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Welcome to Lattes, Life & Luggage! I’m Christine and I share my adventures traveling and navigating this crazy thing we call life.

Cooking With Stanley Week 3

Cooking With Stanley Week 3

Life-With-A-Side-Of-Coffee-Cooking-With-Stanley
Hello Cooking With Stanley readers! These posts continue to do really well and receive lots of love so  thanks so much again for supporting this series! It's really one of my favorite blogging projects and I get to eat really great food in the process. This week, the menu was pretty darn good but I'm sad to say, I won't be cooking anymore shellfish. Turns out, I most likely have an allergy and I'm banned from testing the limits of it. This is the first food allergy I've ever had in my life and let me tell you...I don't like it. Do any of you guys have food allergies that seem absolutely ridiculous?
Cooking With Stanley Week 3 Menu
Appetizer: Mussels with White Wine
Main Course: Potato Gnocchi in Gianni's Basic Tomato Sauce
Side Dish: Rosemary Focaccia

Bread is a favorite in my family. I'm sure many of you, it's the same, but I can literally live on bread and pasta if I wouldn't be 500 pounds. Whenever my cousin Rachel and I haven't been feeling so well in the stomach, we always ask each other if we've eaten a bowl of pasta lately. The answer is always no. You may think I'm crazy but my body will actually go into shock from not having pasta. This is a thing. I have always loved Focaccia Bread. My family thought it was weird this was a flat bread and were hesitant to try it but it was a huge hit. I have requests to make this again from my cousins and my aunt's work. Needless to say, the next weekend I have free, I'll be making bread.

The appetizer this week was the first seafood dish I made from this cookbook. I'm not a fan of slurpy, slimy foods (aka, mussels) but I refuse to not try something. Making this dish was an adventure. I was terrified something was going to come crawling out of that bag. I did not want to touch those but I did. and it turned out beautifully. If you can get passed the texture and look of the mussels, they're not too bad. They were pretty good actually. This is never something I'd order on my own but I might try one or two if I didn't have to see them.

Let me give you some background on this potential allergy and you can make up your own mind. A few months ago, I attended a dinner at a restaurant and had lobster for the very first time. I noticed after a few bites that I was having a hard time swallowing and breathing. My lips were tingly and my tongue felt unusually large. I didn't want to make scene so I took a few sips of water, pushed the plate away and just focused on breathing normal. I haven't had anything like that since until these mussels. This time, my face and neck got super hot, I was itching all around my throat and my pulse was racing. I didn't bring attention to it but my family noticed and have now banned me from pushing my potential shellfish allergy limit. I've never had a food allergy so I don't really know if this is the real thing but I guess it is better to be safe than sorry. I'm a bit disappointed to be honest. What do you guys think? Does this sound like an allergy or an overreaction?

Moving on to brighter topics, the gnocchi and tomato sauce were two separate recipes. The gnocchi was a bit tricky for me. My first batch that I boiled didn't have enough flour so I had to combine all the gnocchi I had cut and add more flour. I still think the end result could have used more but I was over it by then. The recipe in Stanley's cookbook requires you to boil the potatoes. My Noni says this is wrong, you have to bake them. One day soon, I'll be using my family's gnocchi recipe and maybe I'll do a comparison. But for now, I think these were delicious. There would have been more but I was snacking on the potatoes while they were cooling down. I'm terrible at eating while I cook. I'm sure we could feed another person but I can't help trying everything five times.

Gianni's Basic Tomato Sauce was incredible. It made the house smell amazing and it was bursting with flavor. It was really simple to make as well which was really nice because the gnocchi put me behind on the timeline I set for dinner. It paired well with the gnocchi. The only thing I have to say is to let it simmer a little longer than you'd think because there is a lot of liquid from the tomatoes. If you don't have time to let it simmer longer like me, use a really fine strainer to get some of the excess liquid out before you serve. I did that when I incorporated the sauce with the gnocchi and it turned out really well.

Overall, I think this meal went well minus my little shellfish issue. Everything was delicious. The bread was a huge hit and I didn't have any complaints about the main course (a feat in itself). Next week I'm sharing one of my favorite meals to date and don't miss my bloopers post in a few weeks where you'll get to see me eat a mussel for the first time.

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