NewsGnocchi – some really good fast foodBy admin – December 14, 2011 596 Email Linkedin Print Twitter Previous articleWarning issued to jewellersNext articleGrant payment delays forcing students out admin Facebook Advertisement WhatsApp GIVING a hat tip to a fast food theme as it were, this gnocchi dish is really very good and as with most things Italian in nature, it is all down to the sauce and the quality of the produce used. A good potato gnocchi is as much about the potato as anything else. So using a good quality potato, baking it and then shaping them may seem like a lot of work but the end result is simply amazing.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up WHAT TO DO For the gnocchi4 baked potatoes2 eggs150g flourPinch of salt and nutmeg (it works)For the sauce1 punnet of cherry tomatoesfresh basil – it’ll be foreign, but worth itparmesan cheese1 finely diced onion 2 cloves of garlicA light squeeze of tomato pureeOlive oilA little knob of butterWHAT TO DOFirst off, you must bake the potatoes, I find that baking them makes for a better result in my opinion. Also, I will say that there are several very good pre-made options out there and for those of you caught for time, they are perfectly acceptable to offer. Making your own gnocchi is something, like many of the Italian classics, that you must do at least once. Once the potatoes are baked, scoop the white flesh out of the skins and add the eggs and flour to a bowl and combine with the salt and the nutmeg. Shape into a long cylinder and cut them to small bite sized pieces. You can roll them into oblong shapes for that authentic feel and look. They will only take a few minutes to cook so have a pan of salted boiling water ready to cook them as they will only take three minutes to bring back to life. Meantime, get the sauce on by sweating the onion and the garlic in a pan with a little olive oil and butter. Add the cherry tomatoes and a little cup of water with the tomato puree. Some pasatta will suffice also. A sprinkle of sugar is an optional extra if you want to lift the sweetness. Allow that to reduce and let the tomato-ness shine through. Drop the gnocchi into the salted boiling water and once they have floated to the top, remove them and combine with the sauce. Top with some shredded basil and grated parmesan cheese.
Heart disease, stroke, sepsis, and cancer collectively cause the greatest number of deaths worldwide. They also have something else in common: All are associated with activated platelets, the cells that circulate in our bloodstreams and normally help form blood clots to stop bleeding and promote healing of injuries, but can also contribute to dangerous blood clots, tumors, and other problems. Several antiplatelet drugs have been developed to combat platelet-related conditions, but their effects are not easily reversible, and patients taking these drugs are at risk of uncontrolled bleeding if injured. Also, if these patients need to undergo surgery, they must stop their treatment for up to a week prior to the procedure, which raises their risk of developing clots.Now, a team of researchers at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and several collaborating institutions has created a drug-free, reversible antiplatelet therapy that employs deactivated “decoy” platelets that could reduce the risk of blood clots and potentially prevent cancer metastasis as well. The research is reported in Science Translational Medicine.“The reversibility and immediate onset of action are major advantages of our platelet decoys,” said first author Anne-Laure Papa. “We envision them to be useful in hospital-based situations such as preventing clotting in high-risk patients just before they undergo surgery, or when given alongside chemotherapy to prevent existing tumors from spreading.”Papa was a postdoctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute working with the institute’s director, Donald Ingber, when the research was carried out and is now an assistant professor at George Washington University. Ingber is the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, as well as professor of bioengineering at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.Canceling clotsThe decoys are human platelets whose outer lipid membranes and innards have been removed in the lab by centrifugation and treatment with a detergent. Because they are essentially empty, the decoys are about a third the size of normal platelets, but their surfaces retain the majority of their adhesive proteins. They can still use these surface molecules to bind to other cells that naturally occur in the bloodstream, but are unable to activate the clotting process.When the decoys were perfused into a microfluidic, blood-vessel-mimicking channel and exposed to platelet-stimulating chemicals, they did not display normal clotting behavior. And when the researchers added decoys to normal human blood in the channel (one decoy for every five platelets), they found that the normal platelets’ ability to aggregate and bind to the channel’s walls was reduced.“The decoys, unlike normal intact platelets, are unable to bind to the vessel wall and likely hinder the normal platelets’ ability to bind as well,” Papa explained. “A way to imagine this would be that the decoys are fast-moving skaters skating along the wall of an ice rink, and their high speed prevents other skaters from getting to the wall, thus limiting them from slowing down and grabbing onto it.”Importantly, the scientists were able to rapidly reverse the decoys’ inhibition of normal platelet activity simply by adding fresh platelets to the channels. Administering platelets to patients intravenously is already a common procedure in hospitals, so a patient with decoy platelets who needed to quickly regain the ability to form blood clots because of an injury or surgery could be easily and rapidly treated. The decoys also could be created from platelets removed from the same patient, offering a form of personalized cellular therapy that would not trigger an immune reaction.After the channel experiments the researchers tested their decoys in rabbits and found that the same 1-to-5 ratio of decoys to normal platelets in their blood prevented them from developing clots after a blood vessel injury. Rabbits and humans have similar blood platelet counts and platelet sizes, so it is likely that the decoys would have the same effect in human patients.Thwarting tumorsIn addition to binding to one another and to blood vessel walls, platelets are known to bind to cancer cells, protecting them from the body’s immune system and thereby helping them form new metastatic tumors at distant sites. When the team perfused normal platelets and human breast cancer cells into their microfluidic channels, the cancer cells stuck to and started invading the walls of the channel, similar to the way they form new tumors. Adding decoys along with normal platelets almost completely prevented the platelets from helping the cancer cells invade the channel wall, suggesting they could prevent the formation of new tumors.To confirm this potential, the researchers injected mice with either human platelets or a combination of platelets and decoys, and then with human breast cancer cells. The team found that the mice that received the platelets plus decoys developed significantly smaller and fewer metastatic tumors than the ones that received platelets only. Though they have not yet been tested in humans, it is possible that one day these decoys could be infused into patients during chemotherapy to prevent existing tumors from spreading, or injected during cancer surgeries to stop released tumor cells from forming new tumors elsewhere in the body.Papa and her colleagues are continuing to work on this technology to ensure that the decoys can last in the bloodstream for enhanced effectiveness, and are studying whether they can be loaded with drugs to help deliver therapies directly to the sites of blood clots and tumors, or possibly even kill circulating tumor cells in the bloodstream.“In this study,” Ingber said, “we were able to create what is effectively a dominant-negative cellular therapy to prevent platelet activation–induced clotting and metastatic cascades. It’s another example of how seemingly unrelated diseases often have common contributing factors, such as inflammation, stress, or, in this case, activated platelets, and that we can develop new therapies for multiple disorders by targeting one of those key factors.”Additional authors of the paper include Amanda Jiang, Akiko Mammoto, and Tadanori Mammoto from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Netanel Korin, Anna Waterhouse, Emma Nash, Amanda Graveline, Andyna Vernet, and Abhishek Jain from the Wyss Institute; Michelle Chen and Roger Kamm from MIT; and Erin Langan and Matthew Gounis from the New England Center for Stroke Research at the University of Massachusetts.This research was supported by the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Breakthrough Award, and the National Cancer Institute.
It was a good-news, bad-news day, however. Utility infielder Justin Turner, who came in batting .297 and has been invaluable, sustained a hamstring injury running the bases in the second inning. Manager Don Mattingly said the Lakewood Mayfair High product will likely be going on the disabled list.Shortstop Hanley Ramirez started after missing the previous four games with a sore shoulder, but suffered a calf injury in the same inning and is day-to-day. Turner came out right away for pinch-runner Miguel Rojas. Ramirez did not come out to his position for the top of the third.It was Greinke’s night. Afterward, he was asked why he has so much success against the Cardinals.“I mean, I’ve noticed that, too,” he said. “But usually, especially in St. Louis, they hit me really hard. And somehow, I get outs. And at home I pitch better and have games more like today. But in St. Louis, there has been three or four times where I was very lucky to not give up four or five or more runs. So, part luck.”Mattingly doesn’t know why Greinke dominates St. Louis. Zack Greinke has owned the St. Louis Cardinals of late. In his past five starts against them before Saturday, the Dodgers right-hander was 4-0 with an ERA of 1.83.Greinke came through with another masterful performance Saturday, pitching seven superlative innings. Couple that with a six-run second inning and the Dodgers defeated St. Louis 9-1 before 50,910 at Dodger Stadium.Greinke (10-4) allowed just one run — a third-inning home run by Matt Carpenter — on four hits. He struck out 10 and did not walk a batter while throwing 104 pitches and lowering his ERA to 2.78.The Dodgers, who began the day two games behind the Giants in the NL West standings, are 46-37 and have won nine of their past 12. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “I couldn’t tell you,” he said. “He’s pretty good against everybody, to be honest.”Leading 1-0 after a first-inning unearned run off St. Louis starting and losing pitcher Lance Lynn (8-6), the Dodgers put the game away in the bottom of the second. They scored six times on RBI doubles by Turner, A.J. Ellis and Dee Gordon, run-scoring singles by Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp, and yet another RBI double — of the bloop variety — by Andre Ethier.Gordon’s double was of the ground-rule variety. He hit another double in the third inning, but with Greinke running in front of him, he had to slow down. He could have had two triples, but was happy with two doubles and an infield single in the eighth for a three-hit night.“Yeah, I think I would have had two triples,” said Gordon, who raised his average to .297. “But it’s part of the game. I just happened to put the ball in play and get on base for my teammates.”He was kiddingly asked if reporters should just credit him with two triples.“No,” he said, laughing. “It don’t go in the books, so I’m grateful for what I got. I’ll take that.”Lynn lasted just two innings for the Cardinals (44-38). He gave up seven runs — six earned — on nine hits. He struck out two, walked two and saw his ERA rise from 2.90 to 3.38.He was checked by his team trainer for a middle-finger blister during the second-inning uprising.“Honestly, I have blister problems every time I start, but I usually don’t have them rip off like they did today,” Lynn said. “I’m missing a lot of the top part of my finger — the whole tip, pretty much. I think it dried out, coming from Colorado (previous series), and it just ripped off. The wetter it got today, the more it kept going back. But that’s a part of pitching. You try to get through those things, and I wasn’t able to do that.”The Dodgers banged out 15 hits. Getting two hits apiece were Kemp, Ethier, Puig and Ellis.The temporary loss of Turner is a real bummer, Greinke suggested.“I mean, every team has to deal with this stuff, but Turner has been extremely valuable for us,” he said. “There’s not many guys that could play all of the infield spots and still put up quality at-bats. His at-bats are even above quality, I think. So far this year I put him in the top tier of utility guys in the game. You just can’t replace that.”Turner can play third, second and shortstop. He had been getting a lot of starts because regular third baseman Juan Uribe was on the disabled list until recently.Speaking of Uribe, after not starting Saturday he came in after Turner was hurt and later delivered a two-run single in the eighth inning.Mattingly said Puig turned an ankle early in the game, but was walking around fine after the game. Also, third-base coach Lorenzo Bundy strained a calf during that injury-plagued second inning.