4. Warm borlotti bean & arugula salad - Italy

Italians know how to make simple, delicious cooking seem effortless, and that's the philosophy that Rachel Roddy, who blogs at Rachel Eats (racheleats.wordpress.com), follows. While it's not unusual to find her computer covered in specks of semolina flour-Rachel rolls her own pasta-she is more often inspired by the pristine seasonal ingredients at Rome's local markets, such as zucchini blossoms and fresh ricotta..

Warm borlotti bean & arugula salad

Warm borlotti bean & arugula salad

A fave ingredient: Borlotti Beans

Also called cranberry beans, these legumes taste like a nuttier pinto bean. Try them to in soups, pasta dishes, and salads, or braised as a side. Late summer to fall, you can find fresh beans at farmers' markets in the U.S.

Price: $5.50 for 16 ounces of dried    beans, ranchogordo.com;

Price: $3.59 for a 15-ounce can, goitalygourmet.com

5. Stuffed piquillo peppers - Spain

When California girl Erin Ridley visited Madrid on vacation, she fell as hard for the country's less-is-more food philosophy as she did for the Spanish man she eventually married. Now living in that city, she chronicles her enthusiasm for real Spanish omelets, cured meats, and the country's famous white wine, albariño-on her blog, La Tortuga Viajera, or "The Traveling Turtle" (latortugaviajera.com).

Stuffed piquillo peppers

Stuffed piquillo peppers

A fave ingredient: Piquillo Peppers

Thin-skinned, sweet, and smoky, these jarred peppers are a great pantry staple to have on hand for tapas, the traditional Spanish “small plates.”

Price: $13.50 for a seven-ounce jar

Website: tienda.com

6. lavender-citrus polenta cake - Holland

Every neighborhood in Holland, says Claire Twestern, has several bakeries, each known for its signature confection. As the pastry chef at Talula's Table (talulastable.com) in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, she draws inspiration from her home country but offsets her love of sweets with an active lifestyle, including biking, "a very Dutch mode of transportation."

lavender-citrus polenta cake

lavender-citrus polenta cake

A fave ingredient: Almond Flour

High in protein and gluten-free, it's the key ingredient in many of Holland's famous pastries, and it's also a nutritious swap for any cooking or baking application.

Price: $10 per pound

Website: abesmarket.com

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