Meatless Monday: Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad

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On my way to California from New York, I bought a Food and Wine magazine at the airport and, flipping through, I landed on a delicious looking salad starring an ingredient I hadn’t eaten for a long time: hearts of palm. I only had a vague recollection of a slightly pickled, tender white tubular vegetable with a delicate flavor. A bit of research on Wikipedia − fountain of all knowledge that it is − revealed that South America supplies the majority of imported hearts of palm which are, as you might suspect, the heart of certain types of palm tree. The cans I bought were products of Bolivia and, for that reason, I decided to ignore the $3.99 price tag per can which I thought was pretty outrageous for a bit of fibrous white veg. However, the harvesting process is pretty labor intensive and must also be expensive so, in addition to import costs, I can understand the high price tag.

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Spring Soup with Shrimp, Fennel and Leeks

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The weather has taken a turn for the chilly here in sunny California, instead of a balmy 85-95ºF (30-35ºC), we’ve had a rather breezy 65-75ºF (18-24ºC). I can hear the groans already. No, I haven’t already become accustomed to warm, pleasant weather in which showing your toes and your knees is acceptable. No, I haven’t forgotten that for 50 weeks of the year in England you have to leave the house with an umbrella, winter coat and wellies. I am simply stating that the tropical weather we experienced for the past week or so has shifted to a much more spring-like mix of breezy and cloudy. This means that a different type of spring cuisine comes onto the menu, the spring soup!

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Meatless Monday: A Vegetarian Grilling Feast

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A friend of mine, whose blog you can find here, suggested I start posting recipes for Meatless Monday, a phenomenon which seems to have taken hold in foodie circles on Twitter. The idea is that by cutting out meat once a week you will not only improve your health and well being, but you will also reduce your carbon footprint and take a big step towards creating a more sustainable lifestyle for yourself and your family. I think we can all agree that these are good things and there are few things that irritate me more than people who believe that a meal without meat is somehow incomplete − I’m a poet and I don’t know it! − because vegetables have so much more to offer than looking  sad and neglected on the side of the plate.

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