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By Colleen Mesner

As you probably already know, before the storm hit, Old City Life had a LOT of stories and features focusing on holidays, all ready to go. One of the things we had in were some mouthwatering recipes provided to us by our good friends at The Spice & Tea Exchange.

Hurricane Matthew has certainly changed the complexion of what is normally a very fun and festive issue for us, but, we believe that now, more than ever, friends and family coming together to commemorate the season is vital to our community’s healing process…working to move past the storm’s affects or, helping to support those who are still in the throes of recovery. It’s just one more way to feel a little bit more normal, in what can only be described as not-normal circumstances.

One thing that always makes any occasion better — delicious food and delicious beverages. These recipes will help you put together a spread for your loved ones to gather around and enjoy.

And maybe, for a short period of time, the clean-up and the rebuilding and the relocating can be put aside and we can all just…be.


Chinese Braised Pork Loin

Chinese Braised Pork Loin

Great for a large sit-down meal, this Chinese Braised Pork Loin is made easy in the slow cooker. Created using Chinese 5-Spice Seasoning & Earthly Delight Spice Blend and accompanied by a cranberry orange sauce, this dish is the perfect medley of warm, fruity, and earthy flavors.

INGREDIENTS:

From The Spice & Tea Exchange

  • 1 tbls Chinese 5-Spice Seasoning
  • 2 tsp ground Earthly Delight Spice Blend
  • Himalayan Fine Mineral Salt (to taste)
  • Black Pepper – Medium Ground (to taste)
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon Ground – Korintje

From the Grocer

  • 5 lb boneless pork loin, tied in 1 inch intervals
  • 1 tbls vegetable oil
  • 1 (14 oz) can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 4 strips orange zest

YIELD: 4-6 servings Total Time: 4 hrs 32 mins (Prep: 10 mins Cook: 4 hrs 22 mins)

DIRECTIONS:

Trim pork loin of silver skin and excess fat. Pat dry with paper towels. Season with Chinese 5-Spice Seasoning, Earthly Delight Spice Blend, Himalayan Fine Mineral Salt, and Black Pepper.

Heat oil in large skillet over med-high heat until oil begins to shimmer. Brown loin on all sides, 10-12 mins.

Stir cranberry sauce, cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, and Cinnamon Ground – Korintje into slow cooker. Set browned pork into slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4 hrs until pork is tender and registers 145˚F. Transfer pork to a cutting board, cover with foil loosely, and let sit 10 mins. After cranberry sauce in slow cooker has settled for 5 mins, skim off fat from surface and discard, along with orange zest.

Pour sauce into a saucepan, simmer about 10 mins until sauce has been reduced to about 2 cups. Remove twine from pork, slice, and spoon sauce over meat.


Ready When You Are Prime Roast

Ready When You Are Prime Roast

Make this flavorful roast before the party and ENJOY the festivities! Dinner guests will be impressed by the colorful presentation and tasty, crunchy seasonings. Prepare ahead and warm in the oven 8-10 minutes prior to the arrival of your guests!

INGREDIENTS:

From The Spice & Tea Exchange

  • 1 tsp Cyprus White Sea Salt
  • 2 tbls Espresso Steak Rub
  • 1 tbls Vik’s Garlic Fix! Spice Blend
  • 1-2 tsp Cyprus Black Lava Sea Salt

From the Grocer

  • 1 two-rib prime rib roast (bone-in), tied
  • 2 tbls vegetable oil
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 celery stalks, quartered
  • 2 whole carrots, peeled and quartered

YIELD: 4 servings Total Time: 4 hrs (Prep: 30 mins Cook: 3 hrs 10 mins)

DIRECTIONS:

The day before cooking: pat fat side of roast with Cypress White Flake Salt. Place unwrapped on rack over a tray in refrigerator to dry overnight.

Cooking day: remove roast 1-2 hours prior to cooking and let stand at room temperature. Pat roast all over with Espresso Steak Rub and Vik’s Garlic Fix. Preheat oven to 225˚F. Heat roasting pan, add oil, onion, celery, and carrots. Cook until vegetables begin to brown. Place roast on rack in roasting pan. Place in oven and cook 3 hrs. After 3 hrs, check temperature of roast. If under 120˚F degrees, increase oven temperature to 250˚F and cook for 45 mins to 1 hr. Remove from oven at 120- 125˚F for medium-rare and cover with foil. Roast can rest up to 1 hr. Preheat oven to 550˚F. Uncover roast and cook 8-10 mins. Slice, sprinkle with Cyprus Black Lava Sea Salt, and serve without resting.

Optional horseradish sauce: mix ¼ cup mayonnaise, ½ cup sour cream, 3 tsp Horseradish Powder, and 1 TBS Chives in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature.


White Chocolate Raspberry Martinis

White Chocolate Raspberry Martinis

Elegant martinis provide the perfect after dinner drink with their chocolaty, creamy-smooth flavor and hints of luscious raspberries.

INGREDIENTS:

From The Spice & Tea Exchange

  • 1 tsp Raspberry Sugar
  • 2 tbls Chocolate Sea Salt (optional garnish)

From the Grocer

  • 3 oz vanilla vodka
  • 1 oz white chocolate liquor
  • 1 oz crème de cacao
  • 1 oz heavy cream
  • Chocolate syrup (optional garnish)
  • Raspberries drizzled in chocolate (optional garnish)

YIELD: 2 drinks Total Time: 5 mins Prep: 5 mins

DIRECTIONS:

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full of ice cubes.

Add Raspberry Sugar, vodka, chocolate liquor, crème de cacao, and cream.

Shake well.

Serving Suggestion:

Crush Chocolate Sea Salt. Spread over a small plate. Wet rim of glass and dip each glass into Chocolate Sea Salt to coat the rim. Swirl chocolate syrup in a spiral shape inside the glass. Fill glasses. Garnish with raspberries.Powder, and 1 tbls Chives in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature.


Matcha Holiday Bark

Matcha Holiday Bark

This white chocolate bark is sweet & salty with a beautiful green color provided by Matcha tea. Break apart and enjoy as a satisfying snack, a unique dessert, or package up as a gift.

INGREDIENTS:

From The Spice & Tea Exchange

  • 2 tsp Matcha
  • 1 tbls Cocoa Nibs
  • 1½ tbls Cyprus White Sea Salt

From the Grocer

  • 24 oz white chocolate (chips or bars broken into pieces)
  • Toothpicks (for marbling)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries

DIRECTIONS:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Gather 16 oz white chocolate. Add about 12 oz into a glass bowl. Microwave for 1 min, stirring halfway through. Continue to microwave and stir at 15-sec intervals until the chocolate has just melted. Add remaining 4 oz of chocolate. Stir until smooth. Set aside. Gather 8 oz white chocolate. Add about 6 oz into a glass bowl. Microwave for 1 min, stirring halfway through. Continue to microwave and stir at 15-sec intervals until the chocolate has just melted. Add remaining 2 oz of chocolate. Stir until smooth. Sift Matcha into the bowl. Stir until fully incorporated. Set aside. Pour the 16 oz of melted chocolate onto the parchment paper and spread until thin (the desired thickness of your bark). Dot about 12 spoonfuls of matcha chocolate on top of the white chocolate. Swirl together in circular motions with a toothpick for a marbling effect. Sprinkle with Cocoa Nibs, Cyprus White Sea Salt, and cranberries. Freeze (45 mins) or refrigerate until chocolate sets. Chop into pieces.

*Chocolate can also be melted using a double boiler.


Cranberry Orange Cheesecake

Cranberry Orange Cheesecake

A sweet temptation that tastes just as good as it looks. With a sweet graham cracker crust, a spiced New York-Style cheesecake base, and a sugared fruit topping, this cheesecake creates an irresistible centerpiece and autumn dessert that is candied perfection!

INGREDIENTS:

From The Spice & Tea Exchange

  • ¼ tsp Chinese 5-Spice Seasoning
  • 2+½ tsp Baker’s Spice Blend
  • ¼ cup Cinnamon Sugar
  • ¼ cup Ginger Sugar
  • ½ tsp Brazilian Petite Sea Salt

From the Grocer

  • 2½ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • ¾ cups water
  • ½ tsp orange zest
  • ½ tbls fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup whole fresh cranberries (if using frozen, thaw)
  • 1 small kumquat or clementine (we used Cuties®), sliced
  • 10 graham crackers, crushed
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 5 tbls unsalted butter, melted
  • 16 oz regular cream cheese, softened
  • 3 large eggs & 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 16 oz (full fat) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 tbls spiced rum (optional)

YIELD: 8 servings Total Time: 16 hrs 5 mins (Prep: 1 hr, Cook: 2 hrs 5 mins)

DIRECTIONS:

Heat 1½ cups granulated sugar and water together. Stir until dissolved. Cool. Add to a bowl with Chinese 5-Spice Seasoning, ½ tsp Baker’s Spice Blend, orange zest and juice, cranberries, and clementine slices.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 8-10 hrs, stirring occasionally. Strain (save liquid for a drink mixer if desired). Roll fruit pieces in Cinnamon Sugar and Ginger Sugar. Set on parchment paper and allow to dry for 2 hrs.Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Mix graham crackers, brown sugar, and butter. Press into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 mins or until crust is slightly golden. Set aside. Turn oven up to 400˚F. Beat cream cheese and 1 cup sugar on low for 2 mins. Add the eggs and yolk, continue beating for 2 mins. Add sour cream, rum, remaining Baker’s Spice Blend, and Brazilian Petite Sea Salt. Continue beating for 2 mins. Wrap springform pan in two layers of foil (waterproofs the outside) and set in a large roasting pan. Pour cheesecake filling in. Place in the oven. Carefully pour boiling water (about 3 cups) into the roasting pan until the water reaches about 1 cm up the cheesecake. Bake 15 mins. Turn temperature down to 250˚F and bake another hr. Turn oven off and allow cheesecake to sit in the oven with the door open for another 30 mins. Remove from oven. Remove cheesecake from the water bath and allow to sit at room temperature for an hr. Wrap tightly in plastic and place in refrigerator to set (at least 2 hrs). Remove springform pan. Cover with sugared fruits.

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