Do not be shied away after reading some of the ingredients or names of these brilliant recipes if they seem unfamiliar. I promise you, these recipes are FABULOUS because they are nutritious and delicious powerhouses of dishes. Be bold and try something new. You never know, it could be your next favorite "go-to" meal!
My beautiful friend, Tenar, is pretty amazing. She has traveled to many places in her life. I hope to travel all over just as much as she has some day. In the meantime, I'm glad she shared a little bit more about her background and interest in food, cooking, and nutrition with me so she could feature one of her favorite Mediterranean meals to share with you guys. I'll let her tell you the rest. :) Thank you Tenar for adding a bit more variety of culture to Enticing Healthy Eating!
My name is Tenar, and I am happy to share my Mediterranean background with you!
When I was fourteen I started working during my holidays at a holistic retreat house-restaurant called “the House of the Sun” where they’d do week long communal living and teach about nutrition. As the second cook of the House, I got to learn many healthy habits that are part of the Mediterranean Diet and their nutritional value. Although this was not the start of my “experimenting with food” career, it did trigger my curiosity to learn much more about food, and during my many travels I always try to take popular recipes back with me.
Menu of the day: Endive (chicory) salad and Cardoon.
Cardo a la Española (Spanish Cardoon)
Cardoon is a type of Thistle that grows just everywhere in Spain and, if I’m informed well. New Mexico too has a lot of it. Many people don’t know its edible and even less know how to cook it, which is actually very easy! It just takes time, you’ll notice with my interventions that most of my recipes are time consuming; this is because I consider cooking an art, and as an art, it needs time to achieve perfection.
--700g of Cardoon. (Sometimes you can find it pre-cooked, sometimes you can’t, but don’t worry! If it’s not cooked you’ll also need lemon juice.)
--Half a zucchini
--Three pealed carrots
--1 white onion
--Two cloves of garlic
--White canned asparagus (optional). (If they are not canned you can add them to the boiling cardoon and they’ll cook simultaneously.)
--Salt, white pepper
--White wine (preferably white sherry--optional)
--Natural almonds (uncooked)
If your cardoon is already cooked, proceed to next step. If not, wash it (Rule Number one of the Kitchen: always, no matter what, wash your vegetables), peel it and bathe it in lemon juice.
Then cut it in pieces of about two inches and put water to boil, when the water starts boiling add the cardoon and the lemon juice and let it cook for about two hours or until its texture is soft. You can also add a bit of vegetable broth to the water, as we'll be using this same water later for the sauce.
Add your spices as you like, I personally love the taste of white pepper so I always am easy on the hand adding it.
When you feel your veggies are “al dente” add the cooked almonds and then, one tablespoon at a time, flour and the cardoon’s broth alternating it and swerve quickly until you get a thick sauce. This would be the point to also add your white wine. When cooked wine loses its alcohol (it evaporates) and thus it’s safe to eat for children leaving a sweet aftertaste to sauces. Make sure you have enough of it as it should cover the cardoon and asparagus once it’s done. Add your cardoon and voila! You’ve made it!
Healthy Recipe Tidbits
This dish is perfect for a Saturday meal after a week-long of stress, workouts, or anything that draughts your body. This meal is also nutritionally speaking the equivalent of engulfing two steaks, so yeah.. Take that body
--Endives (2 endives serve 3)
--½ Red Bell Pepper
--Philadelphia cheese (optional)
Wash and cut your endives and bell pepper however you like. I prefer small slices because I think the flavours mix together better and you get to experience the full salad with each bite.
If you want to add Philadelphia cheese, mix it well with your olive tapenade and then add olive oil and mix it to your endives and peppers.
Done deal. Take a bite, enjoy. You are welcome.
Healthy Recipe Tidbits
Endives are a bit bitter and are a great substitute for those winter and summer days that you just don’t feel like making a normal salad yet want something salad-y.
*Tip: Olive Tapenade*
If you can’t find olive tapenade you can make your own!
I prefer only black olives tapenade, but depending on how you dress it a mixture of both green and black is also very very tasty.
You’ll need one can of black olives, a tomato, salt and olive oil. Mix them well and you have a homemade olive tapenade. When I make it I use a hand-mixer, but whatever you have at home I’m sure will work.
Bonus: Are you tired of cereal in the morning? Make yourself a couple toasts of olive tapenade!
You can follow Tenar's adventures in travel and cooking by following her on Instagram (instagram.com/tlorente) or Twitter (twitter.com/tdanceislife)
Do you have a favorite healthy dish that is from your own cultural background? Please share! Love to hear about it!