Archive for the ‘Heart healthy cooking’ Category

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Clam Chowder with Red Potatoes  by Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor @Blogfinger

8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

1 medium onion, diced

8 small red potatoes, quartered and parboiled

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ ancho pepper, seeded and minced

9 San Marzano canned whole plum tomatoes, diced

¼ cup marinara sauce

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced

2  6 ½ ounce cans chopped clams, drained

2 dozen littleneck clams in their shell

2½  cups chicken broth

¼ cup white wine

1 cup clam broth

½ cup water

freshly ground black pepper to taste.


In a 5 quart stock pot, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and ¼ cup of chicken broth; sauté until the vegetables begin to soften, approximately 15 minutes.  Lower the heat to low-medium, add garlic and ancho pepper, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and marinara sauce; stir and cook for 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of chicken broth. Then add clam broth, water, wine, potatoes, black pepper, canned clams, and parsley to the broth. Stir contents of the pot. Place cover, slightly ajar on the pot.  Simmer liquid for 30 minutes, stir occasionally.

Littleneck clams:

After  the soup broth has simmered for 15 minutes, in a large fry pan, add the remaining olive oil, chicken broth and wine, and heat on medium.  When the liquid starts to simmer, add the little-neck clams to the pan and cook until all the clams have opened.  As the clams open, remove them from the pan and set them aside. Discard any clams that do not open after 15 minutes.

Set out two large soup bowls and place a dozen clams in each one. Ladle broth over the clams.

Serves 2



Editor’s Note:  This recipe is adapted from Eileen’s “Seafood Chowder with Red Potatoes” found in “Prevention Does Work: A Guide to a Healthy Heart.” by Paul Goldfinger MD and Eileen Goldfinger, BA.

Our book is still relevant for those who want to learn some heart-healthy recipes—originals by Eileen, with an emphasis on seafood.    It is still available as a paper back from Amazon.  Just type in Paul Goldfinger MD. It is $12.95 in paperback.

We also have posted Eileen’s other clam chowder recipe called Eileen’s Greatest NJ Clam Chowder.


Eileen’s Greatest New Jersey Clam Chowder 2018


PEETIE WHEATSTRAW:   “I Want Some Seafood, Mama.”


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Sautéed grouper with cherry tomato sauce. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Sautéed grouper with cherry tomato sauce. Paul Goldfinger photo ©



By Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor   @Blogfinger

1/2 pound  grouper fillet (or any mild white fish)

1/2 pint  cherry or grape tomatoes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 scallions, diced

2 cloves garlic, grated or minced

2 tablespoons Smart Balance Original “buttery spread”

1/4 cup white wine

4 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon freshly ground  black pepper

1 tablespoon searing  flour

4 teaspoons canola oil, plus 1 teaspoon to rub into fish

salt and pepper to taste


Make this early in the dinner  preparation. It needs to cook slowly.

In a sauce pan place cherry tomatoes, scallions, extra virgin olive oil, margarine, garlic, white wine and a pinch of salt and a 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Cook on low to medium heat until the  tomatoes get soft—-approximately a half hour.

The sauce should simmer not boil.


Heat a 10″ non-stick fry pan on medium until it is hot.

Rub flour, paprika and black pepper on both sides of fish fillet.  Sprinkle with a little canola oil and rub spices into fillet

When the fry pan is hot add 4 teaspoons of canola oil to the pan and place fillet in pan. Reduce heat to medium low.

Then cook on one side until the fillet turns brown, then flip fish over and cook until the meat flakes and is white in the center. Add more oil to pan if the pan gets dry.

Pour sauce on plate and place fillet on top of sauce.

Serves 2.  Heart healthy recipe.*



Mama Eileen on the way to a tea party. Captiva Island, Fla at the Mad Hatter gift shop.

Mama Eileen on the way to a tea party. Captiva Island, Fla. at the Bubble Room gift shop.


CLIFFORD CURRY   from his album Shagadelic.   “Mama’s Home Cooking”


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Restaurants with more than 20 locations fall under the calorie law.  Wall Street Journal photo

Restaurants with more than 20 locations fall under the calorie law. Wall Street Journal photo

From the AMA:

The Wall Street Journal (11/25, Tracy) reports that the Administration and the FDA are planning on unveiling final rules expanding calorie labeling on Tuesday. The rules will require restaurants with at least 20 locations to display calorie counts on their menus. In addition, the rules will apply to amusement parks, convenience stores, movie theaters, and others. The rules have been repeatedly delayed, and have faced significant opposition from the food industry.

The Washington Post (11/24, Dennis) reports that, according to FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, “Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home,” and as a result “people today expect clear information about the products they consume.” Hamburg expressed hope that the new rules will aid people in making “more informed choices” about the food they eat. The Post adds that “activists who for years have pushed for more transparent and consistent menu labeling,” as a means of managing the nation’s epidemic of obesity, “praised the FDA’s action.”

Blogfinger Medical Commentary:  By Paul Goldfinger, MD, FACC and Eileen Goldfinger

In our book Prevention Does Work: A Guide to a Health Heart, we pointed out that rigid diets don’t create success in weight loss; instead, what matters more is the desire to change your lifestyle.

We said, “The trend now is to focus on portion size, calories, exercise and psychological factors such as motivation and sticking to the program.”   We also pointed out the need to increase intake of fresh fruits, vegetables and grains, while avoiding carbs. But counting calories is the most important component.

So yes, counting or paying close attention to calories is critical for weight loss, and you need to be careful of  hidden calories in restaurants and grocery stores.

However, most people who are motivated already  know which foods are high in calories. At the present time, most foods you buy in grocery stores have nutrition labels.

Do we really need more rules imposed on food businesses to alert you to calorie rich foods?   If you stroll into Five Guys because you crave a cheeseburger, fries and a milk shake or soda, do you need to know the specific amount of calories?  Isn’t it enough that you already know that your meal will be high in calories?   If you walk into a fine French restaurant, do you really want to see the calories listed on the menu?

Hidden calories in restaurants are often due to ingredients like butter which is used to enhance flavor.  But a customer who is concerned can ask about ingredients in a restaurant. Most people don’t want to know, and there is no obesity epidemic in French restaurants.

Grocery chains like Wegmans offer prepared dinners from fresh ingredients at low cost.  Trying to keep up with calorie counts on those items will be cost prohibitive, and your low-cost dinner will go up in price.  Don’t you already know that the fried fish is not as good a choice as the grilled chicken?  Then, it is up to you, not the government, to assess calories in your diet.

We  worry that those who really need the calorie disclosures are the ones who won’t read the calorie labels .  Consider cultural norms where high calorie foods are preferred such as carbs (rice and beans) among Hispanics and high fat foods (fried chicken/fish, ham hocks, fried steak, fat back) which are popular in the African-American community.

At NYU a study was done which suggests that more labeling requirements won’t help reduce obesity in this country.   What we really need now is more nutrition education in schools and communities.

And finally, we said, “Remember that one can gain weight with a heart healthy diet if calories are not limited.”  Do you recall the Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine gain weight on non-fat yogurt?

RON MOODY  from original cast album of Oliver    (let those hungry kids finish the songs)



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Eileen's fruit platter. Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Photo by Eileen.

Eileen’s fruit platter. Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Photo by Eileen.


By Eileen Goldfinger, Dining Editor   @Blogfinger and coauthor of “Prevention Does Work:  A Guide to a Healthy Heart.”

This summer fruit platter is heart-healthy, low calorie and beautiful.


Wegmans in Ocean Twp.: watermelon  (red) and papaya

Lauri’s Farm Market on Atkins Avenue in Neptune:  watermelon (yellow)

Delicious Orchards in Colts Neck:  red currants and figs

Link to recent Blogfinger post about the health benefits of fruit:   BF fruit sugar post



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Fried, fried and cheese.

Fried, fried and cheese.

AMA logo_1_1

The AP (2/8, Marchione) reports, “Deep-fried foods may be causing trouble in the Deep South. People whose diets are heavy on them and sugary drinks like sweet tea and soda were more likely to suffer a stroke,” according to a study presented yesterday at the American Stroke Association’s conference in Honolulu. “It’s the first big look at diet and strokes, and researchers say it might help explain why blacks in the Southeast – the nation’s ‘stroke belt’ – suffer more of them.”

The Los Angeles Times (2/8, MacVean, 692K) “Booster Shots” blog reports that in a statement, lead researcher, Suzanne Judd, a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of Alabama, explained, “Fatty foods are high in cholesterol, sugary drinks are linked to diabetes and salty foods lead to high blood pressure.” These “are all factors in the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

ABC News (2/8, Wasson)  The “researchers found that people who regularly ate foods traditionally found in the southern diet had a whopping 41 percent increased risk of stroke – and in African-Americans, it was 63 percent higher risk.”

Blogfinger Medical Commentary by Paul Goldfinger, MD, FACC:

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the US.   In the 1950’s, scientists established a strong link between diets high in saturated fats and the risk of heart attacks.  It has been assumed for years that the high risk diets associated with heart disease would also be risk factors for strokes, but it hasn’t exactly been proven.  We do know that blacks have a higher risk of stroke than whites in this country, and there are risk factors which are common in blacks that clearly increase the risk of stroke including obesity,  high blood pressure and high salt intake.

But this trial of 20,000 adults 45 and older looked specifically at stroke risk related to diet.  If you are familiar with southern foods, sometimes called “soul food,”  you find a great deal of deep fried foods like chicken, fish and potatoes.  In addition there are processed meats like jerky and lunch meats, whole milk and bacon which are part of the problem.  On the other hand, plant based diets were associated with reduced stroke risk.

So now we know about dietary relationships for heart disease, cancer and stroke.  The best bet for staying healthy is a modified Mediterranean diet with low saturated fats and cholesterol, low salt, high fiber, no fried food, good oils, modest amounts of red wine,  fish, poultry, low carbs, and generous amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Stay away from processed foods and don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.

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NBC Nightly News (2/27, story 8, 1:45, Williams) reported a study suggesting that “people with low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids had brains with less volume compared with people who had higher levels of the same fatty acids.”

HealthDay (2/28, Storrs) cautions that the research “did not prove that omega-3 fatty acids prevent mental decline, merely that there may be an association between consumption of fatty acids and brain health.

WebMD (2/28) reports, “Previous studies have already shown that people who eat a diet high in fatty fish like salmon and tuna have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Researchers say these results may help explain why.”

Blogfinger Medical Commentary  by Paul Goldfinger, MD, FACC:

My mother often told me that fish was “brain food” as she fed me, my brother and my father tuna fish sandwiches and frozen fish sticks.  I actually believed her, although in med school they never made that claim. Now, according to the Neurology Department at UCLA, she may have been right. They should put her name on that paper in the Feb 28 issue of the journal Neurology.

Many doctors are advocating fish oil capsules to achieve some anticipated health results having to do with protecting arteries from damage. But the bulk of fish oil clinical studies were done showing benefits from eating fish.  Presumably taking fish oil capsules will be just as helpful as eating fish, but fish has many nutritional advantages beyond merely swallowing a two pound fish oil capsule each day.

In our book “Prevention Does Work: A Guide to a Healthy Heart” we recount the fish oil story. In addition, in Eileen’s heart healthy cookbook section, we purposely stress sea food preparation. Out of her 34 original and easy-to-prepare recipes, 15 are for seafood. Below is her clam chowder (the red kind) recipe which is a variation on the “Seafood Chowder with Red Potatoes” which is in the book.

In addition, here are two Blogfinger seafood recipes: One is Vivian Huang’s Steamed Fish and the other is Eileen’s Italian Fish soup with Swiss chard.

Link for steamed fish recipe

Italian fish soup

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