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!

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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)
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

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
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

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 ¼ 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 – and 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!)

 

Easy Risotto and Fish Dinner

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 recipes fish risotto olive oil vomFASS Mall of America

Easy pan-fried or grilled fish 

Ingredients

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

Directions

Heat a sauté pan with Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat. Add fish fillet(s), fish recipe vomFASS Mall of America Minnesota Food 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

Ingredients

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)

Directions

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.
 

Summer Harvest Menu #1

My favorite foodie time of year has arrived – summer harvest! It’s the perfect time to explore new easy, delicious and healthy veggie dishes. It’s also a great time to host a laid-back, al fresco dinner party for all the friends you’ve been meaning to connect with this summer. The recipes from our EDH Meals cooking class this week are great additions to a late summer party menu!

Baba Ghannooj Serves 8eggplant
(Inspired by Barbara Stafford’s Eclectic Entertaining cookbook.) 

Ingredients 

2 large eggplants
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
4 t. minced roasted garlic
2 T. vomFASS Sesame Oil
¼ C. vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar
2 t. vomFASS Asia Tandoori spice blend
1 t. vomFASS Himalayan Sea Salt
Parsley, cilantro or diced tomatoes for garnish
Pita bread, corn chips and/or veggies for dipping, such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, cucumber, zucchini, bell peppers.

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake eggplant about 40 minutes until soft. Cool, peel, cube. Process all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Taste and adjust salt, as needed. Serve at room temp with crackers, pita bread or veggies.

Charred Corn Salad with Basil Vinaigrette Serves 6 – 8
(Inspired by Kelly Nixon’s recipe on The Cooking Channel

Ingredients

Charred corn salad Minnesota Food vomFASS Mall of America
Photo credit: The Cooking Channel

6 – 8 ears fresh corn on the cob, shucked
1 small red onion, diced
1 ½ C. packed fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. vomFASS Herb Garlic Sunflower Oil
vomFASS Danish Smoked Sea Salt
and Peppercorn Mix
¼ C. vomFASS Apple Balsamic Vinegar
¼ C. vomFASS Pepone Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 (10-ounce) container small heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions

Preheat grill to 450 degrees. Brush or rub each cob with Sunflower Oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the corn on the hot grill and char each side, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set corn aside until cool enough to handle. Stand each ear up, stalk end down, in a wide, shallow bowl and, using your knife, slice the corn kernels off the cob.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a food processor, add the basil and garlic and pulse until the basil starts to break down. Add the vinegar. Continue pulsing while adding the oil in a steady stream and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine corn, tomatoes and onion. Drizzle the vinaigrette over salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Vegetable Medley Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients

5 cups assorted vegetables, cut into bite sized pieces, such as:
Broccoli, Cauliflower and carrots OR
Zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper and onion
vomFASS Porcini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
vomFASS Argentina BBQ spice blend, to taste
vomFASS Aceto Balsamico di Famiglia

Directions

Place vegetables in large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Spread onto baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with seasonings.  Roast at 450 degrees until tender-crisp (10 minutes for porous veggies, up to 20 minutes for more dense veggies). Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Tapas – vomFASS style Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients

Corn tortillas
vomFASS Porcini Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or your choice)
1 – 2 Avocados
Cheese of choice, shredded or crumbled (optional)
Baba Ghannooj or hummus, roasted veggies, charred corn salad, shredded pork or chicken, or steak strips (ask about marinating ideas!)tapas Minnesota food vomFASS Mall of America

Directions

Heat corn tortillas on grill or in oven or microwave. Keep warm bet ween two plates or other covered dish. Top with Baba Ghannooj, roasted veggies, Charred Corn Salad, cheese and/or toppings of choice. Add seasonings to taste: Sea Salt, Pepper, Asia Tandoori, Argentina BBQ, etc.

Honey Balsamic Pears with Walnut Oil and Gorgonzola Serves 4

Ingredients

2 pears, halved and cored
¼ C. vomFASS Pepone EVOO
¼ C. vomFASS Honey Balsamic Star
¼ C. vomFASS Walnut Oil
2 T. Gorgonzola Cheese crumbles
1 t. vomFASS Chai Masala

Directions

Place pears and Chai Masala on a pan, brush with olive oil. Grill, cut side down, for 4 – 5honey balsamic pears recipe Minnesota food vomFASS Mall of America minutes. Turn and grill another 3 – 4 minutes. Remove pears from heat and place on serving dishes. Add gorgonzola, drizzle with Honey Balsamic Star and Walnut Oil.

Alternative for a crowd: cut pears into large cubes. Combine pears, olive oil, vinegar and Chai Masala in bowl. Place on a pan and grill or roast until tender crisp. Transfer pears and juices to serving bowl and toss with Walnut Oil and Gorgonzola. Dish up in dessert bowls or cups.

Wine pairing recommendations: Tempranillo, Chianti or Lambrusco, all available at vomFASS at Mall of America.

Easy Summer Party Food

It’s summer in Minnesota, and if your calendar looks like mine, it’s clear that we all try to IMG_3005pack in as many gatherings as possible with family and friends during the social season – otherwise known as summer, a.k.a. road construction season. And to me, socializing goes hand in hand with fabulous food and drink!

I’ve noticed that my cooking class recipes have had a certain Summer theme: Food and drinks that are fast and easy (because our summers are SUPER busy!), don’t require much heat to prepare (because it IS occasionally hot in Minnesota!), and include ingredients that can be left out for a couple hours at an outdoor party without spoiling (olive oil, balsamic vinegars and spices are great for that!) Of COURSE these dishes are delicious, because otherwise, what’s the point?! (psst! don’t tell anyone they’re pretty healthy, too!)IMG_3003

So here is the handout from one of my recent cooking classes: Mediterranean Lifestyle Summer Party Recipes. Three quick and easy party food recipes and three yummy sangria recipes to get you started on your summer party menu planning. By the way, there are LOTS more recipes from my classes, so if you need more ideas, just stop by vomFASS at Mall of America or call us at (952) 426-3222. Ask to speak to someone about ideas for putting vomFASS products to work on a SMASH HIT menu for your next social gathering, whether you’re hosting or just bringing a dish to pass!

Happy Summer Socializing, fellow foodies!