Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dr. Marie, OCD, Julie and Julia.

GMA interviewed Dr. Marie Savard, a regular contributor, about her new book Ask Dr. Marie. The discussion on TV this morning was very explicit and covered a lot of women's health problems - the kind of thing that lots of women are embarassed to ask their own doctor or anyone else for that matter. One thing that did surprise me, a lot of new cases of HIV are in older women who often have to find new partners. Dr. Marie says make sure both of you have a health check before indulging in intimacy. You need a certificate showing you and/or your prospective partner, are free and clear. You can read an excerpt here on their web page. I seriously think this would be a good book to get hold of. Another segment covered OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. There will be a programme tonight going into it further, but it was tragic to see a young girl who is afraid to touch her mother (or anyone else in the family) because her brain tells her they are contaminated - they haven't hugged in a very long time. In the picture, at the beginning of this youngster's therapy, she is terrified to have her mother this close. There is a long article and a video clip click here which tells about more such children. I was aware of this problem, but had no idea it could become so bad. One thinks of people checking locks or lights obsessively but not these problems. There has been a lot on the news lately about the new movie Julie and Julia. I don't know how well Julia Child was known outside North America, but she is something of an icon over here. She went to the French Cordon Bleu cookery school and then came back to become one of the first TV cooks on American TV. She was brilliant but also an absolute hoot. I remember my mother visiting and watching Julia whilst I was at work, she couldn't believe it that Julia took a dish out of the oven and dropped it. But that was Julia, people have disasters in the kitchen and she didn't cover them up. She introduced America to good eating and good cooking. She wrote a book called Mastering French Cooking and a young woman, Julie Powell, decided to cook her way through this book from beginning to end, what courage and determination. She then wrote a book called Julie and Julia which has now become a movie with Meryl Streep playing Julia Child, Meryl is, as usual, brilliant. Julia Child had a very distinctive voice and Meryl has really nailed it. One thing about Julia Child's cooking, she didn't susbscribe to low fat - if a recipe called for butter, she used butter and plenty of it. But then the French believe in eating well, but not stuffing themselves as we do in North America. So the proportions one would consume of such foods is not very large. That being said, I have to give you one of Julia's recipes from her book. I have always enjoyed Beef Bourguignon although I have never followed this particular recipe. Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon From the kitchen of Julia Child | Servings: 6 This recipe is adapted from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck (Alfred A. Knopf, 1961) Ingredients One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes 1 carrot, sliced 1 onion, sliced Salt and pepper 2 tablespoons flour 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy) 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock 1 tablespoon tomato paste 2 cloves mashed garlic 1/2 teaspoon thyme A crumbled bay leaf 18 to 24 white onions, small 3 1/2 tablespoons butter Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth) 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered Cooking Directions Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust). Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees. Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily. While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet. Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly. Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside. Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms. Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat. When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top. Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley. As Julia would have said, bon appetit.

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