Clams with White Wine Sauce

31 08 2010

Clams with White Wine Sauce

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One of my favorite dishes; pure, simple and delicious like so much Italian cuisine. The key is fresh, fresh, fresh! I also like to drizzle about a tablespoon of Alfredo sauce on top for a  little extra creamy goodness.

  • Fresh pasta (see basic pasta dough recipe)
  • 1 dozen top neck or other fresh hard-shell clams, rinsed
  • 1 cup clam broth (or seafood stock)
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 Tbs fresh chopped oregano
  • 1 Tbs fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 Tbs piri-piri or other hot sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup red pepper, small dice
  • Fresh grated parmesan for garnish
  • Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Place the herbs, wine, broth or seafood stock, hot sauce, onion and garlic in a medium sautoir or saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the clams and cover. Cook for about 6-8 minutes; at this point discard any clams that have not opened. Remove the clams and reserve.

Heat the sauce to high and reduce until thickened, about 5 minutes. While the sauce is reducing, cook the pasta in salted water, drain and plate. About 1-2 minutes before the sauce is done, add the red pepper. Place the clams over the pasta and ladle the thickened sauce on top. Garnish and enjoy.

Out of Context

30 08 2010

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A recent study from the Netherlands[i] prospectively looked at the value of omega 3 fatty acids in patients who recently had a heart attack. Most of the previous recommendations showing benefit had come from smaller studies and a large meta-analysis suggesting a 20%-36% risk reduction for animal derived omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids can be obtained from animal sources (principally marine) where they are found in the form of n−3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Plant sources are primarily found as n−3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and their benefit has been of borderline significance.

The study looked at over 4500 men and women aged 60-80 over a four year period. They were given placebo margarine, an EPA-DHA enriched margarine, a ALA enriched margarine or an EPA-DHA and ALA enriched margarine. There was no benefit to adding the omega 3 fatty acids to margarine, although there was a trend toward benefit in women receiving ALA enriched margarine. In looking specifically at diabetics subgroup, there appeared some benefit, especially with the EPA-DHA.

The authors conclude that the lack of benefit may be due to the composition of the study group, new treatments and medicines that reduce the benefit of omega 3 fatty acids and thus make it difficult, statistically, to show a protective effect, or there simply was no benefit. An additional possibility is that by taking the omega 3 fatty acids “out of context”, additional and necessary compounds that work with these molecules were not present. Much in the same way that many studies have shown health benefits for populations consuming moderate amounts of wine, yet studies with large doses of isolated anti-oxidants have, for the most part, not demonstrated the same level of benefit. Despite that, the conclusion consistently reached is that it is the effect of these anti-oxidants that are responsible for the benefit.

So as words taken out of context can lose their intended meaning, nutrients taken out of context can lose their benefit. Eat them as nature intended, take them in context, and most of all, enjoy.

[i] (Kromhout, Giltay, & Geleijnse, 2010)

Basil Radio

29 08 2010

Join  Chef Jennifer and me  on Basil Radio Monday, 30 August starting at 6pm.

Tune in here (Basil Magazine Blog Radio)  or dial in at : (347) 637-2315 to listen,

See you there!

The Show Menu-The Final Recipe

27 08 2010

Here’s the final recipe to complete the show menu:


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Fig & Port Wine Reduction Sauce

This is a lovely sauce for anything  from granny smith apple slices to Foie Gras slices. In fact, it is quite delicious with grilled pork or any game meat. You can make it ahead of time and then do the final pan reduction right before you need it making it convenient for serving at dinner parties or other occasions.

  • 2 cups  port wine (from a bottle you would drink)
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock (from scratch is best)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 12 Kalamata crown figs, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs juniper berries
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp whole allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients into a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Reduce the mixture by half, about 10-15 minutes. Place through a coarse sieve to remove the cinnamon stick and any other large pieces or stems. Place the mixture back into the liquid and using an immersion blender; or in small batches in the food processor or blender puree the mixture. Using a fine sieve pour the liquid through and using the back end of a spoon push the solids to extract as much of the liquid as possible. If not serving immediately, you may reserve the liquid at this step. For service, return to a hot pan over high heat and reduce by half again, until the liquid has become somewhat thickened and syrupy. Serve as desired.

Back to the Menu!

26 08 2010

It’s back to the menu after our radio break with Fennel and Leek Saffron Risotto.

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Fennel and Leek Saffron Risotto

  • 1 cup Arborio (or other short grain risotto rice) Rice
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 leeks, thinly cut-white parts only (about ½ cup)
  • ½ bulb thinly sliced fennel (about ¾ cup)
  • 2 Tbs finely chopped shallots
  • 1 clove finely chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • ¼  cup white wine
  • 2 ¾ cup warmed chicken stock (light)
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Warm 1 cup of the chicken stock and dissolve the saffron threads in the stock. In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for approximately 1 minute over medium heat to sweat. Add the rice and cook another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add fennel and leek and cook another minute. Add the wine (at room temperature) and enough broth (if needed) to wet the rice mixture. Continue to add the saffron broth a little at a time and cook, stirring frequently and allowing the liquid to reduce between additions. Add just enough liquid to keep the rice wet. It is important to add the stock in small increments. Too much stock at once boils the rice, resulting in a mushy risotto. Add more saffron stock and then plain chicken stock as needed. Stir frequently over the next 18-twenty minutes. When the rice is done add the cheese to the risotto. Garnish and serve immediately.

Doc loves Kiwis

24 08 2010

I love Kiwis, and I don’t just mean the fruits-I mean the folks! Join me for a chit-chat with Jim Mora, from New Zealand on New Zealand public radio at:

New Zealand Public Radio Interview

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House Calls Menu-Pork Tenderloin

24 08 2010

South African 5 Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

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The flavorful South African 5 Spice blend (recipe follows) livens a delicious center cut pork tenderloin, which while tender can lack a little bit in the flavor department.

  • 2 to 2.5  pound center cut pork tenderloin
  • Enough Doc’s South African 5 Spice blend to coat the tenderloin
  • 1 Tbs olive oil

Trim any fat or remaining silver skin off the pork tenderloin. Generously cover the pork  in the spice blend. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. When the oil is smoking, add the loin. Sear each side until brown, about 2-4 minutes each side.

Place in the oven and cook for an additional 20-30 minutes, until the thermometer in the middle of the meat reads 145. Remove the pork  and allow it to rest about 5-10 minutes before slicing. Serve the sliced pork loin on the risotto and drizzle with a little of the port wine and fig reduction sauce.

Doc’s South African 5 Spice Blend

  • 1 oz cinnamon
  • 2 oz cumin seed
  • 1 oz anise seed
  • 2 oz coriander seed
  • 1 oz ginger powder

Combine all ingredients and blend in a spice blender. Store in an airtight container