What’s for Dinner?

Five-course French Dinner at Ristorante Kamakura Felice (リストランテ 鎌倉 フェリーチェ) in Inamuragasaki, Japan

The Menu

Mozzarella and green vegetables with white wine

Cauliflower bread in consomme soup

French white asparagus and Tagliatelle with goat cheese

Grilled quail with wild asparagus, radicchio and mushroom

Dessert – Crema Catalana

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Grilled Lamb Chops with Orange-Rosemary Rub

Ingredients

1 small russet or baking potato
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
1 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
zest of 1 orange
1 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
3 loin lamb chops

Method

  1. Place potato in a medium stockpot over high heat, and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until potato is fork-tender, about 25 minutes.
  2. Remove potato from water and let cool. When cool enough to handle, cut lengthwise into 4 slices.
  3. Brush potato wedges, zucchini, and yellow squash with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
  4. Preheat grill to high heat.
  5. In a small bowl, combine orange zest, rosemary, garlic, and salt. Set aside.
  6. Season lamb chops with salt and pepper, and grill one side 3 to 5 minutes for medium-rare to medium.
  7. Place prepared vegetables on grill and cook until tender, about 7 minutes, turning as needed.
  8. Turn chops over and place half the orange mixture on top. Cook another 3 to 5 minutes, flip over, and transfer to a warm plate.
  9. Top with remaining orange mixture and serve with the grilled vegetables.

Makes 1 serving.

Source: The Oprah Magazine

In Pictures: Food of Chef Jake Bickelhaupt at Chicago Two-Michelin-star Restaurant 42 Grams (Now Closed)

Musical Training Improves the Ability to Tune Out Distractions

Musical training produces lasting improvements to a cognitive mechanism that helps individuals be more attentive and less likely to be distracted by irrelevant stimuli while performing demanding tasks. According to a new study appearing in the journal Heliyon, published by Elsevier, trained musicians demonstrate greater executive control of attention (a main component of the attentional system) than non-musicians. Notably, the more years of training musicians have, the more efficient they are at controlling their attention.

“Our study investigated the effects of systematic musical training on the main components of the attentional system. Our findings demonstrate greater inhibitory attentional control abilities in musicians than non-musicians. Professional musicians are able to more quickly and accurately respond to and focus on what is important to perform a task, and more effectively filter out incongruent and irrelevant stimuli than non-musicians. In addition, the advantages are enhanced with increased years of training,” explained lead investigator, Paulo Barraza, PhD, Center for Advanced Research in Education, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile.

The attentional system consists of three subsystems that are mediated by anatomically distinct neural networks: alerting, orienting, and executive control networks. The alerting function is associated with maintaining states of readiness for action. The orienting function is linked to the selection of sensory information and change of attentional focus. The executive control function is involved both in the suppression of irrelevant, distracting stimuli and in top-down attentional control. The study’s findings also demonstrated a correlation between the alerting and orienting networks in musicians than in non-musicians, possibly reflecting a functional relationship between these attentional networks derived from the deliberate practice of music.

The investigators recorded the behavioral responses of 18 professional pianists and a matched group of 18 non-musician professional adults who engaged in an attentional networks test. The musician group consisted of full-time conservatory students or conservatory graduates from Conservatories of the Universidad de Chile, Universidad Mayor de Chile, and Universidad Austral de Chile, with an average of more than 12 years of practice. “Non-musicians” were university students or graduates who had not had formal music lessons and could not play or read music.

The participants viewed and provided immediate feedback on rapidly presented image variations to test the efficiency of their reactive behavior. Mean scores of the alerting, orienting, and executive networks for the group of musicians were 43.84 milliseconds (ms), 43.70 ms, and 53.83 ms; for the group of non-musicians mean scores were 41.98 ms, 51.56 ms, and 87.19 ms, respectively. The higher scores show less efficient inhibitory attentional control.

Prior research has shown that systematic musical training results in changes to the brain that correlate with the enhancement of some specific musical abilities. However, musical training not only enhances the musical auditory perception, but also seems to have an impact on the processing of extra-musical cognitive abilities (e.g., working memory). According to the investigators, this is the first study to test the effect of musical training on attentional networks, which adds to previous research about the potential effect of musical practice on the development of extra-musical cognitive skills.

“Our findings of the relationship between musical training and improvement of attentional skills could be useful in clinical or educational fields, for instance, in strengthening the ability of ADHD individuals to manage distractions or the development of school programs encouraging the development of cognitive abilities through the deliberate practice of music. Future longitudinal research should directly address these interpretations,” noted co-investigator David Medina, BMEd, Department of Music, Metropolitan University of Educational Sciences, Santiago, Chile.

Source: Elsevier

Eating Colourful Fruits and Vegetables Lowering Risk of Age-related Cataracts

A $5.7 billion global medical bill to restore sight for the estimated 45 million people with cataracts could be slashed in half by a diet rich in colourful fruits and vegetables, according to an international study.

Researchers from China and the University of South Australia have published the first study of its kind to verify the link between foods high in antioxidants and a lower risk of age-related cataracts (ARC).

UniSA Senior Research Fellow Dr Ming Li and colleagues from Xi’an Jiaotong University analysed 20 studies from around the world looking at the impact of vitamins and carotenoids on cataract risk.

Despite some inconsistencies, the findings overwhelmingly support the benefits of eating citrus fruits, capsicum, carrots, tomatoes and dark green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and kale to delay the onset of ARC.

Their paper has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ahead of World Optometry Week (March 26-30).

“Age-related cataracts are the leading cause of visual impairment among the elderly throughout the world, with unoperated cataracts contributing to 35 per cent of all blindness,” Dr Li says. “Although cataract extraction surgery is an effective method to restore vision, it will have cost society more than $5.7 billion by 2020.”

With the population ageing dramatically and an increasing number of people needing surgery, urgent action is needed, the researchers say.

“If we could delay the onset of ARC by 10 years it could halve the number of people requiring surgery.”

Improvements would rely on global changes to most of the world’s diet, however, with current consumption of antioxidants well below the recommended level to prevent age-related cataracts.

Source: University of South Australia


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