Italian-style Grilled Lamb Chops Stuffed with Pine Nuts and Blue Cheese

Ingredients

8 small lamb rib chops (each about 1 inch thick, about 2 lbs total), trimmed of fat
1/2 small onion, cut into chunks
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds
1/4 cup packed crumbled blue-veined cheese
ground black pepper
2 cups low-fat (1%) milk
1/2 cup beef broth
1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
1 large can (about 15 oz) cream-style corn
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup nonfat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
thyme sprigs

Method

  1. With a sharp knife, cut a horizontal 1½-inch-wide pocket in each lamb chop, starting from meaty side and cutting through to bone. Set chops aside.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine onion, soy sauce, sugar, lemon juice, and garlic. Whirl until smoothly pureed. Pour into a heavy-duty resealable plastic food-storage bag. Add chops; seal bag and rotate to coat chops with marinade. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours, turning bag over occasionally.
  3. Toast pine nuts in a small frying pan over medium heat until golden (about 3 minutes), stirring often. Pour into a small bowl and let cool slightly. Add blue-veined cheese and mix well. Season to taste with pepper, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. When you are almost ready to grill chops, prepare polenta. In a 5-quart (5-liter) pan, bring milk and broth just to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in polenta, corn, chopped thyme, and salt. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring often and scraping pan bottom with a long-handled spoon (mixture will spatter), until polenta tastes creamy (about 15 minutes). Stir in ricotta cheese. Remove pan from heat, stir in Parmesan cheese, and keep warm.
  5. Lift chops from bag. Drain and reserve marinade. Using a spoon, stuff an eighth of the cheese—pine nut filling deep into pocket of each chop. Place chops on a greased grill 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) above a solid bed of hot coals. Cook, basting twice with marinade and turning once, until chops are evenly browned and done to your liking. Cut in thickest part to test (6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare).
  6. To serve, divide polenta among 4 individual plates. Arrange 2 chops on each plate alongside polenta. Garnish with thyme sprigs.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Low-fat Italian Cooking

In Pictures: Burger Art

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Vitamin C Related to Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Early Death

New research from the University of Copenhagen and Herlev and Gentofte Hospital shows that high vitamin C concentrations in the blood from the intake of fruit and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.

Fruit and vegetables are healthy. We all know that. And now there is yet another good reason for eating lots of it. New research from the University of Copenhagen shows that the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death falls with a high intake of fruit and vegetables, and that this may be dued to vitamin C. The study, which has just been published in the well known American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is based on the Copenhagen General Population Study. As part of the study, the researchers had access to data about 100,000 Danes and their intake of fruit and vegetables as well as their DNA.

“We can see that those with the highest intake of fruit and vegetables have a 15% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 20% lower risk of early death compared with those who very rarely eat fruit and vegetables. At the same time, we can see that the reduced risk is related to high vitamin C concentrations in the blood from the fruit and vegetables,” says Camilla Kobylecki, a medical doctor and PhD student at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital.

Vitamin C from food rather than supplements

Among other things, vitamin C helps build connective tissue which supports and connects different types of tissues and organs in the body. Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant which protects cells and biological molecules from the damage which causes many diseases, including cardiovascular disease. The human body is not able to produce vitamin C, which means that we must get the vitamin from our diet.

“We know that fruit and vegetables are healthy, but now our research is pinpointing more precisely why this is so. Eating a lot of fruit and vegetables is a natural way of increasing vitamin C blood levels, which in the long term may contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death. You can get vitamin C supplements, but it is a good idea to get your vitamin C by eating a healthy diet, which will at the same time help you to develop a healthier lifestyle in the long term, for the general benefit of your health,” says Børge Nordestgaard, a clinical professor at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, and a consultant at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital.

The researchers are now continuing their work to determine which other factors, combined with vitamin C, have an impact on cardiovascular disease and death.

Source: University of Copenhagen