TEQUILA!! Do I have your attention?

I know many of you would never consider even the slightest sip of this type of alcohol, but I am here to tell you, believe it or not, it is good for you. If you are going to partake in having a little sip of an alcoholic beverage now and again (besides red wine, of course) you might want to consider TEQUILA. It is brewed from blue agave, which when its leaves are sheared, leave a massive pit referred to in Spanish as the “piña,” or pineapple. The agave juice that will be fermented and distilled into tequila comes from heating and crushing the piña. According to the American Chemical Society, the agave that tequila is made from helps promote calcium absorption, the regulation of lipid absorption and facilitates the growth of intestinal flora. Almost all tequila is produced in the Mexican state of Jalisco. But Mexican law also allows tequila to be produced in certain limited municipalities in the states of Tamaulipas, Nayarit, Michoacán, and Guanajuato. (And yes, there is a town called Tequila.) Agave isn’t easy to grow. You must have the right desert conditions, and even then, most blue agave takes about eight years to mature. And that just gets you to harvest. If you have any desire to age your tequila, tack on some more time! Be aware though, because not all Tequila’s are equal; there are some very low quality products. So, when you purchase, make sure you are getting the real 100 percent pure agave tequila. OK, let’s get scientific for a moment. Increasing fibre in your diet helps in the reduction of cholesterol levels. Like fibre, agavins lower triglycerides in the blood and levels of cholesterol, this was determined by researchers in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. AND the good news for diabetics is that tequila has significantly less sugar; therefore, it will have much less of an impact on blood sugar. I would never go so far as to say that Tequila was a superfood – but the Soul Cycle tribe seems pretty convinced that tequila counts as a wellness drink. Tales of health-minded tipplers abound, from accounts of celiac sufferers sipping the gluten-free spirit at happy hour to wheat-sensitive folks who just feel better on it. According to all the research I have done for this article, it seems that “Blanco tequila” is the purest type of 100 percent agave tequila — more pure than aged agave tequilas like reposados, or mixed tequilas that include other types of sugars. “Blanco or silver tequilas are the healthiest because the darker aged tequilas are often aged in barrels used for other types of alcohols,” explains Chris Chen, licensed acupuncturist and owner of the Simple Broth Bone Company. There are far more ways to enjoy Tequila than in your favourite margarita (tequila, lime juice, ice, and perhaps some agave syrup). I add it to my spaghetti sauce, soups, and fish recipes. But, stop the bus – the next time you are looking for that perfect recipe for your guests, try one of these most Luscious creations.


Grilled Peach and Mozzarella Salad A cumin-lime vinaigrette spiked with a tiny amount of tequila adds a little something extra to this gorgeous grilled salad of peaches and fresh mozzarella cheese. As the seasons change, consider substituting heirloom tomatoes, plums, and other soft fruits for the peaches. We found traditional peaches work better in this dish than white peaches, which have more sugar and water and don't hold up as well on the grill. 5 peaches (not white)

3 green onions, sliced 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 3 tablespoons honey 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon lime zest 1/2 cup fresh lime juice 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin 3/4 teaspoon chili powder 1 1/2 tablespoons tequila 1/3 cup olive oil Vegetable cooking spray 1 (6-oz.) package watercress or baby arugula, thoroughly washed 3/4-pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 16 (1/4-inch) slices Garnish: fresh cilantro sprigs Peel and chop 1 peach. Cut remaining 4 peaches into 28 (1/4-inch-thick) rounds, cutting through stem and bottom ends. (Cut peaches inward from sides, cutting each side just until you reach the pit. Discard pits.) Process chopped peach, green onions, next 7 ingredients, and tequila in a food processor 10 to 15 seconds or until smooth. Add oil, and pulse 3 to 4 times or until thoroughly combined. Coat cold cooking grate of grill with cooking spray, and place on grill. Preheat grill to 350°F to 400°F (medium-high). Brush both sides of peach rounds with 1/3 cup peach dressing. Grill peach rounds, covered with grill lid, 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear. Arrange watercress evenly on 4 plates. Alternately layer 4 grilled peach rounds and 4 cheese slices over watercress on each plate. Top each with 3 more peach rounds. Drizzle with remaining peach dressing. Garnish, if desired.

Margarita Marinade

Just like the cocktail it's named for, this easy marinade is a four-ingredient flavour explosion of tart, sweet, and salty all rolled up into one. Here it's used to jazz up chicken wings, but it works wonders for flank steak, grilled pork, and chicken thighs too. 3/4 cup tequila 3/4 cup triple sec 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt In a bowl, whisk together tequila and triple sec. Stir in lime juice and salt. Stir until salt dissolves.

Tequila Mexican Cheese Dip In this cheese dip, better known as queso fundido in Spanish, the tequila not only shines through but gives the melted cheese a luscious texture. Typical salsa ingredients (tomato, onion, chili, cilantro) mingle with the cheese, to make an unforgettable Mexican dip. This dip needs to be eaten as soon as it's made or kept warm (for a relatively short time) in a chafing dish. Don't worry, before you know it, it will be all gone! I like to accompany with homemade tortilla chips. 1 tbsp olive oil 1 large ripe tomato, cored, seeded (if you wish) and cut into 1/4-inch pieces 1 medium white onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces Hot green chili(s) to taste, (roughly 1 large jalapeño or 2 large serrano’s), stemmed, seeded and finely chopped 3 tbsp tequila, preferably a silver tequila 8 oz Mexican melting cheese (such as Chihuahua or quesadilla) or Monterey Jack, mild cheddar or brick, shredded (you'll have about 2 cups) 1/2 cup (loosely packed) chopped cilantro (thick bottom stems cut off) Heat the oil in a large (10-inch) skillet over medium-high. Add the tomato, onion and chili(s), and cook, stirring constantly, until the onion begins to soften and brown, about 7 minutes. Add the tequila and cook, stirring, for a minute or so, until reduced to a glaze. With the skillet of tequila-infused vegetables over medium-low, sprinkle in the cheese. Stir slowly and constantly until just melted-too long over the heat and the cheese will become tough, oily and stringy. Scoop into a warm dish, sprinkle with the cilantro and serve right away with chips to dip. There you have it—have a shot of Tequila in your Margarita or now you have the inspiration to add it to your favourite recipe!! To your health!

Kathryn Hartwell References: vinepair.com, nymag.com, elitedaily.com, southernliving.com, myrecipes.com and lindaraxa.com

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