Locals offer “Just a Taste” of healthy recipes

April 9, 2018 chris
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By Sarrah Peters, News Editor

On Tuesday, April 3 a small group gathered in Gadsden Public Library’s Beautiful Rainbow Cafe for “Just a Taste,” a cooking class taught by local artists and authors Fran and Al Andrepont once a month.

The couple demonstrate how to cook recipes from their cookbook, “From Our Kitchen: Heart Healthy Recipes.” This month the couple focused on vegetable and side dishes.

The first recipe the Andreponts demonstrated was Basmati rice with basil and mint. Fran started by introducing the class to ingredients used in the dish, allowing the attendees to touch and smell some of the ingredients. The first step of the recipe was to rinse the rice that Fran had pre-prepared.

Fran then heated olive oil before adding garlic and ginger. She next added chicken broth, then the rice and herbs. She brought the dish to a slight boil before transferring it to the oven to finish cooking. Halfway through the 25 minute cooking time, the rice was fluffed.

While the rice was cooking, Al started on the next recipe: fennel with rosemary. The fennel was braised in olive oil, a small amount of butter and chicken stock with rosemary and the Andreponts’ salt-free spice blend.

While the fennel finished up, Al made a squach and zucchini ribbon salad. He sliced the vegetables into ribbons and mixed olive oil, lemon juice and herbs and spices to make a dressing for the ribbons.

The Andreponts used the locally-sourced King’s Olive Oils in the dishes. Attendees received a coupon for the store. Throughout the class, the Andreponts shared the best places to find the freshest ingredients and variations that could make the dishes vegetarian.

The Andreponts also shared personal stories that made the experience feel like cooking at home with your favorite aunt and uncle.

Al shared that a health scare led the couple to try heart-healthy recipes, and that he had lost over 100 pounds with the recipes.

“With these herbs and spices, heart healthy foods don’t have to taste like rubber chicken,” said Al.

Fran shared that her measuring cups were passed down from her family, which is why she still uses them even though Al preferred a newer set. The couple also shared  how they came to own their electric skillet that was purchased at a friend’s selling party. She joked that it ended up being a very expensive party.

Once the dishes were cooked, attendees tasted them, some more than once!

“Just a Taste” with Fran and Al will be held on May 1 at the Gadsden Public Library’s Beautiful Rainbow Cafe at 5:30 p.m. The couple will cook up some heart-healthy pastas. “From Our Kitchen: Heart Healthy Recipes” will be available for purchase for $21.95, 40 percent of which will be donated to the Beautiful Rainbow Cafe.