FIND The Lost Italian at the FargoDome this Weekend!

Tony, Gio and I will be presenting at the FargoDome this weekend as part of the Valley Women’s Expo, and we would love to have you join us! We will be featuring four of our favorite recipes, including Flourless Chocolate Torte, Tuscan Bean Salad, Cream of Chicken Soup and Gio’s Meatballs. Tickets are available at the door and you can visit their website for more information by clicking on the photo below.

TLI VWE collage

We’ll be serving samples of each featured specialty, sharing recipes, giving away prizes and signing cookbooks on both Friday and Staurday, and we hope you can join us for two days of fun, Fargo and food!

Jaime Primak Sullivan of “Cawfeetalk” and Bravo TV’s “Jersey Belle” is the keynote speaker on Friday, and we will also enjoy culinary presentations from Howard Rosenthal of the Mr. Food Test Kitchen. How cool is that?!!

The Valley Women’s Expo is sponsored by Valley News Live-KVLY TV11, and will take place at the FargoDome on Friday, January 15th and Saturday January 16th. For more information about the show, including times, vendors, speaker schedules and pricing, you can visit their website by clicking here: VALLEY WOMEN’S EXPO.

Gio stirs the pot - Nordic Kitchen (640x480)

We hope to see you at the Expo!

 

Post-Holiday Detox: Warm Up with Roasted Fennel Soup

Roasted Fennel Soup 2With today’s temps hovering around -4 degrees, and a “feels-like” temp of -14 degrees, soup was a natural choice for today’s Post Holiday Detox recipe and our Roasted Fennel Soup is a great way to stay healthy and warm.

Fennel, or finocchio in Italian, is a winter vegetable rich in potassium and fiber content, and is also a good source for a multitude of vitamins and nutrients. It is high in an essential oil called anethole, which provides potent antimicrobial activity to benefit smooth digestion.

Fennel

When served raw, fennel has a crunchy texture similar to celery but a little smoother. In flavor it is cool and refreshing, with notes of the soothing, liquorice sweetness of anise. But when roasted, fennel transforms into a savory, mellow vegetable, full of warmth and flavor. Roasted fennel is perfect for this soup recipe, and is also delicious on its own as a side dish for meat, poultry and seafood.

To roast, begin by removing the stock and fronds, leaving only the bulb. Cut the bulb into six wedges, then toss these lightly in olive oil, sea or kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer the fennel to a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and roast at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, until golden brown and fork tender.

Roasted Fennel

For this recipe, we roast the fennel with yellow onion, a sprig of fresh rosemary and a couple garlic cloves to enhance the aromatics of the soup. Once roasted, we remove the rosemary and transfer the ingredients to a stock pot. Add the chicken stock, bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer for 30 minutes.

Use an immersion blender (if you don’t have one yet, get one!), food processor or liquid blender to puree the soup until smooth. Because fennel is high in fiber, we recommend that you pour the pureed soup through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any fibrous grains and achieve a smooth consistency.

Tony with Immersion Blender - Copy

 

Return soup to the stock pot, add heavy cream (optional), and cook over medium heat for another five minutes. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper according to your taste.

This simple soup is surprisingly savory, rich, elegant and comforting, and very pretty when garnished with dried cranberries and toasted hazelnuts. We have also enjoyed it with homemade croutons, crumbled sausage, and a dollop or drizzle of crème fraiche or sour cream. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Fennel Soup

Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
4 fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into wedges
1 large yellow onion, trimmed and cut into wedges
1 large sprig rosemary
2 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
About 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock (may substitute vegetable stock)
¼ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
¼ cup lightly toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped (walnuts are good, too)

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Place the fennel, onions, rosemary, garlic and olive oil in a large mixing bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables well to ensure an even coating. Transfer mixture to a baking sheet (you may wish to cover the sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper) and roast vegetables for about 40 minutes until golden and tender.

Remove the rosemary and transfer mixture to a stock pot. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Reduce heat to lowest setting and use an immersion blender to puree the mixture, making sure to keep the blade immersed in the liquid the entire time (a liquid blender or food processor will also work).

Once a completely smooth consistency has been achieved, pour the soup through a fine-mesh strainer into another pot or bowl. Return the pot to burner, add the heavy cream and cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve, garnish with dried cranberries and toasted hazelnuts and drizzle with a touch of olive oil.

To Store: Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week, or freeze for up to two months.

Tony’s Tip: Do not skip the straining step when making this soup – it is critical to developing the right consistency and texture.

Post-Holiday Detox: Albacore Tuna Salad

3-Albacore in Avocado

Today’s recipe for Albacore Chopped Salad makes me smile for many reasons. First, I simply adore this salad, and have ever since we introduced a version of it at our restaurant, Sarello’s, many years ago.

I love it in its original form, tossed with chopped Romaine lettuce, or with our recent addition of avocado – both as an edible vessel for serving and as an ingredient in the salad. My favorite way to enjoy this salad is on a thin piece of toast over mashed avocado.

Albacore on Toast 2

Second, this salad is gorgeously healthy – the colors and textures blend together so perfectly to create an irresistible desire to indulge.And go right ahead – indulge. Because this salad is loaded with ingredients that are naturally designed to enhance your health.

Both light and albacore tuna are good sources of protein, selenium and vitamin B12, and albacore has even better omega-3 fatty acids than other tuna varieties. But, it also has a higher mercury content, so keep your indulgences to once or twice a week if you can.

Lastly, I smile because I thought I hated canned tuna. For my entire life, I have shied away from dishes that contained canned tuna, mainly because most of them also contain mayonnaise. As an avowed mayo-phobe, I just couldn’t go there.

But this week Tony and I have featured two post-holiday detox dishes with canned tuna as a main ingredient (and no mayo – whatsoever), and I’m enjoying every bite. I think you will, too.

Albacore Chopped Salad with lettuce

Albacore Chopped Salad

Serves: 4 as a side dish; 2 as an entree

Salad Ingredients:
1 can cannelini beans, drained (about 15 oz.)
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
⅓ cup celery, sliced (half-moon shape)
¼ red onion, thinly sliced – the thinner, the better
1 ½ tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 5 oz. cans solid Albacore tuna (drained) or 1 12 oz. can
1 avocado, medium-diced
1 bag of chopped, clean romaine lettuce

Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1 egg yolk
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
Pinch of sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup olive oil

Directions:
Combine egg yolk, lemon, garlic, sugar, and salt in a bowl. While whisking slowly, add olive oil in a thin stream, always whisking to emulsify. Incorporate all oil, taste, and adjust seasoning as desired.

Add salad ingredients to the dressing and stir so that vegetables and tuna are evenly coated. If making in advance, add the lettuce just before serving and toss to mix.

Tips from Tony and Sarah:

  • Vinaigrette can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated until ready to use.
  • A tablespoon or two of Dijon mustard or real mayonnaise can be used instead of the egg yolk and will extend the life of the dressing up to one week.
  • For a light lunch, mash up plain avocado to spread on thin toast and top with albacore salad, with or without lettuce.
  • For an elegant presentation, peel half an avocado and fill with albacore salad – omit the lettuce for more elegance.
  • To speed up the ripening process, place avocado in a paper bag with a ripe banana or apple for 24 hours.

Post-Holiday Detox: “Not Your Grandmother’s Tuna Fish Pasta”

Tuna KVLY

To welcome the new year, this week we’ll be sharing some of our favorite Post-Holiday Detox recipes with you. Tony’s latest creation, Spaghetti with Tuna, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Chickpeas, is new to our repertoire and I have a feeling it’s going to become a regular favorite in our house. This is definitely not your grandmother’s tuna fish pasta dish.

This recipe meets our top 4 criteria for a healthy dish:

  1. Nutritional content – With the winning combination of tuna fish, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and pasta, this dish is loaded with vital minerals, nutrients and vitamins.
  2. Easy to make: Good recipes should consist of easy-to-find ingredients and require minimal preparation.
  3. Visually Appealing: Hey, we eat with our eyes, too, and there’s no reason a healthy dish can’t also be beautiful.
  4. Delicious – With the right recipe, a healthy dish should taste so good that you look forward to having it again.

Since today is National Spaghetti Day (who knew?) Tony shared this recipe during his segment this week on North Dakota Today, and we’ve included the link to the video demonstration for you below. We’ve already received several requests for the recipe and hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

WATCH TONY make this dish on NORTH DAKOTA TODAY

Tony’s Spaghetti with Tuna, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Chickpeas Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pkg. spaghetti
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (this makes very mild – increase as desired)
¼ cup red onion, small-diced
½ cup dry white wine
Juice of one lemon
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 5-oz. cans light tuna in water, drained
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan cheese

Directions:
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, to al dente. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water for later use if needed.

In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat until hot, then add garlic, crushed red pepper and red onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens, about 2 minutes. Add white wine and lemon juice and continue cooking over medium heat for another 2 minutes, to reduce white wine.

Add sun-dried tomatoes, chickpeas and cooked pasta and cook over medium heat for about one minute, stirring to combine. Add the tuna and parsley and keep tossing for another 1 to 2 minutes, until all ingredients are hot and evenly dispersed among the pasta. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with a light sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese.

Tony’s Tips:

  • This sauce is very light and intended merely to coat the ingredients. If the dish appears to be drying out, add the reserved pasta water right before the salt and pepper, starting with a half-cup up to one cup. Continue cooking for one minute just to heat.
  • Excellent also as a chilled salad – just add a tablespoon or two of canola oil, toss and serve.