Monday, August 23, 2010


Passions are personal. But the result of living a life that includes, and revolves around, different passions is universal. How many times have you had a conversation with someone who just gushed about a subject or spent time with someone who seemed to be doing something that just released a special energy into the air? That enthusiasm is unmistakable and is what passion is all about. Something that gets us excited!

Well, continuing education is one of my passions. My staff knows that it’s going to be a high energy Monday when I return from a course. The good thing is that they share that passion for learning, so they are always eager to join me in bringing the best to our patients by attending courses themselves.

This June, I attended a Head and Neck Dissection course at LSU in Louisiana taught by one of dentistry’s highly regarded minds, Dr. Henry A. Gremillion (see photo to left, photo not of Dr. Gremillion). It was an excellent refresher to the anatomy of an area that I treat every day . It was a great opportunity to see once again the regions of the mouth that I administer local anesthesia to. But the bigger purpose of selecting that course was to be able to see the TMJ and all the muscles in the head and neck area that get affected when a patient’s bite is off (their teeth don’t fit their jaws properly.) The term ‘TMD’ or ‘TMJ’ is used loosely by most people when they are having muscle tension / tenderness or spasm due to this discrepancy which is caused by those muscles having to function in an adaptive capacity over a long or short period of time. In some cases, however, symptoms may be the result of actual physical deterioration of the joint.

Most learners would agree that there is a tremendous amount of energy at continuing education gatherings that propels us towards learning more so we may get better at problem solving. It is also a source of making connections with like minded practitioners. Some of my best friends and mentors in dentistry have been people that I have met at such courses. It was great seeing Vali from Michigan at LSU once again - I had taken a Dawson Academy hands-on course with him in 2007.

I can’t speak of passions and leave out food. I love to think about it, cook it, express my feelings through it, connect with my friends and family through it, learn about it and of course, eat it!

So you can only imagine how things went in New Orleans…One of the local dentists had recommended some fabulous eateries in the city and one of them was Drago’s for char broiled oysters. Once there, it was a sight to be seen. A huge grill with oysters being broiled on top, smoke billowing towards the exhaust after a liquid was generously poured over them, waiters constantly rushing to tables with trays laden with these heavenly delights and patrons not even waiting for them to cool down before tearing the accompanying french bread and dipping into the shells. My husband Tim and I were no exception. There was silence at the table until we had mopped up every single shell with the bread. And then just a single look was exchanged between us that did not need any words to describe what we had experienced. Pure delight.

I tried hard to recreate that recipe back in NJ and this is surprisingly close enough to mimic the taste.

- Light a charcoal fire.
- Ensure that the fire is red hot and your grill is positioned fairly close to the fire. (6-8 inches)
- If you have them, add some hickory chips that you have presaoked.
- Place thoroughly washed unopened clams or oysters on the grill (I used fresh
oysters and clams from a fish market). They will open up in a few minutes. Be patient.
- Once they have opened up, pour salted melted butter very generously over the clams or oyster shells. The fire will engulf them quickly. Then add grated Parmesan cheese (powder form) and let them cook for a couple more minutes. I’ve also dunked the clams in a bowl with the mixture and that worked just fine also. The mix (and resulting flames) seem to cause any unopened clams to get in line with the others.
- If Clams,have a big serving bowl ready with about 1-2 sticks of melted butter and some Parmesan mixed in it. Keep taking off the clams and place in serving dish straight from the grill. Mix all together. You will notice a very smoky flavor in the butter.

Serve with French baguettes or Italian bread that you warmed on the grill.

Excellent with cold beer or your favorite beverage.

Bon Apetit!

Be well,
Live well,
Do well.