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How to Stock Your Spice Rack (or Cabinet in My Case) for Ethnic Meals — Middle Eastern Edition


If you haven’t figure it out by now, Lindsey and I cook almost everything and we’re not afraid to try new things.  Here recently I’ve been on a lamb kick, but I really don’t have a good spice set to compliment it.  I love Middle Eastern food, but was a bit intimidated because I wasn’t 100% sure what to buy.  And really…I wasn’t up for searching for spices and herbs and sauces and whatnot at the Trader Joes and Whole Foods of the world; I wanted it from the source.  Lucky for me, there is a store around the corner from me that has everything your heart could desire.

Bon Appétit ran an article some time ago that highlighted your essential Middle Eastern spices and while I was able to find most of them, I still haven’t found the aleppo pepper.  And I learned the hard way that you can buy everyone’s ras-el-hanout…kinda like you can’t eat everyone’s potato salad.  But back to the article, check it out and the first thing you should do is get that pomegranate molasses on some lamb.  The second thing is to add these spices to your gluttony arsenal if you dont have them already:  cumin, cardamom, anise seed, tumeric, sumac and caraway.  They’ll help you in other dishes too!

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“Its like you’re trying to making out with someone and trying to eat at the same time…”


That’s the description of live octopus chopped into bite-sized pieces and drizzled with oil and herbs.  In my brief escape from work today I came across this video Americans Taste Test Exotic Asian Food.  It’s pretty hilarious.  I’m down to try almost anything except for that half born baby duck.  #justsayno  What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten?  I had alligator flavored ice cream once…and a kangaroo burger.

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Cilantro for days…


Outside of work stuff, summer is a really busy season for me so I’m always looking for quick and creative food ideas.  Last year I came across a recipe on Pinterest that I really liked.  It looked really easy and seemed flavorful based on the ingredients, but it took forever to find some reasonably priced crabmeat.  I mean the one good thing about living in Baltimore is that crab and oysters are always at your beck and call, but sometimes they get a little pricey.  Anyhoo, fast forward, I made the dish…it was amazing and easy and quick.  I decided it would now be one of my summer staples.

I hope you’re good at following a storyline here, because I’m always all over the place.  Maybe a month or so ago Whole Foods had their “One Day Deal” on jumbo lump crabmeat.  At $15/lb it was a steal and I got like 5 things.  So I made some crab cakes and added some crab to my vodka sauce and then it was 85 degrees and I didnt feel like cutting my stove on.  Re-enter the cilantro lime crab salad recipe.  I got home late, had to mow the lawn and before I knew it, it was 9pm.  I whipped this up in less than 10 minutes.  Check out the recipe:

  • 1/2 cup (8 oz.) lump crab meat
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced finely
  • 1-2 tsp jalapeño, diced finely (optional)
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • Dash of cumin
  • 1 avocado, cut in half, pit removed

Here’s where the story changes pace again…I went to the market on Tuesday and they had a sale on cilantro.  2 bunches for $1…another steal!  I swear I bought all the cilantro.  So now I have like 5 more bunches at home and nothing to do with them.  I was sitting at my desk thinking, “I wonder what else I could make with cilantro…” and I came across a recipe for Coconut Shrimp Salad With Spicy Mango & Cilantro Salsa at Food Republic.  Its an oven recipe, but its baked and healthy and has that fresh mango salsa.  Its going to go great with the white sangria I’m making this weekend and you guys got a twofer today.  Have a great weekend!

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All I Want for Christmas is…a Bacon Silicone Spatula?


So this was really supposed to be posted back in January, but then life happened…

Really, the only two things on my adult Christmas list this year were a record player and  Keurig…well I still haven’t cashed in on all of my gifts, but I’m one for two so far.  The funny thing is that I’m the worst person to buy for unless you completely catch me off guard and don’t listen to my random rants about what I want or would like.  Most of the time, I don’t wait long enough for people to buy things because one week I want it and the next week I buy it.

So I got a gift this year and automatically I recognized the box was from one of my favorite splurge stores Sur la Table.

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The box!

It was a little bit weighty, but handed to me with care, so I had NO idea what was inside.  I opened the box to find several items individually wrapped so that I still couldn’t tell what they were, but the gift giver’s face gleamed with pride as if they knew I’d love everything, even before I knew I’d love everything.

The first piece I unwrapped was a bacon Christmas ornament that was all shiny and covered in glitter.  I got my gift a few days after Christmas unfortunately, but it inspired me to do a food themed ornament tree (courtesy of Epicurious) next year instead of the wine bottle one I saw on Pinterest…or maybe I’ll do both!  There were a few other delightful things that I can’t wait to use in my concoctions…a Chianti Classico D.O.P. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Fattoria Estense Silver Seal Aceto Balsamico di Modena (balsamic vinegar).

The goodies...10-year age balsamic vinegar!!!

The goodies…10-year age balsamic vinegar!!!

The other two items I’m really excited about are my chili-lime seasoned salt and Hepp’s Salt Barrel Gourmet Salts Applewood Smoked Salt.

Good salts...not bath salts!

Good salts…not bath salts!

I’m so eager to use both of these that I’ve already created so many ideas and I’m already contemplating purchasing more.  Stay tuned for a recipe on how to make shrimp tacos and curtido, using the chili-lime salt.  I’m still working on what I can use the Applewood salt for.  Any suggestions?

And the piece de resistance…most people who know me, also know that I’d only like to die of old age or from bacon…hence the blogger name.  Anyway, the last gift was strategically wrapped and placed under all of the other pieces, so I didn’t even realize it was in there.  I open it and lo and behold, it’s a damn bacon spatula…a silicone Tovolo Spatulart bacon spatula!  A bacon ornament wasn’t enough???  I got an awesome, oversized BACON SPATULA!!!  Owww!  It’s big enough to flip a pancake, a slice of French toast, or like 5 whole pieces of bacon!  In case you can’t tell, I’m uber excited about this thing and I plan to use it this weekend for brunch.

So baconly awesome!

So baconly awesome!

I haven’t even finished opening my presents yet and its after the new year…I’m just so caught up with this one.  I didn’t even care to write an informational or worthwhile post…I just wanted to talk about everything in this box.  Keep your eyes open for upcoming posts using this stuff.  Happy New Year!!!

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Thank you for following us and our 2012 in review…


Check out the blog report below to learn a little bit more about us.  2013 is upon us and we promise to write much more!  Here’s to abundant baking, crazy concoctions and heaps of healthy food! Thanks for your continued support.  Happy New Year!!!

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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