Fresh Fridays 
July 13, 2012
Vol. IV, No. 14     
january grain of the month

We've entered the no cook zone of July and August, when heating an oven has all the appeal of watching your home team get clobbered for nine straight innings. Make it easy on yourself. Make salad.


For lunch, for dinner, start with an empty plate for yourself, or a platter if you're feeding a gang. Fill it with foods that are central to the Mediterranean Diet - vegetables, whole grains, nuts, herbs, seafood. Start thinking about salad as an opportunity to build a unique creation as well as a delicious, nutritionally balanced meal, not just dumping some lettuce in the spinner.   


(And, if you're planning a dinner party and worrying about meeting all your guests' dietary needs, salad will save the day. Set out a huge bowl of mixed greens, a number of "toppings" and dressings, and invite everyone to build their own combinations.)   


 Here's how to make it all happen, in seven simple steps:

  1. Start with a base of greens. Anything goes! Red and green, head and leaf, bok choy, arugula, spinach, kale, cabbage, Swiss chard and, if you're hard core, collards. Sprouts, too.  Slice the heartier greens into a thin chiffonade - narrow ribbons - until you're ready for bigger pieces and bolder tastes.
  2. Add weightier fresh foods. Layer on sliced or chopped cucumbers, beets, radishes, peppers, carrots, celery, or avocado. Cut them in different sizes and shapes on different days to discover ways to dramatically change the look and character of your salad.  Try shredding them, too.
  3. Raid your pantry. Keep a selection of tasty foods on hand to add to your salads: Canned beans, tuna, olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, Medjool dates.
  4. Slip in a few leftovers. Add cooked potatoes, chicken, shrimp, salmon, roasted vegetables, whole grains, pasta, etc.
  5. Garnish and decorate. No reason not to make this beautiful. Your eyes, your stomach, and your brain will appreciate a few flourishes and of course, everything contributes to the flavor and nutritional oomph.  Add fresh chopped dill, mint, basil, parsley, tarragon, or any other fresh herbs, nuts, peanuts, and seeds. Play! For example, put sliced cherry tomatoes around the edges of the plate, like numerals on a clock.
  6. Drizzle on a little dressing. Emphasis on little. A tablespoon goes along way. Play with different flavors here, too. For example, black bean hummus, hot sauce, and white wine makes a delicious dressing.
  7. Finish with pepper or, for fun, a dusting of one or two other ground spices. You probably won't need any salt.

Web links 

Learn healthy living strategies from "The Biggest Loser" Dietitian on the Oldways blog  


Top Olympic Contenders Favor Whole Grain Meals

Click here to read the story in the July issue of the Whole Grains Council newsletter

Mediterranean Savory Salad
Lightly steamed or roasted, potatoes are perfect for summer salads. Here they're tossed with sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese, two favorite Mediterranean Diet foods. This combination always seems to taste better the day after it is made. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to three days.  
Photo courtesy of US Potato Board  
Lentil-Quinoa Salad with Fresh Ginger
Keep in mind that whole grains and legumes make great summer salads, and they can stand in as a main course for vegetarians at cookouts. Try different flavors of red wine vinegar, including pomegranate, to mix up the dressing.      
Photo courtesy of Pompeian       
Tri-Color Penne with Arugula,
Cherry Tomatoes, Chives, and
Fresh Mozzarella

Take this colorful salad to a picnic or enjoy it at a backyard cookout. Substitute fresh basil for the chives, and try different pasta shapes for variety, too.        

Photo courtesy of Barilla   

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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Med Diet USA
january grain of the month    Hanover Tomato Festival
Pole Green Park
Mechanicsville, Virginia
July 14, 2012  

Join close to 40,000 visitors in celebrating a key Mediterranean Diet ingredient - fresh local tomatoes. Events include tomato cooking and tomato growing contests.    
Oldways bookstore

 by Cheryl Sternman Rule


It's easy to lose yourself in the colorful pages of this beautiful book, which offers great tips for coaxing maximum flavor from fresh fruits and vegetables.