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Tag Archive | "San Antonio food"

A Granola for the Season


CowgirlGranolaAre you mad for granola?  Then you may want to check out the pumpkin spice blend granola that Cowgirl Granola has produced for this Thanksgiving.

The San Antonio company is offering a granola made with seasonal spices as well as dried orange-cranberries, perfect flavors for those who can’t enough during the holiday.

The special granola is only available through the end of the month. It sells for $8 for a 12-ounce package.

You can purchase it or the two regular flavors (Original with organic raisins and Cranberry with dried cranberries) by calling (210) 865-5900, online at www.cowgirlgranola.com or at the Leon Springs Farmers Market, 13222 Boerne Stage Road every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

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WalkerSpeak: Casual or Fancy, Keep Tilapia Around for Great Tastes


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Fish Tacos With Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Looking to pick up a deliciously healthy habit as the holiday season gets underway?

Stop at the freezer section of the store and pick up a bag of flash-frozen tilapia fillets. I always keep a couple of pounds of these in my freezer for those what-should-I make-for-dinner evenings.

While the name “tilapia”  just doesn’t really summon up the excitement of,  say, fresh Alaskan halibut or wild-caught salmon, it is good.  The mild flavor and firm, flaky texture make it adaptable for many preparations.

I don’t like catfish, so I use tilapia instead. Tilapia in gumbo? Sure. Tilapia smothered in a good Creole sauce? Excellent.

The two preparations I’m sharing here today are two of my favorites. Fish Tacos, for casual or company fare; Sautéed Tilapia With Butter-Toasted Almonds to fancy things up.

Fish Tacos With Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Some time back, when I first heard about fish tacos, I thought they sounded  a little odd. Then, they started to turn up on San Antonio menus. We especially fell in love with the Sea Island version, where they know how to fry fish to perfection.

After just one taste, I was hooked on that the combination of sweet, crunchy white fish, wrapped in two warm corn tortillas and dressed with the chile pepper-spiked tartar sauce. While you can grill fish or prepare it any other way for a fish taco, I particularly like the contrast in textures you get with  crisp fried fish, crunchy slivers of cabbage and radishes and the lively flavors of a chile tartar sauce or salsa.

In this recipe for Fish Tacos, I added sliced avocado. (Why not?) The tartar sauce is actually just a simple blend of sour cream and mayonnaise, soaked and seeded chipotle chiles and a little minced onion and garlic salt. Char-roasted jalapeños or serranos served on the side are just about the perfect garnish.

Serve fish tacos with tender charro beans, seasoned sweet potato fries, your favorite coleslaw or a vegetable, such as green beans tossed in lemon butter with toasted almonds.

Sauteed Tilapia With Butter-Toasted Almonds

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Sauteed Tilapia With Butter-Toasted Almonds

This dish can be for everyday or you can pretend it’s gourmet. If you consider the browned butter and toasted almonds, the succulent fish and the sparkling flavor of fresh lemon,  it all just adds up to good food. And, it takes little time to prepare.

I sometimes just want the simple flavors of fish, lemon and butter. But if you need another flavor in the dish to add interest, go for some minced fresh herbs, such as dill or thyme, and fresh parsley. The fresh lemon is a must, though.

One more tip: If you keep almonds or other nuts in the freezer, they keep very well this way. But, they can also get stale if they’ve been in there awhile, or if the container wasn’t properly sealed. Taste them to be sure they’ll highlight the dish as they should, not add an off flavor.

Recipes:

Fish Tacos With Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Sautéed Tilapia With Butter-Toasted Almonds

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Spec’s Brings Gourmet Foods – and Spirits – to New Store


SpecsSpec’s has opened its first San Antonio area store. It’s housed in a former Circuit City space at 14623 I-35 N., across from the Forum.

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday afternoon, guests wandered through the 22,a000-square-foot store to check out the vast wine, beer and spirits selection as well as the gourmet sundries in stock.

The wines ranged from six different Ridge Zinfandels to assorted Proseccos, Burgundies, Bordeaux and a large selection of Texas wines. The beer selection caters to both those looking for a six-pack to those in search of one of Bear Republic’s selections or Van Twee from Belgium.

In the spirits aisles, everything from Maker’s Mark to several varieties of Brazilian cachaça and an array of absinthes.

The food department features a display of fresh olives, roasted red peppers, and pickled onions. Cheeses, patés and salami are nearby.

Looking for an unusual oil? The selection includes those made from apricot kernels, pumpkinseed, ginger and more. The salt section has several varieties of Bacon Salt, while the seafood section offers nine styles of anchovies.

The coffee area features many organic, fair-trade varieties, while the candy section showcases some hard-to-find favorites (Charleston Chews, Chuckles, Fizzies Drink Tablets) as well as Red Stones, GuyLian and New Tree chocolates.

This is the 69th Spec’s in Texas, owner John Rydman said. More are planned for the San Antonio area, but nothing is imminent, he added.

The store is open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Call (210) 651-1911.

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Legendary Caterer Don Strange Dies


DonStrangeA culinary giant in Texas and beyond, San Antonio caterer Don Strange died this morning at Methodist Hospital. A Don Strange of Texas catering company spokesman said that Strange passed away after a heart attack at about 2:30 a.m. He was 69.

Strange built his catering business around the wealth of foods available in Texas and served his fare in a down-home style that was well-received at both black-tie events and cookouts held anywhere from the White House lawn to his Hill Country ranch.

He was also known for his generous nature, which endeared him to many. He founded the groups, Helping Hands and Breakfast of Champions, and was active in Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives, all of which have helped children help themselves with a better understanding of cooking and nutrition.

“He was such a dear man,” said Stevie Weissman, who worked with him through her company, Stevie Weissman Events. “If you went to a meeting with him, it was amazing the creative energy and ideas that would come out of his mouth. I know his family will carry on.”

Lainey Berkus of the CE Group not only handled his public relations, she also considered him a friend. She worked with him professionally for 15 years, but it wasn’t until Strange catered her daughter’s wedding that she saw him in a whole new light.

“It was a fairy tale wedding,” she said. “He’s a dream maker. He makes dreams come true. And I think that’s what has made him so successful.”

For the wedding reception, Strange created a scene called Fire and Ice in which 100 waiters entered a darkened room with ice that had been set on fire. It was a memorable moment for the bridal couple and the guests, but it was only one part of what made the event so dear to Berkus.

Strange’s passion for constantly pushing himself and his company to do more and better things was what placed him at the forefront of the catering business in San Antonio and beyond. “He would always call and say, ‘I’ve got this idea. I’ve got that idea,'” Berkus said. And the ideas all had the wow! factor customers wanted.

Strange’s signature dishes included his smoky barbecue and his gordita stations, where patrons would find plump, steaming-hot corn patties topped with refrieds and guacamole. Equally popular were his Grilled White Wings, in which he wrapped bacon around nugget of chicken breast, a sliver of jalapeño and some cheese before grilling it.

These dishes, and many more, quickly attracted the attention of customers after Strange opened his catering company in 1968 under the name the Party House.

“He was just so easy to work with,” said Sally Solcher, who hired his company on a number of occasions over the years. “When he was in your home, it was just like having one of your friends in the house.”

Solcher said she knew Strange for about 30 years, and his talents went beyond his innovative presentation. “He just made everything colorful and delicious and fun,” she said. “He will be extremely missed. San Antonio has lost a really great man and friend.”

The company’s website, www.DonStrange.com, offers a brief history of the business, which began when Strange’s parents, Edith and Joe Strange, opened a grocery on Bandera Road in 1952. The catering company is housed at the same location to this day.

The business evolved into a restaurant, and Don Strange decided to branch out into catering in conjunction with HemisFair, the site says.

In 1982, he purchased 125 acres of Hill Country land near Welfare, which has become the Don Strange Ranch, a working ranch where large events are catered. Four years later, he changed the name of the business to Don Strange of Texas to emphasize its Lone Star roots, according to the site.

In 1990, Strange catered the Congressional Barbecue on the south lawn of the White House at the request of President George H.W. and Barbara Bush.

Other business projects have included operating the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum on Houston Street as well as catering for the John T. Floore Country Store in Helotes.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Frances, his three sons and their wives, Brian and Shanan, Matt and Kelly, and Jason and Mandy; his brother, John Strange, his grandchildren, Emily, Alexandra, Austin, Molly, Jake, Parker and Olivia; and his mother-in-law, Mary Singleton. His extended family includes his brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and cousins as well as his staff.

Though all of his sons have been a part of the business, many know Jason Strange because he heads up the popular Wednesday steak night at the Waring General Store. Mary Singleton makes the desserts that are served there each week.

Restaurateur Chris Madrid knew the family for years. “We were at Waring Steak Night just recently and saw them just recently. The whole family was there,” said Madrid Wednesday morning.

“One thing I have always told people: If Don Strange is doing your catering, you don’t have to worry about a thing.”

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Don Strange Ranch near Welfare. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives and the Rotary Club of San Antonio Sam J. Riklin Rotary Diploma Plus program. Flowers may be sent to Porter Loring Funeral Homes.

SavorSA co-editor John Griffin contributed to this story.

“One thing I have always told people: If Don Strange is doing your catering, you don’t have to worry about a thing.”

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A Chance to Sip, Savor and Hoist That Umbrella


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Intermittent showers couldn’t dampen spirits Sunday at Sip, Savor & Shop, the opening event of the 10th anniversary of the New World Wine & Food Festival.

NWWFF-SipShop6Guests strolled through the new section of the Shops at La Cantera where fashion shows, food and fine wines were served up while the stores offered discounts and makeovers.

Wines ranged from Domaine de la Gardine and Franciscan Magnificat to Texas’ best from Becker Vineyards, Llano Estacado and Messina Hof. Restaurants and caterers, including Kona Grill, Grimaldi’s, Mariposa at Nieman Marcus, El Papalote, Così and the RK Group, served up a host of dishes including tacos norteños,  tuna tartare, bacon-wrapped chicken bites and pizza.

Towards the end of one shower, a rainbow arched briefly over the Shops at La Cantera, and the sight of it made the raindrops inconsequential.

NWWFF-SipShop2SavorSA was also on hand offering tastes of holiday Cran-Raspberry Sauce (for the recipe, click here), an easy-to-make relish that’s great with Thanksgiving turkey or poured on top of ice cream. As the afternoon progressed, more ideas on how to make and serve the sauce evolved. Pour it over cream cheese or alongside baked Brie for an easy appetizer. Serve it with pork tenderloin, pork chops or roast chicken. Add jalapeños or serranos for a kick, or stir in pecan pieces for a welcome textural addition.

The New World Wine & Food Festival continues at 7 p.m. Tuesday with Burgers & Beer at Bin 555. For a full schedule, click here.

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Get Your Turkey and Trimmings – and Have Someone Else Do the Work


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*Updated with additional listings on November 23.

If you don’t have the time, the means or the energy to prepare the Thanksgiving meal, don’t sweat it. There are numerous places offering meals to go, while many restaurants are offering lavish spreads.

Restaurateurs, if your Thanksgiving menu isn’t included, please e-mail events@savorsa.com. We’ll update the lists below as often as we can.

First, we’ll start with the take-out options:

  • Central Market, 4821 Broadway – A host of meal options abound. The turkey dinner with all the trimmings serves 6-8 and features gravy, dressing, green beans amandine, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls and a pumpkin chiffon pie for $129.99. A vegetarian meal for four with Hazelnut Cranberry Roast en Croute sells for $69.99. Call (210) 368-8600 or (210) 368-8686.
  • The County Line – Order barbecued turkey breast as well as ribs, sausage and brisket through the barbecue joint’s Air Ribs program. Call (800) AIR-RIBS (247-7427) or visit www.airribs.com.
  • Crumpet’s Restaurant & Bakery, 3920 Harry Wurzbach – For a full menu of take-out options, call (210) 821-5600.
  • Earl Abel’s, 1201 Austin Hwy. – Order a 23-pound oven-roasted turkey dinner with cornbread dressing, giblet gravy and cranberry relish for $125. Two pies (one apple, one pumpkin) are included. Side dishes, including mashed potatoes, candied yams, green beans, gravy and dinner rolls, available individually. Pie options include pumpkin, sweet potato pecan with Chantilly cream, Texas pecan, cherry, apple, maple pecan and meringue. Orders must be placed by Nov. 20. Call (210) 822-7333 or (210) 822-3358.
  • SoGo, 19903 Stone Oak Parkway – The holiday meal for 6–8 people costs $159.99 and includes Whole Roasted Tom Turkey (brined with canella, cider, sugar, salt, cilantro and clove); Fresh Herb Bread Stuffing; Roast Garlic Mashed Potatoes; French Green Bean Casserole; Cranberry-Orange Compote; Turkey Gravy; House-Baked Dinner Rolls with Whipped Butter; and your choice of Home-Made Chocolate-Chip Pecan Pie, Apple Pie or Pumpkin Pie.  All items are also available á la carte.  Reserve your meal at (210) 494-8222 or online at www.sogo-sa.com.
  • Whole Foods, 255 E. Basse Rd. – A variety of appetizer options include Crab Cakes; Traditional Deviled Eggs; Brie en Croute; and Antipasti & Cheese platters.  Á la carte entrées include Herb-Encrusted Tenderloin of Beef; Diestel Pre-Roasted Organic Turkey; and Spinach and Hazelnut Tofu Loaf.  There is a large selection of side dishes included Traditional Herb Stuffing; Roasted Brussels Sprouts; and Apple-Baco-Cheddar Potato Cakes.  Desserts include Four Seasons Pie; Vegan Pumpkin Pie (traditional also available); and Chocolate Pecan Pie.  More information is at wholefoodsmarket.com/holidays or call (210) 826-4676.

For restaurant options, make reservations early. Also note that some places will not be open on the holiday. A few we know include Rosario’s, Acenar, El Jarro de Arturo, the Palm Steakhouse, Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses and Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse.

  • Biga on the Banks, 203 South St. Mary’s St. – Brunch on Thanksgiving Day will run 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Prices and information on the special meal will be posted on the restaurant’s website, www.biga.com, as it becomes available. Place an online reservation and receive a complimentary glass of Champagne.
  • Boudro’s, 421 E. Commerce – Thanksgiving Day hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Start the meal with an amuse bouche – Chicken Liver Paté and Persimmon Jam.  Choose between Corn and Crab Chowder with Pumpkin, Poblano, and Parmesan Croissant Croutons or Beet Salad with Watercress, Fresh Goat Cheese, Grapes, and Orange Sherry Vinaigrette.  The main course selections are Achiote Butter-Basted Turkey Breast with Wild Mushroom, Parmesan, and Celery Root Sour Dough Stuffing or Herb-Roasted Niman Ranch Pork Chop.  Alongside the entrées will be Jalapeño Cornbread, Cranberry Scones, Carmelized Onion-Sage Rolls, and Rosemary and Grape Kolaches.  Dessert is Sweet Potato Pecan Pie with Chantilly Cream, Mexican Chocolate Cheesecake with Candied Orange and Cajeta Sauce, or any dessert on the regular menu. Cost: $37 for adults, $15 for children’s turkey dinner, all plus tax and tip. For reservations, call (210) 224-8484.
  • Brasserie Pavil, 1818 N. Loop 1604 W. – A three-course Thanksgiving prix fixe menu will be served 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Choices of appetizers include roasted butternut squash soup, Pavil Maison Salad Mix and a classic Caesar. Entrée choices include Grilled Chicken Breast Dijonaise, Steak au Poivre, Roast Turkey and Mushroom-Sourdough Stuffing, Rainbow Trout, Sea Scallops Beurre Noir and Fettuccini with Pulled Braised Lamb. Dessert choices include Pumpkin Cheesecake, Gateau au Chocolat and class crème brûlée. A la carte sides also available. Cost:  $34.95 a person plus tax and tip. Reservations for parties of 7 or more. Call (210) 479-5000.
  • Crumpet’s Restaurant & Bakery, 3920 Harry Wurzbach – Holiday fare will be offered during the day’s abbreviated hours, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. For reservations, call (210) 821-5600.
  • Earl Abel’s, 1201 Austin Hwy. – Thanksgiving hours start at 6:30 a.m., but the holiday meal will be served 11 a.m.-11 p.m. The special menu comes with choice of appetizer, vegetable, dinner rolls and dessert. Entrée options include roast turkey ($15), country ham ($16), fried chicken ($14), Niman Ranch top sirloin ($19) and fried shrimp ($17). Call (210) 822-3358.
  • Fogo de Chao, 849 E. Commerce St. – Thanksgiving hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m.  Lunch prices: $24.50. Dinner: $38.50. Both options include the regular 15 cuts of meat plus salad bar. Patrons can also choose salad bar only for $19.50. Call (210) 227-1700.
  • The Grand Hyatt, 600 E. Market St. – At the hotel’s Achiote River Café & Bar, the buffet is from noon to 9 p.m. Mixed salads, a carving station with roast turkey and entrees including pan-seared salmon, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, poblano corn bread stuffing, seasonal vegetables, an artisan bread station and a dessert station are offered. Cost: $25 a person. Call (210) 224-1234.
  • Green Vegetarian Cuisine, 1017 N. Flores Ave. – Have a vegetarian feast at Green from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. E-mail mike.behrend@greensanantonio.com for reservations.
  • Hyatt Regency, 123 Losoya St. – The Thanksgiving buffet at Chaps Restaurant will be 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Carving stations with turkey, ham and prime rib are offered in addition to buffet choices of fire-roasted chicken, roasted turkey thighs, grilled acorn and butternut squashes, candied yams and grilled Escobar. Also: salad bar, Thanksgiving bread table and dessert table. Cost: $40 adults, $36 seniors, and $20 children. Children under age 3 are free with paying adult. Call (210) 222-1234.
  • Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive – The buffet in the Hill Country Ballroom is from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. A rustic soup station, seafood, salads of the season, a gnocchi and pasta bar, carving stations with turkey and ham, a breakfast bar and specialties ranging from roasted pork loin and roasted beef sirloin to glazed salmon and roasted acorn squash are featured. Dessert buffet and children’s buffet included. Cost: $42.95 adults, $35 seniors (65+), $21.50 children ages 4-12. Call (210) 647-1234.
  • La Mansión del Rio, 112 College St. – The buffet in Las Canarias restaurant will be 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Cost: $64.95 per person, $32.95 children ages 5-12. Price includes unlimited Mumm Champagne for adults. Tax and tip not included. Dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. is a la carte from the regular menu. Call (210) 518-1017.
  • Luca Ristorante e Enoteca, 11255 Huebner Road – Thanksgiving hours are noon-3 p.m. The special menu includes soup or salad, followed by a turkey dinner with all the trimmings,  and ending with pumpkin cheesecake. Cost: adults, $19.95; children, $9.95. The regular menu will also be available during those hours. Call (210) 561-9700.
  • Mike’s in the Village, 2355-3 Bulverde Road in Bulverde, TX, will offer a menu including Pumpkin Soup with Creole Lobster; Deep Fried Cajun Turkey Brined in Cayenne and Brown Sugar; Oyster-Corn Bread Dressing; Creamed Collard Greens; Sweet Potatoes with Pecans & Brown Sugar Butter; and more.  Hours are 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Call for reservations, (830) 438-2747.
  • The Vintage House Restaurant, Messina Hof Winery and Resort, 4545 Old Reliance Road, Bryan — Enjoy a traditional holiday feast from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting with your choice of Pumpkin Bisque or New England Clam Chowder. Next, choose Messina Hof Champagne Salad or Messina Hof House Merlot Salad. The entrée selection is: Roast Turkey with Giblet Gravy served with Seasoned Cornbread Stuffing and Green Bean Casserole; Prime Rib of Beef au Jus served with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Cabernet Mushrooms; or Baked North Atlantic Cod with Fresh Dill and Cornichon Butter Sauce and served with Jasmine rice and Green Bean Casserole. For dessert, enjoy your choice of Pumpkin Cheese Cake, Chocolate Mousse Cake or Tiramisu. Cost: $49.95 plus tax and tip. Wine is not included. Call (800) 736-9463, ext. 231, for reservations.

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Ask a Foodie: Crazy for Chiles


jean_victor_balin_toque1Q. Who has the best selection of dried chiles in town?

A. You can find a broad selection of dried chiles from Central and South America at Las Americas Latin Market, 6623 San Pedro Ave. The store also features a broad selection of food items from countries such as Brazil, Chile and Peru. The array ranges from canned items and box mixes to produce and frozen foods. Call (210) 340-2747.

Another Latin market worth investigating for its chile selection is Boricua Food Market, 110 Corinne Drive (at the intersection of Harry Wurzbach and Rittiman). Call (210) 824-5759.

Other options include Central Market and the H-E-B Plus stores, the various Sun Harvest stores,  and Hung Phong Oriental Market, 243 Remount Road.

If you have a food question, e-mail walker@savorsa.com or griffin@savorsa.com.

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Flu Fighters: Protect Your Body With Healthful Choices


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Broth is nourishing if you’re on a liquid diet.

Is your body well enough to resist the flu this season?

This is not a matter to be taken lightly or ignored, as theH1N1 flu, sometimes referred to as  swine flu, has been declared a national emergency.  In the United States, the flu has spread into 46 states.

To find out what’s best for your body at this time of year, we talked with several health care professionals in San Antonio to find out what they suggest as the best ways to remain healthy.

Dr. Richard Reyna, an internist, suggested two nutrients that can help fight flu and colds:  vitamin C and zinc.  Each of these can be obtained in supplement form or even lozenges. But, food might be the healthiest way to get your vitamins and minerals.

Zinc is in a host of foods, particularly high-protein foods such as meats. It’s also found in dairy, peanuts and wholegrain cereals. One of the highest non-meat sources of zinc, according to www.nutritional-supplements-health-guide.com, is a food we use a lot in San Antonio and one that is in season right now, pepitas, or pumpkin seeds. (For a recipe on toasting your own pumpkin seeds, click here.)

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Stay hydrated. For extra vitamin C, try rose hips tea.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest rest. Also, drinking clear fluids, such as water, broth and sports drinks help to keep the body hydrated.

Wash your hands frequently, especially if you’ve been in public areas, or are exhibiting symptoms of the flu, such as sneezing and coughing. Try to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for 15-20 seconds, at least. If you need to sneeze or cough, instead of covering your mouth with your hand, use a tissue, then discard it and wash your  hands. If no tissue is available, sneeze into your sleeve or hands, then wash hands immediately. If no water is available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer may be used.

The CDC also suggests that sick people stay away from others as much as possible, as person-to-person contact is largely how the flu is spread. If you are a family caregiver, be sure and disinfect surfaces in the house and avoid sharing glasses or utensils.

There’s no one sure-fire way of fighting the flu, says Lori Karhu, a registered nurse and licensed massage therapist in San Antonio.

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Pine nuts, such as those used in a basil pesto, are good sources of zinc, as are pecans.

She suggests a multi-pronged approach, so that body, mind and soul are working together. Ignoring any of these could leave your body vulnerable to attack, she says.

For the mind, the best bet is to avoid stress or defuse whenever possible. Meditation is one way of doing this.

Karhu also recommends people devote a little time to learn the science of better breathing. Proper breathing will rid the body of toxins and carbon dioxide while filling both the brain and muscles with oxygen. This also helps remove stress, she says. (There are numerous websites that address the issue, such as SparkPeople.com.)

Improving circulation with exercise helps. “You just need to get up and move,” she says.

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Drink plenty of water.

Work on the body is a little more involved. Karhu likes to take an approach that starts with the outer and works inward. By that, she means working on the outside, with a warm bristle brush on the skin before showering. It removes more dead skin cells.

A tongue scraper and a neti pot also keep the respiratory tract and the cilia in the nose clean, so they can filter more effectively.

When it comes to diet, Karhu prefers the raw food lifestyle because of the way it cleanses the system. Fasting will also remove toxins from the body. (If you are unfamiliar with the raw food movement, she recommends www.oneluckyduck.com. Don’t fast without consulting your physician first.)

Stay hydrated, she advises. “I don’t think a lot of us understand what that means,” she says. It’s not just drinking anything, such as sodas.

“Coconut water is an excellent hydrator,” Karhu says. Studies have shown that coconut water energizes you while giving your body potassium and cleansing the digestive tract. Runners have taken to drinking it to stay refreshed.

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Wash hands frequently with warm water and soap to help prevent the spread of germs.

Superfoods, such as mangosteen juice or açai juice, are loaded with vitamin C among other nutrients. They are also becoming more common; you can find açai pulp in the freezer section of most H-E-B stores. It’s a great addition to smoothies, Karhu says.

Get your flu shot, Karhu says. But if you do get sick, “stay at home, rest, drink lots of water— and chicken soup, if you’re not a vegetarian,” she says.

Don’t see your doctor. Call instead. “The CDC recommends you call your doctor and have him or her call you in a prescription,” Karhu says. That way, you are not sharing your flu germs with everyone else in the waiting room.

“Hibernate about seven days,” so you won’t share it with the rest of the people at work, either, and so your body has a chance to recover more fully, she says. The CDC, in fact, recommends that you stay home for 24 hours after your fever has gone.

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It’s Truffle Time at Oloroso


It’s truffle season, time once again for the rare and aromatic fungi from Europe to make their way back on to area menus.

At Oloroso, 1024 S. Alamo St., chef Josh Cross has developed several new dishes using both black and white truffles.

The black Burgundy Truffles are featured in a dish of toasted spaetzle, truffle cream, and barley poached Malpeque oysters before being finished with slices of fresh Burgundy truffle.

White Alba truffles from Italy are being used in a variation of the most traditional truffle dish: truffle risotto. Yet, in this version, Yukon gold potatoes are used and the dish is crowed with the white Albas.

Not content to stop there, Cross features Burgundy truffles on duck confit salad and grilled hangar steak.

Oloroso , which specializes in Mediterranean-inspired food, is now open Monday-Friday for lunch and Tuesday-Saturday for dinner. Call (210) 223-3600 or click here.

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Spicy Pumpkin Soup Is Sweet and Hot


PumpkinSoupSpicy Pumpkin Soup

The following recipe was adapted by Elise.com from a recipe in Oprah magazine. The original called for it to be served in hollowed out miniature pumpkins. A nice touch, if you feel the need to dress it up. But there really isn’t a need to.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
6 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin or 3 (15-ounce) cans 100 percent pumpkin
5 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth for vegetarian option
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.

Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.

With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a little too spicy, add more cream to cool it down. You might want to add a teaspoon of salt.

Serve in individual bowls. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Makes 8 servings.

From Elise.com

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