Fresh Fridays 
July 27, 2012
Vol. IV, No. 15      

Evening meals, family reunions, get-togethers with friends, and weekend picnics
provide perfect opportunities to savor the summer and share meals in the great outdoors.

What could be more Mediterranean?!

Plan to include plenty of fresh, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables to help everyone you feed increase their intake of these important foods. Add avocados to salads and sandwiches, and look for local, ripe tomatoes, tender fresh lettuces and greens, fresh peaches, and other delicious seasonal produce. 

Here are a few ways to make the most of your outdoor meals:
  • Get organized. Nothing is more frustrating than having to run back and forth from the kitchen to your outdoor table. Before your meal, wrap a knife, fork, and spoon for each person in a napkin and set them on one or two trays along with plates, glasses, salt, pepper, and other condiments.
  • Heat the grill well in advance. If you're cooking with wood or charcoal, allow at least 20 minutes for the coals to get white-hot. If you're using a gas grill, heat it on high for 10 minutes and then adjust the heat as you wish once the grate is hot.
  • Make kebabs.  Thread your favorite seafood, lean meats, and vegetables onto metal or wooden skewers, brush lightly with olive oil, and cook, turning several times, until lightly browned. Dedicate several skewers just to mushrooms, several to cherry tomatoes, several to shrimp, etc., to control how long different foods cook. Using a fork, gently slide the cooked food onto a platter for sharing.
  • Turn food with tongs, not with a fork. Every time you stab a piece of food you make a place for juices to run out.
  • After your meal, scrub the grill grate so it will be ready for your next outdoor cooking adventure.
Here are three recipes that all seem to taste better when eaten outdoors. Each feature avocados, which are versatile, nutritious, and pair nicely with so many other summertime foods. (Click on the title or photo to link to recipes.)

Web links 

grain of the month-July
Power-Up with Plants 
An interview with Sharon Palmer, RD, author of the new book, The Plant-Powered Diet, on the Oldways blog. 
 12 ways to use beans 
Grilled Summer Salad
Created by the Serrato family, growers of California Avocados, this tasty combination of fresh flavors makes a great picnic or cookout dish. The avocado, added just before serving, lends a special creaminess. Be sure to cook the pasta ahead of time. For extra color, use rainbow orzo. If you're pressed for time, omit the step of roasting the peppers.
Photo courtesy of California Avocado Commission   
Avocado & Roasted Asparagus Salad
If you like asparagus, you will love this recipe, especially if you make it with farm fresh asparagus!  Feel free to substitute peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, or other vegetables. Add baked tofu or grilled scallops for a main-dish salad.      
Photo courtesy of California Avocado Commission        
Avocado Gazpacho
Avocados add a smooth, creamy texture to this classic summer soup. Plan to make it ahead of time. On a hot day it is especially refreshing if you chill it for several hours before serving. To stretch it into a meal, serve with additional toppings such as chopped hard-boiled eggs, whole-grain croutons, diced bell peppers, and fresh chopped parsley or basil.         

Photo courtesy of California Avocado Commission    

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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Med Diet USA
34th Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival
Christmas Hill Park 
Gilroy, California 
July 27 - 29, 2012 

Celebrate this essential Mediterranean Diet food at a series of events, which 
include a major cook-off featuring four chefs and lots of great ideas for using garlic. 

Oldways bookstore

 Grain Mains:
101 Surprising and Satisfying Grain Recipes for Every Meal of the Day

By Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarborough

This enticing collection of recipes will help you get up to speed on whole grains.