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! ūüôā

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 ‚Äď Salad

1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained
1 ¬Ĺ 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 РSpicy Honey Mustard DressingPotato-Salad-For-A-Crowd_vomFASS

¬ľ C. vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¬ľ 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

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
¬Ĺ 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)
¬Ĺ 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)
¬Ĺ C. blue cheese crumbles
¬Ĺ 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 ¬Ĺ 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
¬Ĺ Loaf of French, Italian or gluten free bread (great way to use bread that is a couple days old)
¬ľ C vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 ¬Ĺ tsp. Viola‚Äôs Mia Mama seasoning or vomFASS Pyramid Sea Salt and Peppercorn Mix

Directions
Heat oven to 400 degrees.Cut bread into 1 ¬Ĺ 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!!! ūüôā

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 ¬Ĺ inch to ¬ľ 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 ‚Äď 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

¬ľ C. plain Greek yogurtroasted vegetables with remoulade vomfass mall of america
¬ľ C. mayonnaise
1 T. capers, rinsed and chopped
¬Ĺ 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¬įF. 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

¬ĺ C. vomFASS White Balsamic

¬ľ 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‚Äô 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¬†‚ÄúCanning Basics‚ÄĚ 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? ¬Ü¬Ü

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‚Äô Caprese Salt or to taste
  • 1 t. Violas‚Äô Pepper with Herbs, or to taste
  • ¬ľ C. vomFASS San Domenico Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 ‚Äď 2 T. vomFASS Herb Garlic Sunflower Oil OR Chili Sunflower Oil
  • 1 jar vomFASS Sun-dried Tomatoes            
  • ¬Ĺ C. chopped sweet onion         
  • ¬Ĺ 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. Saut√© onion and pepper with sunflower oil over medium high heat, just until tender crisp. Add garlic and saut√© 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 saut√©ed veggie mixture, along with about ¬Ĺ 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.

Drinking Local: All Things Minnesota

Pictured: Minnesota in June

Ah, the North. Home to hot dish, Spam sandwiches and sub zero temperatures for 13 months out of the year. It’s like Winterfell but the locals have a different accent, dontcha know. Yes the food is weird and the weather feels like it should be spelled in all capitals but there’s a lot more happening here beyond those two talking points! For one, (and the focus of this week’s post) Minnesota is home to a healthy amount of distilleries, breweries and scenic wineries. After all, we need something to warm us up in the winter and to keep us cool in the summer!

Outside of the high quality, small batch and craft distilled products under the vomFASS label, we also stock quite a few MN products!

Vino:

Carlos Creek winery in Alexandria, Minnesota, (easy to find, hard to leave) has been producing wine since 1999. Here at vomFASS in Mall of America, you can track down a number of their products available for purchase. Minnescato is an inspired homage to the much loved Moscato. It sparkles, she’s sweet and any hot dish would be lucky to pair with this wine made from local Minnesota grown grapes. For red wine lovers who don’t have that sweet tooth, Carlos Creek produces a Marquette from the grape of the same name which was developed by the University of Minnesota…It really doesn’t get more Minnesotan than that.

Also on our shelves you can find Round Lake Vineyards Frontenac Gris and Brianna. Two semi sweet options made for those long summer nights up at the cabin. Brianna has a decidedly tropical personality while the Frontenac Gris is packed with explosive notes of cranberry. Round Lake Vineyards is located just North of the Iowa border but that doesn’t stop them from frequently visiting us to drop off a sample bottle or two, come on in and give their wine a try!

Beer & Cider:

Beer is my first love. I’ve never met a brew I didn’t like. Okay maybe not that habanero IPA I had in Manhattan but that’s neither here nor there. A local Minneapolis Brewery, Boom Island, stole our hearts here at vomFASS Twin Cities. We carry their Dubbel, Tripel, Quad and Saison Belgian style ales as well as their Russian imperial stout, ‘Kollusion’ which is made with Dunn Bros. coffee and aged in Tennessee Whiskey barrels. Seriously consider picking some of this up, I don’t know where else this is still in stock other than our shelves.

Our Ciders are from Milk & Honey out of Cold Springs. “Alchemy,” an ice cider made from MN’s own Chestnut crab, is mellowed in bourbon barrels and sports a hearty, sweet and smooth personality. We also carry four other drier sparkling ciders also from Milk & Honey. If you’re on the lookout for ciders with a bit more depth and less of that alcoholic apple juice quality, be sure to check out the Milk & Honey products in our store!

The Hard Stuff:

Far North Spirits, Panther Distillery, Vikre Distillery and Rockfilter Distillery. All hand picked by us to stand tall on our shelves here at MOA in Bloomington.

Far North Spirits you will find…well, far north up in Hallock, MN. Basically put your toes in Canada and fall backwards and you’ll land in Hallock. We carry their Nordic style spiced rum, “Alander” and it would seem like the distillers unlocked the secret of distilling holidays because this tastes just like Christmas. Also on our shelves is ‘Roknar’ a rye whiskey from Far North (which we will be discussing more in next week’s post all about rye) that was bottled specifically for vomFASS after we tasted through their single barrels and picked our favorite! Panther Distillery from Osakis, MN, near the dead center of the state is well represented on our shelves. We carry “Saint Paul,” a three year old straight Bourbon, “Pike Street, which is another three year old bourbon, as well as “Spiked Apple” and “Minnesota 14 Maple” which are both sweeter and flavored two year old corn whiskeys. Vikre up in Duluth utilizes water from the mighty Lake Superior to produce their alcohol. If you are a fan of gin or absinthe or just happen to be a curious drinker, come in for a sample of ‘Ovrevann’. Meaning Lake Superior or Upper Lake in Norwegian, ‘Ovrevann’ is Vikre’s Aquavit. Definitely worth a taste. Finally from as far south and as far east as you can go here in the North Star state you’ll find Rockfilter Distillery in Spring Grove, MN. We carry their two year old bourbon, ‘Giants of the Earth’ which has a mash bill made up of corn, winter rye and sorghum. This one is for the fans of the bolder bourbons.

Minnesota is home to a hard working bunch. Here at vomFASS in MOA we stock the fruits of all that labor. I find that Rockfilter’s mission statement says it best:

“Our Norwegian ancestors fled a cold, hard place for a colder, harder place. It didn’t make them bitter, just busy. Like them, we continue to make the best of it. We farm. We make bourbon. Happily ever after.”

Whichever Minnesota beverage you choose to enjoy this summer, take a moment to appreciate who made it and where it came from. Happy drinking everyone. Skol!

Will O’Reilly is a Minnesota native who enjoys Minnesota spirits, wines and beers. Find him at vomFASS Twin Cities.

Delicious + Nutritious Tuscan Bean Soup

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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

Summer + Sangria = Sensational!

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. Sangria Summer Cocktails vomFASS Mall of America Tam

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 philosophy

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)Sangria
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

Preparation

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.

For more delicious, Sangria Recipes click here.Sangria

Enjoy!

Mediterranean Lifestyle Cooking Class June 26, 2018

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

Mediterranean Diet Cooking Class vomFASS Mall of America Mark Kathy
Nice job on that colorful, flavorful salad, Mark & Kathy!

2 T. Spicy Honey Mustard Dressing (recipe below)
¬Ĺ C. Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¬ĺ C. Small red potatoes, steamed, chilled and and cubed
¬Ĺ 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

¬Ĺ C. vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Potato Salad Minnesota Food vomFASS Mall of America
This colorful salad is as nutritious as it is delicious! Great for the MN summer vegetable bounty! 

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 

Directions

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

Ingredients

Mediterranean Diet Cooking Class vomFASS Mall of America Andy Susie
Andy and Susie joined us during their Twin Cities vacation, from Illinois!

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
¬Ĺ C. chopped walnuts
1 red bell pepper, chopped
¬ľ C. fresh parsley, chopped
2 T. vomFASS Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Red Pepper Extra Virgin Olive Oil
if you prefer spicier
¬ľ 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

Directions

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, pepper, carrots and water chestnuts. Reduce heat to low, cover pan

Black Eyed Pea Lettuce Wraps Mediterranean Diet Cooking Class vomFASS Mall of America
Black-eyed pea and walnut lettuce wraps make a great appetizer or meatless main dish. I loved the leftovers with Paul Blisson Rosé from vomFASS.

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 ¬ľ cup of the mixture into each lettuce leaf.¬† Fold the leaves in half and eat taco-style. vomFASSified from Oldwayspt.org

Balsamic Watermelon Salad Serves 6

Ingredients

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 

Directions

Mediterranean Diet Cooking Class vomFASS Mall of America Father Daughter
Tiffany knew her dad, George, would love the gift of a cooking class Рand quality time with her! 

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 Dessert Serves 6

Ingredients

vomFASS Star Forest Raspberry Balsamic
vomFASS Pistachio Oil

vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt

Directions

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!)