Where to start, where to start. With the emphasis on ethnic foods, product developers are challenged to formulate products that reflect the seasoning and flavor profiles of native cuisines. This selection of starter recipes from the American Spice Trade Association suggests a place to begin.

Classic Mexican Guacamole
1 fully ripened Mexican avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 teaspoon minced jalapeño pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, mash avocado with a fork or potato masher until it's still slightly chunky. Stir in onion, jalapeño and salt.

Optional add-ins:
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro and 1 tablespoon lime juice
1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic or 2 teaspoons roasted chopped garlic
Hot pepper sauce (red or green) to taste

Yield: about 3/4 cup

Italian Roasted Pepper Soup
1 package fresh white mushrooms, sliced (4 cups)
2 jars (7 ounces each) roasted red peppers
2 cans (13 3/4 ounces each) ready-to-serve chicken broth
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 package (8 ounces) refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
4 ounces sliced baked ham, cut in strips (about 1 cup)

In a large saucepan, place mushrooms and 2 tablespoons water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, process roasted red peppers and their liquid until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add to mushrooms along with the chicken broth, Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powders; bring to a boil. Add tortellini; return to a boil and cook uncovered, until tortellini is firm-tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in ham; cook until tortellini is tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Yield: 4 portions

Grilled Jerk Tomato Salad with Shrimp and Mangoes
1/3 cup dry jerk seasoning mix
3/4 cup oil
6 large fully-ripened fresh Florida tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices (24 slices)
1 large mango, peeled and cut into thick strips
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled, and deveined
12 ounces mesclun greens
Tomato-Onion Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

In a bowl, combine jerk seasoning, oil and 1/3 cup water. Place tomatoes and mango in a pan; place the shrimp in a separate pan. Divide marinade between two pans; cover and refrigerate about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat grill. Grill shrimp, tomatoes and mango until shrimp are cooked and tomatoes and mango are tender. Place a handful of mesclun greens on a plate and top with 4 tomato slices. Place a shrimp on each of the tomatoes and then place about 6 strips of mango around the plate. Drizzle the tomato-onion vinaigrette over the salad and serve.

Tomato-Onion Vinaigrette
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large, fully-ripened, fresh Florida tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons jerk seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add tomatoes and onion; cook and stir until very soft, about 5 minutes. Cool. Purée in a blender or food processor. Add remaining 1/2 cup oil, the vinegar, jerk seasoning and salt. Whirl until blended.
Yield: 6 servings

Cod in Asian Tomato Broth
2 large, fully ripened fresh Florida tomatoes
1 can (14 ounces) ready-to-serve chicken broth
4 thin slices fresh ginger
2 large cloves garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 fillets (5 to 6 ounces each) cod or other firm white fish, cut in 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 bag (10 ounces) spinach, trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Cut 1 tomato into thin wedges; dice remaining tomato. In a wide saucepan or deep skillet, combine broth, ginger, garlic, tamari, red pepper flakes and the tomato wedges; bring to a boil; reduce heat; simmer until tomatoes soften slightly, about 2 minutes. Add fish; simmer, partially covered, until fish is cooked, about 4 minutes. Add spinach, lime juice and the diced tomatoes; cook until spinach wilts, about 2 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings

Paella Salad
1/2 cup medium- or short-grained white rice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
1 package (10 ounces) green peas
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 2 teaspoons) 3 cups diced cooked chicken and/or cooked, peeled shrimp (about 1 pound)
1/2 package (8 ounces) chorizo or pepperoni, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise in 1-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup pitted small green Spanish olives
1/2 cup piquillo peppers, cut into small pieces
8 cups mixed salad greens

In a 2-quart saucepan, over high heat, bring 1 cup water, rice, salt and saffron to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low; cook for 10 minutes. Add peas; cook until rice has absorbed all the liquid, about 5 minutes longer. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add garlic; cook and stir until golden. Stir in chicken and/or shrimp and chorizo until hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in olives, piquillo peppers and Sherry-Paprika Dressing (recipe follows). Arrange greens on a large platter. Spoon mixture onto greens/serve warm.

Sherry-Paprika Dressing: In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons each sherry vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon Spanish paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper.
Yield: 4 servings

Chilled Fresh Blueberry Soup
4 quarts fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup apple juice
3/4 cup (to taste) honey
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel (yellow part only)
2 teaspoons ground cardamon
1 cup vanilla yogurt or créme anglaise

In a blender or food processor, combine blueberries, apple juice, honey, lemon juice, lemon peel and cardamon; strain through a fine sieve. Chill mixture. Serve soup in chilled large wine glasses or bowls, with a swirl or dollop of yogurt and cardamon sugar cookies, if desired.
Yield: 8 servings

The following ethnically-oriented recipes were developed for Prepared Foods by the test kitchen of the American Spice Trade Association. More recipes can be viewed at their website: www.astaspice.org.