shared with good friends & family. Enjoy! Continue reading


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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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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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Salt-Roasted Whole Fish with Lemon & Herbs

SaltFishTSTI first tasted branzino, a fish from the Mediterranean, while in Croatia on the Dalmatian coast. Delicate, flavorful and mild, it is one of my favorites. I’ve seen branzino even in U.S. grocery stores; it is sometimes labeled simply as “sea bass,” but if it is from the Mediterranean and small and slender in shape, it is likely branzino. You might also find it under the French name loup de mer or the German wolfsbarsch. We don’t have a huge variety of fresh fish here in Berlin, so when I saw these branzino, I knew what we were having for dinner!

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Sweet Potato Wedges with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette

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These sweet potato spears are seriously addictive, and I’ve made a quick meal of them on a couple occasions this week. If you know me, you know I like to douse my food in lemon and herbs, and that’s basically what I’ve done to these. Seared on a grill pan to get a smoky char then steamed to cook through and soften, the sweet potatoes soak in the flavors of the lemon, chive & thyme vinaigrette then get an extra punch from grilled shallots and a touch of saltiness from crumbled feta. They’re fancy enough as a side dish for a dinner but totally fit for finger food. Hope everyone’s having a great weekend! Continue reading


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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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Mr. Seasoned Traveler Eggs Benedict with Quick Hollandaise Sauce

BenedictTSTI hope everyone’s having a great weekend and, to all celebrating, a Happy Mother’s Day! Today I get to share a recipe courtesy of my husband, who pulled together these wonderfully decadent Eggs Benedict dishes. Though it was a team effort, he took charge of the most challenging part, the poached eggs! I whipped up my shortcut version of hollandaise with an immersion blender — I’m telling you, it’s foolproof and so fast. We toasted some dark whole-grain bread that was the perfect base for these layers of oozing sauce and egg and a sprinkling of fresh chervil. It’s our simplified version of the classic. Enjoy! Continue reading


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Rose, Berry & Pomegranate Panna Cotta

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I made this little dessert as an ode to moms, but specifically my mom. I wanted it to have a touch of rose, for the bountiful gardens she tends. It had to be multi-layered, for the way she has constantly re-invented herself through the years, from a young wife supporting her husband through graduate school, to a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, a successful business owner, a teacher, and a community leader. It would need a variety of toppings, for she’s worn many hats throughout motherhood, as maker of our home, nurturer, provider and role model. It had to be something solid but with a rounded softness and lots of give, for the many ways my sisters and I have depended on her and the countless ways she is giving to everyone around her. Continue reading