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Lobster Thermidor

Ingredients

2 live lobsters (about 1-1/2 1b each)
1-1/2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp brandy
1/2 cup milk
6 tbsp whipping cream
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
lemon juice
salt and white pepper
grated Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
fresh parsley and dill, to garnish

Method

  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Put the lobsters into the pan head first and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Cut the lobsters in half lengthways and discard the dark sac behind the eyes, then pull out the string-like intestine from the tail. Remove the meat from the shells, reserving the coral and liver, then rinse the shells and wipe dry. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces.
  3. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over a medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, until slightly golden. Pour in the brandy and milk, whisking vigorously until smooth, then whisk in the cream and mustard.
  4. Push the lobster coral and liver through a sieve into the sauce and whisk to blend. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. Season with salt, if needed, pepper and lemon juice.
  5. Preheat the grill. Arrange the lobster shells in a gratin dish or shallow flameproof baking dish.
  6. Stir the lobster meat into the sauce and divide the mixture evenly among the shells. Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan and grill until golden. Serve garnished with herbs.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Source: Taste of France

Video: Making Mochi Desserts at Morimoto with Master Pastry Chef Natsume Aoi

Mochi — pounded sticky rice — is most commonly seen in the US filled with ice cream and sold in the freezer section of a grocery store chain. Creating the traditional Japanese confectionary is a laborious process that many chefs rather not tackle; but pastry chef Natsume Aoi can’t imagine doing a menu without it. “I think I’m one of the few that would even attempt to do a hand-wrapped mochi [in a restaurant] where we can seat 400 capacity in two runs,” jokes Aoi, the pastry chef at New York’s high-volume Morimoto. “It’s not the smartest move to make.”

Still, for Aoi, having mochi on her menu — even one adapted to the western palate — is something that brings her closer to home. “Every restaurant that I have ever worked at, as long as I’m in a position to bring something to the menu, it will always be something that’s personal,” she explains. “I’m pretty far away from home and I need to have a way to bring that with me.”

Watch video at You Tube (6:57 minutes) . . . . .

Can Folic Acid Supplements Slow Cognitive Decline?

Dr. Paul Y. Takahashi wrote . . . . . . . . .

There’s no conclusive evidence that folic acid supplements improve cognitive function in older adults or in people with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.

Blood levels of folate are classified as either low or normal in the general population. Low folate blood levels are associated with poor cognitive performance, which could be improved by folic acid supplements. However, folic acid is not helpful for people with normal blood levels.

Reviews of randomized, controlled trials have shown mixed results about whether folic acid supplements have a benefit on cognitive function in healthy adults or in those with mild to moderate cognitive decline or dementia. This is an active area of research.

So although it doesn’t appear that a folic acid supplement would benefit everyone, it may be something worth discussing with your doctor. Keep in mind that in the U.S. many foods, such as breads and cereals, are fortified with folic acid. Many people also take a multivitamin, the majority of which have extensive B complex vitamins such as B12 and folate.

If you’re at high risk of developing dementia or have already experienced some cognitive decline, checking your folic acid levels may be a reasonable step.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Stay Fit to Avoid a Heart Attack

Even if you are a fit and healthy person with no signs of any heart or blood vessel disease, low cardiorespiratory fitness could be a warning sign of future problems, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal [1] today (Thursday).

Cardiorespiratory fitness refers to the ability of the blood circulation and respiratory systems to supply adequate oxygen to muscles during sustained physical activity. The main measure of it is VO2max – the maximum rate of oxygen consumption during exercise that increases with intensity.

In the study published today, 4527 fit and healthy men and women with no history of cardiovascular or lung disease, cancer or raised blood pressure, had their cardiorespiratory fitness assessed when they joined a large, population-based health study in Norway (the HUNT3 study) between 2006-2008. Wearing a face mask and a heart rate monitor, they warmed up for ten minutes on a treadmill before running faster and faster. Their oxygen intake was measured to establish their VO2max. The researchers also gathered information on tobacco use, alcohol consumption, family history of cardiovascular disease, physical activity, weight, height and waist circumference, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

After an average follow-up time of nearly nine years, the researchers found that greater cardiorespiratory fitness was linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart attacks. Only 147 participants (3.3%) were diagnosed with heart disease or died from it, or required intervention to unblock clogged arteries during this period.

“We found a strong link between greater fitness and reduced risk of a coronary event during the nine years of follow-up in a very healthy sample of adults,” said Dr Bjarne Nes, a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). “In fact, the participants who were in the 25% of those with the highest cardiorespiratory fitness had nearly half the risk compared to those in the 25% with the lowest fitness levels.”

The researchers found that, in both men and women, the risk of cardiovascular problems fell by 15% for every extra unit of measurement of cardiorespiratory fitness – metabolic equivalents (METs). METs measure the oxygen required for the energy expended on physical activity, with one MET being the amount needed if a person is sitting quietly (3.5 mL of oxygen per kg of body weight per minute), while high exertion such as running would use about eight METs.

“This indicates that greater cardiorespiratory fitness protects against both chronic and acute heart and blood vessel problems,” said Dr Nes. “Even a small increase in fitness could have a large impact on health.”

The lead author of the study, Dr Jon Magne Letnes, who is a medical doctor and research fellow in the Cardiac Exercise Research Group at NTNU, said: “Our results should encourage the use of exercise as preventive medicine. A few months of regular exercise may be an efficient way of reducing the cardiovascular risk.”

A strength of the study is that cardiorespiratory fitness was measured with a gold-standard maximal exercise test of peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) – the first to do this in a healthy sample of the general population. Previous studies that have linked fitness to disease risk in healthy populations are mainly based on self-report or less accurate estimates.

A limitation of the study is that participating in voluntary exercise testing introduces the possibility that more active people might choose to join the study, which might reduce its applicability to the general population.

In an accompanying editorial [2], Professor Sanjay Sharma, of St George’s University of London (UK), who is medical director of the London Marathon and chair of the expert cardiology panel for the English Football Association, and Dr Aneil Malhotra, also of St George’s, write: “This study adds to the current literature by demonstrating a similar benefit in an ostensibly healthy population with an incremental benefit that continues beyond 12 METS and suggests that there is no obvious upper threshold for the cardioprotective effects of exercise. Although the number of subjects is laudable, there are several points to note.”

They highlight that there is an unavoidable but inherent selection bias towards participants who were motivated to take part and were probably more aware of lifestyle measures to avoid cardiovascular disease; and the participants were young and healthy, which explains the low number of cardiovascualar-related events during the follow-up period.

They conclude: “In an era where primary prevention is playing an increasingly significant role in society, this study helps highlight that improving CRF [cardiorespiratory fitness] is a pivotal factor in reducing CV [cardiovascular] risk and mortality. Regular physical activity and measures of CRF should be incorporated into clinical practice and CV risk models. All individuals should be encouraged to exercise to the minimal level recommended by the European guidelines for disease prevention, although the observations of Letnes and colleagues and several others suggest that substantially higher physical activity levels and CRF provide additional prognostic benefit. For those who are compromised due to comorbidities or functional status, there is overwhelming evidence that some physical activity is better than none.”

Source: European Society of Cardiology


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