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The Jungle

  • Blackened Salmon Salad Recipe

    cajun blackened salmon salad

    A while back, I was in the warehouse looking through spices to create recipes for the SpiceJungle blog. I came upon two spices that seemed very similar but with slightly different names I was a bit perplexed as to the differences between the two.

    I know that cooks in Louisiana often use Cajun seasoning in jambalayas when boiling crawfish, and they add to just about any seafood coming fresh off the boats that day. But what about Cajun blackening seasoning? What is the difference between the two seasonings? I know you’re dying to know!!! Well, call off Sherlock Holmes because the mystery is solved.

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  • Where Does Black Pepper Come From?

    Black Pepper

    Black pepper holds a unique space in the average North American home. After all, whereas other spices live tucked away in dark cupboards black pepper proudly stands in shakers and grinders on the kitchen counter or – holiest of holy places – the dining table in nearly every single home and restaurant. It’s the only spice that finds its way into nearly every single dish.

    But what exactly is black pepper and where does it come from?

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  • Would the "Real" Cinnamon Please Stand Up?

    Types of Cinnamon

    Cinnamon. It's used in so many things, from cooking and baking to potpourri and moth repellent! (Yes, seriously.) In the UK, studies have even found that consistent cinnamon in a diet can help with diabetes and blood pressure complications. Other studies have found that cinnamon can be used to clear cognitive function, reduce cholesterol, and even aid in weight loss.

    The tests I am most familiar with are conducted in my kitchen, however, and they taste delicious. So, no matter what YOU use cinnamon for, there are plenty of cinnamon varieties out there to widen your horizons! And that brings me to my question...

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  • Cheddar Biscuit Breakfast Sandwich

    Cheddar Biscuit Breakfast Sandwich

    Light, flaky, buttery... all adjectives that describe the perfect biscuit.

    The biscuit has very humble beginnings as a way for cooks to use the remaining eggs, butter, and flour before the beginning of Lent. In more recent years the biscuit has become a staple at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Biscuits are often paired with sausage gravy and eggs at breakfast, are utilized as a vehicle for cheese and meats at lunch, and are paired with just about anything at dinner.

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  • Chipotle Hasselback Potatoes

    Chipotle Hasselback Potatoes

    We live in a fast-paced, commercialized world. The concept of a sit-down family dinner when life is hectic is often regarded as frivolous or time-consuming, especially during the week when schedules are typically the most hectic. Too often we trade the convenience of take-out or fast food for the comfort of a home cooked meal.

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  • Four Chile Peppers You Might Not Have Tried (But Should)

    Dried Cascabel Peppers

    Are the old flames of your kitchen not burning as hot these days? Perhaps it’s time to switch up your chile pepper game. Reignite the passion with these unique chile peppers!

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  • Spaghetti and Herbed Meatballs

    Spaghetti and Herbed Meatballs

    I have always had a love affair with big cities. Cities such as New York, Paris, Seattle and Los Angeles make me feel alive; the constant low hum of activity is electric. These cities rarely sleep; there is always movement, always a vibrant collection of people from all walks of life.

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  • Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Sauce

    Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Sauce

    Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Sauce

    Growing up I spent many blissful summer days in the kitchen or garden with my beloved grandmother. She was a pleasantly plump, small woman that had a wicked stubborn streak and scared easier than any grown adult I had ever encountered. My brothers would revel in the fact that they could hide around the corner of the stairwell and patiently wait for my grandmother to pass, oblivious to the child lurking in the shadows. At just the right moment they would quietly sneak out of the shadows and wait for the holler. It was inevitable and at the time hilarious! Now being blessed with the same affliction to scare easily it is no longer quite as humorous!

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  • How To Make Homemade Chicken Tacos

    How To Make Chicken Tacos

    How To Make Chicken Tacos with Creamy Cilantro Dressing

    I love tacos! I could eat them at every single meal and still not tire of the mire of flavors that are found in one small shell. Seasoned protein, crisp lettuce, cool sour cream, and cheese come together in a crispy corn shell. There is no delicate way to eat a taco, you simply have to dive in and accept the mess that follows. Although the taco may seem like a utensil-free meal, a fork is necessary to scoop up the filling that always falls out the other side.

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  • Sweet and Peppery Five Spice Tofu

    Five Spice Tofu

    Sweet and Peppery Five Spice Tofu

    Being a former chef and also a vegetarian is difficult at times for there are so many amazing restaurants opening within the Grand Rapids area and many are focused on meat. I don’t have an aversion to meat or meat-based products due to a political agenda; it is simply the right choice for me to maintain my weight and a healthy lifestyle. That being said, bacon still smells amazing, braises, stews and a beautifully prepared steak do not send me screaming in disgust. I just simply choose not to consume them.

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