Introduction to Mediterrasian Diet

As many of you know I love a good food adventure.  I’m always on the search for new and exotic ways to look at food and to experience food and culture with my little ones.  When it comes to exploring new food cultures and global cuisine you would think that I would pick something on the western European side of the spectrum.  Not so, I have found over the years that when I’m the most fulfilled with food and flavor, it comes from the Mediterranean or Asia.

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Believe it or not there is a secret to being healthy and living a long, healthy life.  The people groups of the Mediterranean and Asia have known and practiced these healthy eating lifestyles for centuries and therefore enjoyed lower rates of obesity and general lack of chronic disease.
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The Mediterranean diet has been around in western diet circles for years but combined with the flavor and food profiles from the Asian diet, the world of healthy and unprocessed eating goes to a new level.

Several years ago I was introduced to the book “The Mediterrasian Way”.  I immediately fell in love with the concept, way of life and recipes.  As you know, I’m always looking for a culinary adventure to take my kids on and the Mediterrasian way of cooking has given me just that, an endless culinary adventure!  It has even my business partner Chef Trey Wilson and I to launch our food truck concept “Plum Delicious: Mediterrasian Mobile Eats”.  Like us on Facebook @PlumFoodTruckTulsa.
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Over the next few months I will introduce you to the Mediterrasian diet and the health benefits it holds for your family.  As we plug away at fighting the processed food monster in our homes we will also introduce you to new ways of looking and preparing food through the eyes of these two amazing cultures.

Here is a sneak peak into the similarities and recipe ideas found in the Mediterrasian Diet!  Check out their website and find the book at http://www.mediterrasian.com

  • Their diets include abundant amounts of plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes (beans, peas and lentils) and nuts
  • They consume only small amounts of red meat
  • They consume fish regularly
  • Most of the fat they consume comes from plant and fish oils
  • They consume alcohol regularly in moderation (usually with meals)
  • They are physically active as part of their everyday lives
  • They tend to have an optimistic view of life, family ties are strong and special time is usually set aside each day to relax the body and mind

This week I’m highlighting two recipes I’ve written that target the regions of Provencal and Japan.

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Orange Fennel and Olive Salad
Yield 4-6 Portions

3-4 Large Oranges
2-3 Large Bulbs of Fresh Fennel
1 Jar or Tub of Kalamata Olives sliced in half or quarter

1/2 Cup of Orange Juice
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Start by washing, peeling or slicing the orange rind off.  You can do this two ways.  One, the old fashioned way by just peeling the orange (this is more kid friendly) or two, by using a chef’s knife and slicing the bottom, top and sides off to match the shape of the orange.

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Take the beautifully cleaned orange and slice cross ways to get orange rings.  You will get about 4-6 per orange.  Set aside.

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Take the fennel bulb, wash it and cut off the stalk portion off and set aside.  Using a mandoline or slicing device, thinly shave the bulb portion of the fennel all the way down to the root end and place shaved fennel in a bowl.  (I like to leave the root or bottom of the fennel attached until I’m finished shaving because it gives me something to hold on to.)

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Using the stalk ends of the fennel remove some of the “fennel frons” or herby looking green springs from the fennel stalks to use as garnish and flavor in the salad.

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In a bowl combine orange, fennel meat, frons, olives, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to combine.
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**Enjoy this simple salad with roasted or grilled chicken and a green salad for a fun spring/summer meal.

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Edamame and Mint Soup:
Yield 4-6 Portions

2 Bags of Frozen or Fresh Edamame or Soy Beans
1 Quart of Vegetable Stock
1/2 Cup of Half & Half or Almond, Coconut or Soy Milk (your choice)
1 Small Bunch of Fresh Mint
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a small sauce pot combine edamame and 3/4 of stock and bring to a boil.

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Remove from stove and allow to cool slightly.

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In a blender combine cooked edamame and blend until smooth.

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Add cream component and blend again.
Finish with several leaves of mint, salt and pepper.

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This with remaining stock to desired consistency.
Garnish with mint and black pepper.
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Enjoy hot or cold with simple wrap, sandwich or with a full meal.

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