The Seasoned Traveler

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


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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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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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Tabouleh-Stuffed Globe Zucchinis with Mint & Sumac Yogurt Sauce

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Two things I love about Middle Eastern cuisine are stuffed vegetables and fresh herb-filled salads like tabouleh. When I found some beautiful little globe zucchinis, I thought about combining these two loves into one — zucchinis stuffed with tabouleh. This way, I can have my bowl of tabouleh, and eat it too!

It made for a striking presentation, and was quite simple to prepare. I’m going to try this out sometime at a dinner party; it would be a great accompaniment to grilled meat or kebabs — easy for the host to assemble, and fun for the guests to eat. It might also be good to serve vegetarian guests or as part of a whole vegetarian spread.

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Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup

IMG_6295I remember a bowl of tomato soup I had once, in a little square called San Barnaba off the beaten path in Venice. I was cold, tired, and my life had just shattered. I suppose there is no better place to be heartbroken than in Venice. Every meal I had there, every bowlful of goodness, restored me just a little bit. The soup I had that day was served with a hunk of toasted crusty bread in the middle, soaking in the flavorful tomatoes and covered in a blanket of shaved parmesan cheese. By the time I got to the bottom of the bowl, the last morsels of bread had softened and thickened the soup like a rustic tomato-bread soup. Continue reading


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Roasted Eggplant, Ricotta & Tomato Crostini

IMG_5958Since reading Eating on the Wild Side, I’ve been trying to fill my grocery basket with more nutrient-rich purple vegetables and to roast them to get the most nutrition out of them. Deep purple eggplant is rich in a number of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants that fight disease and even help lower bad cholesterol. I love the almost-melted texture of roasted eggplant, and here its softness complements crunchy toasted bread, a pillowy layer of cheese, and a sprinkling of sliced tomatoes and parsley. Continue reading


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Spicy Mexican Meatballs in Chipotle-Tomato Sauce

IMG_5825Luisa Weiss’ memoir, My Berlin Kitchen, contains a number of recipes inspired from around the world that I couldn’t wait to try. The braised leeks were so silky and scrumptious that I was eager to try more from Luisa’s collection. Let me tell you, these spicy meatballs are just what I needed to turn my week around and get my kitchen mojo back. Continue reading


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Tuscan Cherry Tomato Bruschetta

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If you’ve ever been to Tuscany, you know that the sunlight is different there. It splashes amber rays across the hills and cypress trees, tingles on your skin like warm honey, soaks the edges of your vision in a fuzzy golden hue. It’s as if the sky is determined to set Tuscany’s beauty aglow, drenching it in pure, 100 percent, unfiltered sunshine.

I love reliving that Tuscan sunshine in my own kitchen using the best sun-ripened tomatoes I can find, especially at the height of summer. Continue reading