Archive | August 1st, 2011

Griffin to Go: Kids and Diet, Good News and Bad News

Griffin to Go: Kids and Diet, Good News and Bad News

What's healthy for a child and what's too much?

Parents, dietitians and probably even a few kids were surprised this past week when McDonald’s announced that it would be changing its Happy Meal by reducing the size of its fries and by adding apples to the mix. The new meal, which debuts in September, features 20 percent fewer calories and less fat than before, but it still comes with a toy. (I can hear a few kids breathing easier. The ones who hate apple slices will likely ignore them the same way that those who don’t care for pickle on their burgers simply have them removed.)

The chain announced that the change comes after in-depth interviews with parents and guardians as well as children. And the news comes on the heels of reports that potatoes, especially fried ones, are likely to add to your girth.

Is a child’s order of fries going to make that much difference? Sadly, it could.

The number of obese children in America has doubled over the past 30 years, says, which goes on to offer a few more facts :

  • “There is alarming increase in the number of children and adolescents developing type-2 diabetes (also termed as adult-onset diabetes) due to being overweight.
  • “The high levels of cholesterol and high blood pressure that are some of the main risk factors for development of heart diseases are found in most of the obese children.
  • “Sleep apnea (interruption of breath while sleeping) is considered as the most severe problem faced by obese children. In rare cases, this sleep apnea may lead to other problems like difficulty in learning and memory.
  • “Obese children are on higher risk of developing liver diseases, orthopedic problems and asthma.
  • “More than 70 percent obese adolescents retain their overweight and obese condition even during their adulthood.”

In other words, too many kids these days are eating themselves into an early grave. So many, in fact, that a doctor from the Harvard-associated Children’s Hospital Boston is advocating the removal of children from their homes if they are so obese that their lives are in danger. He wasn’t speaking of any obese kid, but those whose medical condition has been neglected to the point that it becomes a form of child abuse.

When I was growing up, children were told to eat their rutabagas, no matter how bitter, or those nasty sweet potatoes in an orange cup because of “the starving children in China.” Nowadays, we have to tell children not to eat too much, because of “the children in Boston who are eating themselves to death.”

Something is broke. Adding apples to a meal isn’t going to fix it, but it’s a start.

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Chefs’ Corner: Chama Gaucha Has a Tangy, Unique Chimichurri Sauce

Chefs’ Corner: Chama Gaucha Has a Tangy, Unique Chimichurri Sauce

Grilled salmon topped with Chama Gaucha's Chimichurri Sauce.

Q. Could you possibly get me the recipe for the chimichurri sauce at Chama Gaucha?

— Cindy

A. Long Phu, the general manager at Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse, 18318 Sonterra Place, was happy to share the basic recipe for this chunky sauce, which he was quick to point out is not like the traditional chimichurri sauce from Argentina.

The Argentine version is made with fresh parsley, garlic and olive oil, while Chama Gaucha’s is made with sautéed bell peppers and onions with a touch of dried herbs while getting a lively kick from vinegar and tomato sauce.

The difference took a few friends by surprise, but most warmed to its tangy charms.

Beef at Chama Gaucha topped with its chimichurri sauce.

Phu didn’t offer any proportions of the ingredients, because part of the fun is playing with it until you get the flavors adjusted to a level that’s right for you. We offer a version to get you started.

This version is great with steaks, such as the many skewered versions that are served at Chama Gaucha, a Brazilian steakhouse. You could also use it with chicken, firm seafood or even grilled portobello mushrooms.

By the way, Chama Gaucha is quietly becoming a chain. The first is the Sonterra Place location, while a second opened in Chicago in 2008. A third opens in Houston on Aug. 24, Phu says.

To reach the restaurant, call (210) 564-9400 or click here for more information.

And if you have a recipe you’d like, email Bonnie Walker or John Griffin.

Chama Gaucha Chimichurri Sauce

Chama Gaucha’s Chimichurri Sauce

1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped, to taste
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more to taste, divided use
1/2 cup white wine vinegar, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried basil, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried mint, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley, or to taste
4 ounces tomato sauce, or to taste

Lightly sauté the peppers, onion and garlic in 1/4 cup olive oil. You want the vegetables crisp, so don’t overcook them. Remove from heat and add vinegar and more olive oil, to taste. The amount of each is to taste, but it also stems from with how much sauce you want around the vegetables. “It’s almost like a vinaigrette the way it’s prepared,” Phu says, adding that the ratio of oil and vinegar is close to even.

Stir in basil, mint, cilantro, oregano and parsley, and adding more of each to taste. Stir in tomato paste. Adjust seasonings to taste.

The end result should be chunky. It should also be very thick. “This is not a light sauce,” he says.

For those who want it spicier, think of adding jalapeño or spicy paprika to the mix, Phu says.

Adapted from Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse

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Get Some Street Food at the Revolution Room on Wednesday

Get Some Street Food at the Revolution Room on Wednesday

The Beef Bahiri Kebab from Rickshaw Stop.

If you didn’t get enough street food at the Boardwalk on Bulverde over the weekend, then you may want to check out On Broadway StrEAT Food Wednesdays at the Revolution Room, 8123 Broadway.

From 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesdays, a collection of trucks will be offering their tasty treats outside the bar. The Rickshaw Stop with its Pakistani fare will be joined by Tapa Tapa, Saweet Cupcakes and more. Burgers, wings, barbecue and more will be offered.

For more information, call the Revolution Room at (210) 320-4567.

Friendly Spot seeks submission for film festival

The Friendly Spot, 943 S. Alamo St., is now accepting admissions for its short film festival.

According to the rules, “The theme of your film needs to be Friends, Family or Community. Each film must be eight minutes or less, the Friendly Spot must be at least one of your locations, and one of these three lines must be used in the film:

  1.  “Let’s be friends”
  2. “Be friendly”
  3. “Respect the hood”

“Narrative, documentary, animation, and experimental are all welcome. All films need to be family friendly. The film’s director is responsible for all rights clearances.”

Submissions must be received by Sept. 1.

More than $700 in prizes will be awarded. The films will be screened Sept. 16-17 with winners announced on Sept. 17.

For more information, click here.


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