Cauliflower Macaroni

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The third week of the Jamie Oliver Challenge was really expected by my husband. I think it was partly because of the deliciousness of the food of the first two recipes, but mainly because the recipe was a fancy Mac & Cheese.  He has eaten Mac & Cheese before, but always made with the kraft box. Hubby has come to realize that everything is better when you make it from scratch rather than use a box, ie. cakes, hotcakes and now this!

Sadly, this week we couldn’t go to the Farmer’s Market because of my emergency visit to the dentist. So, it all started with our regular trip to the grocery store. We bought everything needed for the recipes. This week included Cauliflower Macaroni, Belgian Endive Salad with insane dressing and Stewed fruit.  As in the previous two weeks, I didn’t find all the ingredients, so here is what I had to change…

endives –  romain lettuce

fresh basil (I did have some, but it died) – dried basil

pancetta – bacon (which I find really similar)

country bread (I don’t know if this is the correct translation) – whole wheat bread

red wine vinegar – balsamic vinegar

dijon mustard – regular mustard

vanilla ice cream – cookies and cream. This last one was because I was too lazy to make a special trip to the POPS store, and bought the only POPS flavor I found decent at Walmart. Don’t do it!! Go to the ice cream store, there are two reasons for this: 1. vanilla will make the perfect match for the fruit, 2. Ice cream is always far fresher at the place where they make it!!

This week was kind of troubling. I really don’t like to point fingers, but it was all HUBBY’s fault! I feel kind of free now.  One must follow the instructions to the dot, other wise you don’t finish in half an hour.  It clearly states that you have to turn the oven first, otherwise it taked forever to heat up, and this messes with all the preparations. Hubby was not very careful following instructions (he rarely is actually) and boiled the water for the pasta first. Then I said, the oven was supposed to be ready by know and it’s not even on yet!! So, we turned it on, but he had already started cooking the pasta. Thus, the pasta was ready way before we could even put in the bacon! This alone turned the 30-minute meal into the hour meal…

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After this mishap… everything else turned out really smooth. When the food was done, our mouths were watering with the smell and look! Of course it all not only smelled and looked good, but tasted really nice as well.  The cauliflower macaroni had a lovely taste. The cheesy sauce was smooth and with a delicate taste. The crunchy covering gave it a great taste between the saltiness of the bacon and the always nice rosemary. The salad was incredible. I had never tasted crunchy capers. I loved them so that I’m thinking of including them on my regular salads. The fact of frying them until crisp enhances the flavor in such a way, that even Hubby who hated them wanted to eat them all! The dressing was really insane, partly because I made for two people and added the amount of garlic for 6, so it was a bit strong, so be careful!! It was still delicious though, in small quantities.

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Finally the dessert.  As you know this is the first week we actually made the dessert. Unfortunately, we were so exited that we didn’t photograph it! But I can tell you that the plums cooked with orange, cinnamon and vanilla are the best stewed fruit I’ve ever had. The taste was sweet, delicious, soft… a sublime adventure. Plus I love the hot-cold feeling on desserts, and this was just too good to be true. I do believe that it would have been at least 10 times better with the vanilla ice cream though… For this and more, I have to push you all to make at least one Jamie Oliver meal! Till next week…

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The perfect treat

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I think food is one of the best ways celebrate. Weather a birthday, a promotion or just a happy day. Eating is also sometimes the way in which we help ourselves through sad moments. If the day is to sunny: food, rainy: food, cold: food! We should be careful no to over do it though! One doesn’t want food to become a health problem.

There is a special food that goes with every mood. Ice cream! I didn’t use to love ice cream when I was growing up. I felt like it was too cold, too sweet and generally too much! Somehow getting to my third decade (not there yet, but close) has changed my point of view about many things… among them the super sweet ice cream.

Pops is a famous ice cream shop in Costa Rica. You see it everywhere. I had not fallen for Pops, though. Keeping my self away from the shop was kind of hard. I felt like I was surrounded! I was really successful until Hubby got home one day craving for ice cream! Oh no! Off we went.  We arrived to the nearest Pops. He asked for a scoop on a cone. I tasted it, it was delicious. I didn’t ask for my own, I was still trying to resist. Something did catch my eye though… the Banano Hawaiiano (hawaiian banana) it was so big, I decided not to.

My resistance didn’t last long after that though! I went back to Pops, and I total felt for it! I had the attractive Banano Hawaiiano, which proved to be the perfect way to get addicted. Made with a serving of three ice cream scoops: strawberry, orange and pinapple. Then a layer of banana. On the top a big scoop of banana ice cream. As if not enough, everything is topped with fruit mermelade.

This sugar bomb, an absolute danger to diabetics, is extremely delicious! Lucky me I had someone to share it with! No, it was not Hubby, but Mom who was for a visit. It was too much, and yet we ate it happily as if it was close to nothing. It was awesome! Every single flavor was unique, with a soft taste that was delicious. The banana ice cream had its flavor enhanced by the fruit marmalade. Every spoonful was heavenly!

Dad had a pistachio and passionfruit icecream while Hubby asked for a caramel shake. They were both happy and quite unwilling to share… can you blame them?

Don’t forget to try POPS whenever you visit Costa Rica, there are so many of them, you won’t miss one!

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© Mylunchanddiner 2012