Caribbean Cooking Class – Grilled Jamaican Jerk Shrimp

Denise From @ Savory Spice Shop of Raleigh

Below is the recipe for grilled Jamaican Jerk Shrimp that I shared during a Caribbean Cooking class that I presented at the Savory Spice Shop in Raleigh, NC.

The marinade for the shrimp features the Savory Spice Shop’s Jamaican Jerk Season Blend, Citrus Juice and Annatto Oil.

It is perfect for upcoming summer parties. You can grill outdoors or use your grill pan to grill indoors. It is easy and quick especially since you only need to marinate the shrimp for 30 minutes.

I also made this with turkey cutlets.



Banana Salsa

Grilled Jamaican Jerk Shrimp

2 lbs Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 tablespoons Annatto Oil
Juice from 2 Limes
4 tablespoons Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste

    • Combine annatto oil, lime juice and Jamaican jerk seasoning in a shallow dish. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
    • Add shrimp to marinade. Toss to evenly coat.
    • Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.



Recipe Card


Caribbean Cooking Class – Black Bean & Mango Salad

Denise From @ Savory Spice Shop of Raleigh

Last week, I taught my first cooking class at the Savory Spice Shop in Raleigh, NC. The theme for the class was Caribbean cooking.

We had a lot of fun cooking, talking and sharing information, stories….and laughs.

Below is the recipe for Black Bean & Mango Salad. I love this salad recipe because it is easy to make and perfect for spring/summer parties. The flavors are simple, fresh and versatile. It pairs well with chicken or seafood.




Black Bean & Mango Salad
*Recipe adapted from Miami Spice

3 ripe Mangos, chopped
3 15-oz cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1/4-1/2 cups fresh Cilantro, chopped
4 Scallions, trimmed and chopped
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
Juice of 2 Limes
Salt & Pepper to taste

  • Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl.
  • Adjust seasoning as needed.


Recipe Card

Caribbean Cooking Class – Banana Salsa Recipe

Denise From @ Savory Spice Shop of RaleighLast week, I taught my first cooking class at the Savory Spice Shop in Raleigh, NC.   The theme for the class was Caribbean cooking.  

Below is the recipe for Banana Salsa.  I chose to present this recipe because it is simple, flavorful and colorful. 



If you like mango or pineapple salsa, you will love it. Also, bananas are SO much easier to chop than both mangos & pineapple. 

Try serving it with blue corn tortilla chips or serve alongside of either chicken or fish.

It was a big hit at the class too. Enjoy!


Banana Salsa

Banana Salsa
*Recipe adapted from Miami Spice

8 Finger Bananas, diced
1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Jalapeño Pepper, diced
1 Serrano Pepper, diced
1 teaspoon ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Cardamom
4 Scallions, trimmed and chopped
1/2 cup fresh Mint, chopped
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Juice from 2 Limes
Salt & Pepper

  • Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl.
  • Adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Serve with blue corn tortilla chips, fish or chicken

Banana Salsa

Recipe Card

Sunday Share: 11/27/2011 {Recipe Finds}

{Sunday Share}

What is “Sunday Share”?

The Gypsy World Spice Cafe Facebook Page, {Recipe Finds} are shared daily. I find cool recipes on twitter, blogs, Pinterest and internet searches and love to share them…

I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  Now, it’s time to get ready for the December holidays!  Woo Hoo!

Below are links to {Recipe Finds} which were featured. Be sure to check out these great sites, blogs and recipes.

Next weeks “sharing” will feature holiday recipes.

If you have a recipe that you want “shared” which follows the week’s theme, please email me . I will be sure to read your post. If it fits the current week’s focus, I’ll share.

Have a great Thanksgiving!


Recipe Finds – Just Because

Recipe Finds – Holiday Cooking/Baking

Holiday Tips

Sunday Share: 11/20/2011 {Recipe Finds}

{Sunday Share}

What is “Sunday Share”?

The Gypsy World Spice Cafe Facebook Page, {Recipe Finds} are shared daily. I find cool recipes on twitter, blogs, Pinterest and internet searches and love to share them…

Be sure to enjoy the time with your family and friends. Life is full of blessings — be sure to take time to “appreciate the moment“.

Below are links to {Recipe Finds} which were featured. Be sure to check out these great sites, blogs and recipes.

Next weeks “sharing” will feature holiday recipes.

If you have a recipe that you want “shared” which follows the week’s theme, please email me . I will be sure to read your post. If it fits the current week’s focus, I’ll share.

Have a great Thanksgiving!


Recipe Finds – Just Because

Recipe Finds – Holiday Cooking/Baking

Holiday Tips

Mediterranean Brushchetta

Mediterranean Bruschetta {for Rachel}

In one month, my niece Rachel is getting married!

For her shower present, I put together an appetizer themed gift. Below is the recipe that goes with it…

This very simple recipe actually came together by accident. On Saturday nights, we serve Tapas. One platter that has become a favorite has hearts of palm, olives and roasted red peppers. I season them with herbs and then drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar (that I’ve infused with rosemary).

Last time, I decided to package up the leftovers in the same container to save time. The next day at lunch we pulled it out. The flavors had married up overnight and the flavor/texture combination was perfect.

We all decided to make this “the recipe for Rachel”.

This recipe is dedicated Rachel and her groom-to-be Rusty. Here’s to many years of joy, love and good fortune….

This quote seems apropos…

“Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction. ” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

(“Aunt”) Denise

Mediterranean Bruschetta

Mediterranean Bruschetta

Ingredient List

15 oz can Hearts of Palm, cuts and tips
15 oz can Green Olives, pitted and sliced
15 oz can Black Olives, pitted and sliced
4 oz jar Sliced Pimientos, packed in water
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried Marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried Savory
1/4 cup fresh Basil Leaves
Salt & Pepper


  • Add drained olives, pimientos, hearts of palm, marjoram, thyme and savory to a large bowl.

Mediterranean Bruschetta Preparation

  • Chiffonade the basil and add to the large bowl.
  • Add the oil and red wine vinegar to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour over the olive mixture. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Stir gently to combine.

Mediterranean Bruschetta Prepartion

  • Transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate overnight (or to 3 days). Give a gentle shake every so often…
  • Serve with your bread of choice.

Mediterranean Brushchetta


This recipe is a good one for your “back pocket”. You can have all the ingredients in your pantry. It is great for a last-minute appetizer to put together to “make and take”.

You can also add to soup or salads… I served mine with Coco Pop Cakes that I bought at the local Italian Market. Each Coco Pop Cake is about the size of a small tortilla and only has 16 calories. This is a great low-calorie snack!

Mediterranean Bruschetta IngredientsCoco Pop Cakes

P.S. If you love weddings, check out the wedding post, Ali Love Cakes, that I posted last year when Rachel’s sister Alison got married.

Versatile Vanilla – Vanilla Infused Champagne Vinegar (Plus Bonus Recipe for Vanilla Champagne Vinaigrette)

Continuing on the Versatile Vanilla Voyage….

Lately, I have been into infusing vinegar with herbs and spices. 

Below are the steps on how you can make a vanilla infused vinegar.  Keep in mind that it does take a few weeks …so patience is key to success with this recipe. 

The results are worth it!

There is a bonus recipe below for a simple Vanilla Vinaigrette. 



P.S.  If you are look ing for other ideas on how to use Vanilla, check out some “Vanilla Recipe Finds” on the Gypsy World Spice Cafe Facebook Page  Please visit and remember to “like” while you are there.

Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Vanilla Infused Champagne Vinegar

Yield:  16 ounces

Ingredient List:

  • 1 Pint Size Mason Jar (16 oz)
  • 1 Vanilla Bean
  • 16 oz Champagne Vinegar


  • Time
  • Patience
  • Sunny Shelf


  1. Carefully split the Vanilla Bean with knife or kitchen scissors.
  2. Place Vanilla Bean in mason jar.
  3. Fill with Champagne Vinegar.
  4. Place cover on tightly.
  5. Place mason jar on a sunny shelf.
  6. Wait 3 weeks.  Give jar a soft shake every few days.
  7. Transfer to a nice vinegar dispenser (optional).

Blogger Comments:  I use vinegar on salads, in marinades, to deglaze pans, in vegetable saute’s and as a secret ingredient when I think a dish needs a little kick…  We tried this on berries and it was really good.

Gypsy World Spice Cafe – Bonus Recipe – Vanilla Champagne Vinaigrette

Yield:  8 oz


  • 1/4 cup Vanilla Infused Champagne  Vinegar
  • 3/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon rubbed Sage
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Add all ingredients to a jar.
  2. Put the lid on the jar and give a good shake


Recipe To Make Your Own Mustard! Why Not? It’s Easy.

A very good friend recently asked me to explore the spice Mustard. So, this week, I will be posting recipes that feature Mustard Seeds and ground Mustard.

The spice Mustard is one of the most commonly traded spices in the world. Mustard Seeds may be small in size, but, they are big in flavor. Their flavor profile is described as being hot and pungent. Yellow mustard seeds are less pungent than brown or black mustard seeds.

Mustard Seeds are also sold in powder form. Like most spices, Mustard Seeds and Mustard Powder should be stored in an airtight container (in a cool, dark location).

The interesting thing about the spice Mustard its flavor is not very strong until you add liquid to it. The flavor and level of heat is actually triggered by the type of liquid you add to it (water, vinegar, wine or beer). If you want to reduce the heat, add warm liquid versus cold water liquid.

Below is a recipe for a homemade Mustard. We liked it better than store-bought Mustard. It makes a great hostess gift and is a great thing to make for a party… Be sure to look out for more posts featuring Mustard…



Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Make Your Own Mustard


3 tablespoons of Yellow Mustard Seeds

3 tablespoons of Brown Mustard Seeds

1 Shallot, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup White Wine

1/3 cup White Wine Vinegar

1/8 teaspoon ground Allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground Coriander

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground Black Pepper


  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
  • Transfer the ingredients from the bowl to your food processor.
  • Process until you get a smooth consistency.

  • Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container

Variation: Add 1 teaspoon of dried tarragon and/or 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika. Create your flavor. Substitute the wine with beer. Beer will add more heat to the flavor profile.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo – Homemade Black Pepper Tortillas

Tortillas are very versatile…  They are great with appetizers, main dishes and desserts.  They bring back childhood memories because when I was little my Titi (endearment for Tia) used to make them for us as an afternoon snack.  I remember feeling especially lucky (and proud) when she made them for my third grade class who had never tasted tortillas.   By the way, there were 42 kids in my third grade class.  Wow!  That was definitely a labor of love…. 

This week was my first attempt at making tortillas.  Inspired by this childhood memory, my sons and I worked together on this article.  They really got into rolling the dough.  We were very excited when one of the tortillas ended up in the shape of a heart.  We took pictures as we went along to share. 

We decided to put a dessert twist on tortillas and peppercorns.  So, for the feature picture of this article, we took a homemade black pepper tortilla and used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out 3 hearts.   We then made a little napoleon dessert by layering the  tortilla with Nutella and Strawberry Preserves.  The flavor combination rocked!  You definitely have to try it.  For more information on Peppercorns, check out my post in the archives,



P.S. Sending Special Birthday Wishes to my sister, Desiree.  Love Ya!




Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Homemade Black Pepper Tortillas

Yields:  12 tortillas


3 cups Flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough

1-2 teaspoons Salt (depending on your taste)

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1 tablespoon coarsley ground Black Pepper

3/4  cup Hot Water

3/4 cup Shortening


  • Measure your flour, salt, black pepper and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.  
  • Add the shortening to the flour mixture.  Using a pastry cutter, cut the shortening until the mixture has consistency of meal (crumbly).



    • Add hot water to flour mixture.  Use a spatula to combine the ingredients into a ball (until the dough does not stick to the sides of your bowl).  Note:  You may have to add a few tablepoons of flour. 
    • Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let rest for 1 hour.
    • Divide the ball into 12 smaller balls.  Cover with a clean dish towel.

  • Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into to be about 1/8 inch thick.  


  • Place tortilla on a hot skillet.  Cook for 1-2 minutes on first side.   It will start to bubble which is a sign to flip it. 
  • Cook for another 1-2 minutes on the other side.


*Variation:  Instead of black pepper, try your favorite blend of Herbs.  We made a variation by swapping out the coarsley ground black pepper with with 2 tablespoons of our “house blend”.  You might want to try Italian Seasoning or Herbs de Provence…


Assembling the Black Pepper Napoleon:

Using a cookie cutter, cut out 3 shapes from a black pepper tortilla.  Spread some Nutella and Strawberry Preserves onto the first tortilla.  Top with the second tortilla.  Repeat.   Garnish with whipped cream and mini-chocolate chips.


Gypsy Spiced Frittata

Recently, I have become a huge fan of making frittatas.

Not only is the technique easy, you can easily swap out the veggies for whatever flavors you like.  

It starts on the stove top and finishes off under the broiler.  

I like to top the frittata with a small amount of cheese for flavor, texture and color.  I love how it browns under the broiler!

Serve with a nice salad and you are set for a nice brunch or dinner entrée.




 Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Gypsy Spiced Frittata

Yield:  4-6 Servings

8 Eggs
1 teaspoon of your favorite herb blend ( I use my own custom blend)
1/2 cup Onion, chopped
1/4 cup Pancetta, chopped
2 small Red-skinned Potatoes, quartered and thinly sliced
1 clove Garlic, minced
4 cups Baby Spinach
4 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
3/4-1 teaspoon Hot Paprika (depending on level of heat you like)
Salt & Pepper
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
1/8 cup shredded part-skim Mozzarella

  1. Add eggs, herb blend, salt and pepper to a large bowl.
  2. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. Heat oven broiler to high.
  4. In a large frying pan (that is oven-proof), melt butter with olive oil over medium-high heat.
  5. Sauté pancetta, potatoes, and onions until veggies tender (about 5 minutes).
  6. Add garlic, mushrooms, and spinach. Cook another 3-5 minutes until spinach has wilted. 
  7. Season to taste salt, pepper and hot paprika.
  8. Pour egg mixture onto veggie mixture.
  9. Reduce heat to low and cook until edges or pan are firm (3-4 minutes). 
  10. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
  11. Place under the broiler for 3 minutes or until eggs are set and cheese is melted (and lightly browned).


Creative Cooking with Cilantro: Day 2 – Spiced Cilantro Rice

This week our family Sunday dinner took on a Cilantro theme.  As promised, I will continue posting the recipes from our Sunday dinner throughout the week along with more interesting tidbits about Cilantro. 

Below is recipe for the side dish from our Cilantro themed Sunday dinner…Spiced Cilantro Rice (that I served with the Cilantro Lime Shrimp recipe which I posted yesterday

Cilantro (also known as coriander) is a herb that is not only flavorful … it is loaded with health benefits.  

  • Cilantro is known to aid in digestion.
  • Cilantro is known to stimulate appetite. 
  • Cilantro is used to prevent nausea.
  • Some use Cilantro in a paste to alleviate painful joints.

Note: Home remedies should not be tried without consulting the physician.

What will you be making with Cilantro?




Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Spiced Cilantro Rice

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

1 tablespoon Butter

1 Shallot, finely minced

2 Garlic cloves, finely minced

1 teaspoon Cumin

good pinch of Saffron (about 1/2 teaspoon)

1 1/2 cups Brown Rice

4  cups Chicken Stock

1 Cinnamon Stick (3 inch)

1/4-1/2 cup chopped Cilantro (depending on your taste)

Salt & Pepper

  1. In a heavy saucepan, melt butter with olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add shallots and cook until softened about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes longer.
  4. Add the cumin and saffron.  Stir for 1 minute.
  5. Add the brown rice.  Stir for 1 minute.
  6. Add the chicken stock and cinnamon stick.
  7. Bring to a boil (over high heat).
  8. Reduce to low.  Cover  and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender (about 40 minutes).
  9. Stir in cilantro.  Adjust seasoning (salt & pepper) to taste.
  10. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Marinated Chicken Kabobs with Parmesan Tomato Couscous

The weather was absolutely amazing today.  

We decided to grill.  My oldest son loves Greek food so we decided to make Chicken Kabobs and serve them with Tzatziki Sauce, Couscous and steamed Asparagus….  If you don’t use couscous often, you definitely should buy some.  It is a very fine pasta that takes only 10 minutes to prepare (definitely a working mom’s “go to”). 

Below you will find the recipes from our Sunday Dinner.

Oh … you are probably wondering what was for dessert…  I purchased baklava and strawberries.. (like I said, the weather was gorgeous).




Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Marinated Chicken Kabobs

2 pounds boneless Chicken, cut into 1 inches cubes

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1/4 cup Fig Infused White Balsamic Vinegar

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

1 tablespoon Sumac (optional)

1 teaspoon Oregano

1/2 teaspoon Cumin

1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Salt & Pepper to taste

  1. Place chicken cubes in a 13×9 shallow baking dish.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.
  3. Pour over the chicken and toss to coat chicken.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap.
  5. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.
  6. Thread onto skewers.
  7. Grill until cooked.

Note:  You can substitute White Balsamic Vinegar or Red Wine Vinegar for the Fig Infused White Balsamic Vinegar. 


Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Parmesan Tomato Couscous

1 cup Couscous

3/4 cup Water (or chicken stock)

1/2 cup Marinara Sauce

1 tablespoon Olive Oil

1 tablespoon fresh Parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan Cheese

  1. Add the water, marinara sauce, olive oil, salt & pepper to a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Take off the heat and add the couscous, parsley and parmesan cheese.
  4. Cover and let sit for 5 mins.
  5. Fluff with a fork.  Adjust seasoning as needed.


I’ve tried many recipe for Tzatziki.  My favorite is Ina Garten’s recipe.   Here is a link to the recipe from the Food Network.