Tag Archives: spices

Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad

1 Apr

Leslie is a new friend I run with in Boca Ratón… She is a salad lover like me.

I always end up talking food with everyone I meet and this is one of Leslie’s favorite salads to make. I hope you enjoy it as much as Leslie and I enjoy it.

Leslies Salad


Baby Spinach leaves
Goat Cheese crumbles
Spiced Nuts – like almonds or pecans
Dress with Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a large salad bowl and dress with Balsamic Vinaigrette. Toss well to combine.


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small glass jar and shake well.

The Spice and Tea Exchange in Boca Ratón

2 Nov

Gotta love social networks… many people complain that FaceBook is the tattle-book, or as we would say in Puerto Rican, the “chota-book” because it informs people everything you’re doing. I guess that’s true if you are one of those that like to share your stuff with your friends.

I try to use FaceBook judiciously, but I’ll admit I like to check-in to places sometimes to “brag” a little about where I am and what am I doing. Sometimes it’s just because I know (or would like to know) the reaction I’ll get from people knowing what I am doing. This is exactly what happened last week when I was in Boca Raton…

I mentioned I was in Boca Raton training for a ½ marathon and I was running 13 miles… the longest distance I have ever done ever. That was my point – to share with my running mates that I was running with them from a distance. But FaceBook does not discriminate who sees your posts, so my friend Jill in NYC saw the post and, being the foodie she is, her comment to me was not “Go Madelyn” or “OMG 13 miles!!!”, it was more, “Hey you need to go over to Mizner Park and visit the Tea and Spice Store”. It was a very refreshing comment amongst the sea of cheerleading comments beneath my post.

I believe all things happen for a reason… so after my 13 mile run, I went out with my sister to do some shopping and, where do we end up??? At Mizner Park indeed… no plans for it whatsoever. We went looking for another store which actually has closed and moved a few years ago. And to not let the trip be a complete waste of time, we went into The Spice and Tea Exchange to see what Jill was so excited to recommend…

OMG!!! This store is AMAZING!!!! The smells are intoxicating in the best way possible…

They have sections of Herbs and Spices, Salts, Sugars and Teas.

The manager, Mary Lou, helped me navigate the store. It’s not difficult, but she opened up her favorite condiments and would tell me what they’re good with. I could not help myself and did a little retail therapy. I bought:

Brown and Yellow Mustard Seeds

to try and make my own grain mustard

Chardonnay Smoked Salt

to roast vegetables or mushrooms with a smoky flavor

Black Truffle Salt

to season mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, popcorn and just about anything…

Raspberry Sugar

Recommended with plain yogurt, over cookies, over oatmeal, to decorate the rim of a glass à la margarita, but with champagne or sparkling wine.

Sweet Onion Sugar

to be used to caramelize with roasted vegetables

Florida Citrus Salt Blend

a  blend of rock salt and citrus peels that comes in a grinder. I was told it’s great to season asparagus and spinach.

My sister also got into the action… she bought a tea assortment and tea steeper.

If you live in Boca Raton or near the area, you should visit this store. They have a website so you can peruse all their products and if you want, Mary Lou will ship whatever you want your way.

I know that I will make it a point to visit the The Spice and Tea Exchange more often during my travels to Florida. Thanks Jill for the recommendation and thanks FaceBook for connecting me and my friends in real time. This is a wonderful world we live in…

Coquito – The Perfect Holiday Drink

14 Dec

Coquito is the Puerto Rican ultimate holiday drink.

It’s served in a small glass, like a shot glass or jigger, but it’s sipped slowly. It’s never meant to be a shot. This is the Puerto Rican version of an eggnog. There are many versions out there – with raw eggs, with rum, with “cañita rum”, however, my version is the Vegetarian way – the spice and warmth comes from the ginger, anise seeds, star anise and cinnamon. The only way to know this does not contain alcohol is because you’ll not get drunk… because it still has a nice kick. And the nice thing, you don’t need to do a kiddie version.



1 can condensed milk
1 carton evaporated milk
1 can coconut milk
3 cups of water
4 inch piece of fresh ginger
5 sticks of cinnamon
4 tablespoons anise seeds
4 tablespoons star anise
2 tablespoons whole cloves
2 tablespoons ground nutmeg
1 vanilla pod
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder or alcohol-free vanilla extract
ground cinnamon to taste


  1. In a medium saucepan create a “spiced tea” – pour the 3 cups of water, ginger, cinnamon sticks, anise seeds, star anise, nutmeg and cloves. Scrape the seeds inside the vanilla pod and add to “tea water”. Throw in the vanilla pod too.
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  3. Steep for about 15-20 minutes to create a strong spiced tea. This will give the coquito most of its spiciness. Let cool a bit.
  4. In a blender, mix together all the milks with 2 “cans-worth” of the “spiced tea” and the vanilla powder.
  5. Pour into a clean bottle and chill in the refrigerator.
  6. Serve chilled in small shot glasses.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

Salud, Dinero y Amor!!!!!

I try to avoid buying anything canned, but unfortunately condensed milk is something that ONLY comes in a can. The same happens with coconut milk. If you can make your own coconut milk, I highly recommend it. But, I am a working vegetarian woman and I do not have the time to do it.

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