Chopped Potato Salad For a Party

4th of July Facebook Cover Photo

It’s Fourth of July weekend – party time! I love this crowd-pleasing potato salad for two reasons: 1) it’s delicious and 2) no mayo, so its not as risky for hot weather buffets. In fact, I like this salad at room temp or a little warmer, versus right out of the frig or cooler.

Consider this recipe a guideline — be creative! Pick and choose which ingredients you want to add or remove from the salad, and which flavors of vomFASS extra virgin olive oil and vinegar to use. I used the Spanish Red Wine Vinegar in it this week, but White Balsamic, Herb, Apple, or Sherry Vinegars are great too. Use your favorite, but I like tangier, savory vinegars versus sweet in this recipe. There really aren’t any bad combinations! 🙂

Don’t take too light a hand on the salt and pepper; potatoes soak up a lot of flavor. That said, give the dressing and salad a little time for the flavors to bloom before over doing the seasoning. Add, taste, add, taste. And then taste and add again, if needed, before serving. The longer you let the salad sit after assembling, the more the flavors will develop. Leftovers are AWESOME!

By the way, I used all of the dressing recipe on this salad, but its OK if you want a lighter touch of dressing. Just save the leftovers for a steak salad!  If you want to make this recipe vegan, just replace the bacon with vegan bacon crumbles OR use vomFASS Smoky BBQ Extra Virgin Olive Oil for that yummy smoky flavor.

Ingredients – Salad

1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained
1 ½ pound small potatoes (I prefer red potatoes for salad, but white or multi-colored also work.)
1 C. Cherry or grape tomatoes
1 lb French green beans (haricot verts), fresh
3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
1/2 pound bacon, fried or oven-baked until slightly crisp (or replace with vegan bacon)
1 small onion, chopped

 Ingredients – Spicy Honey Mustard DressingPotato-Salad-For-A-Crowd_vomFASS

¼ C. vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ C. vomFASS Red Pepper Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 C. vomFASS Herb Vinegar
1 T. honey
2 T. brown mustard
vomFASS Himalayan Sea Salt
Viola’s Pepper with Herbs / Happy Pepper

Directions

Prep: Wash and remove any bad spots from potatoes. Boil potatoes, skin on, until fork inserts easily, but potatoes are still firm. Cool in ice water or refrigerate until ready to assemble. Wash and then steam French green beans for 3 minutes over boiling water, covered. Chill in ice water and refrigerate until ready to make salad. Cook bacon, then drain and crumble or cut into pieces.

Dice potatoes and cut green beans in half, across. Add all salad ingredients to large bowl, adding the salt and pepper to your taste. Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Toss the salad to coat with dressing. Refrigerate until serving. Taste and add more salt, pepper and/or vinegar, as needed, before serving.

4th of July American Whiskey Facebook Cover

Thai Shrimp Salad Boats

1 Serving (See Lean & Green counts below)

Ingredients:

  • 1  C. tri-color coleslaw mix OR shredded cabbage
    ThaiShrimpwraps vomFASS mall of america1/2 cup TOTAL of chopped cilantro, diced red or yellow bell pepper, sliced green onion, sliced fresh jalapeno, proportions to your preference
  • 7 oz cooked shrimp, tails and shells removed
    OR you can start with raw shrimp, seasoned with Viola’s Thai Curry seasoning, sautéed in vomFASS Chili Sunflower Oil
  • Cubed Avocado (optional)
  • 4 – 6 lettuce leaves or 2 egg life wraps (I like to lightly brush the egg life wraps in Chili Sunflower Oil, then lightly toast in a cast iron skillet)

Dressing:

  • 2 Tbs. powdered peanut butter aka PB2 or PB Fit
  • ThaiSlaw_vomFASS_mallofamerica1 Tbs. water
  • 2 t. lite soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • 1/8 t. Viola’s Thai Curry seasoning
  • ¼ t. sugar stevia powder, or a couple drops of Stevia liquid
  • 2 tsp. vomFASS Ginger Sesame Oil

Directions:

Combine cole slaw mix and cooked shrimp in a medium sized bowl. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together in a small bowl. Pour over shrimp and slaw. Toss to coat. Best if you can let the mixture sit for 30 minutes or more to let flavors blend. Pile mixture onto lettuce leaves. Enjoy!

Optavia Lean & Green guidelines: each recipe is 1 Lean, 3 Greens, 2 Condiments, 2 Healthy Fats and 1 Snack, WITHOUT the avocado and WITH the lettuce boats. If using egg life wraps, reduce shrimp to 5.6 cooked ounces. This is a very filling recipe. It’s a great one to use on days when you are splitting your lean & green into two meals – just reduce the volume of shrimp and veggies as needed to accommodate your daily total.

Grilled Salmon with Calamansi Caper Butter Sauce, served with Lemon Rice

 

Ingredients:

  • 1½ lbs. fresh salmon fillet, boned with skin on

Marinade:

  • 2 T. vomFASS Ginger-Grape Balsam with Lemon
  • 2 T.  vomFASS Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Viola’s Congratulations! Seasoned Sea Salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced

Calamansi Caper Butter Sauce:

  • 1 T.  vomFASS Calamansi Balsam vinegar
  • 1/2 C. white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 4 T. chilled butter, cut into small cubes or slices
  • 2 T. capers, drained

Directions:

  1. Cut salmon into 4 equal pieces or leave the filet whole. Place salmon on aluminumSalmon Broccoli Rice Meal vomFASS Mall of America foil, in a plastic zipper bag, or in a covered dish. Whisk the marinade ingredients together and drizzle onto salmon. Refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  2. Remove salmon from the marinade, or if you made a foil packet, leave in the foil and vent it.
  3. Grill or broil for about 10 minutes, depending on the thickness. Remove any cover and finish grilling or broiling, to your preferred level of cooked.
  4. While salmon is grilling, place the wine and Calamansi Balsam vinegar in a saucepan over medium high heat and allow it to come to a boil for 5-10 seconds. Keep your nose away from the vapor!
  5. Reduce heat to lowest possible, whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  The butter must never come to rest, or the sauce will separate and become oily.
  6. Once the butter has completely incorporated, remove from heat and stir in capers.
  7. Serve over the salmon.

Lemon Almond Rice

  • 1 Pkg. Viola’s Lemon Almond Rice
  • 1 T. vomFASS Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or your favorite)
  • 2 1/2  C. chicken or vegetable stock (more if needed)
  • Viola’s Congratulations! Seasoned Sea Salt, to taste
  • 1 – 2 tsp. Calamansi Balsam vinegar
  • 1 T. butter (optional)

Add olive oil to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add rice and stir until glossy and warm. Add broth and seasoned sea salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook about 20 minutes until al dente or your preferred texture, adding more liquid if needed. Add more seasoned salt, if needed, the splash of Calamansi vinegar and butter, if using. Stir and serve or cover and keep warm until serving, adding more liquid if needed prior to dishing up.

 

Bean Salad (serves 6 – 8)

Ingredients

2 cans (15 oz) legumes, drained and rinsed (Garbanzo, Cannelini, Great Northern, black beans, etc.) Garbanzo Bean Salad vomFASS Mall of America
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
½ C. sliced Kalamata Olives
½ C. vomFASS Jalapeno Extra Virgin Olive Oil (substitute another infused oil if you don’t like spicy)
¼ C. vomFASS Apple Balsamic Vinegar
2 – 3 tsp. vomFASS Greek Seasoning, more or less to taste
vomFASS Mediterranean Sea Salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Serve with bread, on crostini or as a garnish, in a pita pocket, as side dish or salad topping. Flavors will bloom and blend, and this will taste even better in a day or two or three. Substitute veggies for what you have or like. Change up the flavor by using different oil, vinegar and spice combinations.

Panzanella Winter Salad

We hosted a private group for a cooking class and wine tasting this weekend. This salad was a big hit!  We served it with our MVP shredded chicken.

6-8 servings

IngredientsIMG_6684
For Dressing:
6 T. vomFASS Vinagre Viejo de Montilla red wine vinegar
2 T. vomFASS Aceto Balsamico Gold
2 T. maple syrup (or sugar free maple syrup)
1 T. Dijon mustard
½ C. vomFASS Federico Extra Virgin Olive Oil
vomFASS Pyramid Sea Salt and freshly ground vomFASS Peppercorn Mix, to taste

For Salad:
4 C. toasted croutons (See recipe below)
½ small red onion, thinly julienned
1 12 oz. package cubed butternut squash
1 10 oz. package shredded Brussels sprouts
2 T. vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Viola’s Mediterranean Sea Salt and freshly ground Peppercorn Mix, to taste
6 oz. baby spinach (or more, if desired)
½ C. blue cheese crumbles
½ C. dried Cranberries or Sour Cherries

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk together Federico extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Place croutons and onion in the salad bowl and pour ½ cup dressing over all of it so it softens up slightly.

Combine Garlic extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add butternut squash cubes and toss. Turn out in a single layer on a baking sheet (foil covered for easy clean up). Roast for 10 minutes.

Add shredded Brussels sprouts to the same mixing bowl and toss in any remaining oil and seasonings. Spread in a thin layer over the top of the baked squash on the baking sheet. Place back in the oven for 10 minutes or until squash is cooked and Brussels sprouts are slightly crispy.

Place squash, Brussels sprouts, spinach, blue cheese, and cranberries in the serving bowl with croutons and red onion. Add more dressing to salad and gently toss. You may not use all the dressing.  Reserve extra for tomorrow’s marinade or salad.

Croutons
½ Loaf of French, Italian or gluten free bread (great way to use bread that is a couple days old)
¼ C vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 ½ tsp. Viola’s Mia Mama seasoning or vomFASS Pyramid Sea Salt and Peppercorn Mix

Directions
Heat oven to 400 degrees.Cut bread into 1 ½ to 2 inch cubes. Add oil and seasonings to a large bowl. Add bread cubes and toss until bread is coated with seasoning. Adjust seasoning, if needed. Pour into a single layer onto sheet pan with sides. Put into oven and toast for 10 15 minutes, or until golden. Watch closely to prevent burning.

MVP Shredded Chicken

There should be a drum roll to introduce this recipe! It gets my vote for Most Versatile IMG_0298Player (MVP) recipe for quick, easy, delicious and healthy meals, even on my busiest days!

This shredded chicken recipe SO versatile in several ways.

  • Infinite number of flavor options
  • Wide variety of delicious ways to use it
  • Different methods you can use to prepare it
  • Cook once, eat now, and use in recipes over the next few days and weeks
  • Method is applicable to any protein, including chicken, turkey, pork, beef or game

The combination of oil, vinegar and spice adds flavor, obviously. In addition, the oil helps keep the meat moist and the vinegar helps tenderize – and then, of course, the health benefits of good quality olive oil, vinegar and spices are a huge bonus! See the notes below for alternatives to the basic recipe.

Shredded Chicken – Instant Pot Method

Ingredients

1 C. low sodium chicken broth (or more if you want extra broth at the end for soup)

IMG_5956
Loaded Lettuce Boats with shredded chicken

1 T. Viola’s Blackening/Southwest seasoning
1 T. vomFASS Smoky BBQ Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 T. vomFASS Apple Balsamic Vinegar
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, medium size

 

Directions

Place broth, oil, vinegar and seasonings into Instant Pot and blend. Add chicken and turn to coat with liquid. Place lid on cooker and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. It takes about 10 minutes to come to pressure and start counting down. Once the cook time is over, turn the Instant Pot off and let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, using quick release to finish. Open the lid and drain most of the liquid (save for soup!), but leaving enough liquid to keep the chicken moist. Shred the chicken breasts with the remaining liquid in the pot, or transfer to a bowl for

IMG_5895
Shredded Chicken and Veggie Soup

shredding. See notes below for variety of uses.

 

Versatility notes:

Infinite number of flavor options

With vomFASS oils, vinegars and spices at your service, it is SO easy to change the flavor this recipe to use in different cuisines and with different proteins. Here are just a few pairing ideas to launch your creativity. Drop a note in the comments with your favorite vomFASS flavor combo suggestions! 

  • Ginger Sesame Oil, Plum Balsamic and Asia Tandoori spice blend
  • Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Aceto Balsamico Gold, Viola’s Feta Seasoning
  • Jalapeno Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Honey Balsamic, Garlic Pepper Whole Blend

Wide variety of delicious ways to use it

IMG_4463
Stir Fried Veggies with Shredded Chicken

Having shredded chicken or other protein prepared is a fantastic short cut to really great meals all week long. It is great in soups, salads, pastas, sandwiches, pizza, lettuce wraps, stir fries, egg bakes, tacos, nachos, enchiladas – if you can imagine it, you can use it!

Different methods you can use to prepare it

If you don’t have one, or don’t want to use your Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, there are certainly other cooking methods that will provide similar results. You just need to do a little research on Google in cookbooks to determine the appropriate cooking time. Use a slow cooker, a dutch oven on the stove top, or a covered pan in the oven. We would love to hear how you prepare this, so please share the method you used how it worked in the comments!  

Eat now, and/or use in recipes over the next few days and weeks

In addition to using it for a meal today, package into amounts that you will use for one meal. Keep some liquid with each package. Refrigerate up to three days. Freeze up to one month. I usually package in a plastic zipper back or a glass container with tight sealing lid and use a sharper (on tape for the glass container) to note the type of protein, flavor and date on the package. I recommend removing the protein from plastic before defrosting, if you are using a microwave oven.

Method is applicable to any protein, including chicken, turkey, pork, beef or game

Adjust cook time for type of protein, size of pieces or roast, and amount you are cooking. I recommend over-cooking for this recipe, versus under-cooking, for easier shredding. As mentioned above, use Google or your favorite cookbook for help on estimating cook time.

Now all that’s left is to make it and enjoy! Please share your favorites with us as a comment below! 

IMG_3743
Tamra Kramer, Optavia Health Coach and Owner, vomFASS TwinCities

Cheers to easy, delicious and healthy cooking and eating! 

Tamra

 

 

My passion is teaching people how to cook easy, delicious and healthy meals at home with quality olive oils, vinegar and spices, and coaching people along their health journey. Looking for support with starting your own health journey? Check out my Optavia website for more information.
 

Summer Harvest Veggie Menu

This salad recipe has no proportions indicated because it is completely scalable to the number of people you are feeding. For a single serving, I use a combined total of about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of veggies, an ounce of cheese, 1 – 5 oz. can of tuna, and a total of about 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette. For the vinaigrette, use 1 part vinegar to 2 parts olive oil, season with mustard and spices to your taste. Adjust the contents and proportions to what you like to eat. Really, you can’t mess this up. You can do it!!! 🙂

Not Quite Nicoise Salad

Ingredientstuna salad oil vinegar vomfass mall of america

Spring greens or baby spinach
Tomatoes, cut in bite-sized pieces
Green beans, steamed for 3 minutes and chilled
Red onion, sliced
vomFASS Olives, with pimento
Feta Cheese, cubed or crumbles
Canned tuna (or chicken)

Vinaigrette made with these vomFASS products:

Honey Balsamic Vinegar
Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Dijon Mustard
Viola’s Mediterranean Fish Seasoning
Pyramid Sea Salt

Directions

Toss salad ingredients together. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together. Combine with salad. Enjoy!

Roasted Veggies

Ingredients

Veggies of choice: eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, radishes, garlic, etc.

Pyramid Sea Salt
vomFASS Pizza Extra Virgin Olive Oil
vomFASS Aceto Balsamico Maletti or di Famiglia

Directions

Slice veggies into ½ inch to ¼ inches, depending on density of vegetable. Combine olivegrilled veggies olive oil vomfass mall of america oil and sea salt in a large bowl or pan. Add veggies and toss gently until lightly coated. Place on grill mat on a 425 degree grill, or spread in a single layer onto a pre-heated sheet pan. Roast or grill at 425 degrees, turning halfway through to get a slight char on each side. Time varies from 10 – 30 minutes, depending on types of veggies and desired char.

Enjoy as a side dish (Drizzle with Aceto Balsamico for serving), cool for an antipasti plate with the remoulade below, enjoy as a healthy snack, blend into a dip (see recipe below), add to a salad, or make them into soup!

Roasted Veggie Remoulade

Ingredients

¼ C. plain Greek yogurtroasted vegetables with remoulade vomfass mall of america
¼ C. mayonnaise
1 T. capers, rinsed and chopped
½ T. vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar
2 tablespoons vomFASS Dijon mustard
vomFASS Sea Salt and Viola’s Pepper with Herbs, to taste

Directions

Whisk together all ingredients. Serve in a small bowl on a platter with roasted veggies.

 

Roasted Veggie Dip with Flatbread

Ingredients

2 C. roasted veggies (see recipe above)
7 T. vomFASS Pizza Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 t, vomFASS Vingre Viejo de Montilla (Spanish Red Wine Vinegar)
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped (unless garlic is in roasted veggies)
vomFASS Sea Salt and Viola’s Pepper with Herbs
2 t. Viola’s Smoked Paprika (spicy or sweet)
1 t. Viola’s Cumin

3 6-inch pitas, flatbread or cauliflower pizza crust

Directions

When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop vegetables and transfer to a food processor along with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse until mixture is finely chopped with some texture remaining. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Transfer to serving bowl.

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, stir together paprika, cumin and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cut each pita or flatbread into triangles. Arrange triangles in a single layer on 2 large baking sheets. Lightly drizzle with remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with spice mix. Bake until crisp and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Serve dip at room temp with pita chips or flatbread.

A fine pickle

Today’s milestone was our first Facebook Live cooking class, and I made pickles! The late summer bounty has farmers markets bursting at the seams. For a foodie like me, August is a little like Christmas. I look forward to fresh local produce all year, and then BOOM – it’s here and gone in a swallow.

Pickling can extend that feeling at least a month or a year, if you want to go all out and preserve your pickles. But today, we went the quick, easy and delicious in the blink of an eye route. Pickling is easy and flexible. When I was testing my recipes, I didn’t have enough of one vinegar – so I used four different ones to make the first batch of dill pickle chips, and they were delicious. You can also use either one of these brines to pickle onions, squash, beans – really any kind of veggie, and even fruits!

Ingredients

Cucumbers, thickly sliced, enough to fill two pint jars

1 C. water

¾ C. vomFASS White Balsamic

¼ C. vomFASS Sherry Reserva Vinegar

1 T. kosher salt

1 T. vomFASS Game Mix/Pickling seasoning

1 sliced jalapeno pepper

2 medium cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

2-4 heads of fresh dill

Directions

Add dill, garlic and cucumber slices in a bowl that just fits them or two pint jars. Heat water, vinegar, salt, and seasoning in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Immediately pour brine over cucumbers. Cover bowl or jars. Wait at least 30 minutes before serving. Pickles can be stored in their brine in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Cauliflower Pickles

Ingredients

1 T. vomFASS Game Mix/Pickling Spice

1/2 tsp. Viola’s cumin seeds

1 C vomFASS Apple Balsamic Vinegar

1 C. vomFASS Ginger Grape Lemon Balsamic Vinegar

1 C. water

5 medium cloves garlic, lightly crushed and peeled

One-half small yellow onion, julienned

1 T. Sugar or Stevia crystals

2 T. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. Viola’s ground turmeric

One-half head cauliflower, cut into 1-1/2- to 2-inch florets (about 4 cups)

5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal (about 2 cups)

One-half red bell pepper, cut into strips (about 1 cup)

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, cut into strips

Directions

Pack the cauliflower, carrots, bell pepper, jalapeno peppers and onions in a 2-qt. heat-resistant glass bowl with lid or in clean canning jar(s).

Put the pickling spice and cumin in a saucepan and toast the spices over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, water, garlic, sugar, salt, and turmeric to the toasted spices. Bring to a boil.

Pour the hot brine over the vegetables. Let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 and up to a month.

For canned pickles:

Pack the vegetables into clean pint jars. Pour the hot brine over the vegetables, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. If you have extra brine, strain it and distribute the solids among the jars. Wipe the jars’ lids with a damp cloth before putting on the lids. Secure the lids with screw bands tightened by hand.  Process for 10 minutes, following the instructions in this “Canning Basics” guide. Store the pickles for at least 2 but preferably 7 days or longer before opening. Refrigerate after opening.

Francis Night at vomFASS Cooking Class

Have you ever entered a room to meet eight people for the first time and leave 90 minutes later with eight new friends? That’s an awesome feeling, and it’s how tonight’s cooking class went. In fact, the photos ended up being more about the people than the food, but the happy smiles are because of the food and the experience, so that’s OK, right? ††

Francis is not THE most common name, yet we had two people in the class by that name and almost every else knew or were related to a Francis, including me – so we got off on a congenial foot by declaring it Francis Night at vomFASS! The night was also special because Francis from Memphis was celebrating her birthday and because we were graced by the presence of newlyweds who joined the class during their 12 hour layover on their way to honeymoon in Iceland! (Coolest newlyweds of the year!)

But enough about how much fun we had (DO join us next time!), let’s get to the recipes!

Shrimp Salad / Dip / Tacos

Ingredients

2 C. cooked cocktail-sized shrimp (mini)
vomFASS Chili Sea Salt, to taste
3 T. vomFASS San Domenico or Jalapeno Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 vomFASS Calamansi or Mango Balsam Vinegar
1/4 C. minced cilantro
1/4 C. sliced green onions
1/4 C. diced red bell pepper
1/4 C. Poblano pepper
Tortilla chip scoops, romaine leaves, taco shells or salad greens
Directions

Whisk together oil, vinegar and spices. Add remaining ingredients. Serve as desired: on greens for a salad, on lettuce leaves or taco shells, or with tortilla chips for an appetizer.  

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Pasta  
6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg vomFASS Basil Pasta OR 8 C. zoodles to replace pasta
  • 1 t. Violas’ Caprese Salt or to taste
  • 1 t. Violas’ Pepper with Herbs, or to taste
  • ¼ C. vomFASS San Domenico Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 – 2 T. vomFASS Herb Garlic Sunflower Oil OR Chili Sunflower Oil
  • 1 jar vomFASS Sun-dried Tomatoes            
  • ½ C. chopped sweet onion         
  • ½ C. chopped orange bell pepper            
  • 2 t. minced garlic (fresh or jarred)
  • 1 C. chopped fresh baby spinach             
  • Parmesan Cheese, to taste
  • vomFASS Aceto Balsamico di Famiglia


Directions

Chop sun-dried tomatoes and set aside. Sauté onion and pepper with sunflower oil over medium high heat, just until tender crisp. Add garlic and sauté about one more minute. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes and seasonings. Set aside in pan. Cook pasta in boiling salted water 1 minute less than minimum recommended on package. Lift out of water and into the pan with sautéed veggie mixture, along with about ½ cup of pasta water. Add olive oil, spinach and adjust spices. Toss, cover and let rest in a warm place until ready to serve. Serve with parmesan and drizzle with Aceto Balsamico.

Fig Chili Balsamic, How Do I Love Thee?

I recently got some family members hooked on vomFASS Fig Chili Balsamic Vinegar, and now they are clamoring for more ideas and recipes for using it!

My first love is to use Fig Chili as a seasoning for burgers – beef, bison, turkey – namefig-chili burger2 your protein! Mix your burger meat as usual, and add about 2 tablespoons of Fig Chili Balsamic per pound of meat. It adds great flavor and a little bit of kick to your burger.

Then, make some balsamic glazed onions with Fig Chili Balsamic to top the burger, add some bleu or gorgonzola cheese, (and bacon, if you’re feeling really decadent!) and you just made the best burger in town!

Balsamic Glazed Onions

1 large sweet onion thinly sliced
2 T. vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 T. vomFASS Aceto Balsamico Platinum
vomFASS Himalayn Salt and Peppercorn Mix
to tasteonions caramelized glazed balsamic vomFASS Mall of America Minnesota Food

In medium sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Sauté until onions are soft and semi translucent – about 10 minutes. Add Aceto Balsamico Platinum.  Stir to coat onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and caramelized.

I recommend doubling this recipe, as these are great on salads, sandwiches, pizza, in mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs – chime in with your own ideas for using them!

Other quick and easy ideas: 

  • Drizzle Fig Chili Balsamic on tomato soup – homemade or purchased. One of my go-to convenience foods is the Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup from Costco – its gluten free and organic, and with a pop of extra flavor from Fig Chili Balsamic, it’s delicious! (Don’t forget to dip your grilled cheese sandwich in it!)

  • Use Fig Chili Balsamic as your “secret sauce,” to season roasted meats, steaks and poultry. 
  • My favorite olive oil to pair with Fig Chili Balsamic is vomFASS Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Lemon EVOO is a good alternative to Orange. Use as a marinade for grilled chicken or shrimp, or as a vinaigrette for a Southwest salad, or quinoa salad.
  • Drizzle on pizza, roasted veggies, caprese salad, fish tacos, and yes – even ice cream! Wow, yum!

Here are some more recipes. Let me know what YOU make with this sweet + heat all-star balsamic!

Grilled Fish with Balsamic Marinade

¼ cup vomFASS Madonia or Don Carlos Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ cup vomFASS Avocado Oil
¼ cup vomFASS Fig-Chili Balsamic Vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 Tbsp fresh, chopped)
1/8 tsp vomFASS Sea Salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground vomFASS Peppercorn Mix
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard

In small mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well mixed and emulsified.  Place fish fillets into large zip-lock bag.  Pour marinade over fish, distributing well.  Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.  Remove fish from marinade when ready to cook.  Discard any remaining marinade.  Grill according to package directions.

Fig Chili Shrimp or Chicken  Serves 4

1 lb. raw shrimp or cubed chickenvomfass15-2521
3 T. vomFASS Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 T. vomFASS Fig Chili Balsamic
1 clove minced garlic
½ t. vomFASS Danish Smoked Sea Salt, divided
Freshly ground vomFASS Peppercorn Mix, to taste 

Combine oil, vinegar, garlic, half the salt and a few cranks of ground pepper in a glass bowl with cover or plastic zip bag. Add shrimp or chicken and marinate 15 – 20 minutes. Do not marinate shrimp longer; chicken may be marinated up to two hours. Empty contents of bag or bowl into a hot stir-fry pan. Toss just until cooked through. Finish with Smoked Sea Salt and Peppercorn Mix to taste. Serve immediately.

Black-Eyed Peas and Walnut Lettuce Wraps Serves 6-8

2 cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed or 3 cups cookedBlack Eyed Pea Lettuce Wraps Mediterranean Diet Cooking Class vomFASS Mall of America
1 onion, chopped
1 can water chestnuts, chopped
1 medium carrot, roughly grated
½ C. chopped walnuts
1 red bell pepper, chopped
¼ C. fresh parsley, chopped
2 T. vomFASS Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ C. vomFASS Fig Chili Balsamic
1 t. vomFASS African Rub spice blend
vomFASS Sea Salt and Peppercorn Mix, to taste
16 leaves iceberg or butter lettuce

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, pepper, carrots and water chestnuts. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover pan and continue cooking until veggies are tender crisp, 5-7 minutes.  Stir in walnuts, black-eyed peas, balsamic and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cool slightly. Spoon about ¼ cup of the mixture into each lettuce leaf.  Fold the leaves in half and eat taco-style. vomFASSified from Oldwayspt.org

Fig-Chili BBQ Sauce

Makes approximately 1 cup sauce

4 Tbsp vomFASS San Gimignano Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ medium-sized onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ketchup
½ cup vomFASS Fig Chili Balsamic Vinegar (for less spicy, see NOTE)
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup water
¼ tsp vomFASS  Sea Salt
¼ tsp vomFASS  Black Peppercorn Mix

NOTE: For a less spicy version, use ¼ cup Fig Chili Balsamic + ¼ cup Star Fig Balsamic.

In medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté one minute more.

Whisk in the ketchup, vinegar(s), honey, mustard, water, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a low simmer.  Cook the sauce until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 10 – 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.  Refrigerate until ready to use, or for up to two weeks.

Black Bean Salsa  Serves 4 – 8

1 – 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsedBlack Bean Salsa vomFASS Cooking Class Mall of America Minnesota Food
1 cup chopped cherry or grape tomatoes
½ small red onion, minced
1 cup corn kernels (fresh, canned or frozen and thawed)
2 T. cilantro, chopped
1 tsp vomFASS Chili con Carne spice blend
1 T. vomFASS Fig Chili Balsamic Star Vinegar
1 ½ T. vomFASS Agora Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 t. vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar
¼ t. vomFASS Sea Salt
¼ t. vomFASS Peppercorn Mix

*For a spicier version, replace Agora Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Red Pepper or Jalapeno Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Place all ingredients into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir gently until well combined.  Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.  Stir again just prior to serving. Serve with tortilla chips as a dip, serve as a condiment for tacos, or add to a green salad or grilled entrée of fish or chicken.

Fig Chili Chocolate Truffles

6 oz. heavy cream
2 T sugar
2 T vomFASS Fig Chili Balsamic Vinegar
8 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 T butter
4 oz. Apricot Grappa
1 T Honey

Bring cream, sugar and vinegar to almost a boil.  Add chopped chocolate, cover and let sit for 5 min. Stir in grappa and butter.  Emulsification starts in the middle, continue stirring until grappa is incorporated and ganache is shiny.  Taste, add honey if necessary.  Let cool.  Form  ½ in balls and roll in cocoa.  Look, Taste, Enjoy!

I hope you’re feeling inspired! 

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