Fresh Fridays 
June 15, 2012
Vol. IV, No. 12   

When you plan Mediterranean-style meals this summer, keep them simple. Rely on a number of ready-to-eat foods such as olives, roasted and stuffed peppers, beans, artichoke hearts, tapenade, cheese, and whole grain bread that can be assembled into beautiful platters. Look to canned tuna, smoked salmon, leftover cold chicken, or deviled eggs to add a protein boost. And make each presentation special by using bright garnishes, fresh herbs, spices, and small containers of hummus, tzatziki, or other spreads to encourage dipping and dunking. In fact, you may discover that nibbling a little of this, a little of that adds up to the perfect light meal with no cooking necessary.

Here are a few tips to help you bring maximum flavor to quick and easy assortments:
  • Make your own vinaigrette. In a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine ¼ cup cider, balsamic, or wine vinegar, ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Shake until well blended. For an herb flavor, add 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped thyme, tarragon, or rosemary. Or, add the juice of 1 lemon and/or 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Use as a dressing to bring extra flavor to canned beans, roasted peppers, olives, feta cheese, and other antipasti ingredients.  Or serve it on the side as a dip for bread.
  • Turn leftover whole grains into instant salads. Toss leftover cooked barley, brown rice, bulgur, farro, or quinoa with a few spoonfuls of vinaigrette and chopped herbs. Add a can of drained, rinsed beans or diced raw vegetables.
  • Roast vegetables to eat cold.  Cut up a selection of fresh vegetables, toss them with olive oil, scatter on a baking sheet or two, and roast at about 425°F. Asparagus spears, peppers, mushrooms, onions, and zucchini need about 10-15 minutes; sweet potatoes, winter squash, potatoes, carrots, turnips, and whole Brussels sprouts can take 20-25 minutes. Experiment. The goal is to have vegetables that are soft, sweet, and lightly browned around the edges. Eat some hot and store leftovers for up to three days in the refrigerator to enjoy cold.

Web links

  Oldways is offering a culinary journey March 16-23, 2013, to "the heel of Italy's boot." Discover Puglia's traditional cuisines and enjoy cooking classes with Ana Sortun and local chefs.
Click here for more details.


 On the Whole Grains Council Blog   
  A manufacturer, who is also the mother of a child with food allergies, weighs in on the new requirements for whole grains in schools. 

Contemporary Greek Meze
Here's an easy and delicious way to assemble a lovely appetizer or light meal. Keep a supply of these tasty Mediterranean Diet staples in your pantry, so you can prepare a platter in just a few minutes. Plus, all of these foods require no cooking and taste delicious at room temperature, making them perfect summer fare.

Photo courtesy of FoodMatch/Tom Moore
Skewers of Mozzarella, Cherry Tomatoes, and Olives
This appetizer is easy to make, yet it delivers a perfect blend of Mediterranean flavors. Experiment with different kinds of olives and use both red and yellow cherry or grape tomatoes to add extra color. For a bit of green, add one or two basil leaves to each skewer or drizzle with a pre-made pesto.
Summertime Deviled Eggs
Include some colorful eggs as appetizers or part of a summer picnic. Dressed up with snipped chives, red caviar, bits of colorful peppers, or dusted with smoked paprika or black pepper, they're sure to disappear.      


Photo: iStockphoto  

Fresh Fridays is a bi-weekly celebration of Mediterranean eating and living. We hope our Friday recipes will remind you just how easy and delicious eating the Mediterranean way can be.   
To find even more delicious Mediterranean recipes please visit:    

 Mediterranean Foods Alliance (MFA)     


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Let the old ways be your guide to  good health and well-being.   



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12 ways to use dates  
Med Diet USA
Dine and Wine in Sedona
Sedona, Arizona
June 17 - August 31
Mediterranean meals are featured at a number of the restaurants participating in this event, which introduces locals and visitors to new dishes and regional wines at special prices.   
Oldways bookstore

The Spoonriver Cookbook
 By Brenda Langton and Margaret Stuart

 This collection of easy and delicious recipes features fresh new ideas for preparing many Mediterranean Diet staples, including legumes, vegetables, and whole grains.