Every once in a while, something exciting and unexpected happens to me. Recently, my excitement came in the form of 4 FULL SIZED bottles of an incredible line of seasonings, delivered to me with the request that I please try them and, if I like them, share them our lovely readers. Ok, let me break this down for you. Someone gave me free food to write about…. Could we possibly combine two things that make this girl happier? I mean…I guess I can sacrifice some of my time for this. And let’s just pretend that when I received them, I didn’t immediately crack each bottle open in the car and stick my finger in to taste them.
So, let me just say this… I love local products. If you’ve read some of our other blog posts, then you know that Vanessa and I both are huge patrons of our local food scene and feel so fortunate to have grown up here and to now be raising our families here. One of the things that I love most about Minnesota is how robust our local music, theater, visual arts and food culture is. And I believe that all four of these areas are passionately related to one another. Our state is literally brimming with artists who just can’t help but continue to turn out masterpieces in the forms of song, dance, sculpture and cuisine (to name a few). And every now and then, those artists decide to share their masterpieces and allow us common folk a glimpse into their world via venue or spoon and the result is our privileged access to products that are fresher, higher quality, and just down right better than anything that is mass manufactured by big business.
Enter Ginja Seasoning. This company, started by St. Cloud, MN Chef Brandon Gunderson, began in 2014 when he decided that he wanted to try creating his own spice blend. After a bit of experimenting with different combinations of spices, and modifying the recipe 25 times, he finally nailed the mixture of over 10 carefully selected spices to create the Original Ginja Seasoning. Since the creation of the Original blend, he has added his Habanero, Jalapeno, and Salt and Vinegar blends to the family. He began testing the seasonings out in his restaurant and they were a huge hit. People were putting the seasonings on anything from wings to veggies to popcorn.
Since we have had these seasonings in our house we have put them on just about everything. All four blends have distinctly different flavors, spice mixtures, and heat levels. I love the balance, that they each have, between flavor and heat with a hint of sweetness. Each one packs a mean flavor punch that partners beautifully with meats on the grill as well as sauteed or grilled veggies and side dishes. We have even used them to kick up snack foods in the afternoon and add spice and complexity to our morning eggs. And the best part about these seasonings (aside from the awesome versatility and flavor) is the fact that I can identify every ingredient on the back of each bottle. No gross, chemical, mystery ingredients. That’s right. I can sprinkle away without any concern about what I’m consuming or feeding my family. Halle-freakin-luiah.
Ginja Seasonings can be ordered today on their website and will also be available in Coborns stores and at Coborns Delivers this fall.
I’m sure that this will not be the first or last time that Ginja Seasonings will appear in one of my recipes, but I am pretty excited about this Kickin’ Chicken Potato Salad. It’s summer in Minnesota! The season for picnics and family reunions. And what goes better with grilled burgers and brats than a cool, creamy potato salad?
Now, I love potato salad. I love traditional mayo and mustard based potato salad as well as warm German style potato salad. In my family, there are two people who are allowed to make the potato salad for our family reunions and that is my Auntie Mary or my mom. All others needn’t apply. Seriously. It’s that good. That being said, if one wants to attempt a potato salad that in no way, shape, or form even tries to masquerade as our family’s traditional potato salad, then by all means. I decided to give it a go and the result was a pretty darn delicious, creamy, dilly, potato salad with major flavor and major kick – thanks to Ginja Habanero and Salt and Vinegar.
Kickin’ Chicken Potato Salad
6-8 medium red potatoes (boiled whole and cooled)
1 Small Onion (minced)
2 Diced Chicken Breasts (I used leftover grilled breasts from the night before)
1 1/2 c Greek Yogurt
1/2 c. Mayo
2 tbs. Honey
2 tsp. Ginja Habanero Seasoning
2 tsp. Ginja Salt and Vinegar Seasoning
1 tsp. Dried Dill
Dice cooled potatoes into 1 inch cubes and place in a large bowl with onion and chicken. In a separate bowl combine yogurt, mayo, honey, and seasonings. At this point I taste the sauce and adjust seasonings as needed. Pour sauce mixture over potato mixture and fold together. You want the mixture to be fairly saucy as the potatoes and chicken will soak up some of the sauce mixture over time. Depending on the size of your potatoes you may need more or less sauce. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. I like to let it sit overnight if possible to incorporate all of the flavors together, then give it a stir, add more sauce if necessary, and top with an additional sprinkle of dill and seasoning before serving.