“and you’re on the air with….”

28 06 2010

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Well, it won’t be Frazier Crane, but please do tune in or better yet call in this evening to BasilMagazine Radio Blog at 6:30pm (Eastern). The call in number is: 347.637.2315.

 I hope to speak with y’all soon!

Radio Free Doc

26 06 2010

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Radio Free Europe by R.E.M. is a classic. I hope to be at least a bit classy myself when I get back on the airwaves Monday. I’ve done some radio for medical interviews in the recent past, but that tends to be a bit straightforward and dry. The only time it wasn’t was waayyy back in the day when I hosted a  call in medical talk show (yes, it was before Frazier) on the Whale-W.A.L.E. out of Rhode Island. So I hope you will call in when I come on air as myself at 6:30 Eastern, Monday June 28th for Basil Magazine Radio. The call in number is: 347.637.2315.  You can listen to the show at: Basil Magazine Radio right at your computer! Mark it on your calendars as I will be a regular guest on the last Monday of every month.

When More is Less

25 06 2010

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We recently discussed some very well done studies demonstrating cardiovascular benefit to diets rich in vitamin B12 and folic acid. In fact, although the study looked at complete diets rich in the vitamins, the implication was that these two vitamins were the causative agents. Some of the thought was that these compounds served to lower levels of homocysteine in the body, a compound known to cause cardiovascular problems when present in excess. Well, a recent study of over 12,000 heart attack survivors (Journal of The American Medical Association, June 2010; [JAMA. 2010;303(24):2486-2494]) showed that although “the supplementation lowered the amount of the amino acid in patients’ blood 28%, it had no effect on rates of heart events or stroke compared with people taking placebo pills.” So although there was much higher concentrations of vitamin B12 and folic acid in the supplementation group, this did not translate into a benefit (although there was no harm). Foods are complex, with many known and unknown compounds interacting in a potentially dizzying combination. The permutations quickly lead to a huge number of possibilities. What is clear  is that there are many compounds found within our foods that we are unaware of, that we are aware of but do not understand how they interact with us, that we are aware of but do not understand how the act together-not just in one and another combination but in combinations of many. The juxtaposition of these two studies leads me to the same conclusion that occurred to Hamlet as he pondered the mysteries of the Universe; “there are more things in heaven and hell Horatio, then are dreamt of in your philosophies.” And in your dinner as well.

Moving Day

24 06 2010

Doc is relocating, so stay tuned and we’ll be back tomorrow with some great new posts!!

A Cuppa Joe a Day…

22 06 2010

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As a cardiologist I drink a lot of coffee in the morning hours and a lot of tea in the evening hours. Having done significant research on caffeine further back than I care to remember, I believed that the “detrimental” effects hyped about coffee were exactly that-hype. I viewed coffee as at least a neutral vice, and the tea I drink is Japanese green tea, well known the world over for antioxidant composition and healthful benefits.

But here’s even better news.

A study of over 40,000 people published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology found that several cups of coffee OR tea cut their risk of cardiovascular disease. For those drinking more than six cups of tea it was by about 30%, for those drinking coffee it was by about 20%. As usual, the exact mechanism is unknown but those ancient beverages deserve continued consumption. I knew it all along.

Pappa al pomodoro

20 06 2010

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This dish was inspired from a similar recipe from Koek!, an absolutely fantastic site based out of Capetown, South Africa. The recipe posted there was from  “Beaneaters & Bread Soup: Portraits and Recipes from Tuscany.”  I really love this dish as it screams summertime with the ripe red tomatoes. It is a light yet flavorful offering and with the plethora of fresh, vine ripened tomatoes available this recipe was a must. If you can not get garden fresh tomatoes I recomend 2 large cans of pureed Italian tomatoes, preferably from San Marzano.  Do not use the tasteless megamart options or the soup will be a bland, wasted effort! Made with the proper and fresh ingredients it is a great appetizer or first. You can also serve it slightly chilled with a refreshing white wine to beat the  summer heat.

Pappa al pomodoro

  • 1 cup (8 oz) olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 leeks, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ cup sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 5-6 pounds fresh garden ripened tomatoes, concassée with seeds removed and puréed or 2 (~28 oz) cans puréed canned Italian tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
  • 4 cups light chicken stock
  • 1/2 loaf day-old sourdough bread (preferably unsalted), thickly sliced
  • 4-6 oz  basil leaves, chiffonade
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Truffle oil or good quality extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a medium cooking pot over medium heat. Cook for about 1 minute then add the leeks, shallot and onion. Sauté over a low heat for 20 minutes, do not let the vegetables brown. While the vegetable cook, concassée the tomatoes, reserving the juice and discarding the seeds and cores. Puree the flesh and add back the reserved juice. Add the stock and puréed tomatoes and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the bread. Leave to rest for 30 minutes. For a more homogeneous soup, use an immersion blender, or blend in small batches in a blender or food processor, and purée the soup until has a porridge-like consistency. For a more “country-style” (pictured here and which I prefer) use a wooden spoon to stir and break up the bread slices until the desired consistency is achieved. Add the basil and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust the seasoning. To serve ladle into bowls, drizzle with truffle oil or extra virgin olive oil then top with grated parmesan cheese and serve.

Code Delicious Episode 2: From Beak to Tail Feathers

17 06 2010

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Episode #2 is here. Check out the second video in the Code Delicious instructional series-free as always!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Code Delicious 2 From Beak to Tail Fe…“, posted with vodpod


Grilled Citrus Duck Breast with Blueberry Chimichuri Sauce

17 06 2010

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Summer is a grand time for grilling, and one healthy way to prepare a healthy grill meat is to grill duck breast. Here it is very simply seasoned and lightly citrus flavored with orange. The chimichuri sauce will amplify and complement the subtle base falvors. This is an amazing variation of a basic Chimichuri sauce. For a true basic, just omit the blueberries. These blueberries in the Chimichuri work with any game meat, duck, goose, quail and Cornish hens. Vary the additions and create your own.

For the Duck

Take the duck breast and score the skin , being careful not to cut the breast meat. Make a small pocket at the site of the score. Season with salt and pepper. Place a thin slice of orange into eacj pocket, and grill skin side down. Place thinly sliced orange on top of the breast meat on the grill. Remove the oranges when the breasts are cooked, rest  and remove the skin prior to slicing and serving.

Blueberry Chimichuri Sauce

  • 1 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 fresh poblano pepper, coarsely chopped with the seeds left in
  • 1 fresh Serrano chili, coarsely chopped with the seeds removed (or left in for extra heat)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh blue berries
  • 2 tbsp water


Heat the blueberries in a small saucepan with the water. Heat until they just begin to burst. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool Place in a food processor the olive oil, sherry vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, basil, oregano, cilantro, garlic, shallots, honey, poblano and Serrano chilies. Pulse until well blended but do not puree. Season the mixture with the black pepper and salt. Add the bay leaf and blueberries. Transfer the sauce to a non-reactive bowl and cover with plastic wrap for at least 2 hours. Remove the bay leaf prior to serving. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator container for several days.

Indian-style Grilled Flat Bread

16 06 2010

There are many delicious Indian types of bread. The differences vary; I’ve spoken to people from the Indian sub-continent and get conflicting opinions as to what exactly makes a specific type of bread or even to how the specific breads should be cooked. This version most closely resembles naan bread as it uses bread (you can use AP) flour, milk and is a yeast bread. I really like adding the fresh herbs as it gives the bread an incredibly vibrancy. You can add whatever you like or can get fresh and seasonally. The bread can be frozen and reheated as needed. This is very hearty bread; one or two pieces and some dipping items make a complete and very filling meal.

Indian style Grilled Flat bread

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package rapid rise dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 3 Tbs milk
  • 3 Tbs yogurt
  • 4 cups bread flour ( ~22 oz)
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour (~2.5 oz)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 Tbs finely chopped onion
  • 2 Tbs finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbs finely chopped fennel bulb
  • 1 Tbs olive oil

In a large bowl stir in yeast, sugar, milk, yogurt, salt, and flour to make soft dough. I do this in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Remember, if you use active yeast you will need to dissolve the yeast in warm water and let stand about 10 minutes, before adding to the flour.  Use the stand mixer until the dough forms a ball that pulls away from the sides. The dough will still be slightly sticky. If performing by hand, knead for 8 to 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Add garlic, onion, cilantro and fennel and knead into the dough, assuring good distribution. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise about 1-2 hours, until the dough has doubled in volume. Punch down the dough. Make small balls of dough of about 2 oz. Place these on a tray, cover with a towel, and allow them to rise until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes. Preheat a grill to high heat or an electric non-stick griddle to 400 degrees F. Roll the balls of dough out into a thin circle. Before placing the dough on grill, lightly oil the grill and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned and turn over. Remove from the heat, and serve.

South African 5 Spice Rubbed Rack of Lamb

15 06 2010

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Grilling season is upon us. I love the smell of the grill as it sears some tasty meats. A very simple way to get some exotic and subtle flavors into your grilled meats is with a simple rub. Here I use Doc’s South African 5 Spice Blend (recipe in right side bar under “Recipes”) and allow that to sit on the rack of lamb for several hours; much like the dry rub technique for Southern Barbeque, albeit with a different cooking method. The nice thing about the rack of lamb is you can serve one as an appetizer, or several and make a meal of it. Make sure you allow the meat to rest to guarentee a flavorful and juicy chop-enjoy!

African 5 Spice Rubbed Rack of Lamb

  • Rack of Lamb
  • Doc’s South African 5 Spice Blend

Rub the rack generously with the 5 spice blend. Allow to rest at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Grill until done, rest and serve.