Fresh Fridays

November 14, 2014
Vol. VI No. 22

In This Issue
Spices and herbs are essential parts of the Mediterranean Diet, adding both flavor and a cultural identity to meals. A dish can be transformed into one that is Greek or Italian or Turkish, just by changing the herbs and spices used! 

When an Oldways Scientific Advisory Committee met in 2008 to update and revise the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, one of the biggest changes (from the earlier pyramid) was the addition of herbs and spices. Research has shown that, in addition to flavor and taste, some culinary herbs and spices offer health benefits, especially providing antioxidants -- known to reduce inflammation, one of the first indicators of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.  

Tired of cooking the same things for your winter celebrations? With several holidays approaching, we thought it might be fun (and useful) to extend our popular Mediterranean series, "12 Ways to Use...." to transform traditional holiday dishes with new and different spices.

12 Ways to Add Mediterranean Spice to American Holiday Cooking!

1. CRANBERRY SAUCE: Add cinnamon or cardamom or candied  

    ginger to your cranberry sauce.

2. TURKEY: Roast your turkey with a rub of olive oil and add the herbs
    of Greece to your stuffing (onion, garlic, oregano, and a touch of mint)

    along with sun-dried tomatoes.

3. MASHED POTATOES: Add pesto or olive oil with rosemary sprigs,

    sage, leeks or olives and garlic to your usual mashed potatoes.

4. SQUASH:  Roast slices of squash with basil, cilantro and oregano and

    top with feta cheese.

5. PUMPKIN PIE: Turn the usual pumpkin pie into a savory side dish 
    by cutting back on the sugar, seasoning it with mint or sage, and

    serving with the turkey.


6. LATKES: Try zucchini fritters with yogurt mint sauce instead of

    traditional latkes.

7. CHALLAH: Instead of the usual challah, bake whole grain challah with

    za'atar and olives.

8. SMOKED SALMON: For extra flavor, sprinkle with toasted fennel

    seeds or Turkish red pepper flakes before serving.

9. BRISKET: Serve Mediterranean style by adding cinnamon, cumin,
    coriander, and cayenne pepper, and when cooked, garnish with fresh



10. LEG OF LAMB: Make a Lamb Tagine with honey and apricots
      spiced with turmeric, ginger, cumin, cilantro, and cinnamon.
11. PARKER HOUSE ROLLS: Serve sliced whole grain bread, toasted
      and brushed with a mixture of extra-virgin olive oil, rosemary, thyme
      and oregano.
12. BŪCHE de NOEL: Instead of a fancy, heavy chocolate cake, make
      a light olive oil cake flavored with saffron and/or the zest and juice of
      lemons and orange.

Try one of the recipes below, or explore the many exciting recipes in the books featured in this week's Bookstore. 

Click on a photo or recipe title below to link to the full recipe. 
Dates are common on holiday tables throughout the Mediterranean in many different traditions. This salad makes a great addition to any holiday meal that calls for a touch of healthy sweetness.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Bard Valley Natural Delights; text courtesy of Oldways.
Total roasting time will be about 12 to 20 minutes per pound, depending on the size of the turkey. Check the turkey wrapper for additional timing information. The olive oil-herb rub can be used when roasting only a turkey breast, and is also excellent on roasted or grilled chicken or pork.

Recipe, content and photo courtesy of the North American Olive Oil Association.
This is a great recipe for the holidays and will make ground beef go a long way. The slow cooking of the rice means that it absorbs all the gorgeous flavors of the other ingredients and the beef is beautifully tender.  

Recipe, content and photo courtesy of Positively Good For You.
Try this twist on pesto over roasted vegetables on your holiday table.

Recipe courtesy of The Peanut Institute; content and photo 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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by Karen Page and Andrew

Great cooking goes beyond following a recipe--it's knowing how to season ingredients to coax the greatest possible flavor from them. Drawing on dozens of leading chefs' combined experience in top restaurants across the country, the authors present the definitive guide to creating "deliciousness" in any dish.

by Jane Lawson
The Spice Bible is a fully comprehensive guide to the fascinating history and enticing culinary uses of 45 fiery foods from around the world. Each entry--from ajowan through wolfberry--includes a description of the spice's origin and uses, guidelines on how to integrate it into your own cooking, and a trove of other helpful information.

by Amanda Bevill
This book brings the world's exotic spices to your home kitchen to breathe new life into favorite, familiar, and traditional dishes with wonderful new flavors. Transform a grilled ribeye steak using an Arabic baharat spice blend; add drama to your carrot cake using Kashmiri garam masala. Spices add gratifying dimension to foods, and while the spice blends come from around the world, these recipes are friendly and familiar.

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