2017 Community Giving – Q1

One thing I love about being a small business owner is being able to pursue my passion for teaching people how to create easy, delicious and healthy meals for the benefit of our community.

In the first quarter of 2017, we donated more than $4,500 retail value in gift baskets, products and class tickets to silent auctions and other events sponsored by 13 different local non-profit organizations and schools. Our gifts have supported local children, people who suffer with chronic disease or mental illness, and veterans, to name a few. 

I’m especially delighted to support Touchstone Mental Health programs and clients. I’m a member of Touchstone’s board of directors and I’m so impressed with their programs and impact on our community and individuals affected by mental illness! 

We can’t support this many requests every quarter, but if your organization’s need meets our Community Support Criteria, we would be happy to hear from you. We especially enjoy supporting causes that are important to our customers.

We will be working on the list below to add links to the organization’s webpages, where possible, so you can learn more about the good they are doing in this world. Perhaps you’ll find one that you’d like to support along with us! 

Organizations / communities supported in 2017 – Q1
Forget-Me-Not2
German American Institute
Diving a Dream
Normandale Community College
Math and Science Academy
Bethany Academy
Second Harvest Heartland
RSTEM Ladies Night In Vendor Fair
Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs
Jefferson Jive
Spare Key
Rockin for Rescues
A Heart for Nick
Touchstone Mental Health
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Chili Mango Shrimp & Sautéed Green Beans

The food has to been delicious and satisfying, especially when I’m giving my img_1503body a break from carbs and sugars! I see it as an opportunity to step up my menu planning to meet the challenge. So far, so very good!

Chili Mango Shrimp  Serves 4

Ingredients
24 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 T. vomFASS Chili Sunflower Oil (may substitute Lemon EVOO for all or part of Chili Oil for less spicy)
2 T. vomFASS Mango Balsamic Star
1 clove minced garlic
½ t. vomFASS Texas BBQ spice blend
½ t. vomFASS Himalayan Sea Salt
Freshly ground vomFASS Garlic Pepper Whole Blend, to taste
Cilantro, chopped, as garnish

Directions
Combine oil, vinegar, garlic, half the salt and a few cranks of pepper in a glass bowl with cover or zip top bag. Add shrimp and marinate 15 – 20 minutes. Do not marinate longer, as shrimp will break down in the acidity.  Empty contents of bag or bowl into hot stir-fry pan. Toss just until cooked through. Finish with additional sea salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately or chill to serve as an appetizer. In the unlikely event of leftovers, try tossing with salad greens and drizzle with a dressing of oil and vinegar.

Garlic Sautéed Green Beans Serves 4

Ingredients
1 lb. Fresh green beans
2 T. vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
vomFASS Danish Smoked Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly ground vomFASS Garlic Pepper Whole Blend, to taste

Directions
Steam green beans to tender crisp, about 3 – 4 minutes. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium burner. When the oil is shimmery, add green beans. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until beans are lightly browned/blackened.

Cara Mia Hot Chocolate

Yes, I have made certain New Year’s resolutions that align better with salads than hot caramiahotchocchocolate, but I believe that dolce decadence has a place in my definition of a quality lifestyle, more or less in moderation! And it incorporated one of our newest delicious liqueurs – Cara Mia Caramel Vodka! This recipe will go a long way toward inspiring gratitude for winter!

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 – 4 shots of vomFASS Cara Mia caramel liqueur, to taste

Whipped cream topping

  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T. powdered sugar
  • ½ t. vanilla
  • vomFASS Cinnamon, ground, for garnish

Directions

Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn’t scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Whip cream with mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla. Divide hot chocolate between 4 mugs. Add Cara Mia liqueur. Top with whipped cream and garnish with cinnamon. Enjoy!

Gourmet Pizza

Use your leftover rotisserie chicken or roasted turkey in this easy, delicious pizza recipe!

Chicken Flatbread Pizza with White Cheddar Alfredo

Makes 2 pizzas

2 pre-made Flatbread Pizza Crusts (gluten or gluten-free)flatbread
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
½ cup White Cheddar Alfredo Sauce (recipe follows) or purchased Alfredo sauce
½ cup Balsamic Glazed Onions (recipe follows)
½ cup fresh spinach, chopped
Vom Fass Truffle or Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil – for drizzling
½ – ¾ cup Italian Blend shredded cheese (optional)
Optional toppings – fresh tomatoes, olives, roasted red pepper, asparagus

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare pizza pan or cookie sheet with a very light coating of cooking spray.

Lay flatbread crusts on pan.  Spread a thin layer of Alfredo sauce onto each flatbread crust.  Layer on chicken or turkey, balsamic glazed onions, and spinach.  Add any additional toppings if desired.  Do not overload flatbread pizza. Top with shredded cheese, if desired.

Bake flatbread pizza for 10 minutes, or until crust is crispy and toppings are heated thoroughly.

Drizzle with Truffle or Basil oil before serving.

White Cheddar Alfredo Sauce  (approximately 1 cup sauce)

1 cup Heavy Cream or Half & Half

¼ cup Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature

½ tsp vomFASS Porcini and Tartufi Spice Blend

½ cup shredded white cheddar cheese

In saucepan over medium-low heat, warm cream and cream cheese.  As it heats, whisk until smooth.  Add spice blend and mix well.  Bring to slight simmer, but do not boil.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add cheese, whisking until smooth.  Set aside until ready to use.

Balsamic Glazed Onions

2 large Vidalia or other sweet onions, thinly sliced

¼ cup vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¼ – ½ tsp vomFASS Sea Salt

¼ tsp pepper

¼ cup vomFASS Aceto Balsamico di Modena Platinum Vinegar

½ tsp brown sugar

In medium-sized sauté pan, heat oil over medium-low heat.  Add onions, salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Cook slowly to softened and lightly brown – about 10 – 15 minutes.

In small bowl, combine the balsamic and brown sugar.  When onions are soft and lightly brown, add balsamic mixture to the pan.  Stir to coat and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

It’s Chili Season!

When the temperature drops below freezing, I turn to one of my favorite types of meals – soup. This classic Chili con Carne recipe is so simple and quick – not to mention delicious! Easy to convert to vegetarian/vegan – just eliminate or replace the meat with a vegan substitute and leave off the cheese garnish or use a vegan cheese. And if you’re cooking for only two, the leftovers are even better the next day! Enjoy!

Classic Chili – Serves 4

1/2 pound ground beef or turkeychili.jpg
1 medium onion, diced
1 can red kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
3 C. tomato juice (I used 3 cups of a jarred spaghetti sauce that I deemed too thin to use as a pasta sauce)
1 T vomFASS Chili con Carne spice blend (or more, to taste)
vomFASS Sea Salt and Peppercorn Mix, ground, to taste
Shredded cheese, sour cream or other toppings for garnish and flavor.

Brown the meat over medium heat, breaking up into crumbles with spoon as you stir. If using turkey or very lean beef, coat the pan with chili sunflower oil and preheat pan before adding meat.  If there is a lot of excess fat in the pan after browning meat, drain it off. Add the remaining ingredients (I did not drain and rinse the beans). Heat over medium-high heat until bubbling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to bloom flavors. Dish up and enjoy!

Squash – Autumn’s Culinary Star

Pick the orange squash most readily available to you, and make it the center of your fall and winter menu planning! Acorn, butternut, pumpkin – all relatively inexpensive, plentiful, loaded with Vitamins A & C, and delicious in so many different ways. You can buy it whole, at the farmer’s market or grocery store to peel and cube yourself, or take a shortcut and buy it already cubed.

We loved this pasta dish I threw together yesterday for a potluck with friends.img_9598

Fall Pasta

Ingredients
2 lbs cubed squash (butternut, acorn or pumpkin)
2 T. vomFASS Herb Garlic Sunflower Oil
2 t. vomFASS Bruschetta alla Toscana spice blend
1/2 t. vomFASS Peppercorn Mix
1 Box pasta (I used gluten free rotini)
1 T. vomFASS Rosemary Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 T. toasted pine nuts
Finely grated parmesan cheese

Directions
Toss squash in sunflower oil and spices. Roast in a 400 degree oven on a baking sheet for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring about halfway through roasting time.  Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta and toss with Rosemary EVOO. Add roasted squash, pine nuts and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with parmesan.

Lots of easy flavor variations, simply using different vomFASS spice blends and oils.

Vegetarian, as described. Easy to make gluten free by using GF pasta. Easy to make vegan by using egg-free pasta and deleting or replacing parmesan with a vegan substitute.

 

 

Fall party recipes

Thanks to my friend and vomFASS colleague Melissa B, owner of vomFASS Des Moines, for the inspiration for these fun recipes for witches, goblins and scary clowns. Well maybe not scary clowns! I think they were axed from the season this year. I won’t miss them at my party, will you? 🙂

Morgue-a-rita – 1 serving

1/2 oz vomFASS Mango Balsam Vinegar
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz vomFASS Passion Fruit simple syrup
1 oz Tequila
1 oz vomFASS Blood Orangecello
vomFASS Basil Citrus Sea Salt, for rimming glass.
vomFASS Grenadine for goulish garnish.

Mix ingredients in a shaker and serve on the rocks, in a salt rimmed glass, and garnish by dripping grenadine down sides of glass. This recipe is easy to multiple in a batch for a crowd.

Ghostly Guacamole! Serves 4 – 6 mango_guacamole_rs

2 ripe avocados
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Tomato, diced
1 Jalapeno Pepper, finely minced
2 Tbsp vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar
1/8 tsp cumin
vomFASS sea salt and Peppercorn Mix, to taste

Slice avocado in half and remove pit. Scoop avocado into medium bowl and coarsely smash with a fork, leaving some chunks. Add remaining ingredients to bowl, stirring gently to incorporate.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately or chill for up to 1 hour with plastic wrap placed directly on top to seal out air.

Deadly Delicious Pumpkin Soup Serves 4 – 6pumpkinOilonSoup.png

1/2 Medium Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 slices Bacon, minced
3  Anchovies (optional)
2 T vomFASS Chili Oil
1 small Pie Pumpkin (3-4#)
2 Mangoes
1/4 cup vomFASS Mango Balsam Vinegar
4 cup Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 T. vomFASS African Rub Seasoning
vomFASS Salt and Pepper to taste
1 T vomFASS Styrian Pumpkin Seed Oil

Halve and seed the pumpkin. Place cut side down on a baking sheet with 1/4c water and place into a preheated 400° F oven. Cook the pumpkin for 40 -45 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. In a 2 qt pot over medium heat add the chili oil, anchovies, bacon, garlic, and onion. Sautee until the onions are translucent. Peel, seed and dice the mangoes. Add the mangoes and African Rub seasoning to the pot. Continue to cook stirring occasionally until the bacon gets slightly crisp. Remove from the heat and add the Mango Balsam Vinegar. In a food processor place the peeled roasted pumpkin, the contents of the 2 qt pot, and 1 cup of stock. Puree until smooth., add more stock as needed. Return the mixture to the pot and place over medium heat. Adjust the consistency to taste with the stock, then season with salt and pepper. When serving the soup, drizzle a small amount of Styrian Pumpkin Seed oil over the top.