Fresh Fridays

September 19, 2014
Vol. VI No. 18

In This Issue
Street food is the ultimate snack in the Mediterranean region. A country-to-country tour of street foods in this part of the world shows how many and varied the options can be -- and yet how healthy and delicious they all are. Fresh bread, herb teas, nuts, vegetables, legumes, fruits, even meats and fish...they all feature in the street food of Mediterranean countries.

In Istanbul, try a few fried mussels with tarator (walnut sauce), ayran (a yogurt drink), gozleme (dough with cheese or spinach), and simit, a circular, crusty bread sold all over the city from red simit carts. In Marrakech, at the Djemaa el Fna night market (pictured above), you won't want to miss cookbook author Paula Wolfert's favorite snails or garlic soup, along with Morocco's ubiquitous mint tea. In Tunis's Halfaouine market you'll find dates, and Berber breads, plus tempting and spicy harissa (a hot chile paste used as a condiment).

Jerusalem's markets and street vendors feature (among many other treats) falafel, schwarma (thinly sliced meats), and fresh, warm pita bread, just waiting to be mated with hummus, tomatoes and cucumbers. Lebanon's top street foods include kebbe (a bulgur/onions/meat dish), kofte (meatballs), shish kebab as well as hot peanuts. On the street in Athens, you should look for koulari (a circular bread with sesame seeds), olives, baklava, souvlaki (meat skewers), and orchid tea. From north to south in Italy, street food varies with regional cuisines, featuring local specialties such as focaccia bread, arancini (stuffed rice balls), fried fish, pizza, and of course, gelato. You can eat like a king or queen in Madrid's San Miguel Market, savoring jamón Serrano (cured ham) on crusty bread or octopus, calamari and oysters. The possibilities are endless.

While we all may not be able to have the wonderful experience of noshing on street food in some or all of these Mediterranean countries, it is entirely possible to channel the magic of Mediterranean street food with some imagination and a quick trip through your local grocery store.  
  • OLIVES: Most grocery stores have installed olive bars. Try all of the many kinds of olives featured in these bars.
  • DATES: Medjool dates are now easy to find and enjoy as a quick and healthy snack.
  • EGGS: Don't forget how easy it is to hard boil a few eggs, and pack one or two for a protein pick-me-up during the day. 
  • FRUITS & VEGGIES: The produce section of grocery stores is packed with the original fast food -- fruits and vegetables, fresh or dried, or packed in individual servings. 
  • NUTS: Peanuts and nuts, known for their health properties, their easy transportability, and great taste are a perfect mid-day snack.
  • DIPS: Or, if you feel a bit more ambitious, choose a container of hummus, baba ganoush (eggplant spread) and/or tabbouleh and dip into it with pita bread or chips made from lentils.
  • CHEESE: Mediterranean cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano are perfect and scrumptious, and broken off into chunks are simple to pack for a snack. 
There is no limit to healthy snacking, Mediterranean-style, and there's no airline ticket or TSA check required. All that's needed is to stop in at your local grocery or specialty food store and imagine that you're in a Mediterranean market or souk. For more inspiration, check out the recipes on the Oldways website, the delicious recipes below, or the ones in the exciting books in this week's bookstore. 

Click on a photo or recipe title below to link to the full recipe. 
Unique among nuts, walnuts are the only nut that provide a significant amount of alpha linolenic acid (ALA) -- the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid -- with 2.5 grams in every ounce.Take on your next snack attack with this flavorful treat with a heart-healthy crunch.

Recipe, content and photo courtesy of the California Walnut Board.
Grilled portabello mushrooms and creamy avocados layered between crispy lavash and a lemon-basil mayo make for a delicious vegetarian appetizer or snack.

Recipe courtesy of Alexandra Caspero for the California Avocado Commission; content and photo courtesy of the California Avocado Commission.
A new twist on an old tradition, this fun salad mixes traditional salad makings with a Mediterranean bar, made with black olives and walnuts.

Recipe, content and photo courtesy of Mediterra.
Sun Dried Tomato Hummus
Sun dried tomatoes bring deep, delicious flavor and a rich terra cotta color to creamy hummus. And the best part? Almost everything in this recipe comes right from your pantry, so you can bring the taste of the sun-drenched Mediterranean into your kitchen any time of the year.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Mooney Farms; text courtesy of Oldways.

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)        





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



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Nov. 9-11, 2014
 Hyatt Boston Harbor

Misunderstandings and rumors abound in the grain world. We'll cover all the key grain issues, such as:

Is modern wheat different? Who should avoid gluten? What defines a "good carb?" How can I keep my blood sugar from spiking? What makes sprouted grains worth exploring?

Join us for solid science, delicious food, great networking, and more. Sign up today while there are still spaces available.

12 CPE credits for RDs.

By Anissa Helou 

When Anissa Helou travels, she stops at every tea cart, sandwich stand, and candy stall to trade stories with local vendors and learn the recipes that tempt the crowds. Join her on a fascinating adventure around the Mediterranean, where eating on the street is a way of life.   


By Carla Diamanti

Street Food represents a genuine insight into metropolises and cultures around the globe. This book, packed with glorious color photographs, presents the very best in street food with images, information, and recipes for the specialties habitually prepared and consumed on the street.

 Best Appetizers and Snacks from the Mediterranean Cuisine  

By Mary Kolovakou

The Best Appetizers and Snacks from the Mediterranean Cuisine includes over 30 mouth watering, well-written recipes from the Mediterranean region.  This kindle book also features nutritional facts and small healthy tips for success listed with each recipe. 

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