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The Gift of Our Pomegranates
February 9th, 2016
We recently had to dig up our old pomegranate tree just outside the kitchen to make way for the construction of a wood-fired oven (lots more on that in subsequent blogs). We moved it up to the spare lot we own next to our home and we’re hoping that its roots re-establish and that it thrives in its new location. Ron and our gardener, Pedro, have watered and cared for that tree for years and it has born a tremendous amount of fruit in its lifetime so far.
The birds have taken the seeds from the old tree and deposited them in various locations around our yard and we have, as a result, a number of younger volunteer trees that are now bearing fruit. We’re having trouble keeping up with the fruit the trees are producing and it brings us great joy to gift people with pomegranates when they visit.
I was doing some research on the health benefits of pomegranates (called granadas in Spanish) and here are some of them:
- loaded with important nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamins C and K, folate and potassium;
- juice has three times the anti-oxidant activity of red wine, green tea blueberries and cranberries;
- contains potent anti-inflammatory properties;
- may help inhibit various forms of cancer, specifically prostate, breast, colon, and leukemia;
- provides immune system support;
- may lower blood pressure;
- may help fight arthritis and joint pain;
- may lower risk of heart disease;
- may help treat erectile disfunction
- may have benefits to relieve or protect against depression and osteoporosis;
- can help fight bacterial and fungal infections;
- may improve memory and brain function; and
- may improve exercise performance.
Pomegranates are one of the oldest known fruits, found in writings and artifacts of many cultures and religions, and is an original native of Persia. The pomegranate has long been revered as a symbol of health, fertility and eternal life. It is now known as one of the most powerful, nutrient dense foods for overall good health.
Pomegranate seeds are the stars of a dish famous in Mexican cuisine called Chiles en Nogada. The name comes from the Spanish word for the walnut tree, nogal. The dish consists of peeled Poblano chiles filled with picadillo (a mixture usually containing ground or shredded meat, fruits and spices) and topped with a walnut-based cream sauce, called nogada, and finished with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds as garnish. The three colors of the dish represent the Mexican flag: green for the chile, white for the walnut sauce and red for the pomegranate seeds.
We are so unbelievably fortunate to be able to walk outside our home to pick and savor this nutrient dense, anti-oxidant rich fruit. We seed the pomegranates (worth all the time it takes, believe me!) and use them in both green and fruit salads, with yogurt and granola, as a snack, and in a bowl on their own for dessert. The seeds are beautiful and absolutely delicious!
Nick-San – Always Exceeding Your Expectations!
February 7th, 2016
The other night we went out for dinner with our dear friends, Ron and Julie, who are visiting from Boston. We look very forward to their annual visit but also to sharing an amazing dining experience at our favorite restaurant, local or otherwise, Nick-San. We sat up to the sushi bar and turned over total control of what was to be prepared and served to the master himself, Angel Carbajal.
We have always enjoyed amazing food at Nick-San, but what we experienced the other night was truly sublime. Angel’s creative genius, the brilliance of using the freshest fish (Nick-San has their own fishing boat here in Cabo, so you know how fresh their fish is) and blending the best of our local Mexican ingredients with traditional Japanese techniques result in the most inspired dishes that any of the four of us have ever experienced in a sushi restaurant. Here is a visual look at just some of the dishes we were delighted by:
Ron and Julie have had the privilege of traveling extensively around the world, including several trips to Japan, and have tasted some of the finest cuisine and sushi in the world. Like us, they maintain that Nick-San is the absolute best – even better than the famous Nobu restaurants. If you get the opportunity, don’t miss dining at Nick-San, especially if you can sit up to the bar and have Angel prepare your meal!
Angel and his Japanese partner, Masayuki Nikura, have created six Nick-San restaurants in four locations: Cabo San Lucas, Palmilla near San José del Cabo, Nuevo Vallarta and Mexico City (Duraznos, Marquis Reforma and Carso). Check them out if and when you travel to one of these places in Mexico – you’ll be very happy you did!
Jamaica (Hibiscus Flower) Liqueur Recipes
December 19th, 2015
I’ve partnered with a good friend and organic farmer from San José del Cabo, Alberto Castro, to bring organic Jamaica (Hibiscus Flower) Liqueur to the markets in Cabo San Lucas on Wednesdays and Saturdays and Palmilla on Fridays.
This soft liqueur of intense ruby red color is locally made from the finest, pure organic ingredients: the extracts of hibiscus flowers, Grey Goose vodka, locally produced honey, purified water, zest from locally grown lemons and our secret spices.
This liqueur is delicious on its own, served over ice or neat, as well as in many mixed drinks. Here’s a sample of the possibilities:
Juniper Jump (taken from winemag.com)
This cocktail combines the strong juniper flavor of the gin with crisp, refreshing notes of cucumber. The addition of the hibiscus liqueur adds a vibrant crimson color and delicious raspberry and rhubarb flavors.
2 ounces gin
½ ounce hibiscus liqueur
Splash of club soda
Slice of cucumber, muddled
Slice of cucumber, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the gin, hibiscus liqueur, club soda and muddled cucumber, stir, then pour into martini glass and garnish with cucumber slice.
The Roselle (taken from onemartini.com)
This perplexing and surprisingly refreshing highball blends tequila, gin, hibiscus liqueur, and bell pepper for a tart and floral garden guzzler.
1 ounce Reposado tequila
1 ounce gin
¾ ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
½ ounce agave syrup
½ ounce hibiscus liqueur
1 5-inch slice red bell pepper
2 dashes bitters
Soda water for topping up
Muddle bell pepper in a cocktail shaker with agave syrup. Add tequila, gin, lemon juice, hibiscus liqueur and bitters. Fill up 2/3 with ice and shake vigorously until outside of shaker frosts (about 20 seconds). Double strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and top off with soda water. Stir gently and garnish with a lemon wheel.
Blushing Spritzer Cocktail (taken from liquor.com)
1 ounce hibiscus liqueur
4 ounces Chardonnay wine
4 ounces Club soda
Place one large ice cube in a wine glass and add all the ingredients. Stir, and garnish with hibiscus flower.
Jamaica Lime Rickey (inspired by intoxicology.net)
3 ounces hibiscus liqueur
1 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 thin slice lime
Fill a tall glass with ice. Add hibiscus liqueur, lime juice and fill the rest of the glass with club soda. Garnish is a slice of lime.
Jamaican Margarita (inspired by nyt.com)
2 ounces Herradura Blanco (or any good 100% blue agave silver tequila)
1 ounce hibiscus liqueur
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 wild hibiscus blossom in syrup (optional)
1 slice of lime (optional)
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the tequila, hibiscus liqueur and lime juice. Cover and shake well. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with the hibiscus blossom (if using) or a slice of lime.
Super Energy Kale Soup
February 2nd, 2015
I was reading a health newsletter this morning that I get from Dr. Mercola and he had included a recipe for his “Super Energy Kale Soup”: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/02/01/superenergykalesoup.aspxe_cid=20150201Z1_SNL_RTL_NB_art_2&utm_source=snl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art2&utm_campaign=20150201Z1_RTL_NB&et_cid=DM68189&et_rid=826594599. I happened to have all the organic ingredients, except that I used fresh sage and thyme from the garden instead of the dried that the recipe called for and I added some pre-cooked garbanzo beans for protein. This is a delicious and VERY nutritious recipe and it went beautifully with a smoked cabrilla (sea bass) fish sandwich (chopped leftover grilled fish with chopped celery, minced serrano, black pepper to season and mayonnaise) on toasted sourdough bread with butter lettuce. Muy sabroso y muy rico! A great and very healthy lunch!
The Smell of Rain
February 1st, 2015
We’ve had several days of unseasonal rain this past week: gentle light rain that is warm and wonderful. Disappointing for the tourists, but the locals here LOVE the rain. Water is life here and it’s lovely to look across at the mountains and see them so green. Our friends at the market, the organic farmers, are ecstatic as two of them were horribly impacted by Hurricane Odile and have had to start some crops, trees, and irrigation systems from scratch.
I’ve always loved the smell of rain and Ron found a wonderful video in the New York Times that explains the phenomenon: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/27/science/how-the-smell-of-rain-bubbles-from-the-ground.html?_r=0. Enjoy!