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Archive | April 11th, 2010

It’s Private Party Time at Pavil, Watermark Grill

It’s Private Party Time at Pavil, Watermark Grill

The exterior of the Watermark Grill

Two north side restaurants – Pavil, 1818 N. Loop 1604 W., and Watermark Grill, 18740 Stone Oak Parkway – are dropping general lunch service in favor of catering to private parties.

“Both restaurants will continue to be open to the public for their popular full dinner service as well as Sunday brunch,” a press release from the restaurants’ parent company, Watermark Hotel Co., says. “According to owner Patrick J. Kennedy, the focus will be on providing an even greater dining experience with new menu options to be introduced as well as special enhancements, such as new wine and beer pairings with meals and prix fixe offerings. Off-premises group catering for lunch will also continue to be available for delivery to surrounding area businesses.”

The demand for large and unique dining space for private parties is prompting the change, the release said.

The change takes effect Monday, April 12.

Jan Bonugli, formerly of Massimo and Southtown Café, is in charge of the sales and catering business at both restaurants. She is also managing Pavil.

For more information on booking either restaurant space, call (210) 912-0041.

New hours for Pavil are 4:30-10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 4:30-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; and 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. Call (210) 479-5000 or click here.

New hours for Watermark Grill are 4:30-10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 4:30-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. Call (210) 483-7600 or click here.

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Ratatouille Lentil Stew

Ratatouille Lentil Stew

Lentils turn ratatouille into a main course.

“When summer’s vegetables are at their best, ratatouille is a lovely addition to the table: thick, mellow, soft and bursting with flavor without bragging,” writes Joy Bauer in “Slim & Scrumptious.” “My version features all of the usual suspects – tomato, eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers – but also introduces nutrient-rich lentils, which turn this traditional side dish into a satisfying main meal.”

Ratatouille Lentil Stew

1 small eggplant, cubed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 zucchini, cubed
1 yellow summer squash, cubed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup no-salt-added tomato paste
1 cup lentils, rinsed
4 cups unsalted or reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Divide the eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini and yellow squash between two large baking sheets, and spread the vegetables out into a single, even layer on each sheet. Coat the vegetables liberally with oil spray, and then sprinkle the oregano and rosemary evenly over them.

Roast the vegetables for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender, stirring them about halfway through.

While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the soup base: Liberally coat a large pot with oil spray, and preheat it over medium-high heat.

Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the pot. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened, adding a tablespoon of water at a time as necessary to prevent scorching.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.

Add the lentils, vegetable broth, 1 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Add the roasted vegetables to the pot and stir thoroughly to combine. Simmer, covered, for another 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls.

Nutrition information: 383 calories, 21 g protein, 69 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 cholesterol, 18 g fiber, 740 mg sodium

Makes 4 servings.

From “Slim & Scrumptious” by Joy Bauer

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‘Scrumptious,’ Yes. But Is It a Keeper?

‘Scrumptious,’ Yes. But Is It a Keeper?

At a recent cookbook swap, people were invited to bring up to five gently used cookbooks to trade. I quickly picked out five from my collection, including four diet cookbooks that I had never even looked at.

I was not alone in my thinking. Every other cookbook that people brought, save the tome on French cooking that I grabbed instantly, was a diet book of some sort. Most were low-fat or emphasized so-called “healthful” or “healthy” eating.

I can easily see Joy Bauer’s new “Slim and Scrumptious” (William Morrow, $24.99) in some future swap. It’s not because of the quality of the cookbook, but because a cookbook by itself, any cookbook, won’t cause anyone’s obesity to disappear. Exercise is vital. No book can make you do that. Yet we tend to blame the writer when the book fails to be the panacea we thought it would be.

So, what does that leave you with? Bauer, nutrition expert on NBC’s “Today” show, has crafted some recipes that sound truly delicious. Who could say no to Double Chocolate Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce? Or Herb-roasted Pork Tenderloin? Beef Tenderloin With Fig Reduction?

Ratatouille Lentil Stew is something I can see making regularly in summer, when the eggplant, tomatoes and zucchini are at their finest. And it doesn’t call for any Frankenfoods, aka the modified, processed additives you find in too many diet books. Brazilian Seafood Stew makes good use of scallops, shrimp and coconut milk. (Just don’t buy the light coconut milk suggested. Save some money and make your own light version by mixing one part water with one part coconut milk.)

Dark Cocoa Nuts

As a dessert or a snack, Dark Cocoa Almonds are great and won’t make you think you’re eating diet food.

Bauer also includes a few Mexican-flavored dishes, perfect for San Antonians who want lighter versions of some of their favorite dishes. The Chipotle Chicken and the Spicy Pork Tacos With Sassy Slaw both look great, but I think I’d rather eat less guacamole than dip into Bauer’s version, which thins out the avocado with yogurt.

Each of the recipes comes with a nutritional analysis, which can be a big help given the variety of diets there are. Some are low carb, others low sodium and most are low calorie.

But that brings up what’s wrong with Bauer’s book and too many other diet books. How are we to know if this is the diet right for our individual bodies. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. Plus, there are a growing number of studies questioning conventional wisdom on weight loss, such as the suggestion that some low-fat foods actually add weight to people. There’s nothing really new in that. It has long been known that if you want to add weight, the easiest way is to eat plenty of pasta, a fat-free food. Sugar is also fat-free and adds weight.

Then there are the health aspects of other low-fat foods that are being questioned, such as studies that say everything from infertility in women to prostate cancer in men can be related to the consumption of fat-free and reduced-fat dairy products.

So, don’t discount your doctor’s advice on what you should be eating. Listen to your body. Then take recipes likes Bauer’s and modify them to suit your dietary needs. I think most of us would love Buffalo Chicken Chili With Whipped Blue Cheese regardless of what type of cookbook the recipe is in.

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Dark Cocoa Almonds

Dark Cocoa Almonds

Coat your nuts thoroughly in the cocoa mixture.

This is a simple snack or easy dessert. And they “remind me of gourmet chocolate-covered nuts (you know, the kind you once bought for $15 a pound),” writes Joy Bauer in “Slim & Scrumptious.”

Dark Cocoa Almonds

1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups unsalted raw almonds, skins on (see note)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, and coat the foil with oil spray.

In a large bowl, combine the egg white and vanilla and whip until very frothy. Add the almonds to the bowl and stir until they are completely soaked in egg white, about 2 minutes. (Note: This recipe was tested with hazelnuts with good results.)

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cocoa powder and salt until thoroughly mixed. Add the sugar-cocoa mixture to the almonds,a nd stir until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated and evenly coat the almonds (no dry powder should remain at the bottom of the bowl).

Nuts coated in dark cooca.

Pour the almonds onto the prepared baking sheet, and use a spatula, spoon or your hands to spread them in a single even layer. Bake for 25 minutes on the middle oven rack.

Using a spatula, flip the almonds over in small batches and bake for 15 minutes.

Cool for at least 15 minutes. Break the almonds apart before serving. Store in an airtight container. (Note: The nuts tasted better the second day.)

Nutritional analysis: 212 calories, 7 g protein, 13 g carbohydrate, 14 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 35 mg sodium

Makes 8 (1/4 cup) servings.

From “Slim & Scrumptious” by Joy Bauer

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