Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sam's serves big and coffee flour


                     Sam’s Southern Eatery is serving up “generous” portions of fried seafood and at 2401 Memorial             Boulevard and I’m ready for my second batch of oysters.
                        Abraham Khalil, manager, is constantly explaining the “very generous” portions. Some customers             double check to make sure all that food is for them.
            “   We want them to leave with a to-go box, Khalil said with a big smile.
                        The No. 28 order of three fish and three shrimp is  popular, and Khalil said the stuffed shrimp in             such demand it has been selling out.
                        “Get there early,” he advises for now, and added that he’s working on make sure there’s plenty to             satisfy his customers.
                        A turquoise seaside theme sets the restaurant’s tone for hamburgers and more at the  “home of the             jumbo shrimp.”  Big family orders are available for seafood lovers.
                     What’s Khalil’s pick? The No. 31.
                  What's that? You’ll have to go visit him and see for yourself.
                  Coffee flour pairs with chocolate
                      Been to a Sprouts Farmers Market? I hit them whenever I’m in the Houston area. They’ve launched an exclusive partnership with CoffeeFlour for a line of pastries, and the two companies share a “commitment to advancing the sustainability movement in food.”
                      I shared some bits of Everything Blondie Cheesecake Bar, Everything Cookie, Chocolate Chunk Cookie and Black-Bottom Muffin with friends and they noticed the hint of coffee flavor. Here’s how makers say it works:
                      “Every year billions of pounds of coffee fruit, a by­product of coffee production, are discarded or, to a lesser degree, composted into fertilizer. Rather than leaving these cherries to rot in heaps or be dumped into rivers, CoffeeFlour converts them into flour for baking, cooking, crafting chocolate and making beverages. The result is an incredibly nutritious and distinctly flavorful cooking ingredient that is gluten-free, high in fiber, a good source of potassium, and depending on the serving size can also boost a product’s iron, protein, and antioxidant count.”
                      Dan Belliveau, former director of Technical Services at Starbucks, is now CEO of CoffeeFlour, which means to offset billions of tons of waste produced by the coffee industry.
              These pastries tasted good even before I heard their full story. I’m loving to ease this waste with delicious desserts.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Kosher travels inspire meals




                      Lentils are the “poor man’s meat,” I just read in a cookbook. I plan to say that, at least to myself, every single time I eat them from now on. I already say or think that avocado is the “poor man’s butter” every time I enjoy one.
                      This lentil news came from Susie Fishbein’s book “Kosher by Design Brings it Home: Picture Perfect Food Inspired by my Travels.” Even the raw food on the cover looks tempting, featuring measuring decorative measuring spoons full of spices with herbs, fruits and grains at the ready. The book was 15 years in the making, and I’m paused on the carrot salad recipe. A visit to France yields readers a recipe for strawberry mascarpone bread pudding the lentil and tuna salad, we are told, is a Tuscan picnic treat. Here’s how she handles the carrots:
                      Spicy Pickled Carrots
              4 carrots, peeled, cut on the diagonal into one-fourth inch slices
              1 cup apple cier vinegar
              two thirds cup of water
              one fourth cup plus two teaspoons of sugar
              two and one half tablespoons mustard seeds
              1 tablespoon dill seeds
              two dried bay leaves
              5 springs fresh dill
              1 clove garlic, sliced
                      Place the carrots into a one-quart container orjar. Heat the vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seeds, dill seeds and bay leaves in a small pot, stirring to dissolve the sugar; do not allow to boil. Remove from heat; cool.
                      Pour the vinegar mixture over the carrots. Add the dill and garlic. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator at least overnight. The carrots will keep in this container for up to three weeks.


              Sounds Good Books:
                      * Gelato in Italy and caviar in Russia? I’d share with my Plamobil friends. Richard Unglik compiled “Journey Around the World,” a child’s picture book with plenty of grown-up references. It’s a postcard/journal style batch of fun with 30 stops, based on those round-faced plastic figures that are probably somewhere in your home. Was my favorite the figurines in the style of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road? Yes, Paul was sans shoes. Or was it the Pope? What a fun way to learn about Van Gogh, Pre-Columbian civilization and bonsai.

                      * Customers first, product second. Sales reps should stick around after the ink dries on the contract. Once the pressure is off the salesperson and the sale is made, the pressure is on for the buyer for that product to deliver. Make your pitch and delivery better with 12 proven strategies for a customer-driven world, outlined in “Beyond the Sales Process” by Steve Andersen and Dave Stein.
              darraghcastillo@icloud.com

Monday, May 9, 2016

Galveston's Own Farmer's Market has reggae style


             
My daughter lives in Seabrook and got invited to Galveston’s Own Farmer’s Market. It’s a public thing, so the invite to 2608 Post Office, near The Strand, was more of an “encouragement.”
              Even before we reached the market, we became enthralled by Deborah’s Garden, a community space with chickens, goats and cats, even before we got to the market. Some bearded fellows offered us free seeds and we loved the way fabric was artistically tied into some sort of fiber scarecrow. It’s right across the street from the market.
Despite the threat of rain, vendors offered breads, raw cheese, tomatoes and fresh-cut flowers. A lone reggae artist performed with an open suitcase full of T-shirts for sale.
My sister bought us garlic bagels and they threw in cream cheese. We took our spread to the top of my car trunk and ate until a Fiat had to move.  


Buc-ee’s
And here’s my anecdote to show Buc-ee’s, with all its Texas bravado, jerky, gas and Texas souvenirs has become the new travel tradition mixing all sorts of restroom-seeking travelers together. This is my Baytown experience:
A young checker noted that I love the Beatles. How did she know? I realized the coat I grabbed had some Beatles pins on the collar. This band was popular before my time and she said she liked them, too. Paul, I said. John, she said, and we knew we were voicing our favorites. An older fellow behind me chimed in and said he got in his car that morning and the radio was playing “Hey Jude.” And that was his name!
This was a tiny bit of bonding and hundreds around us gathered for gas, souvenirs and Bohemian Style garlic Beef Jerky.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Take the lid off kitchen confidence

Take the lid off kitchen confidence
My sister spied the Indian As Apple Pie spice tiffin I’m about to set up. Her husband is from India and she has observed this spicy cooking style and has seen similar set ups in drawers of private kitchens. It’s so sleek it could boost your kitchen confidence.
A stainless steel round tin with a lid contains seven removable bowls with a half covering. Fill up a container with some colorful flavor such as turmeric, cumin or curry, then use that half-lid and enclosed measuring spoon to scrape off a level teaspoon. What a beautiful set up. Around here, those bowls could be filled with garlic powder, cayenne, Tex-Joy and Cajun blend.
Makers say you could keep your crafting beads or scrapbooking materials in them. To me, that’s a better option than the enclosed labels for “ice cream toppings.” Not going there.
Here’s to flavorful, styling cooking, from www.IndianAsApplePie.com.

Buc-ee’s
The cultural phenomenon in Baytown has been a stop for two batches of out-of-town guests.
Once as I drove across Texas I lamented the loss of smaller pit stops of my youth, but then thought how Buc-ee’s is the new tradition. My anecdote proves it.
A young checker noted that I love the Beatles. How did she know? I realized the coat I grabbed had some Beatles pins on the collar. This band was popular before my time and she said she liked them, too. Paul, I said. John, she said, and we knew we were voicing our favorites. An older fellow behind me chimed in and said he got in his car that morning and the radio was playing “Hey Jude.” And that was his name!
This was a tiny bit of bonding and hundreds around us gathered for gas, souvenirs and Bohemian Style garlic Beef Jerky.
darraghcastillo@icloud.com

Sunday, April 24, 2016

All about Italy and patio style


Potatoes give more strength when they’re cooked with the peel.
 This is an Italian proverb I picked up in a book that makes me feel like I’m a family friend of Amy Riolo.
The deal is, “The Italian Diabetes Cookbook” is a great read, and hope for the newly-diagnosed that food can still be an adventure.
How can this be? Take Pumpkin Risotto. Olive oil and yogurt replace butter and cream to keep with dietary guidelines.
Chickpea Soup with Rosemary-Infused Shrimp is another pleasure for your table.
 Fascinating tidbits labeled Italian Living Tradition include that how one pronounced the word for chickpeas was an indicator if that person was a foreigner, thus a test for espionage.
More like that: In Roman times salt was heavily taxed, so people imported salted fish that was used as flavoring. Cheese rinds are used to simmer in soups and stews.
I’m loving every page of this book and want to put it in the hands of a diabetic I know, she will cook me everything in this book. Let’s start with Pan-Fried Fennel with Parmesan. I know several Southeast Texas Italians have this “finocchi” growing in their gardens.

Sounds Good This Sounds Good is about feeling good. I don’t know what you’ve heard about Vionic, but I’m finding it to be true. The sandals I can’t wait to get into every evening have “orthotic technology designed to help relieve heel, knee and back pain. My friend has something like seven pairs. The arch support is something you’ll crave. This combo of alignment, “addictive” support, stability and balance is an investment in yourself, that comes with a money-back guarantee for 30 days. By then, you will be addicted. All that entertaining you plan to do by the patio and pool this summer. . . Vionic has your back. 
 darraghcastillo@icloud.com

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cake or bread?

 


Cake or bread?
I ate some cornbread so rich and sweet that people at the table debated if it was cornbread or pound cake. It came from Anna’s Mexican Bakery, where you walk in and grab a tray and tongs and pick your fill of colorful breads, cookies and other sugary delights.
It is at 2570 Calder Avenue in Beaumont.
I went back the next day and snapped a photo to prove that beautiful bread was cornbread. When I say beautiful, I mean that literally. Some breads are decorated with floral designs.

Sweet Poison
Beat sweet poison one meal at a time
Juice Lady advises you to go cold turkey and cut out the sweets. After some detox time, she say’s you’ll feel better and get all kinds of more healthy. Don’t worry. You can still have fruity desserts that satisfy, and she includes recipes.
The book is “The Juice Lady’s Sugar Knockout: Detox to Lose Weight, Kill Cravings, and Prevent Disease.”
I like her style, even though she presents some hard challenges for most of us. But you know author Cherie Calbom is right. Can you do it? I don’t even have a juicer, but I’d be up for something  with a name like this:
You are Loved Cocktail
From the Juice Lady’s Anti-Inflammation Diet
3 carrots, scrubbed well, tops removed, ends trimmed
2 ribs of celery with leaves
1 apple
1 cucumber, peeled if not organic
1 handful of spinach
1 lemon, peeled if not organic
1 half beet, scrubbed well, with stems an leaves
Cut produce to fit your juicer’s feed tube. Juice all ingredients and stir. Pour into a glass and drink as soon as possible. Serves 1-2. 
darraghcastillo@icloud.com 





Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Grow something and pass the onion wine


Pineapple sage was one of my favorite finds at the Jefferson County Master Gardeners plant sale at the airport. My friend picked me up and we went as a trio with her daughter. They went nuts with the hanging baskets while I headed toward the herbs.
They were first timers and then we hit the test gardens at the airpor.
Then we had some more fun at the Beaumont Botanical Gardens, where I again, headed for the herbs. As usual, the grounds were full of photographers and fresh-faced graduates.
Those with green thumbs are out there spreading their seeds of knowledge and anyone willing to learn will be beside them, digging in the dirt.



Onion wine
I got a little misty listing to the Pantano red onion cooking wine pitch. It’s for cooking, not drinking, and there’s no salt, a woman in the family of this Sulphur, La.-based company told me.
There’s a bayou scene on the label. That’ got me, too.
Then I saw a painting in their booth at a merchant show. The bayou sene, painted by a relative, had a pirouge boat with a tiny scripture verse painted on it. This story was like they where fishers of men, or fishers of cooking fans, like me. I took the bottle home and am using it with a variety of meats. Get their story at pantanocookingwine.net