Taste of the World

29 Aug
Since I’ve done a lot of cooking/baking lately, I thought I’d another one on food.

This is a picture taken in May at my parents’ house in Charleston.  This is the French String Beans recipe from the Barefoot Contessa’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook.  I love this cookbook!  We only had a yellow pepper on hand, so I just used one whole yellow pepper instead of 1/2 a red pepper.  I’ve made it with the red bell pepper and either way, it’s still a great, light dish perfect for a summer dinner after a day on the beach!

Before mixing the ingredients to make the dough
Letting them dry under the fan

Chris wanted gnocchi for his birthday dinner, and when I went to the grocery store the night before, wouldn’t you know they didn’t have any!  It was late enough that I didn’t want to try another store, so my Droid 2 came to the rescue!  After looking up this recipe by Michael Chiarello on foodnetwork.com, I realized the only thing I didn’t have on hand were potatoes so I picked those up and a bottle of sauce and was on my way!  I used whole wheat flour instead of white all-purpose and ready-grated parmesan because it was what I had.  I also found it was easier (for me) to peel the potatoes before baking them, then place them in a shallow dish with about 1 inch of water to be baked in the oven.  I made these the night before and froze them overnight.  When I got home from work, I let them sit on the counter for about 15 minutes while I waited for the water to come to a boil to poach them.  This was plenty of time for them to thaw!

I also made a Mexican Chocolate Snack Cake for a little party for Chris and his twin, Brad.  We decided on a Mexican Fiesta theme, so for dinner Chris’ sister-in-law made tacos and we all sipped on margaritas and Victoria beer.  By the way, if you have not tried Victoria, it is my new favorite.  Definitely worth checking out.    This cake is rich, decadent, and spicy.  I didn’t have Mexican chocolate, so I added an extra 2 oz of baking chocolate and wound up doubling the cayenne pepper (1/2 tsp. instead of 1/4).  I also melted a stick of SmartBalance 50/50 Buttery Spread and used this instead of vegetable oil.  I like my cake to have a nice buttery flavor!  Since one of Chris’ brothers doesn’t like nuts, only sprinkled them on top of half of the cake, then mixed up the rest of the ingredients for the streusel and poured them on top to bake.

This past Saturday morning I woke up and decided to make some banana muffins since I had a bunch of bananas that were about to go bad and wanted to enjoy them!  Banana Nut Bread has always been a favorite of mine, so this was something I made and tasted along the way.  I also added 1/2 cup of walnuts in mine and some extra spices.  These are only 4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus a piece, and they are a great start to the day!

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