Mediterranean Diet Reduces Heart Attack / Stroke

A variety of vegetables packed with vitamins & minerals to make the body healthier.

Priniciple carbohydrates are seasonal and local vegetables / fruits. Choose a variety packed with vitamins & minerals to make the body healthier.

LIFESTYLE, LIFE CHANGING, LONGEVITY.  The foundation of Eat Know How Cooking Classes remains The Mediterranean Diet.   Those who live on the mediterranean coast organize their meals from local shopping, to seasonal meal preparation and order of food consumption.  Affirmation of what the  mediterranean people have

A lifetstyle high in fruits/vegetables, grains, olive oil, fish and wine.

A lifetstyle high in fruits/vegetables, grains, olive oil, fish and wine.

understood for 1000’s of years,  a dietary intake high in grains, vegetables, fish, oil, and wine promotes an individual’s overall health. A recent study released by the New England Journal of Medicine, was quickly halted, realizing that by not releasing the information, they would do the country harm instead of showing the positive results from their research.  The following study is the copied research, documented in it’s entirety. Take a moment to explore what the doctors, researchers and dietitians quickly observed from their study.

Freshly pressed olive oil.

Freshly pressed olive oil. The “fat” utlized in the mediterranean diet for meal preparation.

The traditional Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high intake of olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and cereals; a moderate intake of fish and poultry; a low intake of dairy products, red meat, processed meats, and sweets; and wine in moderation, consumed with meals.1 In observational cohort studies2,3 and a secondary prevention trial (the Lyon Diet Heart Study),4 increasing adherence to the Mediterranean diet has been consistently beneficial with respect to cardiovascular risk.2-4 A systematic review ranked the Mediterranean diet as the most likely dietary model to provide protection against coronary heart disease.5 Small clinical trials have uncovered plausible biologic mechanisms to explain the salutary effects of this food pattern.6-9 We designed a randomized trial to test the efficacy of two Mediterranean diets (one supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and another with nuts), as compared with a control diet (advice on a low-fat diet), on primary cardiovascular prevention.

Methods

Study Design

The PREDIMED trial (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea) was a parallel-group, multicenter, randomized trial. Details of the trial design are provided elsewhere.10-12 The trial was designed and conducted by the authors, and the protocol was approved by the institutional review boards at all study locations. The authors vouch for the accuracy and completeness of the data and all analyses and for the fidelity of this report to the protocol, which is available with the full text of this article at NEJM.org.

Supplemental foods were donated, including extra-virgin olive oil (by Hojiblanca and Patrimonio Comunal Olivarero, both in Spain), walnuts (by the California Walnut Commission), almonds (by Borges, in Spain), and hazelnuts (by La Morella Nuts, in Spain). None of the sponsors had any role in the trial design, data analysis, or reporting of the results.

Participant Selection and Randomization

Eligible participants were men (55 to 80 years of age) and women (60 to 80 years of age) with no cardiovascular disease at enrollment, who had either type 2 diabetes mellitus or at least three of the following major risk factors: smoking, hypertension, elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, overweight or obesity, or a family history of premature coronary heart disease. Detailed enrollment criteria are provided in the Supplementary Appendix, available at NEJM.org. All participants provided written informed consent.

Beginning on October 1, 2003, participants were randomly assigned, in a 1:1:1 ratio, to one of three dietary intervention groups: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts, or a control diet. Randomization was performed centrally by means of a computer-generated random-number sequence.

Interventions and Measurements

Fish is a critical "Protein" in the lifestyle. Light, easy to digest, a good source of Vitamin B 12, Omega 3,  & minerals.

Fish is a critical “Protein” in the lifestyle. Light, easy to digest, a good source of Vitamin B 12, Omega 3, & minerals.

The dietary intervention8,10-13 is detailed in the Supplementary Appendix. The specific recommended diets are summarized in Table 1Table 1 Summary of Dietary Recommendations to Participants in the Mediterranean-Diet Groups and the Control-Diet Group.. Participants in the two Mediterranean-diet groups received either extra-virgin olive oil (approximately 1 liter per week) or 30 g of mixed nuts per day (15 g of walnuts, 7.5 g of hazelnuts, and 7.5 g of almonds) at no cost, and those in the control group received small nonfood gifts. No total calorie restriction was advised, nor was physical activity promoted.

For participants in the two Mediterranean-diet groups, dietitians ran individual and group dietary-training sessions at the baseline visit and quarterly thereafter. In each session, a 14-item dietary screener was used to assess adherence to the Mediterranean diet8,14 (Table S1 in the Supplementary Appendix) so that personalized advice could be provided to the study participants in these groups.

Participants in the control group also received dietary training at the baseline visit and completed the 14-item dietary screener used to assess baseline adherence to the Mediterranean diet. Thereafter, during the first 3 years of the trial, they received a leaflet explaining the low-fat diet (Table S2 in the Supplementary Appendix) on a yearly basis. However, the realization that the more infrequent visit schedule and less intense support for the control group might be limitations of the trial prompted us to amend the protocol in October 2006. Thereafter, participants assigned to the control diet received personalized advice and were invited to group sessions with the same frequency and intensity as those in the Mediterranean-diet groups, with the use of a separate 9-item dietary screener (Table S3 in the Supplementary Appendix).

A general medical questionnaire, a 137-item validated food-frequency questionnaire,15 and the Minnesota Leisure-Time Physical Activity Questionnaire were administered on a yearly basis.10 Information from the food-frequency questionnaire was used to calculate intake of energy and nutrients. Weight, height, and waist circumference were directly measured.16 Biomarkers of compliance, including urinary hydroxytyrosol levels (to confirm compliance in the group receiving extra-virgin olive oil) and plasma alpha-linolenic acid levels (to confirm compliance in the group receiving mixed nuts), were measured in random subsamples of participants at 1, 3, and 5 years (see the Supplementary Appendix).

End Points

The primary end point was a composite of myocardial infarction, stroke, and death from cardiovascular causes. Secondary end points were stroke, myocardial infarction, death from cardiovascular causes, and death from any cause. We used four sources of information to identify end points: repeated contacts with participants, contacts with family physicians, a yearly review of medical records, and consultation of the National Death Index. All medical records related to end points were examined by the end-point adjudication committee, whose members were unaware of the study-group assignments. Only end points that were confirmed by the adjudication committee and that occurred between October 1, 2003, and December 1, 2010, were included in the analyses. The criteria for adjudicating primary and secondary end points are detailed in the Supplementary Appendix.

Statistical Analysis

We initially estimated that a sample of 9000 participants would be required to provide statistical power of 80% to detect a relative risk reduction of 20% in each Mediterranean-diet group versus the control-diet group during a 4-year follow-up period, assuming an event rate of 12% in the control group.10,17 In April 2008, on the advice of the data and safety monitoring board and on the basis of lower-than-expected rates of end-point events, the sample size was recalculated as 7400 participants, with the assumption of a 6-year follow-up period and underlying event rates of 8.8% and 6.6% in the control and intervention groups, respectively. Power curves under several assumptions can be found in Figure S1 in the Supplementary Appendix.

Yearly interim analyses began after a median of 2 years of follow-up. With the use of O’Brien–Fleming stopping boundaries, the P values for stopping the trial at each yearly interim analysis were 5×10−6, 0.001, 0.009, and 0.02 for benefit and 9×10−5, 0.005, 0.02, and 0.05 for adverse effects.18 The stopping boundary for the benefit of the Mediterranean diets with respect to the primary end point was crossed at the fourth interim evaluation; on July 22, 2011, the data and safety monitoring board recommended stopping the trial on the basis of end points documented through December 1, 2010.

All primary analyses were performed on an intention-to-treat basis by two independent analysts. Time-to-event data were analyzed with the use of Cox models with two dummy variables (one for the Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil and another for the Mediterranean diet with nuts) to obtain two hazard ratios for the comparison with the control group. To account for small imbalances in risk factors at baseline among the groups, Cox regression models were used to adjust for sex, age, and baseline risk factors. We tested the proportionality of hazards with the use of time-varying covariates. All analyses were stratified according to center. Prespecified subgroup analyses were conducted according to sex, age, body-mass index (BMI), cardiovascular-risk-factor status, and baseline adherence to the Mediterranean diet. Sensitivity analyses were conducted under several assumptions, including imputation of data for missing values and participants who dropped out (see the Supplementary Appendix).

Results

Baseline Characteristics of the Study Participants

From October 2003 through June 2009, a total of 8713 candidates were screened for eligibility, and 7447 were randomly assigned to one of the three study groups (Figure S2 in the Supplementary Appendix). Their baseline characteristics according to study group are shown in Table 2Table 2Baseline Characteristics of the Participants According to Study Group.. Drug-treatment regimens were similar for participants in the three groups, and they continued to be balanced during the follow-up period (Table S4 in the Supplementary Appendix).

Participants were followed for a median of 4.8 years (interquartile range, 2.8 to 5.8). After the initial assessment, 209 participants (2.8%) chose not to attend subsequent visits, and their follow-up was based on reviews of medical records. By December 2010, a total of 523 participants (7.0%) had been lost to follow-up for 2 or more years. Dropout rates were higher in the control group (11.3%) than in the Mediterranean-diet groups (4.9%) (Figure S2 in the Supplementary Appendix). As compared with participants who remained in the trial, those who dropped out were younger (by 1.4 years), had a higher BMI (the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters; by 0.4), a higher waist-to-height ratio (by 0.01), and a lower score for adherence to the Mediterranean diet (by 1.0 points on the 14-item dietary screener) (P<0.05 for all comparisons).

Compliance with the Dietary Intervention

Participants in the three groups reported similar adherence to the Mediterranean diet at baseline (Table 2, and Figure S3 in the Supplementary Appendix) and similar food and nutrient intakes. During follow-up, scores on the 14-item Mediterranean-diet screener increased for the participants in the two Mediterranean-diet groups (Figure S3 in the Supplementary Appendix). There were significant differences between these groups and the control group in 12 of the 14 items at 3 years (Table S5 in the Supplementary Appendix). Changes in objective biomarkers also indicated good compliance with the dietary assignments (Figure S4 and S5 in the Supplementary Appendix).

Legumes, olive oil, nuts and grains were an important part of the study.

Legumes, olive oil, nuts and grains were an important part of the study.

Participants in the two Mediterranean-diet groups significantly increased weekly servings of fish (by 0.3 servings) and legumes (by 0.4 servings) in comparison with those in the control group (Table S6 in the Supplementary Appendix). In addition, participants assigned to a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil and those assigned to a Mediterranean diet with nuts significantly increased their consumption of extra-virgin olive oil (to 50 and 32 g per day, respectively) and nuts (to 0.9 and 6 servings per week, respectively). The main nutrient changes in the Mediterranean-diet groups reflected the fat content and composition of the supplemental foods (Tables S7 and S8 in the Supplementary Appendix). No relevant diet-related adverse effects were reported (see the Supplementary Appendix). We did not find any significant difference in changes in physical activity among the three groups.

End Points

The median follow-up period was 4.8 years. A total of 288 primary-outcome events occurred: 96 in the group assigned to a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil (3.8%), 83 in the group assigned to a Mediterranean diet with nuts (3.4%), and 109 in the control group (4.4%). Taking into account the small differences in the accrual of person-years among the three groups, the respective rates of the primary end point were 8.1, 8.0, and 11.2 per 1000 person-years (Table 3Table 3Outcomes According to Study Group.). The unadjusted hazard ratios were 0.70 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.53 to 0.91) for a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil and 0.70 (95% CI, 0.53 to 0.94) for a Mediterranean diet with nuts (Figure 1Figure 1Kaplan–Meier Estimates of the Incidence of Outcome Events in the Total Study Population.) as compared with the control diet (P=0.015, by the likelihood ratio test, for the overall effect of the intervention).

The results of multivariate analyses showed a similar protective effect of the two Mediterranean diets versus the control diet with respect to the primary end point (Table 3). Regarding components of the primary end point, only the comparisons of stroke risk reached statistical significance (Table 3, and Figure S6 in the Supplementary Appendix). The Kaplan–Meier curves for the primary end point diverged soon after the trial started, but no effect on all-cause mortality was apparent (Figure 1). The results of several sensitivity analyses were also consistent with the findings of the primary analysis (Table S9 in the Supplementary Appendix).

Subgroup Analyses

Reductions in disease risk in the two Mediterranean-diet groups as compared with the control group were similar across the prespecified subgroups (Figure 2Figure 2Results of Subgroup Analyses., and Table S10 in the Supplementary Appendix). In addition, to account for the protocol change in October 2006 whereby the intensity of dietary intervention in the control group was increased, we compared hazard ratios for the Mediterranean-diet groups (both groups merged vs. the control group) before and after this date. Adjusted hazard ratios were 0.77 (95% CI, 0.59 to 1.00) for participants recruited before October 2006 and 0.49 (95% CI, 0.26 to 0.92) for those recruited thereafter (P=0.21 for interaction).

Discussion

In this trial, an energy-unrestricted Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra-virgin olive oil or nuts resulted in an absolute risk reduction of approximately 3 major cardiovascular events per 1000 person-years, for a relative risk reduction of approximately 30%, among high-risk persons who were initially free of cardiovascular disease. These results support the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for cardiovascular risk reduction. They are particularly relevant given the challenges of achieving and maintaining weight loss. The secondary prevention Lyon Diet Heart Study also showed a large reduction in rates of coronary heart disease events with a modified Mediterranean diet enriched with alpha-linolenic acid (a key constituent of walnuts). That result, however, was based on only a few major events.4,19,20

There were small between-group differences in some baseline characteristics in our trial, which were not clinically meaningful but were statistically significant, and we therefore adjusted for these variables. In fully adjusted analyses, we found significant results for the combined cardiovascular end point and for stroke, but not for myocardial infarction alone. This could be due to stronger effects on specific risk factors for stroke but also to a lower statistical power to identify effects on myocardial infarction. Our findings are consistent with those of prior observational studies of the cardiovascular protective effects of the Mediterranean diet,2,5 olive oil,21-23 and nuts24,25; smaller trials assessing effects on traditional cardiovascular risk factors6-9 and novel risk factors, such as markers of oxidation, inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction6,8,26-28; and studies of conditions associated with high cardiovascular risk — namely, the metabolic syndrome6,16,29 and diabetes.30-32 Thus, a causal role of the Mediterranean diet in cardiovascular prevention has high biologic plausibility. The results of our trial might explain, in part, the lower cardiovascular mortality in Mediterranean countries than in northern European countries or the United States.33

The risk of stroke was reduced significantly in the two Mediterranean-diet groups. This is consistent with epidemiologic studies that showed an inverse association between the Mediterranean diet2,34 or olive-oil consumption22 and incident stroke.

Our results compare favorably with those of the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial, wherein a low-fat dietary approach resulted in no cardiovascular benefit.35 Salient components of the Mediterranean diet reportedly associated with better survival include moderate consumption of ethanol (mostly from wine), low consumption of meat and meat products, and high consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, fish, and olive oil.36,37 Perhaps there is a synergy among the nutrient-rich foods included in the Mediterranean diet that fosters favorable changes in intermediate pathways of cardiometabolic risk, such as blood lipids, insulin sensitivity, resistance to oxidation, inflammation, and vasoreactivity.38

Our study has several limitations. First, the protocol for the control group was changed halfway through the trial. The lower intensity of dietary intervention for the control group during the first few years might have caused a bias toward a benefit in the two Mediterranean-diet groups, since the participants in these two groups received a more intensive intervention during that time. However, we found no significant interaction between the period of trial enrollment (before vs. after the protocol change) and the benefit in the Mediterranean-diet groups. Second, we had losses to follow-up, predominantly in the control group, but the participants who dropped out had a worse cardiovascular risk profile at baseline than those who remained in the study, suggesting a bias toward a benefit in the control group. Third, the generalizability of our findings is limited because all the study participants lived in a Mediterranean country and were at high cardiovascular risk; whether the results can be generalized to persons at lower risk or to other settings requires further research.

As with many clinical trials, the observed rates of cardiovascular events were lower than anticipated, with reduced statistical power to separately assess components of the primary end point. However, favorable trends were seen for both stroke and myocardial infarction. We acknowledge that, even though participants in the control group received advice to reduce fat intake, changes in total fat were small and the largest differences at the end of the trial were in the distribution of fat subtypes. The interventions were intended to improve the overall dietary pattern, but the major between-group differences involved the supplemental items. Thus, extra-virgin olive oil and nuts were probably responsible for most of the observed benefits of the Mediterranean diets. Differences were also observed for fish and legumes but not for other food groups. The small between-group differences in the diets during the trial are probably due to the facts that for most trial participants the baseline diet was similar to the trial Mediterranean diet and that the control group was given recommendations for a healthy diet, suggesting a potentially greater benefit of the Mediterranean diet as compared with Western diets.

In conclusion, in this primary prevention trial, we observed that an energy-unrestricted Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, resulted in a substantial reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events among high-risk persons. The results support the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.”

With GREAT Appreciation to all of those who participated in and conducted the study, ~ Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio

References

Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet

February 25, 2013DOI:  10.1056/NEJMoa1200303

Ramón Estruch, M.D., Ph.D., Emilio Ros, M.D., Ph.D., Jordi Salas-Salvadó, M.D., Ph.D., Maria-Isabel Covas,  D.Pharm., Ph.D., Dolores Corella, D.Pharm., Ph.D., Fernando Arós, M.D., Ph.D., Enrique Gómez-Gracia, M.D., Ph.D., Valentina Ruiz-Gutiérrez, Ph.D., Miquel Fiol, M.D., Ph.D., José Lapetra, M.D., Ph.D., Rosa Maria Lamuela-Raventos, D.Pharm., Ph.D., Lluís Serra-Majem, M.D., Ph.D., Xavier Pintó, M.D., Ph.D., Josep Basora, M.D., Ph.D., Miguel Angel Muñoz, M.D., Ph.D., José V. Sorlí, M.D., Ph.D., José Alfredo Martínez, D.Pharm, M.D., Ph.D., and Miguel Angel Martínez-González, M.D., Ph.D. for the PREDIMED Study Investigators

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1200303?query=featured_home&#t=articleBackground

Homemade Pasta from La Cucina della Nonna

MOST POPULAR PASTA MAKING CLASS! “HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR GROUPS & PARTIES”

Fresh homemade pasta, Easy to make.

Original homemade Pasta Recipe from the kitchen of  Southern Italian Nonnas (Grandmothers) is easy to make and enjoyable to eat! 5 minutes of working the pasta dough and 10 minutes to cut it up; with memories of a wonderful meal that lingers on…. Choose from a variety of  shared Italian Sauces taken from Nonna’s kitchen to compliment your fresh homemade pasta.

Pasta Nest

Pasta Nest

Preparation: 3 minutes for pasta dough. 20 minutes to cut strips.  Pasta can be boiled after it has been hung for 15 minutes then the “Fresh Pasta” should boil for 3 minutes, drain well.  Use a pasta dryer, wooden spoon set up between to jars, or a chair for drying.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 300 grams Semolina Flour (1 1/2 cup)
  • 100 grams flour (1/2 cup)
  • 1 egg (Large)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water (add as needed)
  • (may use  2 small eggs and 1/2 cup water)      

Extra dried pasta can be placed in bag and conserved in refrigerator for 3 days.  If reducing the recipe in half, reduce water to 80 ml  (1/3 and 2 Tbsp).

DIRECTIONS:

In a bowl crack open egg,  set aside empty shell, with a fork beat yolk and egg white until foamy, set aside. In a large mixing bowl add semolina, flour, salt, water and beaten egg, combine with fork and then work the  ingredients together by hand.  (Add additional warm water 1 teaspoon at a time, if pasta ball does not form and is crumbly.)

Remove the pasta ball  from the bowl and continue to knead the dough on a clean table pushing the dough outward with heel of the hand and folding the dough over again, working the dough for about 5  minutes.  The dough will be round, smooth and when indented with your finger tip, gently move back into place by itself.  
Divide the pasta ball into eight parts with a knife and keep covered with plastic wrap as to prevent moisture loss. Can be made and frozen for 2 weeks, then thawed and rolled out. Must be used after 3 days if stored in refrigerator.  

Roll out dough until thin as a dime!

On a large cutting board dust with flour. Begin with one eighth of the pasta mass, roll out flat with a rolling-pin, until the pasta is no thicker than a dime. (If using a pasta machine, dust rollers with flour. Systematically pass the dough through until a final press on number 6.) With a knife cut the rolled out pasta into lengths of 6 inches and about 1/2 inch wide. lightly dust flour onto cut pasta.

Place freshly cut pasta onto back of a chair or onto a pasta rack.

To dry long pasta, try the following suggestion: (always dust with resting point with flour) pasta drying rack, or hang pasta on back of chairs then when half way dried coil pasta onto flour dusted cutting board. Allow to dry for about 60 minutes. Continue process for rest of pasta mass.

Bring a large pan of water (1 quart/liter of water for 100 g of pasta) to a hard boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Add dried pasta. When the pasta floats to the top it is done, about 3 minutes depending on the thickness. Place colander into sink. Poor water and cooked pasta into into colander.

Serve your favorite  Italian Sauces over cooked pasta. Buon Appetito!

Add favorite sauce to homemade pasta!

Mini-meatball filling for ravioli.

Mini-meatball filling for ravioli.

For Ravioli follow the same steps to making pasta dough. Using two flat sheets of pasta dough rolled  out. One sheet should be slightly wider than the other.
Meat Filling:
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 onion chopped
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 pound hamburger meat
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 Tbsp Parsley

In a frying pan add oil, onion, garlic, hamburger. Using a wooden spoon break apart the meat while it’s browning. Allow to thoroughly cook. Using a colander empty ingredients from frying pan and allow to drain fluid. Transfer ingredients from colander into a food processor. Add egg salt and parsley, blend on high until meat becomes smooth as a pate`.

Cover meat filling with a second pasta sheet. With a "Crimper" seal and cut pasta squares.

Cover meat filling with a second pasta sheet. With a “Crimper” seal and cut pasta squares.

Flour a cutting board. Lay pasta sheet on floured cutting baord. Place small amounts of meat about 2 inches apart. Place the wider pasta sheet on top of mini-meatballs. Scatter more flour on top of pasta sheet. Seal with fingers, may use a “Crimper” to seal and cut the ravioli.

Pastry / Pasta Crimper can be found in most stores and has a double wheel that allows for sealing and cutting of the dough.

Set ravioli aside on another floured cutting board and allow to dry. Maybe cooked 15 minutes after preparation or if waiting to dry, turn every 30 minutes. Ravioli may dry also on floured cutting board in refrigerator. Ravioli may then be bagged and place in freezer. Fresh ravioli can be stored in refrigerator 3 days after preparation or stored in freezer for 2 weeks.

Cheese Filling:
1/2 pound Ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs

Combine all ingredients and follow same steps for meat ravioli.

Meat Ravioli with favorite s

Meat Ravioli with favorite sauce.

Authentic Ragu` Italian Sauce

Old Bari w Homemade Oricchette Pasta

RAGU` is a common dish served in southern Italy for Sunday lunch after morning church services.  Very easy to prepare!

Prep. time 5 minutes!  Cooking time 3-4 hours on low heat.Can be made the day before.

 Serves 4-6 people.

  • 1-2 pounds Roast (1 kilo)
  • 1 medium onion peeled and coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ cup red wine
  • Two 28 oz cans tomato sauce (1 ½ L)
  • 1 cup of water.
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Add salt to taste. 2 tsp. salt
  • 10 leaves fresh  Basil (add ONLY in the last 10 minutes of cooking sauce.) Reserve 6 leaves for presentation of dish.
  • Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated)   

With a sharp knife cut and quarter the roast to accommodate number of people being served and place in a large pan. Add coarsely chopped onion and olive oil. Cover pan and allow to cook for 15 minutes on MEDIUM heat, turning the meat twice with the onions, as to not to burn. 

Add ½ -3/4 cup of red wine, cover the pan and allow to simmer for 5 minutes on LOW heat. 

Add tomato sauce,1 cup of water and milk. Prop lid of pan with wooden spoon and allow to simmer on LOW or Warm heat for 3-4 hours turning sauce occasionally (every 20 minutes) as to not to burn the Ragu. 

After 3-4 hours of cooking Ragu, Add 10 chopped basil leaves to sauce and remove the Ragu from the heat.  In a separate pan boil water and add your favorite pasta. The Orecchiette (little ears) pasta or Tortellini is commonly used with the Ragu ` Sauce.  This delicious married combination  originated from the city of Bari the beautiful southern region of Puglia, on the breathtaking Adriatic Sea. 

Drain pasta of all water and return pasta to pan.  Add 2-3 ladles full of sauce to pasta and turn in pan .  Spoon out pasta onto dish,  pass with 1 tbsp parmesan cheese, add one ladle of sauce on top of cheese.  Add 1 tsp of cheese to top of sauce and place a fresh basil leave for a beautiful presentation. 

Serve with meat on side.  Click on Waldorf Salad to complete this dinner!

By Kimberly Crocker

Old City of Bari and Homemade Pasta

Turmeric & Saffron to Cleanse & Heal Body

Turmeric cleanses the body

Go for it….Spice up your life!  Scientific research has revealed what the people of India have known for centuries! Turmeric and Saffron, whether combined with pharmaceuticals, or taken by themselves, cleanse the skin and cure what ails you; both spices functioning as natures prized antibiotics.

Turmeric and its cousin Saffron contain a polyphenol called “curcumin”, an  antioxidant that is associated with reducing nutrition related pathologies. They are bland tasting, turmeric has a rich yellow color that we associate with “Curry”  and saffron is orange and string-like. These wonderful seasonings are slowly taking on the health importance that they deserve.

Studies have determined that “Curcumin” impacts health as an: “antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic illnesses.

The positive impact of the medicinal properties are mediated through the regulation of various:  transcription factors, growth factors, inflammatory cytokines, protein kinases, and other enzymes”, states The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. They further attest curcumin to be the “Spice of Life” saying that, “Curcumin exhibits activities similar to recently discovered tumor necrosis factor blockers (e.g., HUMIRA, REMICADE, and ENBREL), a vascular endothelial cell growth factor blocker (e.g., AVASTIN), human epidermal growth factor receptor blockers (e.g., ERBITUX, ERLOTINIB, and GEFTINIB), and a HER2 blocker (e.g., HERCEPTIN).”   All evidenced in the country of India which has been duly of having lower occurrences of heart disease and cancer.

Saffron comes from the crocus flower

Many comparisons have shown that individuals who leave India are diagnosed with a health disease, not otherwise documented in previous family history, after moving into a western society.  Duly noted, the main difference in dietary intake was a lower to “no” amounts of turmeric being consumed in their meals.

Turmeric is not as costly as saffron and is readily available with other herbs and seasonings in stores, or in 300 mg capsule form in the vitamin and mineral grocery isle.

Introducing turmeric into meal preparation is very easy to do. 1 teaspoon added to rice, pasta, potato’s, soups and vegetables are good ways to switch from the salt shaker to a healthier spice that heals and makes your body work and function better. Saffron is more costly and commonly used in the Italian dish Risotto Milanese, however, it also provides the same healing benefit as its close relative.

MANY HOME REMEDIES USING TURMERIC

  • With a few grains, turmeric’s antiseptic properties help to heal cuts, wounds, kitchen burns and abrasions. Make a paste of Turmeric and Raw Honey; 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon turmeric.  Adjust amount to wound, apply to wound and cover with a gauze. 3 x’s/day.
  • Gently rub a small dusting of turmeric onto area of face to reduce facial hair growth. Massage into skin with a dampened tea bag.
  • A mixture of 1 teaspoon turmeric and 1/4 cup yogurt rubbed onto the abdomen to reduce stretch marks during pregnancy. Rinse off after 5 minutes.
  • Added 1/4 teaspoon to individual meals through out the day, keeps various diseases a bay.
  • Mixture of 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon mustard oil rubbed into gums to combat gum infections. Rinse with warm water.
  • Accredited for reducing anemia and sore throats by eating a paste made of 1 teaspoon raw honey & 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric. 3 x’s/day.
  • Stop diarrhea by drinking, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric to 1 glass of water
  • Sick with an infection? Combine: glass of milk  and stir in 1/2 teaspoon turmeric , 1 teaspoon honey. Drink this natural antibiotic 2 times a day.
  • Medicinal use for pathologies have duly noted an intake of 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric  3x’s a day inhibits growth of tumors, improves function of pancreas, reduces incidence of heart attack.
  • Combat GERD or “Acid Reflux” by consuming 1/8 teaspoon turmeric (a 300 mg capsule) before dinner. Also consider Fast Relief: Fennel Seeds Combat Digestive Problems and

Gas Pains Drink Lemon Water

  • Heal Acne by combining in a bowl 1/2 tsp water, 1/4 tsp turmeric and 1/8 tsp salt. With a cotton ball gently dab a small amount of  paste onto acne and allow skin to absorb ingredients overnight. In the morning, gently cleanse to remove and refresh skin.
For modern western medicine practices, the excitement around the ancient asian spices brings hope on the horizon for how meal preparation can enhance an individuals overall health. The many benefits of polyphenol curcumin are continuously being researched: Inflammation, Arthritis, Irritated Bowel Syndrome, Kidney Disease etc. Present studies  have shown that curcumin inhibits the proliferation of tumor cells in cultures, human and animal studies. Curcumin’s many strengths and limitations are being seriously explored and are bringing new opportunities to healing ones body.
By, Kim Crocker-Scardicchio
Recipes

Lentil Soup
Replace the Salt Shaker
Chicken Curry
Pork or Beef Roast with Vegetables
Risotto Milanese
Spices to Lower Inflammation
Health Benefits of Saffron

References
 1.  Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Aug;49(8):1834-42. Epub 2011 May 6.
 Safety Assessment of a Solid Lipid Curcumin Particle Preparation: Acute and Subchronic Toxicity Studies.
 Dadhaniya PPatel CMuchhara JBhadja NMathuria NVachhani K Soni MG.
 Pre-Clinical Department, Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Dholka 387 810, India.
 website:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=benefits%20turmeric%20body
2  .Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2011 Aug;25(4-5):519-34.
 Curcumin: The Potential for Efficacy in Gastrointestinal Diseases.
 Irving GRKarmokar ABerry DPBrown KSteward University of Leicester, Department of Cancer Studies, Room 503, Robert Kilpatrick Clinical Sciences Building, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester LE2 7LX, UK.
 website:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22122768
3. J Fam Pract. 2011 Mar;60(3):155-6.
 Clinical Inquiry. Does turmeric relieve inflammatory conditions?
 White BJudkins DZ.
 Oregon Health & Science University, Family Medicine, Portland, USA.
 website:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21369559
4.  Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2011 Oct 25. [Epub ahead of print]
 Curcumin and its Formulations: Potential Anti-Cancer Agents
 Zhu HLJi JLHuang XF
 zhuhl@nju.edu.cn.    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22044005
5. Nutr Cancer. 2010;62(7):919-30.
 Curcumin, the golden spice from Indian saffron, is a chemosensitizer and radiosensitizer for tumors and chemoprotector and radioprotector for normal organs.
 Goel A
 Aggarwal BB
 Department of Internal Medicine, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA.
6. Curcumin; Indian Solid Gold http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17569205

Lemon Tuna Pasta Delight

Reminiscent to a Southern Italian eating experience, enjoy this pasta dish that is palpably light, thanks to the lemon zest that accents this easy to make meal. A spring and summer time favorite!

Lemon Tuna Delight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serves 4
Ingredients for Sauce

  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 medium size garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 10 cherry tomatoes (washed and cut in half)
  • 1 Tablespoon Capers
  • 3-6 ounces of tuna (May use canned or pieces cut from a tuna steak.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon parsley torn into smaller pieces
  • Lemon Zest of 1/2 lemon. avoid cutting white pith. (Lemon should appear freshly picked with a bright yellow appearance and thick skin.)
  • Juice of half lemon
  • 4 Lemon Rounds (for presentation)
  • 4 Parsley sprigs (for presentation)
  • 250 g of Barilla Pasta

Directions
13 minutes
Fill a pasta pot with 8 cups of water, cover with lid, place on stove top on high heat and bring to a boil. Add 2 Tablespoons salt when the water boils, stir with wooden spoon. Add pasta. Pasta should par boil for 8 minutes. Immediately, placing a colander into a clean sink, take the pasta pot using pot holders or oven mitt, pour boiling water and pasta into colander. Add drained pasta to sauce.

10 minutes
Utilizing a large skillet pan, place on stove top on low heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil,1 garlic clove cut in half and red pepper flakes; allow to saute for 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. (Carefully, take a fork and remove cooked garlic, discard.) Add tomatoes to skillet cover with lid and place onto low heat once again. After 5 minutes remove lid from skillet and with a wooden spoon gently push down on each tomato to release its juice. Add Salt, Capers, Tuna, 1 Garlic Clove Minced (clove cut into small pieces), Parsley. Cover skillet and allow to continue to simmer for another 3 minutes. Add 2 ladles, (about 1/2 cup), of pasta water (using the pasta starch in the water will serve to better adhere sauce to the pasta.). Using a wooden spoon stir the water and the sauce together. Add cooked and drained pasta to sauce, toss so that pasta is coated by sauce. Add lemon zest, the juice of 1/2 the lemon, 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil gently toss pasta to combine flavors.

Plating Pasta for Presentation
Evenly distribute pasta on each plate. Place a thinly sliced lemon round in the center of each pasta mound along with a sprig of Parsley.

Utensils Needed:
Pasta Pot or tall pan for boiling water with lid.
Skillet with lid.
Tablespoon for measuring
Teaspoon for measuring
Cutting Board
Steak Knife
Wooden Spoon
Zester and Mincer
Large Ladle
Towel
Potholder or Oven Mitt
Colander

Lasagna with Meatballs

“The history of the name of these noodles is actually quite interesting. “Lasagna” is derived from the Greek lasanon, which means “chamber pot.” The Romans borrowed the word to refer to cooking pots of a similar shape, and eventually the word came to be used to refer to the noodles which were traditionally layered in a lasanum, a Roman lasagna dish. Many people are unaware of the humble origins of the name for this popular Italian food, which means that you can trot it out at your next dinner party and look impressive.”

Ragu`

1 onions
1/4 cup Olive oil
2oo g sausages
500 g of hamburger meat (halved 250 g each. Reserve half for Ragu` and half for meatballs.)
1/2 cup red wine
2 28 ounce cans of tomato sauce or 700 ml Tomato sauce.  (reserve 1/3 cup sauce to use with ricotta or cottage cheese)
2/3 cup water
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
1 box Barilla Lasagna Pasta Sheets
1/3 cup canola oil
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 Tablespoon chopped parsley
Reserved 1/3 cup tomato sauce
250 g ricotta or cottage cheese
200 g mozzarella sliced
Parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375 F or 190 C.

In a large pan over medium heat saute` onion in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add ground sausage and 250 g. of hamburger meat. Working quickly with a wooden spoon break apart the the meats until they resemble meat crumbs about 4 minutes. Add wine, allow to come to vapor, 1 minute.  Add Tomato sauce with 2/3 cup water, 1/3 cup milk and salt to taste. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Stir occassionally, for 10 minutes.

Prepare the meat balls.
In a seperate pan, warm canola oil over low heat. Then quickly start meatballs. In a bowl, add250 g hamburger meat, garlic and parsley working with hands to ensure all ingredients are well combined.
Shape into meatballs the size of a cherry and fry in oil until outerside is slightly hard. (5 minutes)

Ricotta and Sauce
Mix the ricotta with a ladle of sauce ‘Working with a fork combine sauce and ricotta until creamy (1 minute)
Assembling Pasta Layers for Lasagna
In a deep roasting pan, pour three ladles of sauce to thoroughly cover the bottom of pan.
Place a layer of pasta add three ladles of meat sauce.
Place a layer of pasta. Then spread the ricotta.
Place a layer of pasta, then three more  ladles of meat sauce, add the diced mozzarella.
Place a layer of pasta layer with three ladles of sauce, add meat balls as well.
Place a layer of pasta and four ladles of sauce.
Top off with mozzarella slices and Parmesan Cheese
Lightly Cover pan with aluminum foil, leaving space between cheese and foil.
Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Remove foil and allow to bake for another 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, let stand for twenty minutes so that ‘everything is’ congeals’ a bit before dividing into the portions.

History of Lasagna  http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-lasagne.htm

Gatto` di Patate (Potato Pie)

500 g potatoes
50 g soft butter
2 eggs
1 / 2 cup milk
70 g ham ( 3-5 slices)
150 g provolone (8slices)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3/4 tsp salt

Boil the potatoes in their skins (or cook in microwave).
While still warm, peel them and pass them to the crushing potatoes. Place them in a bowl.

Add butter and mix until ‘is completely dissolved, then add the eggs, milk, Parmesan cheese and coarsely chopped or slices of  ham. Add salt.

Grease a baking dish (20-22 cm in diameter) and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Make a layer with the mixture of potatoes.
Then one of provolone slices and ham slices
Cover with remaining potatoes.
Sprinkle with bread crumbs, a small amount of parmesan and a few slices of provolone and drizzle olive oil on top.

Bake already ‘hot about 190 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until’ the surface is golden brown.

Remove from oven and wait a half hour before serving.