Daytime redux x 2

29 04 2011

For those that missed it!

Lindsey’s Luscious Lamb

28 04 2011

There was a lot of help for today’s post. First I borrowed some alliteration from Christo over at Chez What for the title. Then we had a little leftover Easter lamb; that scrumptious cherry balsamic apple wood smoked lamb (video from nationally syndicated Southern Living’s Daytime TV to be up shortly). Finally, I had a most excellent sous chef visiting. Lindsey whipped up some spinach pasta from scratch and stuffed some raviolis with the lamb and demi-glace. She also fixed a garden fresh red sauce and topped the ensemble off with some fresh grated Manchego cheese (sheep’s milk cheese) from Spain.  It was a feast fit for earthly kings-and beyond!

Basil Magazine Radio

25 04 2011

Join me tonight on Basil Magazine Talk Radio with host Chef Jennifer Booker at:

We will be discussing the upcoming book!

Daytime Menu

21 04 2011

Applewood Smoked Cherry Balsamic Lamb with Springtime Couscous

For those catching today’s show, here’s the menu for the Applewood Smoked Cherry Balsamic Lamb

A serving consisting of 2 cuts from the rack, two loin chops or one Saratoga chop provides a filling protein portion packed into just several ounces. The glaze adds a wonderful texture to the meat and a plethora of subtle flavors with every bite-note to mention wonderful health benefits from the fruit, rosemary and cinnamon. Several ounces of couscous loaded with flavor and nutrients from garden and root veggies is a perfect complement, both nutritionally and with respect to flavors. And the best thing, it is incredibly easy to make!

Balsamic Cherry Glazed Lamb

  • 1 rack of lamb, or 8 lamb loin chops (Saratoga chops also work well)
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 6 oz fresh, pitted or 4 oz dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup Cherry Kijafa (or other cherry liqueur)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

If using dried cherries, let them sit in the liquid for an hour before preparation. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add the shallot and soften, 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for fifteen minutes, the liquid should reduce by ¼ to 1/3.  Remove the rosemary and cinnamon. Using an immersion blender or in small batches in a blender or food processor puree the mixture. It will resemble a thin paste. Remove and coat the lamb. Grill the lamb until done, allow to rest, slice and serve.

Springtime Couscous

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups couscous, preferably Israeli type
  • 2 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup fresh peas (frozen is OK)
  • 1 cup baby carrots cut into a small dice
  • 8oz pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 Tbs mint, finely chopped

In a medium sauté pan heat 1 Tbs olive oil. Add the couscous and lightly toast, stirring frequently about 3 minutes. While the couscous is toasting, bring the stock to a boil. Remove the couscous and place in a large bowl, add the stock and cover for 8-10 minutes. While the couscous is finishing, heat the remaining 1 Tbs of olive oil and add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots, cook for another minute and then add the peas and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove and add to the couscous mixture. Add chopped mint and mix well. Season as needed with salt and pepper.

Daytime TV

20 04 2011

It’s that time once again! If you get the nationally syndicated morning program, Daytime TV, please join us for an appearance tomoorow, Thursday April 21st!

Doc and Cyndi chat before filming

Check your local listings for station and time!

Who Do You Love?

18 04 2011

Here’s more evidence that we ride the wave of information, not doggie paddle behind it. This is what you’ve read here off and on for 2 years, now the experts are catching up. Here are the highlights from an article in today’s LA Times:

  • A number of experts caution that the tool is fairly imprecise and often wrong for helping individual patients appraise their health prospects.
  • The BMI is easy to measure, cheap to compile and track, and simple … but it was never meant to be a predictor of an individual’s health risks.
  • It was intended as a useful metric to track changes in the health and nutrition of large populations.
  • For patients who are very muscular, and for African Americans, body mass index is often a poor (and unflattering) gauge of body composition.
  • For Asians and people who are sedentary but slim, a reliance on BMI can lead a physician to overlook signs of elevated disease risk.
  • A child’s BMI, which is calculated differently than that of an adult, is also an imperfect predictor of illness or early death.
  • One of the most serious blows to the authority of BMI as an omen of premature death has come with a string of studies showing that among patients with established heart disease, those who are overweight or obese by BMI standards fare better and survive longer than heart patients of normal, “healthy” weight. (This has been) (d)ubbed the “obesity paradox.”
  • One of the easiest alternatives to the BMI is waist measurement; the circumference of a patient’s midsection has been shown to be a better predictor of Type 2 diabetes risk than the BMI. Several large studies have linked a waist circumference greater than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, as well as earlier mortality.

So keep tuning in for pertinent health and food info from the cutting edge-Who do you love?


16 04 2011


I really do value the opportunity afforded to me to speak to you, dear reader, through these pages. And I think if you are interested in looking for the latest and greatest place to dine, you can aways look at the restaurant review section, check Zagat’s or about a kazillion apps on your cell phone. Yet, every once in awhile comes a rarity that you just have to share, a place that breaks the rules and therefore forces you to break yours. So here it is-let me tell you about Sylvain.

First off, I never intended to wind up there. In fact, on my recent visit to New Orleans, it is so unpretentious that I walked right by it at first. Fortunately, I had also been recently schooled by the great New Orleans chef, Gerard Maras. Chef Maras had worked his way up through the kitchens around the globe and eventually found himself at Commander’s Palace in 1981. By 1998 he was running “Gerard’s” and had achieved the status of icon. I spent a day learning some amazing things from him, but more of that another time. Among many other important tips that he gave me that day was that I must visit Sylvain on Chartres in the French Quarter where Chef Alex Harrell works his magic.

We walked into the restored old carriage house a drunken stumble from the St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square at 625 Chartres Street. By the way, it is Chartres, pronounced “Shar trez”, not “Charters”-you sound like a jackass pronouncing it that way; just trying to help and make my 6th grade French teacher proud. Past the bar resembling a scene from an intriguing film noir and into the welcoming courtyard we were led. Seated by friendly staff and given the menu I cannot tell you my sheer delight in reading it. The menu excited me. It was a carefully thought out construct that displayed passion and a sense of culinary adventure.

First was the champagne and fries. For those in the know, any place with champagne and my Parma-truffle fries are my happy place to go to when the world makes me weary. To see that on the menu just elevated Gerard from icon to iconic genius for the recommendation. And it wasn’t just any champagne, it was Veuve-Clicquot; which is what I serve with my fries when, like Napoleon at Elba, I need solace.

The Kitchen and Courtyard

So many places and meals these days seem focused on showcasing the Chef’s expertise, technical ability or are over the top simply because they can be. While necessary to be good, technique alone can never make you great. I learned from my great Cardiology mentors that sometime the hardest thing to do is to know when to stop, or when to simply do nothing. Using that lesson in a culinary application, for me, it has meant that it should always be about the food. And if you want to see how good someone really is, ask them to prepare a “simple” dish. A dish where there is no room for missteps. These fries were simply a perfect first that did not disappoint.

Then the mains; things like porchetta po boy, crispy pork shoulder, homemade sausage, duck confit and beef cheeks. I had the beef cheeks which were cooked to perfection, despite a busy dinner service. In the courtyard you can watch these amazing dishes being prepared in a kitchen with the space of a lunar landing module. Every bite was alive with flavor and vigor.

Fast forward to the next evening, we went to dine at a celebrity chef venue. It has always been a great experience and I go there every time I am in New Orleans. I have been dining there every visit over the last many years. I have been going there so long I have actually been there when the chef has actually been there to cook. The menu was adequate but safe. It was something for the masses and uninspired compared to our recent experience. The meal was good, technically perfect but somehow seemed soulless to all at the table.  Service was perfunctory, attentive and a bit saccharine. It was as good as technically perfect gets you.

So the next evening we were back at Sylvain. I has some chicken livers worthy of the pate moniker; obviously fresh. I had the burger, which is no doubt one the best I have ever eaten-and I’ve downed a lot of burgers. Speaking with owner Sean McCusker lent insight into why: “Everything is fresh, meticulously locally sourced-we even make our own bitters for the cocktails.” That was evident in the Sazerac, I have had them all over the city and this was the best one ever.  This commitment is a difference you can not only taste, but feel. Put the  combination of those stellar ingredients in the hands of tremendously skilled chef like Chef Alex and Sylvain is what you get. The technical execution is perfect; but it is the combination of passion and attention to detail starting with the freshest most quality ingredients that raises an experience at Sylvain to that of Art and Ecstasy; it is my new happy place.

Visit at 625 Chartres St., New Orleans-