About Dr. Gourmet

My name is Timothy Harlan and I am both a physician and a chef. This blog is a general collection of information and random ideas on eating great food and eating healthy.

You can find out more at the Dr. Gourmet web site. Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!

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Eggs Benedict with Eggplant : New Recipes @ DrGourmet.com

Eggs Benedict with Eggplant

This is a rich and decadent weekend breakfast that is made better by the creamy roasted eggplant.

Mustard Hollandaise Sauce

Look for the flavors and textures in your traditional recipes that let you maximize the taste without sacrifice.

Miso Glazed Salmon

“Soy sauce is really a multi-purpose seasoning.”
-Martin Yan

Martin Yan is right. Soy sauce is a great all-purpose sauce with saltiness and umami that complements recipes. It does take some restraint and using just a bit goes a long way.

Miso is the same way. It contains a lot of salt but a special tangy umami flavor and takes only a bit to have a major impact on a dish. Pair with big flavors like salmon, beef and pork for a great meal.

Asian Hash Browns

These hash browns are a twist on an old standby and will go well with a simple meal of poached eggs. For dinner, pair them with Miso Glazed Salmon or Seared Tuna with Saki-Wasabi Sauce.

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DASH diet may help treat effects of PCOS : Dr. Gourmet's Health and Nutrition Bites

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects as many as 18% of women worldwide. Despite its name, it is an endocrine (hormonal) disorder that is not directly caused by the ovaries; in fact, it is a combination of several different hormonal and metabolic disorders.

The name itself describes a fairly common effect of the disorder: multiple cycsts on the ovaries that are believed to represent failed ovulation, which is also reflected by the infrequent or completely absent menstruation and infertility that is a symptom of the syndrome. Women with PCOS might not necessarily have cysts on their ovaries, but they do usually have increased levels of androgen (symptoms of which include excess body or facial hair or acne), and some level of Metabolic Syndrome, which includes high insulin levels, insulin resistance, and a tendency toward abdominal obesity, which put them at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

This combination of disorders also causes poorer cholesterol scores as well as higher markers of oxidative stress (inflammation), which is likely to contribute to PCOS sufferers’ higher risk of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers.

There is no specific cure for PCOS, but some symptoms may be relieved by weight loss and exercise along with oral contraceptives and medications to help control blood sugars. Researchers in Iran noted that there have been reports that a 5% loss of body weight in obese women with PCOS seemed to help alleviate symptoms, as did a low-glycemic-index diet. Since the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) has been shown to help treat type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome in addition to high blood pressure, they wondered, would a DASH diet also help treat the symptoms of PCOS (Nutrition 2014;30:1287-1293)? DASH diet and PCOS »

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Miso Glazed Salmon : Dr. Gourmet Newsletter

Dr. Tim Says….

 It’s clear that eating fish is great for you and one of my favorites is salmon. This is both because I love the flavor and because there are remarkably high levels of Omega 3 fats found in this delicious and versatile fish. I have a lot of folks write in and ask about all the different choices in the market and which is best for their recipes.

When you step up to the fish counter the salmon you find won’t necessarily be clearly labeled. You can, however, fairly easily tell a lot about it. Firstly, salmon is divided into two broad categories – Atlantic and Pacific. Salmon »

A Healthy Pregnancy
with Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSNNeed an additional reason to avoid going through the fast food drive through for French fries?

A recently published article (Diabetologia DOI 10.1007/s00125-0141-3382_x) indicated that women who eat fried foods more than once per week increase their risk of getting gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) can be dangerous to both women and their developing babies during pregnancy but can also impact long term health for both mother and baby. Fried Foods and Gestational Diabetes »

Miso Glazed Salmon

“Soy sauce is really a multi-purpose seasoning.”
-Martin Yan

Martin Yan is right. Soy sauce is a great all-purpose sauce with saltiness and umami that complements recipes. It does take some restraint and using just a bit goes a long way.

Miso is the same way. It contains a lot of salt but a special tangy umami flavor and takes only a bit to have a major impact on a dish. Pair with big flavors like salmon, beef and pork for a great meal.

Asian Hash Browns

These hash browns are a twist on an old standby and will go well with a simple meal of poached eggs. For dinner, pair them with Miso Glazed Salmon or Seared Tuna with Saki-Wasabi Sauce.

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Breakfast Burritos from Amy's Foods : Dr. Gourmet Reviews

Amy’s Foods

Breakfast Burrito and
Tofu Scramble Breakfast Wrap

This week we’re continuing what my wife is calling “the breakfast burrito tour of the frozen food aisle.” A couple of weeks ago we discovered two breakfast burritos from Sweet Earth Natural Foods, a company new to Dr. Gourmet, that our panel thought were truly excellent. Today we’re returning to a company we’ve known for years: Amy’s Foods.

Over ten years ago we reviewed Amy’s Breakfast Burrito and gave it poor marks. After ten years, we thought it might have improved. According to the numbers on the package, it would appear to have been changed somehow: there are 20 more calories in today’s burrito, along with slightly more fat and saturated fat (1g and 0.5g, respectively), 1 gram more fiber, 1 less gram of sugar, and more protein (3 grams more). Amy’s Breakfast Burritos »

Did You Know?

We’ve reviewed over 700 convenience meals, ingredients, and even desserts! Check out our listings by main ingredient or brand name to find out if that meal that looks so good in the freezer case is really worth the money. Read more Dr. Gourmet’s Food Reviews »

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Root Vegetable Pasta : New Recipes @ DrGourmet.com

Root Vegetable Pasta

This is a quick, easy weeknight pasta with a few twists. The all veggie sauce has the savory taste of a meat sauce because of the umami from the parmesan but offers sweetness from the carrots and parsnips, tang from the tomato sauce and a slight bitterness from the radishes. A great balance.

Ratatouille

This is a recipe that I almost decided not to work on. I served ratatouille in my restaurant because it was made by an old hippie that worked as a prep cook. I had his recipe and, as with most vegetarian dishes, it was full of fat (and not very good fat I might add). I am so glad that I worked on it. The key is the highest quality fresh mozzarella you can find. But even more important, the fresh herbs make the dish possible. I am not sure I would do this with dried herbs – it would taste like it was made in a bad vegetarian restaurant.

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Fish for your brain : Dr. Gourmet's Health and Nutrition Bites

Fish for your brain

We know that following an overall Mediterranean-style diet can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease by as much as 60%. Some research has suggested that it is the fish intake that has that effect, and yet other studies focus on the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. For example, in 2007 I reported on a prospective study that looked at the effect of eating fish on the participants’ scores on a common cognition test, the Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE). In a five-year study of over 200 Netherlanders, those who ate the least fish had their scores in the MMSE fall four times faster than those who ate the most fish – regardless of the type of fish consumed. On the other hand, in 2006 researchers in Sweden gave participants with mild to moderate dementia either an Omega-3 supplement or a placebo for 6 months. Those with Alzheimer’s Disease saw their cognition decline more slowly if they were taking the supplement.

With today’s research, a team in Pittsburgh sought to clarify this distinction. They made use of data gathered through the Cardiovascular Health Study Cognition Study (CHS-CS), which is part of the larger Cardiovascular Health Study, a large-scale, long-term prospective study of risk factors of heart disease and stroke in persons over the age of 65. Those in the Cognition Study were evaluated for signs of dementia or mild cognitive impairment and had an MRI done of their brains. For their research, the Pittsburgh team limited their study to those participants who had no sign of dementia or cognitive impairment (Am J Prev Med 2014;47(4)444-451). Fish and your brain »

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Substitute for Cilantro; Baron of Beef; More : Ask Dr. Gourmet

Dear Dr. Gourmet,

Q: I am from Vancouver, Canada and I am curious to know what Americans call a “baron of beef inside round.” I find it very difficult to find recipes for this cut on the Internet due to the fact that I am not sure what this cut of meat is called in the U.S. It is a boneless lean cut and I was wondering if I should cook it pot roast style or can I cook it 20 min. a lb. and still have a nice tender roast.

A: A Baron of Beef is alleged to have originated when Henry VIII was served a spit roasted double sirloin of beef and was so taken by the roast that he dubbed it Sir Loin, the Baron of Beef. Whether this is true or not, the term has come to refer to the large joint of beef that includes the loins and both legs. A ‘Baron of Beef’ »

Q: Could you please tell me how important it is to our system and how can we tell if we have a cell salt deficiency? Can we actually tell by a facial diagnosis?

A: Sodium is extremely important to the operation of the human body and having a low serum sodium is a very dangerous condition. This is known as hyponatremia (hypo = low, natr = salt, emia = blood). It is difficult to have a low blood sodium level, as most diets are very high in salt and sodium comes from multiple ingredients. Cellular Salt Deficiency »

Q: I’ve noticed that many of your recipes include cilantro. Realizing that a large percentage of the population loves the herb, I absolutely detest it. And seeing as how I love your recipes in general, I was hoping you could offer some advice on a good substitution for this soapy herb when you create your recipes.

A: I’m sorry that you don’t like cilantro. It’s a prevalent herb in a lot of cuisines from Mexican to Eastern European, Spanish to Thai.

You can, in most recipes, substitute what you love. Flat leaf (Italian) parsley would be the obvious choice, but it could add more bitterness than you might want for your recipe. You could tone that down with just a touch of honey, however. Cilantro Substitutes »

Have a question? Send it to askdrgourmet@drgourmet.com and your question may be answered in this newsletter. Dr. Harlan regrets that due to time constraints, he can not answer all questions submitted. Your question may already have been answered in our Ask Dr. Gourmet archive.

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Healthy Lasagna with Eggplant : New Recipes @ DrGourmet.com

Lasagna with Eggplant

This is a big portion of lasagna that is rich and cheesy. The best part is that the recipe is so simple and takes about 30 minutes prep time. The hardest part of this is mincing the garlic – or maybe lining the pan with foil, but you will be happy you did because clean up is so much easier.

Acorn Squash Pasta Bake

This is a warm, rich, and very filling meal just made for chilly Autumn days. You can use a butternut squash for this too but they are generally much larger and you would have to double the rest of the ingredients in the recipe (making four servings). I had originally thought about making this recipe using leeks but decided on the more economical white onions. Leeks would bring more sweetness to the dish as well as a lot more fiber.

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Breast Cancer : Ask Dr. Gourmet

Dear Dr. Gourmet,

Q: I would like to know if a daily breakfast diet of Mung beans would be allowed for a woman who is estrogen receptor positive for breast cancer. I see that Mung beans are closely related to soy products, which have phytoestrogens. Soy products are not allowed for women who are estrogen receptor positive breast cancer patients.

A: This is a very interesting question. Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring chemicals that resemble natural estrogen. There is a lot of controversy about this topic and many oncologists feel strongly about the chance of these chemicals increasing the risk of recurrent cancer for those women with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. Some of the controversy arises from the fact that there are a lot of different phytoestrogen compounds found in foods. Mung beans, phytoestrogens, and breast cancer »

Q: I have always wondered about the effect of caffeine on breast cancer. Does caffeine encourage breast cancer or increase the risk of breast cancer or any other cancer because it speeds up the body’s metabolism? I use decaffeinated coffee (about 1/2 teaspoon of decaffeinated coffee crystals daily). Am I putting myself at risk?

A: The good news is that we have research from large studies to show that there’s no increase in risk of breast cancer for women who drink coffee.

he largest study was of over 38,000 women and did not reveal an increased risk in breast cancer (Arch Intern Med 208; 168(18):2022-2031). The research did reveal that for those women with benign breast disease (fibrocystic disease and the like) there might be an increased risk of certain types of breast cancer. Breast cancer and coffee »

Q: My husband is diabetic, and I am a cancer survivor. With the guidelines given to me to minimize recurring of the cancer, as well as my health in general after chemo, it seems easier for me to follow a diabetic diet than it would be to try and fix 2 different meals twice a day. Would I be starving my cells and ultimately doing more harm than good if I were to follow his diet?

A: You would be doing yourself a great service to follow a diabetic diet.

We now know that the most effective diet for diabetics is a Mediterranean style diet. There’s information about this in ourDiabetes Diet section.

At the same time the Mediterranean diet has been shown to help lower the risk of cancer. Mediterranean diet and cancers »

Have a question? Send it to askdrgourmet@drgourmet.com and your question may be answered in this newsletter. Dr. Harlan regrets that due to time constraints, he can not answer all questions submitted. Your question may already have been answered in our Ask Dr. Gourmet archive.

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Acorn Squash Pasta Bake : Dr. Gourmet Newsletter

Chef Tim Says….

 There are so many different kinds of squash that it’s almost like having to take a high school biology test. (Interestingly, they are biologically fruits and not vegetables.) I know them all because growing up I was one of those weird kids that actually liked squash.

One of my favorites is the acorn squash. I love it roasted simply with a bit of butter and maple syrup. This Roasted Acorn Squash recipe is a variation of one that I had growing up – my dad loved acorn squash cooked this way. As acorn squash ages, the skin turns a mottled orange yellow color, so choose those that are more green than yellow. It should be firm with no dark or gray spots and tapping it should result in a sound that is hollow, not dull. Squash Varieties »

Acorn Squash Pasta Bake

This is a warm, rich, and very filling meal just made for chilly Autumn days. You can use a butternut squash for this too but they are generally much larger and you would have to double the rest of the ingredients in the recipe (making four servings). I had originally thought about making this recipe using leeks but decided on the more economical white onions. Leeks would bring more sweetness to the dish as well as a lot more fiber.

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