Gianduia Date Balls

Gianduia Date Balls

I heard a terrible, terrible rumor a few weeks ago: apparently, we are about to experience a worldwide shortage of hazelnuts!

Gasp! The horror!

Before you run out and buy every jar of Nutella in the store (and don’t think I haven’t contemplated that), let’s try a healthier yet equally delicious version of the incomparable chocolate-hazelnut combination: date balls.

Have you ever heard of gianduia? Maybe you’ve seen this flavor nestled among other exotic-looking scoops (stracciatella…nocciola…) at a nearby gelato store. Gianduia is the original chocolate and hazelnut confection, made from hazelnut paste, cocoa, and sugar. Apparently, hazelnuts are enormously popular in Italy. Italians know the good stuff.

I absolutely love chocolate and hazelnuts together, and I’m really going to miss these date balls when the price of hazelnuts skyrockets!

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Salmon en Papillote with Zucchini and Tomatoes

Salmon en Papillote

I suffer from side dish apathy.

I have such a hard time thinking up side dishes to serve or including them properly in a meal! The result is that I hardly ever make side dishes unless I am going to a potluck. My cooking style tends more toward making all-inclusive, veggie-heavy, one-dish dinners.

So this month for the Secret Recipe Club challenge, I was actually a bit stumped. Michaela, of An Affair from the Heart, and I are about as different in the kitchen as night and day: she loves cooking meaty dishes and serving fruity desserts, and I avoid both of those things like the plague (my picky eating strikes again)! She readily shares tons of beautiful side dishes, and I can barely figure out where to put a side dish on the plate. (But lest you think I didn’t admire the beautiful centerpieces she makes when she entertains, you’d better guess again.)

When I came across a delicious side dish featuring summer’s best flavors—and a Bonefish copycat, how exciting!—I immediately plotted a way to turn the simple side into a whole meal.

Baking fish (or even chicken) in parchment together with a huge pile of vegetables is fast becoming one of my favorite ways to put a meal on the table. I love that the meal is contained in a neat little parcel, how all the flavors mingle together as the fish cooks, and most of all, that there is so little effort and so few dirty dishes involved!

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Caprese Paninis

Caprese Paninis

Sarah and I have been making lunches together for quite some time. And yet…we hardly ever make sandwiches. A classic lunch food, completely ignored!

I completely love sandwiches (what’s not to love about food layered between slices of bread?) and yet, I struggle to feel at all original or creative when it comes to making sandwiches at home.

But as I picked four bright red tomatoes off the vine growing in my front yard, inspiration struck: caprese salad inside a sandwich! Because what could be better than tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil all together?

This sandwich was super messy. Not going to lie about that. But it was also amazingly delicious and very simple!

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