Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gaucamole with Grapefruit White Balsamic

This recipe is an adaptation of a creation by our good friend, Esther the Zester. If you don’t know Esther, she is a food blogger who has graced us by incorporating our products into some of her fabulous recipes. She is a wonderful writer and very creative with her combinations – she cooks like we like to cook – clean & straightforward with great flavor from simple ingredients.

The brilliance of her guacamole recipe is the inclusion of our Ruby Red Grapefruit White Balsamic. It makes for a lighter, refreshing guacamole. The citrus makes it tangy and bright, but rich like a good guacamole at the same time.

We chose to simplify her original recipe for our recipe blog. She calls her creation a GaucaBLT, where she adds crisp bacon and shredded lettuce to the mix. You can find her complete version here.

One more note; the key to any good guacamole is the quality and ripeness of the avocado. We use only Haas avocados and prefer California when in season. To determine ripeness, gently squeeze without applying your fingertips as this can cause bruising. If ripe, the avocado yields to firm gentle pressure. If unripe the avocado does not yield to gentle pressure and it is considered still "firm”. Just hold off a few days and the avocado will become ripe.



Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits and scoop out the flesh and into a medium bowl. Add the lime juice and mash with a fork. If you have a potato masher, these work well, as you want to leave the avocado chunky. Add the tomato, cilantro, green onions and vinegar and mix gently. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes about 4 cups.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Salmon with Passion Fruit White Balsamic in Foil Pouches

If you have never tried cooking in a simple foil pouch, you are missing one of the easiest and tastiest ways to prepare delicious dishes. We like to use the technique for basic week night cooking, but it is also ideal for the backyard grill or camping trips. The best part? Cleanup is a breeze!

Fish works well because you end up cooking it in its own juices, making it hard to create a dry product. Other ideas for pouch cooking? Veggies (especially squash or corn), chicken, potatoes and sausage.


  • 4 (5 ounces each) salmon fillets
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small sweet white onion, very thinly sliced (Vidalia or Maui)
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (1T per filet)
  • 6 tablespoons Pastamore Passion Fruit White Balsamic Vinegar (1.5T per filet)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Rinse individual salmon fillets under cold running water and pat dry. Cut four pieces of foil long and wide enough to encase the filets when folded and folded up on the ends. Place a salmon filet in the center of a piece foil, skin side down. Sprinkle the salmon with the salt and pepper. Pile the onion slices in a mound over the fish fillet. Drizzle the fillet evenly with the olive oil and the Passion Fruit White Balsamic and fold the edges of the foil up over the salmon and crimp to seal. Fold the edges together on both ends to create an airtight package. Repeat with the remaining filets and place on a baking sheet.

Bake the salmon for 15 minutes, or until just cooked through but still moist. Serve immediately, removing the filet from the foil using a large spatula. Serve with some of the accumulated juices spooned over the fish.

Serves 4.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Esther's Raspberry Balsamic Barbequed Wings

This recipe is the second of Esther the Zester’s adventures with our Raspberry Balsamic. If you don’t know the story of Esther, you can read about how we met her here – but even better, you should visit her amazing food blog here.

     Used with permission – Esther the Zester

Below is one of two chicken wing recipes Esther featured for Father’s Day, 2016. The full recipe and a recipe for Wings with Whiskey Buffalo Sauce can be found here.

In regard to baking the wings, Esther writes:

For my wings recipe, I decided to go with the baking process — mainly, because it’s healthier than fried wings (and just as yummy), and I wanted to keep the kitchen semi-clean for once (you can imagine how a kitchen looks when someone is working on a cookbook).

I love barbecue, so I created baked chicken wings with a sweet and tangy barbeque sauce, using an infused balsamic vinegar (raspberry was my choice, but you get to pick your flavor).

We love Esther’s choice of Raspberry; the sweet tangy pop of fresh raspberry is quite apparent in the savory sauce. We did experiment with some alternatives, our Traditional Barrel-Aged and our Dark Sweet Cherry also performed well.


  • 1 dozen chicken wings, halved, with the tips removed and discarded (unless you’re saving them for a future chicken stock)

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lay out all the wings in a single layer on a baking sheet and pat dry (this will help keep the wings crispy). Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on both sides (not too much), and sprinkle both sides with kosher salt and black pepper.

Stick the wings in the oven for 35-40 minutes (depending on if you like them extra crispy like I do), flipping them halfway through the cooking time.


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Pastamore Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients (except for the balsamic vinegar) and heat on medium-low heat until it begins to boil. Turn off heat and stir in the balsamic.

Transfer to a bowl and toss with wings. Serve and enjoy.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Berry Delish Vinaigrette

The engaging article and fabulous recipe below are courtesy of Esther Kennedy, better known as 'Esther the Zester'.  She writes a compelling food blog with recipes, her thoughts on food and food issues, and about her quest to write her first cookbook.  She is personable, charming, and best of all, can write.

She has graciously given us permission to republish her recipe, which involves her meeting us at one of our shows (you'll understand when you read her words).  However, we suggest you take some time and enjoy her full body of work by going to her food blog, here.

"There are a few splurges in life that I truly enjoy — a glass of dry, aromatic Cabernet or a rich dark chocolate bar, preferably together if at all possible. So when I was given the chance to go wine and chocolate tasting, you bet I jumped on that train immediately!

A couple of weekends ago, Paradise, a small town in NorCal, put on its annual Chocolate Festival. I was cordially invited to be entertained the evening prior to the official festivities, where I donned a glass of red wine in one hand and an elegant chocolate bite in the other.

While walking around and tasting the different wines, chocolates, cheeses, meats and a little of everything in between, I came to a stand where Brad Roth was handing out samples of his infused oils and vinegar's.

As a cook, I love infused vinegar's and oils because they bring a whole new level to dishes. For instance, a basil-infused olive oil is a perfect addition for a pasta dish or a fruit-infused balsamic vinegar goes phenomenal over sautéed vegetables.

After careful consideration — and sampling — I came away with a bottle of delicious raspberry balsamic vinegar. While chatting with Brad for quite sometime, in between sampling of course, I mentioned that I was working on a cookbook and promised to incorporate the balsamic into some of my dishes.

I highly recommend adding an infused oil or vinegar to your kitchen — you’ll definitely thank me later. You can order one from Brad’s website (there are other delicious foods on the site so definitely check it out!). However, if for some reason you cannot, there are specialty olive oil stores in many cities that offer tastings, as well, or check out a local specialty grocery store in your area.

My first recipe is a simple but delicious dressing to top your favorite salad. I incorporated certain flavors and profiles that I thought would mesh perfectly with the dressing, creating a fresh summer salad.

Let me know your verdict. Enjoy!"

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raspberry balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a small bowl, stir all ingredients (except the olive oil**) together; slowly whisk in the oil until fully blended. Transfer to an air-tight container — mason or glass jars are perfect — and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes serving over salad.

Pro tip: Dressing will keep up to 5 days if refrigerated.

** Whisking in the olive oil last will give you the consistency you want in the vinaigrette. The 3/4 cup is a guideline — it could be more or less, depending on the viscosity you desire.

summer salad

Of course, you can use your favorite veggies, nuts, cheeses and fruits, but here are my recommended toppings:

  • Red leaf lettuce
  • English or Persian cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Slivered almonds (or crushed walnuts)
  • Feta cheese
  • Fresh basil
  • Shredded chicken (for the meat lovers)

For more recipes by Esther the Zester, go to her blog:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Carrot, Ginger & Lemongrass Soup

This is a simple, tasty soup which can be prepared for winter or summer, hot or cold. While savory in nature, it has a slight sweetness, and we like that the ginger and lemongrass are backdrops - and not overwhelming. We think there is an overall harmony to the dish.

Some notes. If you are not familiar with ghee, it is a type of clarified butter. It imparts a nice butter flavor, but has a high smoke point. The quality of the chicken stock is important in this recipe, in fact, if you are familiar with bone broth, its use will make the soup richer in flavor. Lastly, we like to use white pepper in soups, mostly for aesthetic reasons in light colored dishes. Feel free to use freshly ground black pepper instead.

The croutons pictured are diagonally cut baguette slices, buttered and sprinkled with lemon pepper seasoning, and lightly toasted.


  • 2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ pounds carrots, lightly peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 ½ tablespoons Pastamore Lemongrass with White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 4 cups high-quality chicken stock
  • sea salt
  • ground white pepper
In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the ghee or olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, sweat until translucent, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the carrots, ginger, and stir to coat the vegetables with the ghee or oil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the broth and lemongrass balsamic vinegar, increase the heat to medium. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook until the carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth, blending in batches if necessary. Season with sea salt and white pepper to taste and serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Note: You can refrigerate the soup for up to 1 week, or freeze it for up to 6 months.