Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 3: National Chocolate Wafer Day and Eat a Bean Day

National Chocolate Wafer Day

I like the wafers that are layers of super thin cookies with a cream sandwiched in between.  They do this weird, but cool, thing where the cookie part dissolves in your mouth, leaving you with a sugary goo of cream filling.  Anyone else?  *crickets*  No?

Well, what exactly is a chocolate wafer?  I guess we should start with.... what is a wafer?  According to Dictionary.com, there are five definitions of wafer, two of which deal with food.  Since I don't remember the Euchrist ever having a chocolatey flavor, I'm going to go with the first definition of: "a thin, crisp cake or biscuit, often sweetened and flavored."  So therefore a chocolate wafer must be a thin cookie with a chocolate flavor.

Purchasing wafers is definitely the easiest and least time consuming route, but you can easily make your own chocolate wafers.  Joy of Baking claims that their chocolate wafers are relatively low in fat.  (I'm just curious if they're low in fat compared to other wafers or to other cookies, because if compared to other cookies, of course they're low in fat - they're smaller cookies.)

Of course, after you buy or make your chocolate wafers, you can use them to create a refrigerator roll, which I can see being a surprise hit at a party.  Or use them to make a chocolate-flavored pie crust.  Try adding chocolate wafers to your ice cream sundae for a bit of flair.  Or you can always sandwich some frosting or icing between two chocolate wafers and create your own cookie sandwiches.

Eat a Bean Day

Beans have already been acknowledged a couple of times now, but since it's Eat a Bean Day and it's a hot summer, here are some cool bean-based dishes that won't require you to heat up the kitchen at all.

- For a quick snack, eat edamame beans.  You can microwave or quickly boil them if you want, but most of the frozen ones are pre-cooked so if you let them thaw, you can eat them while they're cool.  Or you can buy dried edamame beans for a crunchier alternative.  I've seen dried edamame sold as "lightly salted" and "wasabi."

- Make a bean salad.  Bean salads are best served chilled.  You can cook dry beans to make these salads, but if you really don't want to heat up the kitchen at all, use canned beans and rinse them if you're concerned about sodium levels.  This is really a dish that is impossible to screw up because you can put anything you want in a bean salad.  Start with one or two cans of your beans of choice, then add fresh vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers.  Marinate with your favorite salad dressing or simply add olive oil and your favorite herbs.  Mix it all together, let it sit for a few minutes, and then enjoy!

- Make a bean dip to enjoy with chips.  Along the same lines, make hummus for use as a dip or as a sandwich spread.

- Eat pole beans raw.  Beans straight out of the garden make crunchy snacks and you get the full flavor of the beans.  You can dip them if you'd like or even marinate them in your favorite dressing.

- Make a slaw for use in tacos or as a side dish.

I'm sure you'll find an easy way to eat at least one bean today.

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