Hearts of Palms and Cherry Tomato Salad

I bet you some of you have never tasted Heart of Palms?  Or maybe I’m wrong, but if there is a single vegetable that I have encountered that give people a pause is hearts of palm.

Hearts of palms are the inner portion of the stem of the sabal Palmetto, or “swamp cabbage,” palm tree. They have a taste similar to artichokes but look like white asparagus without the tops. They are grown primarily in Florida, Brazil, Ecuador and Costa Rica, and are usually purchased canned and packed in water.

If you have never tried them, I urge you to do so because these little gems are delicious.

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Carrots and Zucchini Salad

We all need our veggies, especially someone like me that unfortunately does not eat enough of them.

Do have a favorite veggie? I think I pretty much like all with the exception of brussel sprouts - we just cannot seem to get onboard with each other.

If there is a favorite I will have to say carrots. I like them raw, cooked, in salads, cakes, dipped in anything. The same goes for zucchini, which I love grilled with a splash of olive oil and some chopped herbs.

A couple of weeks back I gave Heidi Swanson Sunburst Carrot Salad recipe a try out in my kitchen.  It was part of our Gutsy Cook menu options and I had all the ingredients at hand. 

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GCC: Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice

This was my second recipe from our Gutsy Cook line up this past week.

As the recipe in Saveur mentions, Italian has the stuff vegetables thing down pack.  Pretty much any antipasto table will have a vegetable that has been stuffed with meat, other veggies and in this case rice.

What appeal to me about this recipe is that fact that the most time consuming task here is prepping the tomatoes.  You have to trim them, and then scoop out the inner pulp without puncturing the walls.

This little prepping step may be a zilch for some cooks.  No biggie – cut top, scoop out pulp, and cut bottom.  Done.

For my perfect convulsive ODC twin this took a while, since I wanted them perfectly hollow out, and wanted them to stand up tall and pretty and the tops needed to be at the right angle and the bottoms…

Never mind. (I know, I got a problem – I’m trying to deal.  Lets move on.)

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Baked Leeks in B├ęchamel Sauce

A couple of weeks back when I was planning our Paella party – that never happened, I had round up a couple of tapas recipes to served while our paella was cooking on the open flame.

This dish was one in the list.  Today, as I opened the refrigerator to get some cheese to make myself and Tom a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches, I notice the leeks and remember this recipe.  After a bit more of investigating, realized that I had everything I needed to make it and off I went to test my memory bank. I did this on the fly, because after looking for over 10 minutes ALL OVER MY HOUSE could not find the original printed/marked recipe in any of my print outs or books.

I’m happy to say my memory is just fine, thank-you-very-much.

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