Fresh Fridays 
May 31, 2013
Vol. V, No. 10                
Wicker tray set out with olives, cheese, Nicoise salad in a mason jar, and bread. Text says,

Mediterranean-style eating is the perfect way to go for picnics. The tradition of sharing small plates, the focus on fresh vegetables and fruits, and enjoyment of bold flavors are the perfect combination for a successful picnic.


We asked some of our Mediterranean Foods Alliance members to share their recommendations for summer picnicking. Our friends at FoodMatch suggest creating a picnic inspired by the farmers' markets of Provence with an easy mason-jar Nicoise salad:


Mix up a Nicoise-style salad with fresh crisp greens, tuna, hardboiled egg, potatoes, green beans, roasted red tomatoes (found on olive and antipasti bars at the supermarket), Nicoise or Kalamata olives, and pack into single-serve mason jars. Serve with a selection of French olives, such as Picholine, Lucque, or a lively mix. Complete the picnic with baguette and brie! (See the photo above for inspiration.) 


Our friends at the California Avocado Commission sent along their recommendations for including avocados at your next picnic:

  • Mash a ripe, fresh avocado to create a satisfying dip or dice avocado into a chunky avocado salsa. Use it as a spread on sandwiches or wraps.   
  • Top salads with sliced avocado for a rich and creamy accent.   
  • Add fresh, diced avocados to pasta salads.  
  • Combine cubed avocado with fresh fruit and drizzle with honey for a sweet and nutritious alternative to regular desserts.  
  • If you don't eat all of your avocados on your picnic, sprinkle the remaining fruit with lemon or lime juice or white vinegar and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
And here are a few of our own suggestions for making your next picnic unforgettable:

Invite friends.
The Mediterranean Diet is grounded on the principles of enjoyment and pleasure. Meals are best when savored and shared with friends and family. Gather a group of loved ones and head out to your favorite picnic spot for some great quality time.


Focus on freshness. Pack a few fresh, delicious ingredients like avocados, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, peaches, plums, hard-boiled eggs, and whole grain bread. With a small cutting board and knife, each member of the picnic party can create his or her own combinations. There's no better time than when you're sitting outdoors enjoying a beautiful day to appreciate how delicious fresh summer produce is.


Be bold. Season your potato, pasta, or grain-based salads with bold combinations of herbs and spices. Make your own spice mix or try a traditional Mediterranean blend like za'atar or harissa. Za'atar consists of dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, sumac, sesame seeds, and sometimes salt. Harissa, a North African red chili pepper paste, contains hot peppers, spices (which vary by region), and olive oil. Dress your salads with olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice to keep them Med-style and to reduce food safety concerns in warm weather.


Pack a bottle of wine. For those who drink, the Mediterranean Diet embraces wine consumption in moderation. A day out with friends and family, enjoying each other's company, is a perfect occasion to enjoy a glass of wine with your meal. Just make sure your picnic venue permits alcoholic beverages and glass bottles. Be sure to drink responsibly!


(Click on the titles or photos below to link to the recipes.)
Travel with Oldways.
Painting of basket with bread, brussels sprouts and other bread in front of basket on table.

Spend a glorious week in and around Madrid, led by Oldways and Ronni Baer, Senior Curator of European Art at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts

Contact Abby Sloane at 617-896-4875 or [email protected] for more information. 

Web links

May Whole Grain of the Month: Amaranth.

Amaranth, although not a true cereal grain, is referred to as a pseudo-cereal. Its nutrient profile is similar to that of cereals. Amaranth and other pseudo-cereals have been staples in traditional diets for thousands of years. Learn more about amaranth and how to cook with it.

Oldways Bookstore
Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round

Make next year's picnic season even better by preparing your own pickles and preserves for your picnic basket. Learn what you need to know from Marisa McClellan's Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round.

This rice salad offers a delicious alternative to traditional pasta and potato salads. It is bursting with classic, bold Mediterranean flavors.

Photo and recipe courtesy of USA Rice Federation    

Pack this salad featuring avocados and artichoke hearts in an air-tight storage container and transport in a cooler for a delicious summer picnic dish.

Photo and recipe courtesy of the California Avocado Commission

This sandwich boasts fresh summer flavors layered on a loaf of French bread. Toss the sandwiches into your picnic basket and lunch is ready to be served!

Photo and recipe courtesy of the 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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Did you know...?
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The National Park Service manages more than 84 million acres of parks, monuments, battlefields, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, rivers, and trails! Many of those locations make great places to picnic, hike, and explore with your family. Find a national park--and your next picnic location--at