Wednesday, July 8, 2009

‘Simply Mexican’ makes author, readers feel good
My daughter and I love how excited and happy Lourdes Castro looks in photos throughout her book “Simply Mexican.” The cover has her holding a corn cob with one hand and the other is upturned as if she’s saying “Why aren’t you here in the prop kitchen with me?”
We love her.
She suggests a corn tart as an accompaniment to almost every recipe in the book, so that means it could mesh with mushroom quesadilla, seared tuna, crab tostadas and red mole chicken with chorizo. Of all the goodies in her book, I’m drawn to some quickie summer bites she labels Mexican bar snacks:

Chile & Lime Jicama Wedges
1 small jicama, about 4 inches in diameter
1 lime, finely julienned zest and juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
To prepare the jicama, trim the peel from the jicama with a sharp knife. Cut the jicama into 1/4-inch strips or wedges and put into a bowl. Toss in the lime zest, lime juice, cayenne and salt and mix well. Serve.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
To toast the seeds, heat the oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the pumpkin seeds, toss well in the oil and sprinkle in the salt. Toast for 2 to 3 minutes, until the pumpkin seeds begin to pop and release their fragrance. Transfer to a small bowl and serve.

S’ mores a new way? Summer stuff makes the season memorable
My brother-in-law is opening a restaurant in Houston (more to follow) yet he still had time for a back-yard pool party with seven kinds of meat.
Fortunately his sister pitched in with spicy rice and a caramel cake truffle to add to the tiramisu spread.
By the pool, I enjoyed Corzo Tequila, which I’d brought in a flask, because I wouldn’t dare risk damaging one of the most lovely bottles in my collection. It looks like a glass, brick, has a hefty stopper and a flat spout that reminds me of a water fountain in an expensive hotel. What’s more, you can get the metal label engraved. I can’t keep my eyes off the masculine bottle, but I assure you, the beverage is just as noteworthy. Their ideas for the Modern Margarita:
• Unconventional rims: Kosher salt & Cracked Pepper/Cocoa Powder & Ancho Chili Powder.
• Use of alternative sweeteners such as fresh agave nectar.
• Addition of savory ingredients such as ginger, jalapeno and pepper.
• Transcending the traditional margarita glass with stemless, sleek glassware.

To balance that indulgence, I’ve been drinking flavored water and love HINT straight up. Men’s Health just voted the 0-calorie treat it’s best of flavored waters. Makers offer these tips to jazz it up:
Sweet Summertime
2 ounces Three Olives Watermelon Vodka and 6 ounces Watermelon HINT
Vanilla Cosmo
2 ounces Three Olives Vanilla Vodka, 1/2 oz. Triple Sec, and 1 ounce Hibiscus Vanilla HINT
Liquid Melon
1 ounce Three Olives Watermelon Vodka and 1/4 ounce Melon Liqueur, 6 ounces Honeydew Hibiscus HINT

Some more news on Goldfish
S’mores are delicious, but messy. Pepperige Farm packs powerful flavor into the chocolate and honey graham S’mores Adventures Goldfish, just right for summer camp snacks. It’s the tiny, crispy marshmallows shaped like fish that grab my attention. There’s also a new Garden Cheddar that is “flavor blasted” with “Xtra Cheddar.” Read the label. This snack may be better for you than you may have imagined.
Fair Trade Certified chocolate is a main ingredient and philosophy for Kopali Organics. I’ve tried and loved their cacao nibs and goji berries and now dark chocolate covered banana near the top of my favorites. Summer road trips don’t have to “drive” you to snack poorly. This is good stuff.

Simple Steps to prevent childhood obesity
“Positive Parenting” author Dr. Alvin Eden, MD, longtime pediatrician, says larger portion sizes and eating out more often contribute to childhood obesity. Children also spend too much time with TV, video games, and computers, he writes.
Here are simple and specific steps he offers that parents can follow to prevent obesity:
• Breast feed for at least 3 months if possible
• Identify whether or not your family history is “high risk” for obesity
• Limit juice to 4 ounces a day, and limit milk to 16 ounces a day
• Minimize TV in the first two years of a child’s life, and allow only 1 hour per day after two years
• Encourage your child to exercise each day
• Make sure your child drinks at least 8 ounces of water each day
• Replace all unhealthy snacks in your house with healthy ones and never use food as a reward

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