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All is Fare in Love + Food | Vanessa + Frankie

w logo Gastronomic duo Vanessa + Frankie have taken their passion for food beyond their home kitchen to create a unique, versatile and flavorful line of spice + seasnonings with their company, Gustus Vitae.  We got together with the culinary couple to see what they would whip up with June's Basket.


What was the first meal the two of you shared?

Vanessa: A stir-fry? I think it was green-bean based. Pretty good, as I remember.


Who cooks + who cleans?

Frankie: I cook. I also usually clean.

Vanessa: I eat!


Favorite dish the other makes?

Vanessa: Mashed potatoes with truffle salt.

Frankie: Tortilla soup.


What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?

Frankie: My grandfather – he was a huge culinary enthusiast and very much shaped my love of food: I wish I could see how he would use all of our different blends and what he’d come up with.


Tell us about being on Mixology/Glee.

Vanessa: Both shows were gems to work on. Glee is about the ultimate acceptance of who you are, which is a lesson I take with me everywhere I go now. Mixology was a blast and I’m so sorry that we won’t be coming back to another season – the cast and crew were so fun and I miss everyone already!


And now for their creations:


Vanessa: Ancho Chilly Lentils



  • 4 Cups water
  • 1 Small bag Sierra Nut House black lentils
  • 2 Good size avocados
  • ½ Cup extra virgin oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Gustus Vitae ancho chile salt
  • 10 Cherry tomatoes


  1. Bring water and lentils to a boil, and cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes, until lentils are soft.
  2. Strain lentils, put in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until cool – around an hour.
  3. Slice avocados lengthwise and remove pits. Cut length wise into strips, and remove from skins with a large spoon.
  4. Finely slice cherry tomatoes and reserve with avocadoes.
  5. Toss ¼ cup olive oil and 2 tablespoons ancho chile salt with chilled lentils.
  6. Plate lentils, and arrange avocadoes and cherry tomatoes on top. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, and sprinkle over reserved salt. Enjoy!


Frankie: Crispy Grits & Peaches with Bacon Balsamic Drizzle



  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Nora Mill stone ground white grits
  • 1 Tablespoon skillet bacon spread
  • 1 1/2 Cups good balsamic vinegar
  • 4 Peaches
  • 2 Tablespoons Gustus Vitae green tea sea salt
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Bring 4 cups of water to boil. Add grits, 1 Tablespoon each butter and salt, and return to boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook covered for 20 minutes, stirring regularly.
  2. Spoon grits into a rectangular pan or similar, to a depth of around an inch. Allow to cool and firm up
  3. In a saucepan, whisk together bacon spread and balsamic vinegar. Heat uncovered to just under a simmer, stirring regularly, until it reduces by half. Remove from heat and reserve.
  4. Slice cooled grits into small rectangles. Heat a cast iron pan skillet to medium high. Toss in 3 tablespoons butter, and put in grits. Working in batches, cook grits for 3 – 4 minutes, or until the brown. Remove and place on paper towels to dry.
  5. Cut up peaches into slivers, around 1” wide.
  6. Toss remaining butter into skillet, and cook peaches, skin side down, around 3 mins.
  7. Plate grits and peaches, and drizzle with bacon balsamic reduction. Enjoy – use your fingers and get messy.


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