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.

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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.

Mediterranean Lifestyle: Tapas, por favor!

This week’s Mediterranean Lifestyle Cooking Class at vomFASS in Mall of America put the spotlight on Spain and their delightfully delicious tradition of tapas.

Tapas are a variety of small savory Spanish dishes, often served as a snack with drinks, or with other tapas as a meal. To “tapear,” going from bar to bar for drinks and tapas, is an essential part of the social culture of Spain, especially in the south. Learn more about tapas in this great guide to tapas bars and restaurants in Sevilla.

 

Tapas are perfect appetizers for your summer parties, or serve several for a “small plates” dinner party. Pair them with one or more of our Spanish wines currently in stock. I especially love Cava or Tempranillo with these dishes. These recipes were a huge hit in class this week (and vomFASS staff scarfed up the leftovers very quickly!). I hope you enjoy them as well! And I invite you to join us in a future cooking class. Check out our schedule.  Call us at 952-426-3222 to order the vomFASS products included in these recipes.

Tater Tapas Serves 8 – 10

15-20 mini potatoes

Tapas Cooking Class Potatoes Tom vomFASS Mall of America
Tom did a great job of demonstrating how easy it is to create Tater Tapas!

¼ C. Manchego Cheese, finely shredded
¼ C. vomFASS Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
vomFASS Sea Salt & Pepper
¼ C. Sour cream or Plain Greek Yogurt
½ t. vomFASS Fried Potato Spice
3 green scallions, tops cut on a diagonal

Fill stock pot with enough water to cover potatoes, add a teaspoon of sea salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 5 – 10 minutes, depending on the size of potatoes (do not overcook).  Strain and cool enough to handle or refrigerate up to 4 days before using.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using a paring knife, cut each potato with 3 to 4 slices halfway through. Place potatoes on baking sheet. Drizzle with Truffle oil. Sprinkle with cheese, salt & pepper. Roast until slightly brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. While roasting potatoes, combine Fried Potato Spice and sour cream or yogurt. Remove potatoes from oven and cool slightly. Top with a tiny dollop of sour cream/yogurt mixture and garnish with scallions before serving.

Tuna & Red Pepper Toasts Serves 12

½ C. mayonnaise

Tapas Cooking Class Tuna vomFASS Mall of America
Jake demonstrated impressive kitchen skills as he showed the class how to create delicious Tuna & Red Pepper Toasts.

½ C. vomFASS Don Carlos Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided; more for serving
1 T. minced garlic
3 t. vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar, divided
2  – 7 oz. cans tuna, drained
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 T. small brined capers
3 T. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, divided
vomFASS Pyramid Sea Salt and freshly ground Peppercorn Mix, to taste
1 jar vomFASS Red Pepper Pesto
¼ C. Manchego Cheese, finely shredded
12 baguette slices, cut on a sharp bias Brush baguette slices with olive oil and lightly toast under a broiler or on a grill.

Combine mayo, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, 1 t. Calamansi Balsam Vinegar and sea salt, to taste. Set mixture aside for a moment or make in advance and refrigerate up to 2 days.

Combine Red Pepper Pesto with Manchego cheese and set aside.

Place tuna in a medium mixing bowl and break it up with a fork. Add to tuna: ¼ cup of the aioli you just made, minced shallot, 2 teaspoons Calamansi Balsam Vinegar, capers, 2 tablespoons minced parsley, and ¼ cup of olive oil. Fold mixture gently to incorporate all ingredients. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, adding more vinegar, olive oil, or aioli for flavor if desired.

Spread Red Pepper Pesto mixture in a thin layer onto toasted baguette slices. Arrange baguette slices on a serving board. Top them with a spoonful of tuna mixture, followed by a small dollop or drizzle of remaining aioli. Sprinkle with remaining parsley, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Serve immediately.

vomFASSified by Tamra Kramer, inspired by this recipe from Serious Eats.

Shrimp and Chorizo Flatbreads Serves 16

One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained, or 1 1/2 C. fresh diced tomatoes
2 T. vomFASS Don Carlos Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 T. vomFASS Forest Honey
1 T. vomFASS White Balsamic Vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t. vomFASS Aglio Olio Pepperoncino spice blend
vomFASS Sea Salt and freshly ground Peppercorn Mix
½ C. hummus (see recipe below)
4 pocketless pita breads
½ C. thinly sliced dry chorizo (2 ounces)
½ pound shelled and deveined cooked small shrimp
1 C. Manchego cheese, shredded
vomFASS Aceto Balsamico Maletti, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425°. In a medium bowl, mix tomatoes with olive oil, honey, vinegar, shallot, garlic, spice blend, salt and pepper. Stir in shrimp.

Spread hummus on pita breads. Top with chorizo and Manchego. Bake directly on the oven rack for about 4 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Transfer flatbreads to work surface. Using slotted spoon, top with tomato mix. Quarter flatbreads, drizzle with Maletti and serve.

vomFASSified by Tamra Kramer, inspired by this recipe on FoodandWine.com

Garlic Hummus

1 can chick peas, drained

Tapas Cooking Class Hummus vomFASS Mall of America
Nice job of making hummus for the first time, Pete! And what’s up with only the guys demonstrating recipes this week?!

2 T. vomFASS Toasted Sesame Oil
2 T. vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (more, as needed)
1 T. vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar
vomFASS Sea Salt, to taste

Directions

Using a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients. Slowly drizzle in more garlic olive oil while mixing, if needed, until desired consistency. Serve with corn chips, fresh veggies as a dip. Also good as a sandwich spread or pizza base sauce.

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!