Food and drink are your love languages, vomFASS is your translator! In Mall of America's Culinary on North (N345), we delight in experiencing extraordinary olive oil, balsamic vinegar, spices, wine, whiskey, brandy, liqueurs and more. Free tastes daily. Cooking, wine and spirits classes weekly. Gifts of great taste, customized as desired. Only the best, always.
It’s January and its Minnesota. A healthy, delicious soup is just the comfort food your fitness goals and the weather call for! This Tuscan White Bean, Sausage and Veggie Soup will feed a family or provide a few meals for one or two! Skip to the end to read my “quick and easy” note, which was the path I chose for our Mediterranean Lifestyle cooking class tonight! This soup pairs beautifully with a Chardonnay (sparkling or still) or Pinot Noir.
2 T vomFASS San Domenico Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pound Italian sweet or spicy sausage, casing removed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, diced small
2 large potatoes, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Viola’s bay leaf
2 (15 ounce) cans white cannelini beans
2 small bunches of kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped
8 C. low-sodium chicken stock (read the label to find one that doesn’t have sugar and a bunch of other stuff you don’t want in your soup!)
Violas Feta Seasoning, to taste (at least a couple teaspoons!)
vomFASS Herb Vinegar, to taste
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and brown, stirring occasionally to break into smaller pieces, approximately 10 minutes.
Add onion, carrots, potato, and bay leaves salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally, approximately 10 minutes. Add garlic and beans; cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add kale and cook until slightly wilted. Add chicken stock, season and cover with lid.
Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and keep at a simmer for about 45 minutes, although a bit longer is completely fine. The soup will thicken as the potatoes begin to release their starch into the soup. Serve with a splash of Herb Vinegar.
Vegetarian option: eliminate sausage; replace San Domenico EVOO with vomFASS Smoky BBQ EVOO.
Fast and easy: Use pre-cooked Italian sausage (I used Chicken Italian sausage from Fresh Thyme Market), and pre-minced garlic. Add all ingredients, including olive oil, to crock pot or pressure cooker and cook as appropriate to appliance type. I used an Instant Pot on High Pressure setting for 6 minutes. Don’t forget that pop of Herb Vinegar right before eating!
Even Skinnier: Replace potatoes and carrots with a variety of other veggies, such as chopped or spiralized zucchini, cauliflower, shredded cabbage, celery, fresh fennel, or tomatoes. Reduce cooking time to adjust for higher water content veggies.
Summers in the Midwest are short, and therefore incredibly sweet. We savor every moment of sunlight. We come out of our homes and reconnect with neighbors. We play hard. We party like snow and ice are just around the corner, because they are.
With the Summer Solstice already in the rear view mirror, it’s time to celebrate summer with your favorite people, patio food and refreshing drinks. Sangria fits the bill to a T.
Sangria is originally a Spanish concept that we have embraced and embellished to basically be a light and enjoyable alcoholic fruit punch that you can make with a wide variety of ingredients. The basic recipe includes some combination of these ingredients, with the proportions tweaked to please your preferences:
1 bottle of wine (red, rosé, white)
1 Cup of bubbly (sparkling wine, club soda, sparkling water, etc.)
1/4 Cup Liqueur and/or 1/4 Cup Spirit (or 1/2 cup of one)
1/4 Cup Fruit juice
1 – 2 Cups Fruit
Combine all ingredients except the bubbly in a pitcher. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, and as long as 24 hours. Add the bubbly right before serving, either by adding all at once to the pitcher or topping off each serving with a splash of bubbly. Adding to individual servings allows you to make the sangria as light in alcohol content as the drinker prefers.
The sangria I made for my daughter’s birthday this week included these ingredients:
Bobbie’s Birthday Sangria
1 bottle of rosé wine (Paul Blisson from vomFASS)
1 Cup of sparkling pink lemonade (Trader Joe’s)
1/2 Cup vomFASS Elderflower Liqueur
1 1/2 Cups (approximate) of fruit, including apples, orange slices, blueberries and watermelon (great way to use whatever you have in the frig!)
Prepare as indicated above, using the sparkling pink lemonade as the bubbly. If you want a lighter sangria, just add more sparkling lemonade.
I love meeting people who are as jazzed about easy, delicious and healthy cooking and eating as I am! Tonight’s class was delightful, with engaged participants enjoying the company and the food. The recipes were such a hit that I just had to share this peek at the fun. Join us for next month’s classes! See the class schedule on our Facebook page.
Chopped Potato Salad Serves 2 – 3
Ingredients – Salad
2 T. Spicy Honey Mustard Dressing (recipe below)
½ C. Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¾ C. Small red potatoes, steamed, chilled and and cubed
½ C. Cherry or grape tomatoes
1 hand full green beans, steamed to tender crisp and chilled
1 Egg, hard boiled and diced
Ingredients – Honey Mustard Dressing
½ C. vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 T. vomFASS White Balsamic Vinegar
1 T. vomFASS Forest Honey
1 T. vomFASS Walla Walla Chipotle Mustard
vomFASS Himalayan Sea Salt and Peppercorn Mix to taste
Combine dressing ingredients and whisk until emulsified. Leftovers may be used as a salad dressing or marinade for chicken, pork chops or shrimp. Combine salad ingredients and serve. This salad is even better the second day!
Black-Eyed Peas and Walnut Lettuce Wraps Serves 6-8
2 cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed or 3 cups cooked from dried state
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can diced water chestnuts
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 or Red Pepper Extra Virgin Olive Oil if you prefer spicier
¼ C. vomFASS Fig Chili Balsamic 1 t. vomFASS African Rub spice blend vomFASS Sea Salt and Peppercorn Mix, to taste
Bibb / Butter lettuce leaves, washed and dried
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, carrots and water chestnuts. Reduce heat to low, cover pan
and continue cooking until veggies are tender crisp, about 3 – 5 minutes. Stir in walnuts, black-eyed peas, Fig-Chili 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
Balsamic Watermelon SaladServes 6
vomFASS Aceto Balsamico Maletti
1 Small seedless watermelon
1 T. vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar
2 T. vomFASS Agora Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 C. fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
2/3 C. crumbled feta cheese
vomFASS Sea Salt and Peppercorn Mix
In a large bowl, whisk together the Calamansi Balsam Vinegar and olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cut the watermelon into cubes or use a melon baller and scoop it into balls. Add it to the bowl, along with mint and feta cheese. Toss to combine. Drizzle the salad with Aceto Balsamico Maletti and serve. You can serve this on a tray, in a bowl, or even as individual wedged servings.
Easy DessertServes 6
vomFASS Star Forest Raspberry Balsamic
vomFASS Pistachio Oil
vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
Scoop one small serving of ice cream or yogurt into serving bowl. Drizzle with Star Forest Raspberry Balsamic and Pistachio Oil. Enjoy! (You won’t believe how decadently delicious this is!)
Risotto is one of my favorite dishes, and it’s so easy to make it new each time using different veggies, olive oil flavors or seasonings. And it’s a great way to use left-over grilled veggies this summer! And of course Minnesotans love easy new ways to prepare their fresh catch of Walleye, Northern Pike, Bass or Pan Fish. No problem if you don’t have access to fresh Minnesota fish. This preparation works equally well on Halibut, Cod or Salmon!
I recommend pairing this meal with a juicy, slightly off-dry white or rosé wine, such as Brand Weissburgunder, Sentio Pinot Grigio, Fausse Piste Oyster Sauce, or even a Prosecco or Cava from vomFASS at Mall of America. Enjoy!
Easy pan-fried or grilled fish
vomFASS Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
vomFASS BBQ Fish Seasoning
Fish fillets of choice (I used halibut this time) 1 per person
vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar, to taste
Heat a sauté pan with Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat. Add fish fillet(s), not over-crowding the pan. Grind BBQ Fish Seasoning over the fish. Sauté until golden. Flip once and finish sautéing until golden on the second side. Turn off heat under pan and allow to continue cooking with ambient heat just until fish is flaky and no longer translucent in the middle. Don’t overcook, as it results in a dry, tough fillet. To grill, use aluminum foil as your “pan” over medium heat. Serve with a drizzle of Calamansi Balsam Vinegar.
Risotto with Asparagus Serves 4-6
6 – 8 asparagus spears, washed, tough ends snapped off and cut into 2-inch pieces
½ medium onion, diced
1 t. minced garlic
2 T. vomFASS Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus more for drizzling) vomFASS Sea Salt, to taste vomFASS Peppercorn Mix, ground, or to taste
1 T. butter
2 T. vomFASS Porcini Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 C. Arborio rice
½ C. dry white wine (such as vomFASS Sentio Pinot Grigio)
4 C. chicken or vegetable stock
½ C. Parmesan Cheese, grated (we like Cheese Brothers Parmesan, from our friends at their Mall of America store)
Heat a large sauté pan (I like using cast iron for risotto for consistent heat) with Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat. Sauté onion until slightly softened, about two minutes. Add asparagus and sauté a couple more minutes, just until tender-crisp. Finally, add garlic and sauté just a minute more, reducing heat as needed to keep garlic from burning. Use a slotted spoon to remove veggies from pan and set aside.
Heat butter and Porcini Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the same pan over medium heat. Add rice and stir to coat the grains, sautéing for a few minutes until rice becomes slightly golden. Add wine and cook until liquid is absorbed. Add about ½ cup of stock and ½ teaspoon salt to the rice. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed. Continue to add the stock, about ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently. Each time, cook until the mixture is a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. During the last few minutes of cooking, add the sautéed veggies and salt and/or pepper to taste, if needed. Off the heat, add the Parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve with a drizzle of Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
This week’s Mediterranean Lifestyle Cooking Class at vomFASS in Mall of America put the spotlight on Spain and their delightfully delicious tradition of tapas.
Tapas are a variety of small savory Spanish dishes, often served as a snack with drinks, or with other tapas as a meal. To “tapear,” going from bar to bar for drinks and tapas, is an essential part of the social culture of Spain, especially in the south. Learn more about tapas in this great guide to tapas bars and restaurants in Sevilla.
Tapas are perfect appetizers for your summer parties, or serve several for a “small plates” dinner party. Pair them with one or more of our Spanish wines currently in stock. I especially love Cava or Tempranillo with these dishes. These recipes were a huge hit in class this week (and vomFASS staff scarfed up the leftovers very quickly!). I hope you enjoy them as well! And I invite you to join us in a future cooking class. Check out our schedule. Call us at 952-426-3222 to order the vomFASS products included in these recipes.
Tater Tapas Serves 8 – 10
15-20 mini potatoes
¼ C. Manchego Cheese, finely shredded
¼ C. vomFASS Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil vomFASS Sea Salt & Pepper ¼ C. Sour cream or Plain Greek Yogurt
½ t. vomFASS Fried Potato Spice 3 green scallions, tops cut on a diagonal
Fill stock pot with enough water to cover potatoes, add a teaspoon of sea salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 5 – 10 minutes, depending on the size of potatoes (do not overcook). Strain and cool enough to handle or refrigerate up to 4 days before using.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using a paring knife, cut each potato with 3 to 4 slices halfway through. Place potatoes on baking sheet. Drizzle with Truffle oil. Sprinkle with cheese, salt & pepper. Roast until slightly brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. While roasting potatoes, combine Fried Potato Spice and sour cream or yogurt. Remove potatoes from oven and cool slightly. Top with a tiny dollop of sour cream/yogurt mixture and garnish with scallions before serving.
Tuna & Red Pepper ToastsServes 12
½ C. mayonnaise
½ C. vomFASS Don Carlos Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided; more for serving
1 T. minced garlic
3 t. vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar, divided
2 – 7 oz. cans tuna, drained
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 T. small brined capers
3 T. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, divided vomFASS Pyramid Sea Salt and freshly ground Peppercorn Mix, to taste
1 jar vomFASS Red Pepper Pesto ¼ C. Manchego Cheese, finely shredded
12 baguette slices, cut on a sharp biasBrush baguette slices with olive oil and lightly toast under a broiler or on a grill.
Combine mayo, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, 1 t. Calamansi Balsam Vinegar and sea salt, to taste. Set mixture aside for a moment or make in advance and refrigerate up to 2 days.
Combine Red Pepper Pesto with Manchego cheese and set aside.
Place tuna in a medium mixing bowl and break it up with a fork. Add to tuna: ¼ cup of the aioli you just made, minced shallot, 2 teaspoons Calamansi Balsam Vinegar, capers, 2 tablespoons minced parsley, and ¼ cup of olive oil. Fold mixture gently to incorporate all ingredients. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, adding more vinegar, olive oil, or aioli for flavor if desired.
Spread Red Pepper Pesto mixture in a thin layer onto toasted baguette slices. Arrange baguette slices on a serving board. Top them with a spoonful of tuna mixture, followed by a small dollop or drizzle of remaining aioli. Sprinkle with remaining parsley, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Serve immediately.
One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained, or 1 1/2 C. fresh diced tomatoes
2 T. vomFASS Don Carlos Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 T. vomFASS Forest Honey 1 T. vomFASS White Balsamic Vinegar 1 small shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t. vomFASS Aglio Olio Pepperoncino spice blend vomFASS Sea Salt and freshly ground Peppercorn Mix ½ C. hummus (see recipe below)
4 pocketless pita breads
½ C. thinly sliced dry chorizo (2 ounces)
½ pound shelled and deveined cooked small shrimp
1 C. Manchego cheese, shredded vomFASS Aceto Balsamico Maletti, for garnish
Preheat oven to 425°. In a medium bowl, mix tomatoes with olive oil, honey, vinegar, shallot, garlic, spice blend, salt and pepper. Stir in shrimp.
Spread hummus on pita breads. Top with chorizo and Manchego. Bake directly on the oven rack for about 4 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Transfer flatbreads to work surface. Using slotted spoon, top with tomato mix. Quarter flatbreads, drizzle with Maletti and serve.
2 T. vomFASS Toasted Sesame Oil 2 T. vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (more, as needed)
1 T. vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar vomFASS Sea Salt, to taste
Using a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients. Slowly drizzle in more garlic olive oil while mixing, if needed, until desired consistency. Serve with corn chips, fresh veggies as a dip. Also good as a sandwich spread or pizza base sauce.
Caramelized onions are a flavorful addition to add to pizza, mashed potatoes, salads, meats, sandwiches, omelets . . . in other words, have some on hand to add sweet and savory flavor to many dishes! Here’s how:
Balsamic Caramelized Onions
2 large onions, thinly sliced or julienned
¼ C. vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil ¼ – ½ tsp. vomFASS Sea Salt ¼ tsp. vomFASS Peppercorn Mix
¼ C. vomFASS Aceto Balsamico Platinum Vinegar, Sherry Reserva Vinegar or Spanish Red Wine Vinegar
In medium sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and toss to coat. Cook slowly until onions are softened and slightly translucent – about 10 minutes.
Add vinegar to the pan, being careful to not inhale the steam created by the addition of the vinegar, as it is rather powerful! Stir to coat onion and continue cooking, stirring frequently, about 3 – 5 minutes or until vinegar is reduced and onions are glazed. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Store in refrigerator up to five days.
As a busy Mom, Nana, Sister, Friend and Business Owner, my forte is making gourmet crowd-pleasing recipes that are quick and easy. These pizzas fit that bill, with a little help from carefully selected convenience foods and/or leftovers. Feel free to improvise to use ingredients you have on hand or prefer, especially with the veggies and meats. Don’t overload the toppings, as that will result in a soggy pizza.
These recipes have received rave reviews from two different cooking classes at vomFASS, as well as from my siblings at a long overdue gathering this past weekend. Enjoy!
Artichoke Pesto Chicken Pizza
Artichoke Pesto Chicken Flatbread Serves 4 1 10 inch pizza or flatbread crust*
¼ C. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 C. chicken breast, diced (leftovers, from the deli or rotisserie chicken)
½ jar vomFASS Artichoke Pesto ½ C. Shredded White Cheddar or Gouda cheese
½ C. sliced mushrooms
¼ C. Balsamic Glazed Onions
½ C. baby spinach leaves, roasted asparagus or other veggies
2 T. vomFASS Sherry Reserva Vinegar 2 T. vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil vomFASS Pyramid Sea Salt and Peppercorn Mix, to taste
Finishing options: Red Pepper,Truffle, or Porcini Extra Virgin Olive Oil; Aceto Balsamico Maletti
Preheat oven to 425°. Toss mushrooms with Sherry Vinegar & Garlic EVOO. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Remove mushrooms from vinaigrette and dry on paper towels. Combine Parmesan and Pesto. Spread in a thin layer onto crust. Top with chicken, remaining cheese, mushrooms, veggie and seasonings. Bake 10 – 12 minutes directly on the oven rack for a crispier crust. Remove from oven. Individuals may finish as desired with a drizzle of oils, vinegars or spices.
1 10-inch pizza or flatbread crust
¼ C. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
½ jar vomFASS Arugula and Pine Nut Pesto ¼ C. fresh mozzarella, sliced/diced, or pearls
8 fresh basil leaves, shredded (chiffonade)
2 roma tomatoes vomFASS Pyramid Sea Salt
and Peppercorn Mix, to taste
Finishing options: vomFASS Red Pepper, Basil, or Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil; Aceto Balsamico di Famiglia or Maletti
Preheat oven to 425°. Slice tomatoes and place onto paper towels to draw out some of the liquid. Combine Parmesan and Pesto. Spread in a thin layer onto crust. Top with tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, salt and pepper. Bake 10 – 12 minutes. Individuals may finish as desired with a drizzle of oils, vinegars or spices.
Whisky BBQ, Steak & Bleu Cheese Pizza
1 10-inch pizza or flatbread crust
1 jar vomFASS Whisky BBQ Sauce ¼ C. finely grated parmesan
¼ C. Bleu cheese crumbles
½ C. grilled or broiled steak strips (leftovers or from deli)
¼ C. Balsamic Glazed Onions
½ C. broccoli, cut into small pieces and steamed for 2 minutes vomFASS Himalayan Sea Salt and Peppercorn Mix, to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine BBQ sauce and Parmesan cheese. Spread in a thin layer onto crust. Top with beef, Bleu cheese, broccoli, balsamic onions and seasonings. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes.