Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Heart Loves Fish

The heart loves a fish diet. Maintaining a diet that includes two portions of fish a week leads to many benefits. The American Heart Association has this to say on the subject, "Fish is a good source of protein and doesn’t have the high saturated fat that fatty meat products do." The American Heart Association also notes that a diet rich in Omega-3 also reduces cardiovascular disease (CVD).

PUFA Newsletter, a quarterly newsletter for health professionals about polyunsaturated fatty acids, presents the findings of a September 2007 National Heart, Lungs and Blood Institute (NHLBI) report that has further details on the intersection of Omega-3 fatty acids, CVD and arrhythmias. The newsletter states:
The NHLBI report focused on arrhythmias, the major underlying cause of sudden cardiac death, which accounts for about 37% of all cardiovascular disease deaths. Some 80% to 90% of all sudden cardiac deaths stem from ventricular arrhythmias.
While the NHLBI noted the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids in preventing arrhythmias, it would not commit to advancing public policy guidelines, instead calling for more research into the subject as reported at, the sister site to PUFA. Their refusal stems from three major studies of heart disease patients with implanted cardioverter defibrillators (ICD). Fats of Life states:

In these studies, patients who consumed fish oil experienced either no benefit or a greater likelihood of developing arrhythmia. . . Upon closer examination, however, it turns out that not all arrhythmias are alike. The type may depend on the patient’s clinical condition, such as chest pain or heart attack (myocardial infarction), and the cause of the arrhythmia.

Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook features recipes with seafood rich in Omega-3 such as trout (Trout Amandine or Trout Meuniere), tuna (Sesame-Seared Tuna) and oysters (refer to our blog entry on oysters, 3/18/08). Shrimp, crab and crawfish have smaller amounts of Omega-3. Help your heart and your appetite by preparing one of the dishes presented in Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook.

SOURCE: "American Heart Association"
SOURCE: "PUFA Newsletter" 03/08
SOURCE: "Fats of Life" 03/08
photo courtesy of aussiegall, used under this Creative Commons license

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Meet Chef Gregg Collier

Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook features recipes developed by Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group Chefs, among them the Executive Chef Gregg Collier of the Red Fish Grill, located in the French Quarter. A 1990 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Collier served his apprenticeship under Chef Emeril Lagasse and Commander's Palace's own Executive Chef Jamie Shannon in the early 1990s.

While at Commander's Palace, he learned all the culinary stations of the operation. He later moved onto Chef Allen's Restaurant of Florida and to New Orleans' own Bayona under Chef Susan Spicer, but returned to the Commander's Palace Restaurant Family in 1998 to assist in the opening of Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse. He began to develop his unique culinary signature characterized by creativity and whimsy while at Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse. After a stint at Foodies Kitchen in Metairie, Louisiana, he joined the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group as the Executive Chef of the Red Fish Grill.

jtison5 in a post dated November 11, 2007, had this to say about his dining experience at the Red Fish Grill:

We had the opportunity to eat at the Red Fish Grill on November 3 while in town for the Jaguar/Saints game. The Hickory RedFish with crab meat mentioned above is one of the best meals I have ever had. Kudos to Chef Collier!

The above link also features a video of Chef Collier in action, preparing Red Fish Grill's signature hickory grilled red fish with crabmeat and lemon butter sauce. He prepares it over the Red Fish Grill's hickory wood burning grill and states that the restaurant uses about 25,000 pounds of Red Fish annually. The recipe is included as well.

Yahoo! Travel lauds Chef Collier's extensive seafood menu which features a minimum of seven types of gulf fish daily. The Red Fish Grill is called, ". . . a triumph of cuisine, style and design."

SOURCE: "Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook"
SOURCE: "Red Fish Grill"
SOURCE: "Cooking New Orleans Style! with Chef Greg Collier of the Red Fish Grill" 10/31/07
SOURCE: "Red Fish Grill"
photo courtesy of Bob Jagendorf, used under this Creative Commons license

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Crawfish Season Under Pressure

The Times-Picayune ran a piece March 24, 2008, about this year's crawfish market. Many pond farmers are considering draining their fields early this year, even though the height of the season has arrived, in order to plant crops of rice and soybeans. It's expected that basin fishers will take up the slack in production. Key issues affecting this year's anticipated yield are rising costs in fuel and bait, a later start to the peak of the season and an earlier-than-usual Easter. also pinpoints bad weather earlier in Easter week that displaced traps, causing farmers to fall behind in production. Andre Leger, owner of Chez Francois Seafood had to stop taking orders the morning of Good Friday, but resumed in the afternoon after receiving more of the crustaceans:
Leger said crawfish farmers usually work their ponds intensely for three days before Good Friday to meet the high demand, but near tropical storm-strength winds earlier this week frustrated the harvest.

“We just never caught up,” he said.

According to Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook, the crawfish is a late-comer to the culinary stage. Cookbooks from the late 1800s and early 1900s mainly used crawfish in bisque. It was not till the 1960s that crawfish came into its own.

Gretchell Soileau Spears at her homepage has a short piece on crawfish which sheds further light on the development of commercial crawfishing. Initially an incidental catch, the 1940s saw the development of a commercial fishery dedicated to crawfish at the Atchafalaya Basin. Researchers at LSU began to experiment with the cultivation of crawfish in man-made ponds in the 1960s. Since that time, 75 million to 110 million pounds of mudbugs are harvested annually.

Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook rightly places crawfish as one of Louisiana's top exports as well as one of the state's top industries. Oversea demands for the crawfish centers on France, Sweden and large swatches of Asia. In Sweden, where the crawfish is steamed whole and flavored with dill, four to five million of the crustacean are imported annually.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fried Green Tomatoes: An Unexpected Culinary Superstar

Fried green tomatoes are a surprise culinary superstar of decidedly mysterious origins that Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook features in its appetizer section. Nilesh Parekh of in a post dated September 10, 2007, states that the dish originated in southern India, while Wikipedia credits it as a traditional southern dish. Wikipedia also points out the differences between northern fried green tomatoes and its southern sister: the northern version uses white flour while the southern uses cornmeal or corn flour for the coating. Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook uses a combination of the three coatings.

Al Forno Charleston posted an interesting article dated August 19, 2007, that takes an in-depth look at the history of the dish. He points out that Fannie Flagg, author of the book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, in her cookbook based on the novel states that the dish gained in popularity during the Depression when folks were forced to expand their subsistence strategies. Charleston argues that the dish is actually a Northeast or Midwest transplant with possible links to the Jewish community:
Fried green tomatoes are by no means a Southern dish at all. By all accounts, they entered the American culinary scene in the Northeast and Midwest, perhaps with a link to Jewish immigrants, and from there moved onto the menu of the home-economics school of cooking teachers who flourished in the United States in the early-to-mid 20th century.
In 1987, author Fannie Flagg published Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, which Universal took to the big screen under the title of Fried Green Tomatoes in 1992. The story is inspired by Flagg's great aunt, Bess Fortenberry and her restaurant, the Irondale Cafe. At this time, the distinctive dish broke into mainstream culinary culture and began to be featured in restaurants across the South. Demand is such that 60 to 70 pounds of tomatoes are prepared daily, making for 600-800 slices, with more prepared on Sundays.

Ironically, then-owners of the Irondale Cafe, Bill and Mary Jo McMichaels were forced to develop a large-batch commercial batter for use in deep fryers in response to the overwhelming demand for the dish that the movie created. Mary Jo McMichaels tells of the vertiginous rise of the dish at the website, The Original Whistle Stop Cafe.

Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook offers a spicy version of this humble dish, dressing it with a flavorful ravigote sauce and hot butter sauce. The recipe also permits the use of very firm, newly ripened tomatoes just past the green stage as well as using the more traditional green tomatoes.

SOURCE: "Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe" 09/10/07
SOURCE: "Fried Green Tomatoes (food)" 02/12/08
SOURCE: "Fried Green Tomato Swindle" 08/19/07
SOURCE: "Irondale Cafe Restaurant History"
SOURCE: "Irondale Cafe Original Whistlestop"

photo courtesy of Clearly Ambiguous, used under this Creative Commons license

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ralph's On The Park

Ralph's On The Park is an all-around culinary experience of pure Louisiana-French cooking presented in an atmosphere of casual-dining elegance that takes full advantage of its historic location in the heart of New Orleans's City Park. Ralph Brennan's fourth venture opened in 2003 and is located in a circa 1860 two-story building that has been fully renovated. Initially built by a cattleman turned restaurateur as a coffeehouse and concession stand, the location has passed through the hands of many prominent restaurateurs. No small part of its charm are the large murals painted by local artist Tony Green featuring local historical events.

According to Ralph's On The Park website, the restaurant was voted "Best Restaurant Post-Katrina" by 29% of New Orleans CityBusiness readers. Times-Picayune blogger Brett Anderson rhapsodizes about his Sunday brunch experience in a post dated October 10, 2007:
The evidence is there at brunch, when dusky bowls of seafood gumbo give way to plates of sweet potato pancakes draped over plump house-made molasses sausages. It is because of food like this that New Orleanians consider Sunday morning just another opportunity to hit the town. gives Ralph's On The Park five out of five stars. Pableaux Johnson, an editorial reviewer for CitySearch, emphasizes the solid menu featuring New Orleans dishes like fried green tomatoes and seafood such as oysters. In a review posted October 30, 2007, by a user named "robertaltman," he singles out the food and atmosphere, calling it the best in the city and gives his experience five stars. He adds, "Quite simply: go. It is worth it, under any circumstances."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Louisiana's Fisheries Receives $19 Million from the LRA

The Times-Picayune published an article by Chris Kirkham today that will warm the hearts of seafood lovers and fishermen everywhere, announcing that $19 million has been granted to help rebuild the fishing industry in Louisiana ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Last fall, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) called for project proposals that would help the state's fisheries recover from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
"This program is designed to support the recovery of coastal Louisiana's fisheries industry through direct investment in infrastructure projects that will improve the viability and long-term sustainability of the commercial and recreational fisheries," said John T. Landry, Chair of the LRA's Infrastructure Task Force. "I encourage all interested parties to apply."
With an approximate six-week window to apply, from October 26 to December 14, 2007, the LRA received 61 proposals. After review, a panel of national fishing industry experts chose 15 projects that they felt would most benefit the beleaguered fishing community. Among the projects chosen were the Bucktown marina and recreational area projects and New Orleans' City Park fishing piers, while Grand Isle received $2 million dollars to install a boat lift and build commercial fishing docks. Adam Knapp, deputy director of the LRA looks to these projects to help the coastal regions of Louisiana.
"The expectation we have is that these investments . . . are going help put a foothold back in for the fisheries sector as they're climbing back up, and bring them back to the level they were at before," said Adam Knapp, LRA's deputy director. "They're not all processing plants, they're not all boat launches. There are a myriad of different things that got funded."
Plaquemines Parish received the lion's share of the funding, receiving nearly $5 million dollars for projects including ice houses, processing plants and the rebuilding and extension of the Venice shipyard. Plaquemines Parish currently has a recovery project on the boards relating to the Venice boatyard with an anticipated build time of four months once the project receives its Corp of Engineers permit. Click here to see photos of the Venice Marina post-Katrina.

SOURCE: "Fisheries revival plans get state money" 03/19/08
SOURCE: "State Launches Program to Rebuild Fisheries Infrastructure" 10/26/07
SOURCE: "Plaquemines Parish Recovery Project Update"
SOURCE: "Venice Marina Hurricane Katrina Photos"
photo courtesy of jasminedelilah, used under this Creative Common License

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gumbo Is Delicious

Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook features four gumbo recipes for the home gourmet to prepare. In the book, it's stated on page 110 that "The chances of two Louisiana cooks coming up with gumbos that are exactly alike are about the same as the New Orleans Saints football team winning two Super Bowls in succession." Its a wonderful recipe that allows for adaptation and improvisation, permitting the cook to use virtually any kind of meat or seafood in its preparation. Mark W. Huntsman states that written reference has been found where owl, muskrat and even squirrel has been used in gumbo.

Both Ralph Brennan and Huntsman contends that the dish is of West African descent. Huntsman states:
Although the French contributed the concept of the roux and the Choctaw invented filĂ© powder, the modern soup is overwhelmingly West African in character. Not only does it resemble many of the okra-based soups found in contemporary Senegal, the name of the soup its self is derived from the Bantu words for the okra contained within (guingombo, tchingombo, or kingombo. A legacy of the colonial era, the modern French word for okra is quite simply “gombo”).
Gumbo is in fact named for one of its principle ingredients, okra. The Food Reference Website explains that the word is Bantu in origin and is in fact one of the few words that have entered the English language via the transmission of the African slave population. Ralph Brennan states in his cookbook that the recipe has been around over 200 years. According to Stanley Dry, Dr. Carl A. Brasseaux of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette discovered the first written reference to gumbo in 1803 in New Orleans. The dish was prepared for a gubernatorial reception.

Dry probably captures gumbo's appeal for cooks best when he states that, "part of Gumbo's virtue, apart from its deliciousness, is that the dish is very forgiving of the cook. . . ingredients may be changed to use what is on hand."

SOURCE: "History of Gumbo"
SOURCE: "Gumbo"
SOURCE: "A Short History of Gumbo"
Photo by Kerri McCaffety. Copyright by The Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How to Enjoy Oysters

Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook offers 12 recipes for the oyster lover. From appetizers like Baked Oysters Ralph to a main course of Oysters and Fettuccine, aficionados of this mollusk can design an entire meal around it -- except dessert, of course. The cookbook not only has recipes using oysters but a thorough preparation guide as well for those preparing this fruit of the sea for the first time.

The Atlantic or Eastern Oyster can be found along the Atlantic Seacoast from Nova Scotia to the Caribbean and along the Gulf of Mexico's coastline and has long been harvested by coastal Louisiana's residents. Texas Parks and Wildlife states that this oyster is one of the most popular coastal mollusks on the market and is necessary to the health of coastal regions in cleaning the water and providing a habitat for other small species like crabs or fish.

Oysters are a great source of nutrition as part of a well-balanced meal. PCC Natural Markets reports that eastern oysters are rich in zinc and vitamin B12 and are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements dictionary, zinc is necessary to the proper function of the immune system and the sense of taste and smell while vitamin B-12 helps maintain the nerve and red blood cells.

Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook recommends buying your oysters from a reputable seafood market. When determining freshness, make sure that the oysters don't smell "fishy." They should have a fresh, astringent-like smell when shucked or raw. Store at 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and use within a day or two of purchase.

SOURCE: "Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea Virginica)" 04/11/07
SOURCE: "Oysters" 2007
SOURCE: "Office of Dietary Supplements"
photo courtesy of Chris Seufert, used under this Creative Commons license

Monday, March 17, 2008

Introducing Kerri McCaffety, Photographer of Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook

Kerri McCaffety is a photographer of rare talent. A graduate of Tulane's Newcomb College with a B.S. in Anthropology, she is a veteran photographer with 11 books to her credit -- five of which she also wrote. As one of the featured authors of Tales of the Cocktail 2007, John Mariani of Esquire refers to Kerri as "one of the great photojournalists in America." Her books largely focus on the culinary and architectural history of New Orleans.

In Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook, she again visits the culinary side of the Big Easy and creates photos where one can practically smell the rich astringency of the balsamic vinegar brown butter sauce or the heavy sweetness of dark chocolate. She further explores the enigmatic architecture of the city with photos of the classic buildings housing Ralph Brennan's Restaurant Group's three New Orleans venues as well as Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen at Disneyland throughout the book.

In McCaffety's biography, Eric J. Brock, an architectural and social historian, states that "Kerri McCaffety is, in my opinion, a genius. Her works are destined to become pillars of Louisiana's cultural record. Indeed they already are." Brock's words are indeed true with McCaffety's photos of famous (and infamous) French Quarter bars permanently stored in the Lousiana State Museum's archives. Her photographs have been featured in House Beautiful, Metropolitan Home, Town and Country and Travel & Leisure.

Her post-graduate internship was served under Peter Woloszynski, photographer of World of Interiors where she discovered a love of architecture and interiors. House Beautiful currently has two articles featuring her work online, one of which showcases her love of New Orleans architecture and interiors.

Joseph Urso, in his review of Kerri's book, St. Joseph Altars, dated February 20, 2004, on refers to the heirloom quality of her photography while Donald Mitchell "a practical optimist" and an Amazon Top 10 Reviewer in his review dated July 24, 2004, of Majesty of the French Quarter, compliments her attention to detail and says that "Versailles could use her talents."

SOURCE: "Kerri McCaffety" 2007
SOURCE: "Kerri McCaffety"
SOURCE: "House Beautiful"
SOURCE: "A Vivid Reminder" 02/20/04
SOURCE: "A Lush, Luxurious, Loving Look at the Vieux Carre" 07/24/00

Photo by Kerri McCaffety. Copyright by The Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Kenny Sara & The Sounds of New Orleans Appearing Live

Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, located in Downtown Disney at Disneyland features regular live entertainment every evening. For the next three weeks, former New Orleans resident Kenny Sara will be entertaining the weekend masses with his band, The Sounds of New Orleans. He has been regularly playing at the Jazz Kitchen since December 2002, after a stint in New York appearing in the play One Mo' Time, among other accomplishments.

According to Sara's website, he began playing professionally at the age of 14 with "seasoned musicians" and has played with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Bo Diddley, James Earl Jones and Woody Allen. A multi-talented performer, he plays the drums, sings and acts. He has also spent time backstage acting as an assistant conductor and producing.

CindyH on Disney's DISBoards recalls her experience at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen when responding to the question posed by Ember, "Any romantic ideas for Disneyland?"
Kenny Sara and his band were playing, and they are really good! The night that we were there, someone put in a request (there's a tip bowl in front of the band) and they announced that someone had just proposed and she said yes! They played We're Getting Married or some other song, really fun and nice.
A review from Still Fumin' News gave Kenny Sara and The Sounds of New Orleans high marks along with Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen itself. The reviewer found it an excellent, all-around experience worth checking out.

SOURCE: "Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen"
SOURCE: "K. Kare Music Co."
SOURCE: "Any romantic ideas for Disneyland" 08/15/05
SOURCE: "Still Fumin' News" Winter 2005
photo courtesy of paparutzi, used under this Creative Commons license

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Bacco blends two traditions close to Ralph Brennan's heart: Italian cooking and New Orleans seafood. It is the result of a long family practice stemming from Ralph Brennan's grandmother, Philomena Vaccaro. This shows in the menu, with dishes like Crawfish Ravioli and Creole Calamari. End with one of Bacco's delicious desserts like the Lemon Ice Box Pie, and it's easy to see why the restaurant has become a New Orleans tradition.

From the Bacco website:
Our childhood memories are similar to many New Orleanians because historically Italians have made up the largest immigrant population in the city. Our maternal grandmother, Philomena Vaccaro, was raised in the French Quarter- overlooking the French Market. Her love of food and passion to feed others was a natural in an Italian family household. How ironic we all ended up in the restaurant business!
First opened in 1991, Bacco was the first major, fine dining establishment to reopen in the French Quarter after Hurricane Katrina in early October, 2005. They even hosted a Presidential visit on October 10, 2005. About this visit, Ralph Brennan said, "It is an honor to showcase for [President Bush] the bold flavors and gracious hospitality for which New Orleans is internationally known."

A review by 2Honest dated February 7, 2008, on Trip Advisor refers to the "celebrity factor" as well as the excellent food and accommodating chefs. Another review on Trip Advisor by DrJRC dated February 28, 2008, lauds the customer service he received during two visits. Trip Advisor ranks Bacco 59 out of 797 restaurants in New Orleans.

Frommer's gives a nod to Bacco's fighting spirit in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and mentions how paper plates and plastic tableware were used when the restaurant initially reopened. (Real china and silverware were broken out for the President during his visit, however.) Special attention is paid to the fact that Bacco is not your average Italian dining experience, replacing the typical dishes of spaghetti and marinara with a rich menu of Italian dishes utilizing local seafood.

SOURCE: "Bacco Home Page"
SOURCE: "President and Mrs. Bush Dine at Bacco" 10/05
SOURCE: "Bacco Restaurant: Traveler Reviews"
SOURCE: Frommer's review

photo courtesy of Ralph Brennan's Restaurant Group

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

First Lady Visits Ralph's on the Park

The fair city of New Orleans hosted a visit last week for First Lady Laura Bush. Reporter Stacey Plaisance covered the March 3, 2008, visit for the Associated Press. Mrs. Bush's visit included remarks at Henry C. Schaumburg Elementary School in the morning, to which she granted $75,000. She also visited The Idea Village, an economic development organization for social and economic change and recovery, where she spoke on many topics, including recovery of the restaurant industry. Mrs. Bush and her party then stopped for lunch prepared by Executive Chef Haley Bitterman at Ralph's On The Park, a member of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group.

Ralph Brennan attended the lunch, where discussion focused on housing. Members of Habitat for Humanity, among others, also attended. "Ralph's on the Park is proud to showcase the gracious hospitality and culinary creativity that define New Orleans," Ralph Brennan said. "We are delighted to welcome the First Lady back -- particularly to discuss housing recovery, an issue near and dear to all of our hearts."

It wasn't the first visit to one of Ralph Brennan's dining establishments for the First Lady. As mentioned in our previous blog entry, President and Mrs. Bush visited the city in October 2005 to survey damage and talk to community leaders during a three-course dinner hosted in at Bacco. Twenty-five guests attended, including Mayor Ray Nagin and members of the Bring Back New Orleans Commission. Chris Montero, Executive Chef at Bacco and contributing chef to Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook, prepared a meal including Gumbo Ya-Ya.

The housing issue has resonance for Ralph Brennan's Restaurant Group. 70% of their employees' homes were destroyed according to estimates made in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Included in the list were the homes of Bacco General Manager Roy Barre and Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group Executive Vice President Charlee Williamson. A photo of the President at Bacco can be found here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook May Help Pregnant Women

Yes, its true, seafood is great for you! A study by Dr. Shelia M. Innis and Ralph W. Friesen published in the March 7, 2008, edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrates a link between DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), the source of Omega-3 fatty acids, and the development of the eyes and brains of newborns via the consumption of seafood and other foods rich in Omega-3. The study focused on pregnant women and their intake of DHA starting in the fourth month of pregnancy till birth and showed that some women were DHA deficient.

A news release (PDF) dated March 7, 2008, from the Child & Family Research Institute where the study originated goes into more detail and states that the typical North American diet, rich in meat and little fish, may pose a risk to the neurological development of infants. The study is part of a general trend to update dietary recommendations for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

For the study, the researchers recruited 135 pregnant women and randomly assigned them to either a group that took an omega-3 fatty acid supplement or ones that took a placebo. All the women continued eating their regular diets. The supplement added the equivalent of two fatty fish meals per week, an amount that the researchers estimated would prevent deficiency. The researchers tested the women’s blood samples at 16 and 36 weeks of pregnancy and measured the amount of DHA (docasohexaenoic acid), a type of omega-3 fatty acids that’s known to be important for brain and eye function.
Women with a diet rich in fish gave birth to babies with stronger visual activity. Testing showed a noticeable difference between babies with more meat in their diet and babies with more fish in their diet (via pre-natal nutrition of the mother and breast-feeding) with babies with high DHA levels scoring better than DHA deficient babies as early as two months of age.

With Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook, expectant or breastfeeding mothers will find easy to prepare, delicious recipes that will help meet their nutritional needs. We would welcome any comments from expectant or breastfeeding mothers, doctors or nutritionists who would like to shed further light on this subject.

SOURCE: "Essential n-3 Fatty Acids in Pregnant Women and Early Visual Acuity Maturation in Term Infants" 03/07/08
SOURCE: "American Journal of Clinical Nuitrition" 03/07/08
SOURCE: "Typical North American Diet is Deficient in omega-3 Fatty Acids" (PDF) 03/07/08
SOURCE: "Child and Family Research Institute"
photo courtesy of Nereus Dooley, used under this Creative Commons license

Friday, March 7, 2008

About The Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Blog

Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook is a perfect blend of prime Louisiana talent: restaurateur Ralph Brennan, five of his hard-working chefs, veteran cookbook editor Gene Bourg, quintessential New Orleans photographer Kerri McCaffety, and recipe tester Paulette Rittenberg. You can bring these flavors to your table when Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook arrives in stores this spring.

The Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Blog will introduce food lovers, chefs, journalists, and taste travelers to the amazing talents behind this book. Just like a New Orleans cooking class, we will torture you each day with stunning photographs of spicy dishes, tall tales, and family recipes that bring the blessings of the bayou right to your table.

New Orleans is a city proud of its connection to the water -- although that can sometimes get out of hand! Nestled between freshwater Lake Ponchartrain to the North and the saltwater Gulf of Mexico below with mighty Mississippi catfish prowling the territory between, we live with the sea.

We've taken a licking here in New Orleans but we know how to lick back! You'll be licking your fingers (and the pan) when you try these thrice-tested dishes that celebrate the Fruits de Mer, the shellfish and crustaceans, the mollusks and game fish, that are the bounty of a healthy wetlands.

This blog is brought to you by the public relations team behind Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook, including a blend of some of the city's hottest Internet talent: the krewe at Deveney Communications, a top-5 boutique PR firm (PR Week), and Patron Saint Productions, an online PR firm nestled in the Bywater Tech Center in the Ninth Ward -- Yeah You Right!

Patron Saint Productions maintains the Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Blog with daily weekday postings, comment approval, and spam removal: be nice or leave! Bloggers are responsible for their own words. Posts on this blog are not written by The Ralph Brennan Restaraunt Group, Inc., and do not necessarily reflect the views of anyone involved in this blog except, hopefully, the person whose name is shown on the post or comment.

We welcome your participation in the Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Blog. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact George Williams, Blogmaster, Patron Saint Productions, email george.williams [at] patronsaintpr [dot] com, phone +1 (504) 342-4806.

Advance Praise for Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook:
Despite a gastronomy based so largely on local seafood, New Orleans has never had a comprehensive book on the subject--until now. Ralph Brennan, one of the city’s finest restaurateurs, and Kerri McCaffety, one of America’s great photographers, have combined their efforts to produce a book on Louisiana seafood that is not just authoritative and mouthwatering but exceptionally beautiful.
—John Mariani, Esquire Magazine and author of The Encyclopedia of American Food

A MASTERPIECE! Ralph Brennan and his culinary team have written a truly eloquent, educational and historical cookbook on seafood and New Orleans cuisine! The recipes and the photography are exceptional. Ralph is a true New Orleanian who has a deep passion for great food and unwavering devotion to the Crescent City.
—Paul Prudhomme, Chef and Owner, K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen and Magic Seasoning Blends
Photo by Kerri McCaffety. Copyright by The Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Comments Policy

We welcome your participation in the Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Blog. All comments become the property of The Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, Inc.

Comments are moderated for approval by Patron Saint Productions, Inc., before they are posted. The blogmaster reserves the right to reject comments deemed unacceptable for this blog on a case-by-case basis. The definition of "unacceptable comments" for the purposes of this blog includes, but is not limited to:

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Comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ralph Brennan or The Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, Inc., or Patron Saint Productions, Inc. Failure to remove a posting or comments does not constitute approval. We reserve the right to change these editorial standards at any time with no notice.

Photo by Kerri McCaffety. Copyright by The Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Photo by Kerri McCaffety. Copyright by The Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.