Favorites Reinvented with Flavorful Surprises

Dirty Martini Steak Kabobs
Cheesecake Tart with Popcorn Crust and Berries

(Family Features) - With spice consumption at an all-time high across America, it's an exciting time for flavor. According to the McCormick® Flavor Forecast® 2011, different tastes, textures and colors are mixed and matched to deliver fun and excitement to eating.

"We're seeing a more adventuresome spirit in the kitchen - playful takes on America's favorites that bring both the comfort of familiarity and the energy of the unexpected," says Larry Tong, McCormick chef. "For example, a contemporary combination of mustard seed and vermouth sparks a martini-inspired steak kabob, complete with onion and olive garnishes."

Tong sees this lighthearted approach showing up in every course of the meal - right through to dessert. Taking a cue from the report's Herbes de Provence & Popcorn pairing, a deliciously creamy, no-bake cheesecake has a crust of playful and crunchy crushed popcorn accented with savory Herbes de Provence.

For more recipes and featured flavors, visit www.FlavorForecast.com.

Dirty Martini Steak Kabobs


  • 3 tablespoons McCormick Gourmet Collection Yellow Mustard Seed
  • 3/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 tablespoons juice from green olives
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Collection Sicilian Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet CollectionCoarse Grind Black Pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 16 small cippolini onions
  • 16 large pimiento-stuffed green olives
  • Mixed Greens with Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe below)


  1. Heat large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add mustard seed; cook and stir 1 minute or until fragrant. Immediately pour out of hot pan to avoid over-toasting. Coarsely crush seeds using a rolling pin or a mortar and pestle. Reserve 1 tablespoon for the Mustard Vinaigrette.
  2. Mix remaining mustard seed, vermouth, oil, lemon juice, honey, olive juice, lemon peel, sea salt, garlic and pepper in large bowl until well blended. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade for brushing. Place remaining marinade in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add steak; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 2 hours or longer for extra flavor.
  3. Meanwhile, bring water to boil in small saucepan. Add onions; cook 5 minutes. Drain well. Cool onions slightly. Cut off top and bottom ends, then peel onions. Remove steak from marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Alternately thread steak, onions and olives onto 16 skewers.
  4. Grill kabobs over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until steak is desired doneness, turning occasionally and brushing with reserved marinade. Serve kabobs with Mixed Greens with Mustard Vinaigrette.
  5. Mixed Greens with Mustard Vinaigrette: Mix 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons honey, reserved 1 tablespoon crushed toasted McCormick Gourmet Collection Yellow Mustard Seed, 1 teaspoon dry vermouth, 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Ground Mustard and 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Sicilian Sea Salt in medium bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Set aside. Toss 8 cups mixed greens, 1 small red onion, thinly sliced, and 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese in large bowl. Serve with vinaigrette.

Serves: Makes 8 servings (2 kabobs and 1 cup salad each)

Nutritional Information: Calories: 418; Total Fat: 24g; Cholesterol: 62mg; Protein: 28g; Carbohydrates: 19g; Sodium: 713mg

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Cheesecake Tart with Popcorn Crust and Berries


Popcorn Crust
  • 3 cups unsalted popped popcorn
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Collection Herbes de Provence
Cheesecake Tart with Berries
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Herbes de Provence
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 cups mixed berries, such as blackberries, raspberries and strawberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. For the crust, place popcorn, about 1 cup at a time, in bowl of food processor or blender; cover. Process until finely ground. Mix ground popcorn, 1/3 cup sugar, butter and 2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence in medium bowl until well blended. Press mixture firmly onto bottom of foil-lined 9-inch tart pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on wire rack.
  2. For the tart, mix cream cheese, mascarpone cheese and honey in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared crust. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until ready to serve.
  3. Mix 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence in medium saucepan. Stir in water and lemon juice until well blended. Stir in blueberries. Stirring constantly, bring to boil on medium heat and boil 1 minute. Pour into medium bowl to cool slightly. Add remaining berries; toss gently to coat well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove tart from foil-lined pan. Cut into slices to serve. Top with berry mixture.

Serves: Makes 8 servings

Nutritional Information: Calories: 406g; Total Fat: 30g; Cholesterol: 98mg; Protein: 5g; Carbohydrates: 29g; Sodium: 182mg

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 2 hours

SOURCE: McCormick

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