Tag Archives: flavors from afar

Flavors from Afar & FM 1410

If you’ve been keeping up with my artizone  posts, the site will launch next month!  Which means, you have only about two more weeks until you’ll be able to have the best artisan products in the city delivered to your front door.  This week I am featuring Flavors from Afar and FM 1410 — two well known names in Dallas.

At Flavors from Afar, the adventuresome duo Nancy and Gary  carries the best  artisan products imported from Italy.  You are able to taste a little part of Italy through the culinary gems that Flavors from Afar has to offer — like the fragrant olive oils of Tuscany or the bold and fruity balsamic vinegars from Modena. Flavors From Afar offers products that makes entertaining elegant and simple — as the Italians would say: Buon Appetito!!

The top chefs of Dallas know Tom well for his fresh herbs and produce.  With a beautiful garden tucked away in the middle of downtown, the treasures from Tom’s garden will redefine anyone’s definition of “fresh”. At FM 1410 it truly is a farm to table experience — full of flavor, life and most importantly, love. 

With the combination of these artisan powers I created these wonderful mini pizzettes — Bacon & Caramelized Onion with Arugula, Basil and Almond Pesto with Red Pepper and Thyme Lobster Mushroom drizzled with Balsamic.  These pizzettes would make a great appetizer or a wonderful afternoon snack.  Not to mention they are also quite healthy (except for the bacon..O_o) and dairy-free!

Ingredients for Mini Pizzettes: (serves 8-10)

  • 12 ounces pizza dough (You can find my pizza dough recipe here or buy storebought dough)

Preheat the oven to 475 F.  Roll out the pizza dough into a 1/4-inch-thick round.  Using a 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 inch diameter cookie cutter, cut out 30 dough circles.  Arrange the circles on 2 large heavy baking sheets (make sure you put semolina on the bottom of the pan to keep the dough from sticking).

Basil Pesto

  • 3 cups Basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup high quality Olive Oil (I used Ariston from Flavors from Afar)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Process the garlic, basil and almonds in a food processor.  Pulse until all ingredients are thoroughly chopped, scrapping down the sides as neccessary.  While running the processor, slowly pour in the 1/2 cup olive oil until it reaches the right consistency, you can add more olive oil as needed.  Set aside.


Thyme Lobster Mushroom

  • 8 oz Lobster Mushroom, thinly sliced (you can find these at FM 1410)
  • 1 Tb butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 oz Madeira or a sweet cooking wine
  • 2 oz fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 oz high quality Balsamic vinegar (you can find these at Flavors from Afar)
  • salt pepper to taste

Heat a large saucepan on medium high heat and melt the butter til it’s bubbling.  Add in the garlic, shallot and sliced mushrooms and sautee until softened, about 3-4 minutes.  Add in the wine and thyme and cook until liquid is soaked up, taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Carmelized Onion & Bacon

  • 6 oz bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh arugula
  • salt pepper to taste

Heat a large pan on medium high heat add the bacon and cook for 1 minute.  Add the sliced onions and reduce heat to medium.  Caramelize the onions with the bacon, about 8 minutes.   Add the honey and apple cider vinegar and cook until liquid is reduced, add salt pepper to taste.  Set aside

To assemble pizzas

Using the three toppings you’ve made, place them on the pizza dough rounds (about 1 tsp for each).  Bake until the pizzettes are golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Drizzle the pizzettes with olive oil.  For the Bacon Onion and Arugula, simply add some fresh arugula on top and serve.  For the Thyme Lobster Mushroom, drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top and serve.  For the Basil Almond Pesto, add the sliced red pepper and fresh basil leaves for garnish and serve. 

Artizone is coming to Dallas!

For the past few months I’ve been working on an awesome project for an international company called Artizone.  It’s been very hard to keep this a secret but now that the launch is near, I can finally tell the whole world.  Artizone is coming to town in November 2010, Dallas get ready to have your mind blown.

Soon residents will be able to purchase artisan goods from various top vendors in Dallas and have it delivered in ONE convenient package right at your doorstep.  That’s right, I know, it’s freaking awesome. 

No more being stuck in annoying traffic, or rushing around town to plan that perfect dinner, forget dealing with lines or wasting time driving across town — artizone has it all taken care of so sit back, relax and shop.  (aaaah…my favorite word!)

Well what the heck will artizone going to be selling?   Let me introduce you to the vendors!

 Owners Nancy and Gary from Flavors From Afar carries the best imported products from Italy (as well as local products) for everyone to share. You will find delicious homemade pasta sauces and dried pastas, and the best olive oils you’ve ever tasted both from local farms and imported from Italy. 

Nancy and Gary personally tour different olive vineyards in Italy and around Texas every year to discover new products and to make sure that the flavors are always spot on.  Flavors From Afar always aims to make entertaining elegant and simple through a wide selection of antipastas, dips, oils and spreads.  Zero hassel entertaining?  Sounds like my kinda party 🙂


Aaaah cheese, the perfect partner for wine.  Having a girl’s night?  Order the perfect cheese plate at Scardellos where you can choose from over 200 different varieties of cheese!  Talk about endless possibilities people and if you’re a cheese newbie, head over artizone’s community page for reviews and tips for guidance. 

Rich not only carries every cheese imaginable but has the perfect pairings to go along — dried fruits, canned vegetables (personally made by Rich), a variety of crackers, mustards and honeys. Melt yourself into a cheesy heaven and indulge after a long day’s work with a little lot of wine, cheese, and bread — what could be better?  Oh right, nothing.

Time and time again I’ve reiterated the importance of a good butcher.  Artizone not only found the best butcher in Dallas but one of the best in the state of Texas.  If all-natural quality meat is what you love, VGs butcher shop is where you go.

No artificial colors, flavors or ingredients here — just free range chickens, dry-aged steaks, tender veal and lamb chops.  Greg cuts his meat fresh every day, ensuring top quality every time.  Beautiful isn’t it?  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I usually buy my herbs from the grocery store and it wasn’t until I met Tom that I learned the true beauty of fresh.  At FM 1410 you will experience the art of a constant gardener — the flavors of his herbs and vegetables are so powerful and bold it will leave you speechless. 

Tom shows you the true experience of fresh produce — where the fruits and vegetables you eat actually taste alive.  No genetically altered, pesticide ridden produce but wholesome, naturally happy produce.  Why happy?  Because Tom is also a talented musician — you literally taste the passion in his herbs and vegetables which he cleverly instills through his music. 

One of my favorite snacks is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Pump it up a notch with one of JJ&Bs artisan creations like the Plum Jam or Apple Pie Jam — which goes perfectly on vanilla ice cream and pairs great with a juicy pork chop.


At JJ&B, Kathy makes her jams, jellies and butters in small batches so every experience is fresh, delicious and wonderful.  Using widely organic ingredients and locally farmed produce, the spreads at JJ&B will leave your mouth happily intrigued and begging for more.  Don’t believe me?  There’s only one way to find out!

And of course I save dessert for last!  My rule of thumb every time I go out to eat is always save room for dessert.  Artizone has found the best pastries and desserts at La Duni — which currently holds the title for Best Chocolate Cake in America ranked by Food Network. 

Are you drooling yet?  You should be!  Make any day sweeter by choosing from a variety of delicious cupcakes, like the Nutella or Quatro Leches.  Party it up like rockstars with one of La Duni’s decadent layer cakes like the Triple Truffle Chocolate cake (Chocolate lovers it’ll put you in heaven) or the moist Venezuelan Rum cake.  The perfect ending to a beautiful meal. 

Stay tuned for recipes from yours truly made from the products purchased from these vendors.  It’s going to be wild yall so get ready, get set and go to Artizone to sign up now for early registration!