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.

Advertisements

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.
 

Olive Oil & Vinegar for Breakfast

The most surprising things people learn in our cooking classes is that oil and vinegar aren’t just for salads. We use them as flavor and wellness enhancements to every meal of the day + snacks and beverages! Today we share two recipes that will perk up a yogurt parfait with flavorful, lasting energy to get you through the morning. Make a double batch and package some in half-pint jars to give as a cute and healthy gift!

Honey Lemon Granola

Lemon Honey Granola Recipe vomFASS Mall of America
Layer plain Greek Yogurt with Honey Lemon Granola and fresh berries for a flavorful and satisfying breakfast! And if you’re lucky enough to get it served to you by an attractive attendant, more power to you!

Ingredients

2 C. gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats
½ C. sliced or slivered almonds, walnut pieces or other favorite nuts or seeds
2 T. brown sugar, packed
Light sprinkle of vomFASS Sea Salt
¼ t. vomFASS Cinnamon
2 T. vomFASS Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 T. vomFASS Forest Honey
2 T. white sugar
2 t. pure vanilla extract (we used our homemade vanilla extract made with vanilla beans and aged rum)
¼ C. Dried fruit, such as raisins, craisins, chopped apricots, etc. (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 300°. Line a jelly roll pan (about 10.5″x15.5″) with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir together oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the olive oil, honey and white sugar. Bring to a simmer over low heat stirring constantly with a whisk to dissolve sugar. Once mixture comes together and simmers about 30 seconds, remove from heat. Whisk in the vanilla.

Pour hot mixture over oats mixture. Stir well. Spread granola on prepared pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir mixture once or twice during the baking time. Remove granola from oven. If you want to add dried fruit, do so now. Cool granola completely. For smaller chunks, stir several times while it cools. When cool, break granola into desired size. Store in an airtight container.

Honey Balsamic Glazed Almonds (or other nuts!)

IngredientsYogurt Parfait Granola Glazed Almonds Breakfast Recipe vomFASS Mall of America

2 C. Almonds or other nuts
¼ C. vomFASS Honey Balsamic Star Vinegar
2 t. vomFass Grape Kernel Oil
light sprinkle of vomFass Pyramid Sea Salt, ground

Directions

In a nonstick skillet (I like to use cast iron for this, for even heat), bring honey balsamic and oil to boiling over medium heat.  Stir in nuts. Lower heat and cook 3 minutes stirring constantly until liquid evaporates. Sprinkle salt over nuts.  Cook a few more minutes, stirring constantly to keep from scorching, until nuts are well-coated. Remove from heat.  Spread nuts onto parchment paper.  Cool completely.  Break nuts apart.  Store covered tightly at room temperature. Enjoy as a snack, on salads or on a yogurt parfait, as pictured.

Easter Brunch at Home

You can fight the crowds of people Sunday morning for a turn at Easter brunch in a restaurant. Or, you can make this easy, delicious and healthy brunch at home while in your PJs, with your favorite music streaming and sipping on a glass of bubbly!

Here’s our suggestion: Asparagus + Manchego Cheese Omelets – Serves 4Brunch at Home Omelet Asparagus vomFASS Mall of America

Ingredients

1 lb asparagus
8 eggs
1 C. Manchego cheese, grated
vomFASS ingredients:
Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Garlic Pepper Whole Blend
Herb Garlic Sunflower Oil
Pyramid Sea Salt
Indian Green Peppercorns

Tomatoes, avocado, or green onions for garnish.

Directions

Heat oven to broil. Wash asparagus and snap off tough ends. Blanch asparagus for 2 minutes in a steam basket over boiling water in a large saucepan. Then rinse asparagus in cold water to stop cooking. Pat dry on paper towels. (You can blanch a day in advance and hold in a container or zipper bag in the refrigerator until the next morning.) Place spears on aluminum foil lined baking pan with Asparagus Grilled Vegetarian vomFASS Mall of Americasides. Drizzle with Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil, turning spears to coat evenly with oil. Crack Garlic Pepper Whole Blend generously onto spears. Broil for 4 minutes on top rack of oven. (If your grill is free from its snow bank, use that instead of broiling!) Hold asparagus in oven on low, or turn oven off to hold while making eggs.

Make omelets two eggs at a time. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk. Add 1 T. water and a pinch of Pyramid Sea Salt, groundProsecco vomFASS Mall of America or crumbled with fingers, and a grind or two of Green Indian Peppercorns and whisk again. Heat Herb Garlic Sunflower Oil in an omelet pan or small non-stick saute pan over medium high heat until oil is hot. Add eggs, reduce heat to low and cook until set but not dry. A cover can help get the center set. Slide omelet onto plate and put in oven to hold with asparagus. Cook the remaining omelets. Assemble with asparagus, add grated 1/4 cup grated cheese to each omelet, saving some for garnish. Add other garnishes desired.

Pair with sparkling wine, such as our beautiful Sentio Prosecco from Italy, on its own or add orange juice for a Mimosa. Enjoy!

Simplify: instead of omelets, simply scramble the eggs all at once and serve with asparagus on the side and grate cheese over all.

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.