Inspired sandwich fillings to jazz up your lunch break

Bar lack of time, one of the biggest deterrents to preparing your own packed lunch is not feeling inspired about what you’re making. This doesn’t just apply to lunch: most people will have reached for the takeaway leaflet after quickly surveying the fridge and not being able to stomach yet another omelette.

So, speed and making something a bit different are both key, and while it’s hard to beat a sandwich for lunchtime convenience, the fillings can be predictable. Tuna mayo, BLT, chicken salad … even the newer fillings – falafel salad, which by some law of sandwich-making is always dry – have started to get samey.

d9de5df6-2595-4c51-9dbe-2d00a4319f53-384x720Here are some quick and different filling ideas to jazz up your lunch break and help you find a new favourite. We’ve suggested baguettes, as the frozen home-baked ones are a godsend when you’ve run out of fresh bread. Plus, if you are assembling at home, they are far less likely to go soggy, due to their sturdy crust.

If you are able to do some quick assembly at work, then this could be the egg sandwich for you. Cook 2 eggs in boiling water for exactly 7 minutes then submerge in cold water. Wrap in a clean kitchen towel or put in a container ready to take to work. In one plastic container, combine crumbled feta, chopped green olives and parsley leaves. In another place sliced pickled beets. Come lunchtime, spread a split baguette with mayo, and top with slices of your egg. Season with salt and pepper, then top with beets and the salad.

Caroline Craig and Sophie Missing are authors of The Little Book of Lunch (Square Peg)

(Source: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/feb/22/lunch-box-sandwich-fillings-olives-feta-sardines-liver-pate)

Blistered Eggplant with Tomatoes, Olives and Feta

eggplant-tomatoes-olives-fetaIngredients

  • 1 large eggplant (about 1 3/4 pounds), cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 3/4 pounds mixed tomatoes, small ones halved or quartered, large ones cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup mixed olives
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • Bread, such as a baguette, for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat broiler with rack 6 inches from heat source. Place eggplant rounds on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until eggplant is blistered and deep brown on one side, 10 to 12 minutes. Flip and broil until blistered on other side, 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately transfer to a large bowl, toss with oil, and cover with a plate. Let stand until softened, 10 minutes.
  2. Arrange eggplant and tomatoes on a platter, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper and drizzling with oil before adding next. Top with feta, olives, and parsley, and serve with bread.

Slow-cooked Greek Easter lamb with lemons, olives & bay

This authentic dish of meltingly tender leg of lamb is roasted with garlic, lemon and potatoes for an irresistible Sunday lunch centerpiece.

slow-cooked-greek-easter-lamb-with-lemons-olives-bay

Ingredients

  • 1 garlic bulb, separated into cloves, half peeled and sliced, half unpeeled
  • 8-10 fresh bay leaves
  • 3 lemons, cut into quarters lengthways
  • 2½ kg leg of lamb
  • 50ml Greek extra virgin olive oil, plus 4 tbsp for the potatoes
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1kg Cypriot potatoes, peeled and quartered lengthways (if you can’t find these, any large, waxy variety is fine – try Desirée)
  • 140g Greek Chalkidiki olives (or other large pitted green olives)
  • 125ml red or dry white wine

Method

  1. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Arrange the unpeeled garlic cloves, 3 bay leaves and the lemon quarters in a large roasting dish and cover with 200ml cold water. Sit the lamb on top, drizzle with the olive oil and rub it in all over.
  2. Using a small sharp knife, cut small incisions in the lamb skin, then tuck the remaining peeled and sliced garlic and bay leaves into these slits.
  3. Season the lamb well and sprinkle over the cinnamon. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Leave to cook for 4 hrs, skimming the fat from the juices and removing the foil for the final 30 mins of cooking.
  4. After 1 hr, put the potato wedges in a large roasting tin, coat them in 4 tbsp olive oil and season well. Roast in the oven with the lamb for 11/2-2 hrs.
  5. Transfer the cooked lamb to a large piece of foil, wrap tightly and leave to rest for 20-30 mins. Check the potatoes are cooked (if you need to, turn the oven up to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 to finish cooking). Add the olives and wine to the pan juices, simmer them and keep warm until ready to carve. Serve the lamb thickly sliced with the olives, potatoes and Tahini & lemon sauce (see ‘goes well with’), with the meat juices poured over at the last minute.

Chicken Skewers with Green Olives

Chicken Skewers
INGREDIENTS
750g chicken thigh fillets | 2 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped | 2 tbsp olive oil | 2 tbsp lemon juice, strained | 3 cloves garlic, crushed | 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest | 24 bamboo skewers, soaked | lemon wedges, to serve | Green Olive Dressing | ½ cup pitted green olives | 2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves | ⅓ cup olive oil
METHOD
  1. Cut each thigh fillet into 6 long strips. Combine with oregano, oil, juice, garlic and zest in a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 2 hours.
  2. GREEN OLIVE DRESSING
  3. Coarsely chop 4 olives and set aside. Blend or process remaining ingredients until almost smooth. Transfer to serving bowl and top with chopped olives.
  4. Thread 1 strip of chicken onto each skewer. Cook chicken, in batches, on a heated, oiled grill plate (or grill or barbecue) for 2-3 minutes each side until cooked through.
  5. Serve chicken skewers with dressing and lemon wedges.

(Source: http://www.womansday.com.au)

Cheers! An appetizer worth toasting

Wow them on New Year’s Eve, with very little effort, with these appetizers that put the cocktail glass into “seafood cocktail.” You simply poach the shrimp in an aromatic mixture of garlic, lemongrass and pepper, then dangle in martini glasses with baby lettuces and seafood cocktail sauce. A lemongrass swizzle stick with olives completes the look and tangy flavour.

The recipe calls for shelling and deveining the shrimp, but I bought frozen ones that were already shelled and deveined at Wellington Wholesale Seafood, in Hintonburg at 1105 Wellington St. W., where the owner was kind enough to count out and sell me exactly the number I needed. It saved a picky step and I doubt much flavour was lost by not having the shells in the poaching liquid.

The recipe comes from Vancouver chef Mary Mackay in The Girls Who Dish! cookbook. Mackay says “despite my culinary training, I still like to serve this with store-bought cocktail sauce.” If you want to go slightly more gourmet, and more local, get Lowertown Canning Company’s Cocktail sauce, made with local tomatoes and fresh shaved locally grown horseradish, for $7 at Lapointe Fish, 46 ByWard Market.

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Items for Laura Robin’s column: Prawntini (Julie Oliver / Ottawa Citizen)

Prawn-tinis | Makes: 4 servings | Preparation time: about 30 minutes

20 tiger prawns
1 stalk lemongrass
4 1/4 cups (about 1 L) water
5 whole peppercorns, crushed
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
8 green olives, stuffed with pimento
1/4 cup (60 mL) seafood cocktail sauce
2 tbsp (30 mL) prepared mayonnaise
2 cups (500 mL) mixed baby lettuces
Half a lemon, cut into 4 wedges

1. Remove the shells from the tiger prawns, leaving the tails intact. Place the shells in a medium saucepan. De-vein the prawns and set aside.
2. Cut 6 inches (15 cm) off the top of the lemongrass stalk and set aside. Chop the remaining lemongrass into 1/2-inch (1.2-cm) pieces. Add the lemongrass, water, peppercorns, garlic cloves and salt to the pan with the prawn shells and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Let cool to room temperature. Strain the stock through a fine sieve.
3. Return the liquid to the pot and bring to a boil. Stir the prawns and remove from the heat. Let the prawns poach for 30 seconds, until pink. Remove the prawns from the stock and cool to room temperature.
4. Make a hole in each olive with a toothpick or bamboo skewer. Separate the reserved stalk of lemongrass into 4 skewers and slide 2 green olives onto each.
5. In a small bowl, stir together the cocktail sauce and mayonnaise.
6. To assemble, line 4 martini glasses with the mixed baby lettuces and top with a dollop of cocktail mayonnaise. Place 5 prawns, evenly spaced, head first into the cocktail mayonnaise, leaving their tails hanging over the edge of the glass. Place a lemongrass skewer of olives in the middle of the glass, leaning to one side, and garnish with a lemon wedge.

(Source: http://ottawacitizen.com)

When life gives you onions, no need to cry

Karen Makowski wrote in a few months ago, looking for salad recipes to use up a bumper crop of onions from the garden. Clearly, it’s not gardening season right now, but we can dream. In the meantime, these recipes also work as refreshing winter salads.
Thanks to Linda Snider for her recipe for onion and orange salad. I also found a version that combines onions with tomatoes, cucumbers and olives.

Onion and Orange Salad

onion16 large oranges
45 ml (3 tbsp) red wine vinegar
90 ml (6 tbsp) olive oil
5 ml (1 tsp) dried oregano
Salad greens
1 red onion, thinly sliced in rings
250 ml (1 cup) black olives (see note)
Black pepper, to taste
60 ml (1/4 cup) chopped fresh chives
Peel oranges and then cut each into 4 or 5 crosswise slices. Transfer to shallow dish and drizzle with vinegar and oil and sprinkle with oregano. Toss gently, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Arrange salad greens in a shallow serving dish. Toss oranges again, arrange on greens. Arrange onion and black olives on top. Add pepper to taste and garnish with chives.

Tester’s notes: I like the crunch and the combination of intense flavours in this easy salad. Linda continues the fruit theme by replacing the olives with blueberries. I did use olives — I like the mix of hot, sweet and salty tastes — but I cut the amount to about 60 ml (1/4 cup), using them as an accent rather than a main ingredient.

Onion, Tomato and Cucumber Salad

onion24 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
15 ml (1 tbsp) red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place tomatoes, onions and cucumbers in a serving bowl. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste. Let flavours blend for 30 minutes, then serve.

Tester’s notes: Another easy chopped salad. Some crumbled feta cheese would be a good addition.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 4, 2015 C5

(Source: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com)

Chicken Niçoise recipe

An exciting twist on the traditional tuna dish

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INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp olive oil | 4 chicken breasts | Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper | 4 eggs | 10 anchovy fillets | ½lb green beans, trimmed, blanched | ½lb yellow beans, trimmed, blanched | ¼ red and yellow peppers, cut in strips | 3 red and yellow teardrop tomatoes, sliced in half | ½ cup Niçoise olives | Low-fat vinaigrette | Sprigs of parsley

for the tapenade

3 anchovies | 1½ garlic cloves | ½ tsp rosemary | Extra virgin olive oil, to cover | 4oz sun-dried tomatoes (chopped) | 4oz Kalamata olives (rough chopped) | for the Potato confit | 1lb new potatoes | Oil to cover | 1 garlic clove, crushed | Small bunch thyme

METHOD
Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Place the chicken breasts skin side down for 8-10 minutes.
When the skin is crispy, flip the chicken and cook for another 8-10 minutes. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breast. Cook until the juices run clear. Rest for 8 minutes, then slice on an angle.
Bring enough water to cover the eggs to a boil. Place the eggs in the boiling water for 6½ minutes. Shock the eggs in an ice bath for 10 minutes.
Peel and cut off the tip of the egg. Season with salt and pepper.
Make the tapenade. In a food processor, purée the anchovies, garlic and rosemary together with a small amount of olive oil to form a smooth paste.
Combine this with the sun-dried tomatoes and olives in a small pan. Cover with olive oil and slowly bring up to temperature. The mixture should not simmer, but should be hot. Once hot, remove from heat and transfer to a container to cool down.
Place the potatoes in a small pan. Cover with oil. Add the thyme and garlic. Cook gently until fork tender.
Strain potatoes and cool on a baking tray. Slice the potatoes in half.
Toss all the ingredients except the chicken, egg and tapenade in a splash of vinaigrette. Season.
Fan the chicken on the plate and place all the other ingredients around the chicken. Garnish with the tapenade, and serve.

(Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

Roast vegetable, haloumi and rice salad

This hearty roast vegetable, haloumi and rice salad tastes equally good warm or at room temperature

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Ingredients:

  •  2 cups brown medium grain rice
  •  1L Campbell’s Real Stock Vegetable
  •  1 large eggplant, halved lengthways, cut into 2cm thick slices
  •  2 zucchini, thickly sliced
  •  1 red capsicum, cut into chunks
  •  5 garlic cloves, sliced
  •  1/2 cup fresh oregano
  •  1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •  1 lemon
  •  3/4 cup pitted Sicilian olives or Chalkidiki
  •  250g haloumi, sliced
Step 1 :Place rice and stock in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil over high heat then reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, for 25 minutes or until cooked and stock has been absorbed. Remove from heat and stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff up rice with a fork.
Step 2: Meanwhile, preheat oven to 220C (200C fan-forced). Place eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, 2 sliced garlic cloves and ¼ cup oregano on a large oven tray. Drizzle with half the oil, season and toss to coat. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender.
Step 3: Toss rice and roasted vegetables in a large bowl and arrange on a platter.
Step 4: Peel rind from lemon in large strips. Juice the lemon.
Step 5: Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook rind, olives and remaining garlic and oregano, stirring for 3-4 minutes or until garlic is golden. Set aside with a slotted spoon. Cook haloumi in same pan over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes each side or until golden. Return olive mixture to pan with lemon juice and swirl pan to coat. Top rice salad with haloumi mixture, making sure you pour the pan juice evenly over the rice.
Originally published on taste.com.au

Blood oranges with fennel, watercress, olives and burrata recipe

Make the most of the short blood-orange season with this vibrant salad that uses flesh and juice to maximum effect.
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Assemble at the last minute, before the dressing stains the burrata and fennel too much.
SERVES 6
INGREDIENTS
For the dressing:
6 tbsp blood-orange juice (basically the juice of 1 or 2 blood oranges)
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tsp runny honey
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (fruity rather than grassy)
For the salad:
5 blood oranges
1 large fennel bulb
125g (4½oz) watercress, coarser stems removed
about 30 top-quality black olives
2 x 200g (7oz) tubs burrata, or good-quality mozzarella
extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

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Lamb Chops with Aubergine, Feta and Anchovies

SCA_14-01-2015_OUR_MORETON_BAY_04_lamb chops_t620INGREDIENTS:
1 tbs pesto, zest and juice of 1 lemon, 2 cloves garlic, 8 lamb loin chops, fat removed
Salad: ¼ cup olive oil, 1 eggplant cut into 5mm slices, 250g cherry tomatoes, 150g green beans cut in half and blanched, 150g feta, ½ cup black olives, 4 anchovies, chopped, ¼ cup basil leaves, 1 tbs olive oil, 1 tbs balsamic vinegar, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

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Olives can enliven a host of dishes

Olive, Basil and Almond Tapenade

Description This recipe is adapted from “My Paris Kitchen” by David Lebowitz (Ten Speed Press, 2014). Recipe tested by Linda Mutschler Read more A festive menu for a tree-trimming party Makes 8 to 10 servings

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Ingredients:

2 cups pitted green olives
½ cup untoasted almonds
1 small clove garlic
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and squeezed dry
½ cup loosely packed basil leaves
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Crackers or bread slices to serve
______________________________________________________________

Preparation:

Put the olives, almonds, garlic, lemon juice and capers in the bowl of a food processor. Coarsely chop the basil leaves, add them to the food processor, and pulse the machine a few times to start breaking them down. Add olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Pulse the food processor until mixture forms a coarse paste but still has texture.

Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve with crackers or bread.

(Source: http://www.jsonline.com)

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How to Find the Best Olive Oil

The kind of oil you use in your food matters. This is true especially when it comes to bottles labeled extra-virgin olive oil, which can be anything from awful to something so sublime you want to sip it from a spoon. Picking a bottle at random from the supermarket shelf just because it has the lowest price won’t solve the problem. You need to be an informed consumer, especially since most governments aren’t doing a great job of weeding out the olive oil shams from the saints, the U.S. included.

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In a $12 billion global business, the stakes are high, so producers go to great lengths to keep selling enormous volumes. “Most [sellers] are just traders who mix olive oil in Frankenstein quantities and call it extra-virgin olive oil,” says Tom Mueller, author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil. “In most cases of crappy oil, it’s not from the place on the label. It is a jungle out there. Koroneiki [the most common Greek variety] is a perfect blending oil that gives generic oil oomph.” As for the problem of shipping oil transatlantic in hot containers, “only the best who care what oil is will ship in refrigerated containers,” adds Dan Flynn, executive director of the UC Davis Olive Center. “But most don’t even consider it.”

So how do you pick a good olive oil—and there are many made by impassioned, principled professionals—that you can trust and that’s right for you? Essentially by learning more about olive oil quality and grades, using your senses to taste and smell it, and listening to referrals to get the best stuff. Flynn asks that you keep one thing in mind: If you’ve had a bad OO experience; don’t turn away from it. There are plenty of great olive oils within reach. Our olive oil primer below will help you get started.

What is olive oil? First understand that olive oil is the juice of a fruit—the olive. This fruit juice, like wine, is alive in the bottle and continually changing with external conditions like high heat, which can oxidize and (rarely) hydrogenate it, and light such as UV, which oxidizes the oil and breaks down its chlorophyll. Several varieties of olive, each with its own characteristics, can produce oil. But the best olives oils are often made from one variety. Under optimal conditions, the oil contains up to 30 nutrients, among them beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin E. It comprises mainly monounsaturated fat, which reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol and raises HDL (good) cholesterol in the bloodstream. The higher the oil quality, the more immune-strengthening antioxidants it has; antioxidants are bitter, so bitter olive oil is a good thing. Olive oil is also a natural anti-inflammatory, generating an ibuprofen-like effect. A cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil protects the body from obesity and cancer, and it can reduce the risk of heart disease (with two tablespoons minimum a day) and diabetes type 2. It is a myth that its fats turn saturated or to trans fats when it’s used in cooking, even for high-heat frying, according to the International Olive Oil Council (IOC).

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Olive oil about to get a lot more expensive

NEW YORK, Dec 7 — New research from Harvard University suggests it could put years on your life.

But a Mediterranean diet rich in pungent olive oil does not come cheap, and it is just about to get a lot more expensive. Disastrous olive harvests in much of southern Europe have sent wholesale prices shooting up, meaning consumers around the world are going to have to get used to paying substantially more for a culinary staple prized equally by gourmets and physicians. Nowhere has the impact of freakish summer weather been felt more painfully than in Tuscany and Umbria, where the subtly aromatic, extra-virgin oils reaped from timeless landscapes provide the industry’s global benchmark for quality. In Spain, which last year accounted for half the world’s production of all grades of olive oil, a toxic cocktail of scorching temperatures, drought and bacteria is expected to halve output this year.

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A silent press

A different bacteria threatens to decimate olive groves in southern Italy. In the heartland of poshly-packaged oils that connoisseurs discuss like fine wines, it was a humble fly that wreaked havoc after being handed optimal breeding conditions by the erratic climate. At Fiesole, in the heart of Tuscany’s “Chiantishire”—so called because of its rich British ex-patriots—Cesare Buonamici’s olive processing facilities should be whirring at full capacity. Instead, thanks to the olive fly, the sophisticated presses and extraction machines lie dormant for lack of the organically-cultivated fruit that would normally keep them busy until nearly Christmas. “Our production has been halved,” the former engineer says gloomily. Figures from the International Olive Council suggest wholesale prices of Italian oil have risen 37 per cent from 2013, but Buonamici warns the rise for top quality oils like his will be steeper. “Those are the prices ex-press,” he told AFPTV. “For the final consumer the increase is likely to be more than 60 per cent.”

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Oysters, olives, sprouts, liver: The foods we love to hate are good for us, says experts

An expert dietician reveals the top 10 items which are worth giving another try and suggests ways to help overcome your aversions

BROCCOLI
This much abused vegetable contains many nutrients such as folate, vitamins A, C and K, plus calcium.
Broccoli is also high in sulforaphane, an antioxidant considered to be protective against cancer as well as helpful in protecting the eyes from macular degeneration. TIP: Mash with potato, sprinkle a few florets on a pizza or add to a cheese sauce. Stir fry with linguine and prawns and a little soy or garlic sauce.healthy-eating-539826OYSTERSThese shellfish are bursting with vitamin C and zinc, boosting the immune system and helping wounds heal.

They are also low in calories so are a great starter when eating out.

Oysters have a salty taste but it’s the unusual, chewy texture that often upsets sensitive palates. Traditionally they are served raw with lemon, Tabasco or a little shallot vinaigrette. TIP: Grill lightly or bake rather than eating raw. Alternatively add a few to a stew.

OLIVES

High in healthy monounsaturated oils, olives are an important part of the Mediterranean diet which is associated with reduced heart disease and living a long life.

The bitter taste associated with olives comes from oleocanthal, a plant compound which is considered to be an anti–inflammatory.

TIP: Start with sweeter varieties, mash to make a tasty dip or opt for olives stuffed with peppers or lemon.
SPINACH
This leafy green has a slightly bitter and metallic taste due to its high iron content.It is this iron which helps produce the red blood cells responsible for keeping oxygen flowing around the body.Spinach is also packed with vitamin K which is necessary for blood clotting and also good for bone health. Other phytonutrients found in spinach are thought to protect against breast and prostate cancer.TIP: Use a big bunch for juicing with other vegetables and an apple for a touch of sweetness. Lightly steamed spinach tends to have a milder taste than boiled. Eat fresh in salads or sprinkle with olive oil and sesame seeds.

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Mediterranean Diet | Olives

Though we may not like to admit it, obesity, heart disease, and our health in general is most definitely linked to our diets. What we eat not only affects how we feel, grow, and live, it also affects the expression of certain negative genetic traits (3)(4)(5).

So when the Mediterranean diet began making the rounds in the health and diet world, it immediately caught my attention. Could a traditional diet increase vitality, health, and lower the risk of heart disease or other medical conditions? Do we now have a reason to eat more Greek salads, olives and hummus?

med2In 2008, a meta-analysis of 12 studies, with a total of 1,574,299 subjects was published in the BMJ (6). The researchers carefully and systematically analyzed 12 studies with cohorts from the Mediterranean and elsewhere around the world and studied the effects of adhering to a Mediterranean diet. Their primary goal was to investigate the relationship between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and mortality and chronic diseases.

The results were excellent if you’re fond of tabouleh and red cabbage. The meta-analysis found that a greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with a significant improvement in overall health: 9 percent reduction in overall mortality, 9 percent reduction in mortality from cardiovascular diseases, 6 percent reduction in incidence of or mortality from cancer, and a 13 percent reduction in incidence of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. These numbers are big news and further support a Mediterranean diet as a form of primary prevention of major chronic illnesses.

For those who are new to the Mediterranean diet, here’s a quick snapshot of what it includes (7): vegetables (broccoli, pumpkin, beets, arugula, artichokes), fruits (apples, apricots, avocados, peaches, oranges, pomegranates), olives and olive oil, nuts, beans, legumes, yogurt, fish and shellfish (shrimp, squid, mackerel, mussels, octopus, sardines, oysters), eggs, meats (in smaller portions), and a glass of red wine a day.

(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/)

Braised chicken with olives and pine nuts

Chicken joints braised in white wine, with a lively garlic and orange-zest finish

This is Sicilian inspired and can be sweet-sour (in which case add the raisins) or simply savoury (in which case leave them out). Apart from a quick browning on the stove top, this dish really looks after itself. (Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS
Braised_chicken_wi_3098301b1½ tbsp olive oil
8 chicken thighs, or a chicken jointed into 8 pieces
3 medium red onions, peeled and cut into half-moon-shaped wedges about 1cm (½in) thick at the widest part
2 celery sticks, trimmed and diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 small dried chillis, crumbled
500g (1lb 2oz) baby waxy potatoes, halved
250ml (9fl oz) white wine
finely grated zest of ½ orange, plus juice of 1
75g (2¾oz) raisins, soaked in boiling water for half an hour, then drained (optional)
2 tbsp capers, rinsed
75g (2¾oz) green olives
30g (1oz) pine nuts, toasted

for the gremolata
2 garlic cloves
zest of 1 small orange, removed in strips (cut away any bitter white pith)
leaves from about 10 stems of mint, torn

METHOD
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.Heat the olive oil in a wide oven-proof sauté pan or shallow casserole (large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer – or use two) and brown the chicken on both sides, seasoning as you go. You are just trying to get a good colour, not cook the chicken through. Remove the joints to a dish as they’re ready.

Pour off all but 1 tbsp of oil from the pan and add the onions. Cook over a medium heat to colour, then add the celery, cooking for two minutes before adding the garlic and chilli. Cook for a further minute, add the potatoes and toss them around, then add the wine, orange juice and zest, and the raisins (if using). Put the chicken back (plus any juices that have run out of it), skin-side up in a single layer. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Season well and transfer to the oven for 40 minutes.

Add the capers and olives 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time, stirring them in around the chicken joints. The cooking juices will have reduced, the potatoes should be tender and the chicken will be cooked through.

Meanwhile make the gremolata by chopping the garlic and orange zest finely, then mix with the mint. Toss this over the chicken with the toasted pine nuts just before serving. A big watercress salad is all you need on the side – everything else is in the pan.

(Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

All about olives

Olives add flavor to dishes, especially holiday appetizers

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Citrus Salad

Ingredients

12 baresane olives – 12 cerignola olives – 1 Tbsp bomba calabrese – 1/2 cup olive oil, divided – 2 navel oranges – 2 blood oranges – 4 clementines – 1 lemon – 2 ruby grapefruits – 1/2 pomegranate – Salt (we use Maldon) and freshly ground black pepper – 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves – 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

citrus recipes

Instructions

  • Smash olives with side of knife and remove pits.
  • In a medium bowl, combine olives, bomba, and half the olive oil. Stir well and set aside to marinate.
  • Slice the top and bottom off navel oranges and blood oranges. Remove the peel and white pith carefully with knife. Slice across cross-sections and set aside.
  • Peel clementines, individually segment slices, and set aside.
  • Slice the top and bottom off lemon and grapefruit. Remove peel and all white pith carefully. Slice each segment from membrane and set aside.
  • Slice pomegranate in half. Over a bowl of cold water, hit pomegranate with the back of a spoon so each individual seed falls into the water. Remove any white particles. Strain seeds and set aside.
  • On a large, flat serving plate, randomly arrange all citrus fruits and segments, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Spoon olives over fruit and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and top with parsley and mint.
  • Serve immediately.

(Source: http://canadaam.ctvnews.ca)