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Two Salads, One Dressing


Crunchy Cabbage Salad uses both red and green cabbage.

OK, I have to admit that I laughed when I first saw Suzanne Somers’ “The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible” (Three Rivers Press, $21.99). Who would want to cook their way through any of the 400 or so recipes that Somers has supposedly compiled? This is another one of those celebrity cookbooks ghost written by who knows who, right?

Then I opened the book and was pleasantly surprised by how many recipes I wanted to make: Pork Paillards with Caper Butter Sauce, Braised Pork Chops with Purple Cabbage, Pan-fried New York Steaks with Fried Elephant Garlic, Crispy Mesquite Salmon, Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, to name a few. All used only a few ingredients, most easily found, and came with easy-to-follow instructions that emphasized the freshness of the dish.

But it was the salad section that really scored. Ingredients like baby artichokes, hearts of palm, fennel, warm goat cheese and more are all included in this robust selection, accompanied by a series of lively dressings. These include the recipes below for Crunchy Cabbage Salad and Green Beans and Hearts of Palm, both of which use her Red Wine Vinaigrette.

If you take the time time to read the front of the book, you’ll also learn that each of the recipes is coded so you can find out if the dish is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegetarian or vegan. All of the recipes are sugar-free, though some sweeteners are used, and Somers offers substitutes for her all-natural SomerSweet.

That care mixed with some really good-looking recipes make realize that the last laugh is with Somers. By the way, “The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible” is Somers’ 21st book, so she must be doing something right.

Green Bean Salad and Hearts of Palm

Sea salt
1 pound green beans
1 (14-ounce) can or jar hearts of palm, drained
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 cup Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and boil 3 to 4 minutes, until tender. the beans will change from light to dark green. Drain and plunge the beans into a bowl of ice water; the ice bath stops the cooking process, sets the flavor, and helps the beans retain their dark green color. Slice the blanched green beans on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces and place in a large salad bowl.

Slice the hearts of palm on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces. Add the hearts of palm, tomatoes, onions, parsley and feta to the bowl. toss with the vinaigrette and season with additional salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

From “The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible” by Suzanne Somers

Crunchy Cabbage Salad

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine cabbage, parsley, onion, and vinaigrette in a large salad bowl. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavors combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

From “The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible” by Suzanne Somers

Red Wine Vinaigrette

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil.

Combine the vinegar, oregano, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Add the olive oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly until the oil is emulsified.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.

Makes about 1 cup.

From “The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible” by Suzanne Somers

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Fralo’s Plans to Add Microbrewery, Plus Eating Vegan and More


Artful pizzas at Fralo's that taste as good as they look.

Fralo’s Art of Pizza, 23651 I-10 W., is expanding at its Leon Springs location.

Owner Frank Hakspiel says he has purchased microbrewery equipment from Sea World and plans to open his own brewery on the property in the spring. The microbrewer from Sea World has agreed to help him get started once the equipment has been moved to the site.

He has already named one of the beers, Grant’s Pale Ale, for his infant son. Grant’s name is also on the caramelized pear and prosciutto pizza the restaurant offers.

Hakspiel is also talking about adding a second restaurant next door. It would offer high-end Italian food prepared by former Il Sogno chef Luca Della Casa, who has been working at the restaurant, making all of the revamped pasta dishes and providing specials each weekend. “He makes all of the pasta,” Hakspiel says.

Della Casa has also added a Torino pizza — Italian sausage, chicken, arugula, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella and provolone cheese with a spicy tomato sauce — that was named after his home region in Italy. Torino is also a possibility for the name of the new restaurant, Hakspiel says.

Isn't she a beauty? Fralo's is going to transform her into a catering truck.

As if all that weren’t enough, Hakspiel has plans for the 1940s-era fire truck he has on the property. He plans on adding an oven to the back of the truck and use it for catering. Kids of any age who have played with a miniature fire truck should love having the real thing at a party.

We learned this over a wonderful lunch at Fralo’s with vegan travel blogger Carolyn Scott-Hamilton, who produces and writes HealthyVoyager.com. She was able to get a vegan pizza that she declared one of the five  best she has ever had. In keeping with Fralo’s ongoing desire to please a multitude of tastes and diets, the restaurant also offers gluten-free and whole wheat crusts as well as an off-the-menu feature of a miniature pizza made on a portobello mushroom for those who are avoiding flour.

For more information about Fralo’s, call 210-698-6616 or click here.

 

Exploring more vegan options

Carolyn Scott-Hamilton and her husband, Dan Hamilton: Healthy Voyagers at Fralo's.

Other restaurants Scott-Hamilton and her husband, Dan Hamilton, also her cameraman, visited during their stay were Mi Tierra, the Cove and Adelante. She described the latter, with its riot of color and collection of whimsical Mexican folk art as looking “like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.”

The couple are from Los Angeles and were here on a Convention and Visitors Bureau trip for travel writers. A Boston blogger who writes about women traveling alone and an Orange County mom who writes about traveling with her kids were also invited. All three were part of teams that competed against each other in a series of events that ranged from feeding the lorikeets at the zoo to lassoing a statue of a cow. On Sunday, in the heat, the couple found themselves running from the Tower of the Americas to the Alamo, where they had to start a conga line and encourage as many participants as they could to join in.

If you’re wondering why Scott-Hamilton and her husband didn’t go to Green, Pavani Express or the city’s new vegan restaurant, Vegeria, which opened last week at 8407 Broadway, it’s because she likes to focus her trips on restaurants where vegans are welcome, even if the place is not entirely vegan.

At the Cove, she was able to get the Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger and a Vegan BLT along with a gluten-free beer before heading off to First Friday.

If you are looking for vegan food and are unsure if a restaurant can accommodate your tastes, give it a call first and ask. It’s as simple as that.

Wine Spectator honors area restaurants

Wine Spectator magazine has released its annual roundup of restaurants with excellent wine lists. New this year is Antlers Lodge at the Hyatt Hill Country, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive.

Others to make the list are Bohanan’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, Biga on the Banks, Chama Gaúcha Brazilian Steakhouse, Coco Chocolate Lounge, Fleming’s, Fogo de Chão, Francesca’s at Sunset, Kirby’s, Las Ramblas, Morton’s the Steakhouse, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Silo, the Melting Pot, the Palm and Wildfish Seafood Grille.

The importance of the list has been debated, but despite any faults, it does bring in customers, which is why you’ll find a restaurant like Morton’s unveiling a new program, the Sommelier Selections of its wine list. This area includes boutique wines and rare gems that include Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain 2005) and Freemark Abbey Cabernet (Napa 2002), which are available only at Morton’s domestic locations.

Wine on tap

We always thought wine sales would go up if you could get a great glass without having to buy the full bottle. This is the secret behind the Boerne Wine Company, 302 S. Main St., Boerne, where you can try such top-shelf wines as PlumpJack and Palmaz by the glass from their dispenser systems that keep an open bottle fresher for longer period of time.

Now, Boston.com is reporting that a few wineries are selling their best by tap. “That’s right, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir from kegs, not bottles, dispensed from a tap like beer and ale,” the article says. “The approach promises to remake restaurant by-the-glass programs by lowering costs, dramatically reducing waste (wine in open bottles deteriorates rapidly), and making the whole process considerably greener. … But a switch won’t happen overnight.”

Costs, of course, are a factor. But if this catches on, it will be a revolution in wine and dining.

 

 

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Mango, Tomato, Avocado Chop Bowl


Mango, Tomato, Avocado Chop Bowl

Nomi Shannon, aka the Raw Gourmet, created this easy yet bold salad using ingredients you’re like to have around your kitchen. Don’t have something? Try a variation. As Shannon says, “This is just wicked simple — and there’s pretty much endless variations of the chop bowl.”

You could add celery or any color bell pepper for crunch. Use peaches or nectarines instead of mango. Spritz some lime juice on instead of the vinegar. Add serrano pepper for heat.

Mango, Tomato, Avocado Chop Bowl

1 medium ripe tomato, chopped into ½-inch cubes
1 medium Ataulfo mango, chopped into ½-inch cubes
1 medium avocado, chopped into ½-inch cubes
6-10 fresh mint leaves, torn up
Pinch of sea salt
¼- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar, optional

Gently stir together tomato, mango, avocado, mint, salt, cinnamon and vinegar, if using. Allow flavors to mingle for 15-30 minutes.

Makes 4 side dish servings or 1 main course serving.

From Nomi Shannon, the Raw Gourmet

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Garlicky Habanero Macadamia Nuts


Garlicky Habanero Macadamia Nuts

“Most North Americans think habanero = fire,” Rick Bayless writes in “Fiesta at Rick’s” (W.W. Norton & Sons, $35). “I think habanero = aroma of tropical fruit and flowers … plus some pretty searing heat. By roasting habaneros (along with garlic) and blending them into seasoning, we’ve already mitigated their heat without doing too much damage to that beautifully aromatic flavor. Adding a touch of honey soothes the heat to a very manageable glow.

“Still scared about using habaneros? Try using two or three serrano (or two small jalapeño) chiles instead. And if your macadamia nuts come salted, cut the salt in the seasoning by half.”

These can be made a week in advance and stored in an air-tight container before servings.

Garlicky Habanero Macadamia Nuts (Macadamias al Chile Habanero y Ajo)

6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 to 2 fresh habanero chiles, stemmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups (about 1 pound) roasted macadamia nuts

Turn on the oven to 350 degrees. In a dry skillet, roast the unpeeled garlic cloves and chiles over medium heat, turning them regularly until soft and blotchy-blackened in spots, about 10 minutes for the habanero, 10 to 15 minutes for the garlic. When the garlic is handleable, peel off the paper skin. In a mortar or small food processor, combine the garlic and habanero. Pound or process to as smooth a mixture as possible. Add the oil, honey and salt and pound or process to incorporate thoroughly.

In a large bowl, combine the macadamias and flavoring, stirring to coat the nuts thoroughly. Spread the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake —stirring occasionally — until the nuts are toasty smelling and the flavorings have formed a shiny, dryish coating, about 20 minutes. Cool.

Makes about 3 cups.

From “Fiesta at Rick’s” by Rick Bayless with Deann Groen Bayless

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Chipotle-Roasted Almonds


Chipotle-Roasted Almonds

“Wanting a sweet-spicy nibble to set out for guests, I concocted this sweet chipotle glaze (though it works as well on peanuts and other nuts),” Rick Bayless writes in “Fiesta at Rick’s” (W.W. Norton & Sons, $35). “And you’re reading the ingredients right: I used ketchup as the medium to work the chiles, lime and brown sugar together into one pretty fine coating that’s easy to distribute evenly. When the nuts are ready to remove from the oven, they will no longer feel sticky — but they won’t be crisp. That’ll happen as they cool off.

“If the almonds you buy are blanched (peeled) but not toasted, spread them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a 325-degree oven until they’re aromatic and lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.”

I failed to do the last step and used raw, unpeeled almonds. The nuts came out sticky. In fact, they clumped in the bowl. But they broke apart easily and disappeared quickly, sticky or not.

Chipotle-Roasted Almonds (Almendras Enchipotladas)

2 canned chipotle chiles
2 tablespoons adobo (tomato-y sauce in the can of chiles)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups (1 1/4 pounds) toasted, blanched almonds

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Scoop the chipotles, adobo, lime juice, ketchup, sugar and salt into a blender and process to a smooth purée. Pour into a large bowl along with the almonds and toss until the nuts are evenly coated. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread the nuts on it. Bake until they are fragrant and no longer moist, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool the almonds on the sheet pan, then scoop into a serving bowl and set out for all to enjoy.

Makes 4 cups.

From “Fiesta at Rick’s” by Rick Bayless with Deann Groen Bayless

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Leave the Sugar Out of Spicy Cabbage Slaw


Spicy Cabbage Slaw

“Of the zillions of versions of coleslaw, I’m not a big fan of the sweet ones, or the mayonnaise ones either. This recipe is more like a refreshing cabbage salad,” David Tanis writes in the new cookbook, “Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys” (Artisan, $35).

Tanis, chef at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, is right on the money. This slaw is a winner, whether you are serving it as a side dish or on top of fish tacos or a pulled pork sandwich.

You can cut the cabbage into strips or shreds or chop it fine, depending on your preference.

Spicy Cabbage Slaw

1 small firm green cabbage, cored and shredded
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 jalapeño or serrarno, finely chopped
Juice of 3 limes, or to taste
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Put the cabbage, onion, chile and lime juice in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

After an hour, the cabbage will have wilted slightly. Taste for salt and lime juice, adjust the seasonings and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.

From “Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys” by David Tanis

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Chefs’ Corner: Raw Walnut Brownies


Walnuts

For many of us, cracking and shelling nuts is a holiday tradition that takes us back to our childhood. Here’s a treat that uses the flavor of fresh, raw walnuts in a brownie that’s anything but traditional.

Local raw food expert Christa M. Emrick shares her recipe for Raw Walnut Brownies, which go together quickly in a food processor and are rich enough to make anyone forget baked brownies. The sweetness here comes from the dates.

Try to find dried cherries without sugar added; they are often available in the bulk departments of grocers like Whole Foods and Sun Harvest.

For more on Emrick’s raw food classes and recipes, click here.

Raw Walnut Brownies

1 1/2 cups raw walnuts, unsoaked
Dash of salt
7 – 10 pitted medjool dates, unsoaked
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa or carob powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons water
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries or raisins

Place the walnuts in a food processor fitted with the S-blade and process until coarsely chopped.

Remove 1/4 cup of the walnuts and set aside.

Add the salt to the walnuts in the food processor and process until finely ground.

Add the dates and process until the mixture begins to stick together.

Add the cocoa powder and vanilla and process until evenly distributed.

Add the water, dried fruit, and reserved walnuts, and process briefly, just to mix.

Pack the mixture firmly into a square container.

Cut into small pieces. Be aware: The brownies are very rich in flavor.

Note: Stored in a sealed container, brownies will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator or one month in the freezer.

Makes 8 brownies or 4 servings.

From Christa Emrick

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Ask a Foodie: How to Make Latkes Without Eggs


Flaxseed and water can make a vegan egg substitute.

Q. I want to make latkes for Hanukkah, but I want a vegan version. So, what do I use for a binder instead of egg?     — Jane

A. An easy vegan egg replacement can be made by mixing 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons water in a food processor until thick and creamy, according to Mahuram’s Eggless Cooking. This will keep up to 1 week in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Give it a try in this recipe from Bohanan’s. And Happy Hanukkah.

If you have a question for Ask a Foodie, e-mail info@savorsa.com.

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Scarlet Roasted Vegetables


A medley of root vegetables will turn scarlet from the beets.

“I call these scarlet vegetables because the beets bleed into the others, making everything red, messy and yummy,” Alicia Silverstone writes in “The Kind Diet” (Rodale, $29.99). “This is a pretty dish, perfect for Thanksgiving or any time.”

Scarlet Roasted Vegetables

4-6 shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
3 large beets, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 parsnips, quartered lengthwise
1 large fennel bulb, halved, cored and thickly sliced
1-2 cups kabocha squash, cut into big chunks (peel only if the squash is not organic)
3-4 ribs celery, cut in 1-inch pieces
3-4 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup pecan halves
6-8 dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1-2 teaspoons shoyu (see note)
Grated zest of 2 lemons
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a large, shallow baking dish.

Combine shallots, beets, parsnips, fennel, squash and celery, bay leaves, pecans, apricots, shoyu, lemon zest and oil in a mixing bowl. mix the vegetables to coat them well.

Transfer the vegetables to the prepared baking dish and spread out evenly. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for 40 minutes or until the vegetables are soft when pierced.

Remove the foil and roast for 15 minutes longer to let the vegetables brown a little. Remove from oven and toss with the lemon juice. Garnish with the parsley.

Note: Shoyu is a type of soy sauce. It is available at Asian Markets and Whole Foods.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

From “The Kind Diet” by Alicia Silverstone

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Radicchio Pizza with Truffle Oil


Fresh radicchio

This simple yet seductive pizza recipe comes from actress Alicia Silverstone’s best-selling “The Kind Diet” (Rodale, $29.99). And it’s perfect for fall, now that lettuces like radicchio are springing up again.

“When my friend Liz first taught me how to make this pizza, she used an organic sourdough spelt crust, but really any whole grain crust will do,” Silverstone writes. “This pizza is perfect for dinner parties or just a cozy night at home.”

Radicchio Pizza with Truffle Oil

1 large head radicchio
Olive oil, to taste
Fine sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
White truffle oil, to taste
1 fresh pizza crust (preferably a healthy whole grain variety)

Cut the radicchio in half, the slice each half crosswise into thin ribbons (as thin as possible). Dress with olive oil, salt, pepper and a few dashes of white truffle oil to taste.

Preheat the oven to 415 degrees. Toast the pizza crust in the oven for 7 minutes or until it is heated through and slightly golden but not crunchy. Scatter the dressed radicchio over the pizza crust and return to the oven for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the radicchio is warm and just starting to wilt. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

From “The Kind Diet” by Alicia Silverstone

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