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.

Week 1 Menu for Foodie Football Fans

It’s football season! Which means it’s party season. Regardless of whether you’re intently watching every play, or find the commercials more entertaining than first downs – we’re all big fans of football party food!

Week 1 image

Each week of the regular season, we will publish a suggested menu and recipes for entertaining the gang – whether you’ve got the game on or not! Our tip for the week: keep it simple so you can enjoy your guests – and the game – as much as they enjoy noshing on easy, delicious (psst – and healthy!) food featuring vomFASS olive oils, vinegars, spices, liqueurs, wines and spirits!

Argentina BBQ Toasted Almonds Serves 12almonds

Ingredients

3 T. vomFASS Argentina BBQ spice blend
2 T. vomFASS Pepone Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 C. raw almonds

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the spice blend and olive oil in a medium bowl. Add almonds and toss to coat. Spread onto a sheet pan. Bake about 15 – 20 minutes or until almonds are toasted, stirring twice. Cool almonds completely before serving. Store in airtight container up to 5 days.

Ham & Cheese Pinwheels Serves 16 (two each)

IngredientsIMG_4990

½ lb. deli ham
½ lb. Cheese of choice, thin sliced
4 large flour tortillas or sandwich wraps (gluten free, optional)
Veggies of choice, sliced very thin
1/3 C. mayonnaise
2 T. vomFASS Walla Walla Onion Mustard
1 or more jars vomFASS Chutney: Mango, Raspberry, Fig

Directions

Mix mayo and mustard. Spread a thin layer onto a tortilla, all the way to edges.  Work on just one tortilla at a time, keeping the others in original packaging or a plastic zipper bag. Place ham, cheese and veggies onto tortilla, leaving about an inch of tortilla uncovered on the side that will be the outside edge. The mayo/mustard mixture will help keep the edge sealed. Roll up the tortilla. Cut into about 8 one inch pinwheels. Keep finished pinwheels covered in plastic wrap until ready to serve. Place an appetizer knife or small spoon into each chutney jar, or transfer contents to a condiment sized serving bowl for guests to use as garnish for their pinwheels. Enjoy!

Veggie / Chip Dip

Ingredients

1 C. plain Greek yogurt or sour creamveggie tray vomFASS Mall of America Minnesota Food
3 T. vomFASS Fried Potato Spice
2 t. vomFASS Spanish Red Wine Vinegar

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Serve with your favorite veggies or chips. May be made a day or two in advance.

Balsamic Grilled Peaches on a Stick Serves 8

Ingredients

2 peaches, halved and pitted
¼ C. vomFASS Pepone Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ C. vomFASS Aceto Balsamico Maletti
½ C. plain Greek yogurt
1 dropper liquid Stevia with vanilla
¼ C. Pistachios, crushed
8 six-inch skewers (if using wood skewers, soak in water for 15 minutes)

Directions

Pre-heat grill or oven to 450 degrees. Wash and dry peaches. Cut them into quarters and dispose of pits. Spear each peach quarter onto a skewer. Place on baking pan with edges, brush with olive oil. Grill or roast for 4 – 5 minutes, turning half way through. Brush or drizzle with Maletti. Grill or broil another 3 – 4 minutes. In the meantime, stir Stevia into yogurt. Remove peaches from heat and place on serving dishes or tray. Add a dollop of yogurt to each peach, garnish with pistachios. May be grilled ahead of time and served chilled. Enjoy!

Apple Whiskey Sour Serves 1 / Serves about 16 Bourbon Apple Cider

Ingredients

1 ½ oz./ 750 ml vomFASS American Whiskey
1 T. / 1 C. vomFASS Apple Balsamic
2 oz./ 4 ¼ C. apple cider

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Fill with ice for a short shake. Pour into a rocks glass serve with a twist of apple peel. May be batched ahead of time and refrigerated for serving to a crowd on the rocks.

 

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.

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.

Simply sophisticated basil pesto

Pesto pasta always seemed so much more exotic to me than a red sauce, or even Alfredo. When I finally decided to make it myself, I was amazed at how easy it is! If you have a mountain of basil to use or freeze before Mother Nature nips it with frost – or if you have a great farmer’s market or local grocery that can supply it, I encourage you to make a batch to eat immediately, and another one or two for freezing.

Pesto pasta is one of my granddaughter Olivia’s favorite meals, and she’s asked me to img_9206make it for her birthday the past few years. Now she knows how to make it too!

Basil Pesto

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2/3 cup vomFASS extra-virgin olive oil, divided
vomFASS Pyramid Sea Salt and freshly ground Peppecorn Mix, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese

Very briefly blanch the fresh basil in very hot water to set the bright green color (thanks for the tip, Splendid Table!) Dry the basil in a salad spinner or on paper towels. Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the olive oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese. If you are using it on pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of hot pasta water and add to pesto to melt cheese and liquify enough to easily coat the pasta. Add pasta and toss to coat. I like also like to marinate chicken or shrimp in pesto before grilling.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Stir in cheese after thawing.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this pesto as much as Olivia and I did!