Thursday, November 12, 2015


I usually do not enjoy cooking for myself.  When Patience is away, as she is now,  I generally resort to simple meals – sandwiches, hotdogs, leftovers – eat out, or invite friends over for dinner.  Tonight I decided to use us some of the small amounts of un-cooked pasta that has been accumulating in the pantry, along with whatever vegetables I could find in the fridge.  I had nothing specific in mind when I started cutting the two large Portabello mushrooms into small cubes.  I tossed them in the skillet with the olive oil and added some broccolini and shallots and began cooking them over high heat while the pasta was cooking.  I added garlic, oregano, and basil, along with some tomato paste, stirring frequently until the mushrooms were browned.  Next came a few splashes of sweet vermouth to “clean up” the skillet, I lowered the heat and covered things up waiting for the pasta.  At the last minute I grabbed a fresh tomato, chopped it up and tossed it into the mix.

Before the pasta was ready I sprinkled in some red pepper flakes, and decided a few Kalamata olives were called for, and at the last minute tossed in just a bit of heavy whipping cream, thinking, if I’m going to screw things up I might as well do it with style.  The end result was a rather earthy, nondescript looking “sauce” for the herbed pasta I was cooking.

Armed with a glass of wine and some aged Parmigiano cheese for grating I began my meal hoping that it would prove to be eatable.  To my great surprise, and delight, it was more than eatable…it was delicious.  As crazy as it sounds, the combination of the Kalamata olives and the cream produced a delightful flavor.  This is definitely something to be repeated.

Monday, November 9, 2015


I thought it worthwhile to visit this post from 2007, the first year of this blog.


I have practiced medicine long enough to call a fart a fart.  This may not seem like a milestone worth noting to some people, but it carries a certain significance for me.  For years I’ve heard myself asking patients: “ have you passed gas”, “have you broken wind”, or have you passed any flatus since your surgery”?  And if the patient was elderly and hard of hearing - I could hear myself saying "HAVE YOU BROKEN WIND" loud enough to be heard in the next room. In my office, a patient sitting on the exam table would tell me about their gas problem, and I would have to discern, is this belching, or farting.  Asking if they passed gas or broke wind sounded so ridiculous to my ears, and I’m sure most patients felt the same way.  Compounding this “situation” has been my firm conviction that as a society, we are all farting more.  So, one day I decided to take matters into my own hands, figuratively of course, and when someone complained to me about their gas problem I simply asked if they meant belching or farting.  Their brief look of confusion and pleasant surprise was quickly replaced by relief, realizing they would not have to use or hear those other ridiculous phrases.

Note - my blog posts are usually accompanied by an appropriate illustration, but I could not find anything in my files to fit the bill this time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Piazza del Campo in Sienna Italy watercolor  12x20

Here is the latest in the series of new watercolors devoted to the cities and towns of Italy.  This, and others, is available on my website,

Monday, September 28, 2015


I'm still engaged in my armchair travels to Italy.  Thanks to Google's Street View maps I can literally retrace my steps through the towns and cities I've visited.  The map's street views are a perfect supplement to my photos, sketchbooks, and memories, with a little imagination added to the mix.

A Bit of Parma   watercolor

Castelinna in Chianti    watercolor

Entering Castelnuovo della Daunia   watercolor

Saturday, September 19, 2015


In a few weeks I will travel to Philadelphia to attend the 50th reunion of Jefferson Medical College’s class of 1965.  At the request of our class reunion committee I did a painting of the student entrance to the old college building that we will give to the university.

Rendering of the original College and hospital
Student entrance
Greeting us every day at the top of the stairs was Thomas Eakins" painting, The Gross Clinic.  Eakins studied anatomy at the college with Jefferson's esteemed Dr. Samuel Gross.

Although I knew it would be a major challenge, it seemed fitting that this should be the focus of my painting.  And I was not disappointed.  The painting created more anxiety in me than anything I've ever painted. The technical challenges were great, but the real source of my anxiety was  knowing that my work would be seen by my classmates and colleagues.  For most of them it would be the single piece of work on which to judge my decision to compromise a medical career for art.

Jeff   watercolor  16x26"

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Remembering Italy

It was an itch I had to scratch.  Going through my photos and journals rekindled my interest in all things Italian (not that it ever diminished very much.) and this has resulted in a new series of watercolors devoted to my memories of those precious days in the "old country".

Here are the first two in the series:

From the Terrace

One more Arch
Now it's time to think about tonight's pasta.

Monday, August 24, 2015



Cooking tonight’s dinner was pure pleasure.  It began with a simple idea to utilize the veggies in the fridge, and evolved on the stovetop. 

The plan was rather simple.  The day began with asparagus, fresh Roma tomatoes, and chicken breasts that had to be used.  At the market I picked up some Leeks and Shiitake mushrooms, imagining them cooked with the chicken and asparagus in a light fresh tomato sauce, served over pasta or rice.

I started by cooking the mushrooms, leek, and a clove of garlic, in olive oil over moderately high heat.   I removed them when they started to brown and set them aside.  In the same skillet I browned the chicken in hot olive oil and cooked sit until it was not quite finished.  After deglazing the pan with Sweet Vermouth I set the chicken aside (next to the mushrooms).  Next up -  I began cooking the Asparagus, cut into 1” pieces, along with the coarsely chopped tomatoes and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes and fresh basil leaves.  After 10-15 minutes I added the mushrooms and chicken, now cut into bite sized pieces, to the pan and let everything simmer over low heat.  Somewhere along this process I decided I would serve this on a bed of rice, and not pasta.

Watching it simmer It occurred to me that it needed some of Emeril’s “Bam”, so I added shrimp – cooked, peeled, and frozen - to the pan.  The final inspiration was  to add some Old Bay seasoning and top everything with thin slices of lemon.