Monday, March 23, 2015

Savoring the Seasons: Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad

It is time to get more creative with salad! With a few twists and turns combining flavors and textures, you can create a healthy salad to be served alone or as a hearty side dish.

In this salad, hearts of palm takes center stage, and it is best described as similar to white asparagus but tastes of an artichoke.  The heart of palm is the edible stem in a variety of palms grown in the U.S., Costa Rica and Brazil. Hearts of palm are readily available in supermarkets and can be located easily in your canned food aisle.

This is a Brazilian version using lime zest and fresh lime juice blended with a small amount of mayonnaise and oil to provide a creamy citrus dressing for the hearts of palm, cherry tomatoes, avocado and slivers of onions.

If you have not discovered the versatility of the hearts of palm this is a good place to start with this easy to prepare, and delicious salad.


Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad
Serves 4
Recipe from Food and Wine


Ingredients:
1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 small sweet onion, cut into thin slivers
Two 14-ounce cans hearts of palm, drained and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 Hass avocado, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
In a medium bowl, toss the halved cherry tomatoes with the onion slivers, hearts of palm, avocado and chopped parsley.  In a small bowl, whisk the lime zest and lime juice with the mayonnaise and oil;  season the dressing with salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing over the salad, toss gently and serve right away.

Enjoy!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies

Wine and chocolate can be an incredible pairing, together competing for immediate attention.  Eating these cookies is like eating "fudge, a brownie, and a cookie at the same time" and paired with a cabernet or zinfandel is cause for swooning, and an intense in your face experience.

Saturday evening was reserved for Wine Club and Cabernet Sauvignon was the theme.  If you are not familiar with Cabernets they are a full bodied wine with naturally high tannins, which allow this variety to spend time in oak barrels, aging beautifully.  This is a wine that goes better with food, it can be overwhelming on its own.

I have sung the praises for wine and chocolate-it can be easily said a tall glass of cold milk or a couple of cookies neatly packed in a lunch box is also reason for swooning.

These are the ultimate chocolate cookies.


Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies
Makes 36 cookies
Recipe from Allrecipes


Ingredients:
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup flour
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon instant-coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1.  Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring occasionally until smooth.  Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

2.  Beat butter with brown sugar and white sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then stir in coffee granules and vanilla until well blended.  Stir in melted chocolate.  Add flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.  Cover, and let stand 35 minutes so chocolate can set up.

3.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.  Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto prepared sheets, spacing 2-inches apart.

4.  Bake until cookie edges are set but centers are stil very soft. 10-12 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Enjoy!