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What's for Dinner? Verve Culture Thai for Two Cooking Kits

What’s for Dinner? Verve Culture Thai for Two Cooking Kits

One thing we are enjoying about the months-long lockdown is we can experiment in the kitchen. Whether it’s trying a new recipe or a new dish in general. We were not-so-recently introduced to Verve Culture, we previously highlighted their Tortilla Cast Iron Press Kit, and we’re excited to share another of their wonderful products, the Verve Culture Thai for Two Cooking Kits. Prepare easy-to-make meals with these authentic ingredients from Thailand; just add your own protein and vegetables.

What's for Dinner? Verve Culture Thai for Two Cooking Kits

There are so many things to love about the Verve Culture Thai for Two Cooking Kits. We love the convenience, the simplicity of preparing, the break from ordering in, the change of basic cuisine, and of course the fantastic taste. The Thai for Two Cooking Kits are available in five varieties – Pad Thai, Organic Green Curry Kit, Organic Tom Kha Soup, Organic Panang Curry Kit, and Organic Red Curry Kit. Naturally, the taste is at the very top but a very close second is how quickly a meal can be prepared. You see, these organic Thai for Two cooking kits take only 7 steps and your meal can be fully prepared in 7 minutes. The numbers increase by one for the Pad Thai making it 8 steps and 8 minutes; they are decreased by 2 for the Tom Kha Soup, making it 5 steps and 5 minutes.

What's for Dinner? Verve Culture Thai for Two Cooking Kits

If you are fans of the big, fragrant, and creamy flavors of Thai food, the Verve Culture Thai for Two cooking kits will not disappoint. We had the pleasure of trying out the Organic Red Curry Kit and Organic Green Curry Kit, both over rice. For the Organic Red Curry Kit, we added beef as our protein and followed the 7 easy steps and our delicious dinner for two was complete. Each kit comes housed in a black and gold pouch with each ingredient individually packaged and sealed.

What's for Dinner? Verve Culture Thai for Two Cooking Kits

The Organic Red Curry cooking kit included: Organic dried herbs, Organic red curry seasoning, Organic red curry paste, and Organic coconut milk. For those who prefer a tamer spice level, you can use 1/2 – 3/4 of the curry paste; for the rest of us, use the entire packet or add some of your own red curry. The above is a deep plate (more of a soup or stew plate), so all our red curry is at the bottom. Nevertheless, we were more than happy with the result and this did not last very long. For the Organic Green Curry kit, we chose salmon as our protein and choose a different mix of vegetables.

Thai for Two - Organic Green Curry KitThai for Two - Organic Green Curry Kit

Once again, this no-fail cooking kit did not disappoint our tastebuds. If you’re looking to wow your family or just want to spice up your lunch or dinner, these Verve Culture Thai for Two Cooking Kits are what you need. We can’t wait to try the other Thai for Two cooking kits, especially the Pad Thai.

Solex Catsmo Home: The Only NJ Food Delivery Service You Need

Solex Catsmo Home: The Only NJ Food Delivery Service You Need

There’s nothing more disappointing than trying to eat healthily during this pandemic and dealing with roadblocks. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve placed an order for grocery delivery, only to see that half or more of the things we ordered be unavailable; or worst yet, subpar (we can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to throw things away). Our goal to have restaurant-level meals at home wasn’t always being met until we discovered Solex Catsmo Home, the only food delivery service you need if you live in the Bergen, Essex, and Hudson counties in New Jersey.

Solex Catsmo Home: The Only NJ Food Delivery Service You Need

Solex Catsmo Home is a new home delivery food service that provides some of the best meat, fish, produce, dairy, bread, pasta, truffles (and more!) direct to homes in New Jersey. When many top restaurants had to close in March 2020, CEO, Markus Draxler, and his team decided to do what they know best; to provide exceptional and high-quality products to a vital new customer – YOU, the home cook!

This outstanding grocery delivery company is two well-respected companies in the foodservice industry. Solex Fine Foods and its sister company, Catsmo Artisan Smokehouse, come together to bring you the highest quality food products. Ingredients so high grade, they were favorites of Michelin-starred, NYC restaurants like Daniel, Eleven Madison Park, and Le Bernadin.

Solex Catsmo Home: The Only NJ Food Delivery Service You Need

Solex Catsmo Home has everything you might need to cook your favorite meals. They provide a variety of Dairy and dairy-free products; New York State, Vermont, Italian, and Spanish Cheeses; the freshest of fruits, vegetables, and French Summer Truffle; pantry staples like maple syrup, tuna fish, coffee, Caviar, etc; farm-to-table oatmeal, authentic Italian pasta, and locally made pizza and bagels; a variety of oils and vinegars; amazing and top-quality cuts of meats like Wagyu, ribeye, chicken, Wild Game; and last but not least, an assortment of seafood (like the delicious smoked salmon above or the Chef Daniel Boulud’s prepare-at-home Bouillabaisse dinner below) that will make every meal special.

Solex Catsmo Home: The Only NJ Food Delivery Service You Need

Don’t worry if you don’t know what to make for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, as Solex Catsmo Home provides easy to follow cooking recipes you can follow to make your chef-quality meals.

Solex Catsmo Home Food Delivery

All home orders are contactless and scheduled for Wednesday and/or Saturday delivery. Place your order no later than 8pm Tuesday for Wednesday delivery, and no later than 8pm Friday for Saturday delivery. The date selected at checkout is the date you will receive your delivery. While times are not slotted, you can expect your delivery to arrive between 9am and 3pm. Could Solex Catsmo Home save you from subpar foods and ingredients as it saved us? There’s only one way to find out. Visit their website and schedule your own home delivery of high-quality food offerings.

Perfect Pumpkin Recipes

Perfect Pumpkin Recipes To Use Well After the Fall Season

Pumpkin is a harvest classic and shows up in many iconic fall dishes. But just because pumpkin is frequently used in autumn dishes doesn’t mean you can’t use it later in the year as well. Here are a few ways to make use of this healthy vegetable in baked goods throughout the year, even in some dishes that might not be quite as healthy, but just as delicious. Keep reading for three Pumpkin recipes to enjoy well past the fall season.

Pumpkin Rolls

Pumpkin Roll Photo from Food Network

This take on a dessert classic is perfect for a rich treat the whole family will love. Pumpkin rolls incorporate pumpkin puree into a layer of pumpkin cake, spread with a layer of ice cream, and then rolled to create a swirl in the center of the dessert. It’s great for the holidays, but there’s no reason you can’t indulge in this sweet year-round.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Photo from POPSUGAR

Chocolate chip cookies are a classic dessert that is sure to please every palette. Adding pumpkin and a bit of pumpkin pie spice takes this common cookie jar staple and adds a bit of a harvest flavor to it. Experiment with the spices if you’re not a fan of pumpkin pie to find a combination that’s perfect for your personal tastes.

Pumpkin-Parmesan Biscuits

Pumpkin-Parmesan Biscuits Photo From Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen

Not all pumpkin foods have to be sweet to be utterly delicious. Parmesan can add the perfect savory taste to accompany the pumpkin in this hearty side. The flavor pairing is complex but goes perfectly with the many hearty main dishes of winter.

Before doing any baking with pumpkin, make sure to account for the high water content of this ingredient. Pumpkins are 90 percent water, so be sure to properly prepare your pumpkin ingredients before incorporating into any baked good, or it might throw off the moisture content of your final product.

Even if pumpkin is typically used for fall classics, it can be an excellent ingredient to make use of year-round that adds excellent depth of flavor to many baked goods. What are your thoughts on these Pumpkin recipes? How will you make use of this unique vegetable in your future baking?

Celebrating the Olio e Piú Benvenuti a Casa Book Launch

There’s nothing like the remarkable taste of amazing food that is undeniably exquisite, yet makes you feel at home. That was our experience when we attended the book launch and tasting of Olio e Piú and Chef Dominick Pepe’s new Italian book, Benvenuti a Casa. What better way to celebrate a restaurant’s book than a night of enjoying eating dishes featured in said book. Keep reading for a peek into our experience of Neapolitan cuisine.

Italian Restaurant Olio e Piú Book Launch Chef Dominick Pepe

Benvenuti a Casa features recipes and ingredients brought to life at Olio e Piú through the quality and simplicity of Italian cooking. At the event, we, along with a few other guests, enjoyed a family-style meal featuring several recipes from Benvenuti a Casa. Our amazing culinary journey started with one of our favorite Italian cocktails, an Aperol Spritz, followed by a delicious Olio Mule before we dived right into culinary heaven that is classic Italian dishes.

Italian Restaurant Olio e Piú Book Launch

Every dish was beyond divine. Olio e Piú and Chef Dominick Pepe had us captivated from the first bite of our starter, Fritos Misto, a delectable combination of fried squid, shrimp, white fish, zucchini, and Bombay Aioli. We could live happily on this for the rest of our lives.

Italian Restaurant Olio e Piú Book Launch

Next was a classic preparation of a Tagliatelle Bolognese. This rich, meaty tomato dish boasts freshly made pasta was so flavorful. This delightful Bolognese did not last long on our plate.

Our next dish was perhaps our absolute favorite. One taste of the Ragu di Coniglio and we lapsed into Italian food hypnosis.  We can’t stop singing the praises of this Ragu. This is the moment we wished for a second stomach but our culinary journey was not yet over.

Our culinary adventure at this authentic trattoria continued with the most delicious pizzas we’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring. First up was Campagnola Pizza featuring mozzarella, prosciutto di parma, arugula, and Parmigiano Reggiano; and the Abbondante Pizza, which features mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, roasted pepper, Italian sausage, and basil.

Needless to say, our singular stomach couldn’t finish the rest that night; both pizzas were thoroughly enjoyed over the next two days. If you love authentic and classic Italian food, we advise you get a copy of Benvenuti a Casa.

You will truly enjoy the classic homestyle Italian cooking, cherished recipes and journey into the heart and soul of Italian cuisine featured in the Benvenuti a Casa book.

Pereg Natural Foods Ancient Grains

The Latest Exotic Spices and Ancient Grains From Pereg Natural Foods

One of our favorite things about attending the Summer Fancy Food Show is the introduction of new foods, food trends, and seeing what’s new from our favorite food brands. One of our favorite brands, Pereg Natural Foods, a brand we’ve previously written about, has added lots to their lineup. Along with new flavor additions to old favorites, like their exotic spices and ancient grains, they’ve introduced new products to make your meal even more healthy and delicious. Let’s get to know them……..

Fine Breadcrumbs & Seasoned Panko

Pereg Natural Foods Ancient Grains

Pereg’s seasoned breadcrumb collection just got even bigger with the introduction of three delicious new flavors: Thai Sweet Chili Panko Crumbs, Whole Wheat Panko, and Golden Crisp Bread Crumbs. They join a crunchy family that includes Classic, American, Viennese, Mexican, and Italian Fine Bread Crumbs and their Japanese cousins Spicy Panko, Coarse Panko, and Fine Panko. Grab the 9 oz re-sealable bags for $4.85 each.

Pereg’s Whole Wheat Panko Crumbs are baked to an airy, lightly textured goodness to enhance your favorite recipe. They add a distinctive crunch to vegetables, baked macaroni & cheese, meatloaf, seafood, or chicken dishes. You can use it as a coating on sliced potatoes and bake as an alternative to frying.

Pereg’s Thai Sweet Chili Panko Crumbs are also baked to an airy, lightly textured goodness to enhance your favorite recipe. They add a deliciously flavorful crunch to chicken wings, seafood, and pasta dishes. Boasting a delightful balance of sweet and spicy, your taste buds will love the kick of flavor. Try it as a coating on sliced potatoes and bake as an alternative to frying.

Flavor Infused Quinoa

Pereg Natural Foods Flavored Quinoa

In addition, Pereg features new flavors of Quinoa side dishes, including ginger sesame, quinoa with lentils (pictured above), quinoa with nuts and berries, and quinoa with roasted garlic in 6 oz boxes retailing for $3.99. Quinoa, the “mother of all grains”, is a healthy and easy food to prepare. It holds a pleasantly light, fluffy texture when cooked, with a mild and slightly nutty flavor. We love the flavor varieties and how they paired perfectly with things like Freshé ready-to-eat superfood; a meal in a tin (see them pictured together above).

Freekeh Grain 

Pereg Natural Foods Freekah Grain

If you’re tired of rice or just looking to cut it out of your diet. We have a great alternative for you. Freekeh is a young, green wheat that is roasted over an open flame for a rich smoky flavor and cracked to reduce the cooking time. This grain makes a great alternative to rice or couscous for a delicious and healthy side dish. Grab a 5 oz bag for only $3.99.

Gluten-Free Flours

Pereg Natural Foods Gluten-Free Flours

Gone are the day when only one type of flour existed. Thanks to Pereg Natural Foods, you now have six flour varieties to bake with, including Almond, Banana, Buckwheat, Chickpea, Quinoa, and Coconut.  Available in 16 oz. re-sealable stay-fresh bags, the flours are the perfect healthy alternative when you want to create sweet treats and savory dishes. Imagine Buckwheat, Quinoa, or Chickpea dumplings or homemade pasta. How about flavorful cookies made with banana, almond or coconut flour. With these Gluten-Free Flours, the possibilities are endless. Get them all for $4.99 each.

Are you up to trying out these specialty flours, exotic spices and ancient grains from Pereg?

Explore the Tastes of the World with Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends

We always say the best way to experience a country’s culture is to dive right into their local cuisines. Sadly not all of us can afford to travel around the world indulging in international foodie fantasies. However, there is a way you can enjoy these culinary delights, especially if you’re not blessed enough to have access to international chefs and restaurants. What do we mean? Cooking with international spices and seasonings of course. Pereg Natural Foods & Spices, the people who brought you fiery Harissa from Tunisia, exotic Moroccan Ras Al Hanout, and the bold flavors of Cajun country, has launched two new international spices, Chinese 5-Spice Seasoning, and Latin Adobo Blend. Let’s get to know Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends.

Pereg’s ever-growing selection of international ingredients now includes 5-Spice Seasoning, an aromatic anchor of Chinese cuisine, and Adobo Blend, a zippy mainstay in kitchens from Spain and Peru to Mexico and the Philippines. These two spices join the wide range of Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends.  Pereg’s Chinese 5-Spice mix, a happy marriage of sweet, salty, pungent, sour, and bitter has the power to elevate dishes of all kinds.  With its balanced blend of cinnamon, anise, fennel, black pepper, and cloves, it delivers an intriguing, pan-Asian complexity to braises, soups, stir-fries, and sauces. It pairs beautifully with lamb, chicken, and duck. You can even use it in cocktails!

Adobo, which originated in Spain and Portugal, wears many hats. Latin adobo usually refers to a sauce or marinade typically made from paprika and stewed chipotle chilies. However, some Latin and Caribbean countries think of adobo as a seasoning mix, either wet or dry, to rub on meat before cooking. And in the Philippines, where adobo is the national dish, it’s a style of cooking in which meat, fish, or vegetables are marinated in vinegar, salt, and spices, browned in oil and then simmered in the marinade. Adobo seasoning is endlessly versatile. It adds a rich dimension to chicken, turkey, burgers, and your favorite chili. Use it as a dry rub for steaks and whole fish. Mix it with quinoa, add it to fish tacos, spice up your guacamole, or sprinkle it on popcorn.

Are your ready to bring international cuisine to your life and kitchen? What are your thoughts on Pereg’s Mixed Spice Blends? Will you start cooking more international dishes?

Spice Up Your Life: Spice Islands Spices, Herbs, and Seasonings

Repeat after us – when it comes to cooking, spices, herbs, and seasonings are absolutely needed. We love food, that’s why we do restaurant reviews and eat out as much as we can. The best thing about being a foodie is enjoying the various flavors, so we need our meals to be seasoned to perfection. We need much more than just salt and pepper. If you have less than ten varieties of spices, herbs, and seasonings (not including salt and pepper) in your kitchen cupboard, you’re not properly seasoning your food. But worry not, we, and Spice Islands, are here to help you. We are here to introduce you to the vast variety of Spice Islands spices, herbs, and seasonings boasting rich flavors and premium quality. Get ready to amp up your spice rack and cooking with an amazing array of wonderful flavors.

Whether you’re cooking something savory or sweet, Spice Islands spices, herbs, and seasonings have exactly what you need. They search the world for spices and herbs of the highest quality. Then they craft and package them to deliver the most authentic and intense flavor possible. It’s as if you sourced these spices and herbs out of your own garden.

Spice Islands offers everything from A to V – Allspice to Vanilla, with many spices available in multiple forms (think whole, ground, and organic). They go far beyond the basics like chili powder, basil, cayenne pepper, chives, cilantro, etc and offer gourmet options like Jamaican jerk seasoning, Louisiana Cajun, Garam Masala (a hot spice blend of Northern Indian spices), a flavorful blend French countryside blend of spices, extracts, and panko mixes.

It’s a fact that cooking with the right spices can turn any recipe from okay to absolutely mouth-watering and that’s exactly what you get with Spice Islands spices, herbs, and seasonings. Another thing we love about Spice Islands is their recipes. They offer lots of entrees, appetizer, bread, soup, salads sides, sauces, beverages and dessert recipes. They provide the level of difficulty, prep and total time, and of course the correct spices, herbs and seasonings to use for each recipe. Spice Islands is here to make cooking fun and to wow your family and friends with your cooking skills. What more can you ask for? To learn more about Spice Islands and their variety of spices, herbs, and seasonings, visit www.spiceislands.com.

National Spaghetti Day – Gluten Free Version (it’s pasta-ble!)

Although you may be completely preoccupied with the current snowstorm, today is January 4th, and you know what that means? National Spaghetti Day!!! If you’re like me, finding a gluten-free pasta that doesn’t taste like it is missing gluten and can hold its weight is hard. There are so many brands out there, it’s like kissing a ton of GF frogs to find the one wheatless carb Prince. Well, my Prince in noodle armor is Explore Cuisine. Explore Cuisine offers delicious spaghettis (and pennes, and lasagna noodles) made from ingredients like chickpeas, lentils, black beans, edamame, and more.

I am thankful for brands like this because you don’t feel like you’re missing out when it comes to pasta dishes. But I am also a label reader. So seeing that it is organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and gives you a serving of protein, what better way to indulge without the guilt on National Spaghetti Day. Find me a glutinous pasta that can do all of that.

I am such a major fan of the Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti. Who says pasta has to come in one color? To be honest, when I purchased it I didn’t think I would like the taste as much because…….black bean pasta! I mean I love black beans…over rice. However, when it comes to GF foods, I like to try everything once so I can speak on it. But surprisingly, I wound up loving the flavor as a spaghetti pasta! The black bean flavor was not overwhelming and added a nice element of taste with my spaghetti sauce. It became one of my fave pasta go-to’s. And while I am not totally committed to it yet, I can be vegan-ish, and this line of vegan pastas really help for when I want to Carbe Diem!

Since it is a snow day and National Spaghetti Day, I like to cook even more because I am home and I eat. It’s what I do. You might not have a box of Explore Cuisine pasta in your cabinets (of which I highly suggest you stock up), but for those of you that do (or will), here’s a couple of good recipes for you to try –

Simple Vegan Chickpea Spaghetti

1 box Explore Cuisine Chickpea Spaghetti
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1 cup organic pasta sauce
Cook the spaghetti until soft according to the packet directions. Drain the water from the pasta, and stir in the pasta sauce. Add more if you like more sauce. Serve in bowls and then sprinkle the nutritional yeast on each one. Season with salt and extra nutritional yeast if desired.

Southwestern Black Bean Spaghetti

Recipe and Image Credit: Lee Tilghman (Lee From America)
Serves 1 person
Preparation 30 minutes + 10 minutes cooking

1/4 box Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti
1/2 zucchini spiralized into “noodles”
1/4 Red Bell Pepper
2 handfuls Baby Spinach
1/4 cucumber
1/4 cup corn (canned in water works great- just rinse them)
1/4 avocado mashed with fresh organic lemon juice
1 tbsp. vegan cheese (I used Leaf Cuisine Plain Cream Cheese) pumpkin seeds + dill for garnish
Start by boiling a big pot of water for your black bean spaghetti. Once boiling, add the spaghetti and let cook for 6 minutes.
Once done, remove from heat, rinse under cool water and set aside.

Prep your veggies! Finely dice your cucumber, bell pepper, mash your avocado, spiralize your zucchini. Next, add a spicy adobo chipotle sauce to your noodles and zucchini noodles. Combine the ancho and guajillo chiles in a large bowl and add plenty of cold water to cover. Let them soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Place the soaked chiles in a blender along with the ginger, cumin, salt, and pepper. Blend until very smooth. Stop the motor a few times to scrape down the sides with a spatula and give things a stir, just to make sure everything’s getting puréed. Don’t be tempted to add liquid—you want the final sauce to be thick. Scrape the purée into a small bowl if you plan to use it soon, or into a jar with a tight-fitting lid if you want to save it for later. It’ll keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for 3 months. Add a few handfuls of baby spinach to a big ‘ol bowl. Add some noodles, guac, then add cucumber, red bell pepper, vegan cheese, pumpkin seeds, and freshly chopped dill!

Explore Cuisine and their awesome pasta varieties are also oh-so-perfect for National Gluten-Free Day on January 13th! Enjoy!

**P.S. I need to know when it is National Lasagna Day because I will definitely be making my lasagna with these Explore Cuisine Green Lentil Lasagna Noodles! What spaghetti dish are you enjoying on this snowy National Spaghetti Day?