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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Dinner Party 101

Just as I love cooking, the other thing I love to do is throw a dinner party.  I think this goes hand in hand with most cooks.  In my case this need comes from my Italian genes (and Latin upbringing) which I’m totally convince have a code within my DNA called “need to feed everyone around you now or die!.

It is a known fact that the Italians are very serious about their food. Why shouldn’t they be? After all it is the food that brings together friends and families. This is why we find the Italians to be very fond of spending long hours on the table and meal times expanding over the span of a couple of hours.

When the Italians sit down to eat they literally forget about the world and are in no hurry whatsoever to gobble down their food and get back to life.

And that is what I needed, to sit down and forget about the world, at least for a couple of hours. And the best way to do this is to surround myself with funny and smart individuals – enter my main “chicas”

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