Dr. Gourmet Newsletter

Dr. Gourmet Newsletter:
October 16, 2006

Chef Tim Says...

In my travel this past week I had dinner in a restaurant that has been acclaimed in a number of food magazines as being one of the best in America. It certainly did not live up to its reputation, in spite of the apparent feeling of the staff that we were being treated to something "really special." I have dined in so many restaurants that have that special balance of great food that says something about the personality of the chef along with a staff that embraces what they are doing. It is seldom that those on "50 Best" lists are actually the "best."

Thankfully, many restaurants today produce much of their fare in house, including breads, cheeses and smoked fish. They pride themselves on using local ingredients and both of these decisions are generally successful. In this vein it was with a flourish that the waiter placed two small loaves of bread baked in house on our table. The crusty little torpedoes were warm and slightly yeasty. A small pot of locally made organic butter accompanied the bread. The butter was pretty bland, however, and did little to complement the lovely artisan style bread.

I am not a big fan of spreading fat on my bread and am generally partial to dipping bread in olive oil if I have a choice. This is the preference of Mediterranean-style fare, and once you get used to the complex yet light flavors of olive oil, being presented with butter in such a restaurant doesn't seem in keeping with great food. Olive Oil

Isis and Minerva
Isis Says:

Woodfire Grill, in Atlanta, is my favorite restaurant. Woodfire Grill is a fine restaurant that prepares Northern California style food with local, organic ingredients from Georgia, in a daily changing menu of olive oil tasting and dishes prepared traditionally in the wood oven, braised, or grilled.

Because I am interested in food and I love Woodfire Grill, I decided to talk with Chef/Owner Michael Tuohy and I learned how much food is important to him. Chef Tuohy thinks that "dining out should be pleasurable." Woodfire Grill: An Appreciation

Ask Dr. Gourmet...

How do genetic factors influence the simplistic calories in - calories out = surplus = fat?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

I do believe that there is a subset of people who have a genetic predisposition to obesity, however, I feel that this is a very small percentage.

If you look at the epidemiology of weight gain in the last 50 years it is pretty clearly tied to the changes in what we eat and the ease of obtaining foods that are calorie dense. The surplus diet has different effects because some people eat more of the surplus. If a 5 foot 7 inch woman should be eating about 1500 - 1600 calories per day (depending on activity) and she eats about 2000, the weight gain will be about a half pound per month. She will eat less when she sees herself gaining weight and her weight will rise and fall some, but over her lifetime she will end up with a body mass index near the obese level. Genetics, Weight, and Obesity

Featured Recipe:
Fettuccine with Olive Oil and Garlic

Cooking the garlic and olives together slowly will infuse the flavors of both into the olive oil. The key is to not let the garlic brown or it will turn bitter. You can try other ingredients. Use shallots or leeks instead of the garlic, for example. Asparagus is fantastic in place of the tomatoes. Try this recipe, changing one ingredient at a time to make your own favorite. Fettuccine with Olive Oil and Garlic

Do you put salt in the pasta water?

Most recipes contain instructions to add salt to the water before (or sometimes during) boiling pasta. I have seen a multitude of reasons including that the salt changes the boiling point of the water (sorry; not enough to matter) to the salt keeping the water from boiling over (not chemically possible).

There is an argument for adding the salt to enhance the flavor of the pasta but I prefer to carefully control my sodium intake and the flavor of my food. The difference in pasta boiled in salted water and unsalted water is minimal and any difference will be masked by a well made and properly seasoned sauce.

Cooking to Reduce the Burn

Hand on Heart

Cooking to Reduce the Burn was created specifically for those suffering from GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease). With Tummy Tips and easy recipes to help you eat well and eat healthy without painful acid reflux. Download it for FREE!

Hand on Heart

Hand on Heart

Dr. Harlan's latest cookbook, Hand on Heart, includes several of the recipes from drgourmet.com, plus a few that were developed specifically for the book, like Banoffee Pie! More on what's inside.

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