In the Mediterranean, the growing season lasts for much of the year. One of the principles of the Mediterranean Diet is to eat what is in season, and what is abundantly available. July is a month of great abundance in our gardens here in New England, and one of the plants that grows most heartily and perennially is lemon balm, a member of the mint family. Lemon balm also grows wild in most Mediterranean countries. You may recognize this plant by its lush green leaves, or the intoxicating lemony, minty smell it releases every time you brush against it.
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We all know and love the flavor of peppermint. It’s cooling, refreshing, invigorating, and slightly tingly. A cup of iced peppermint tea on a hot summer day is a wonderful treat, as is an after dinner mint, particularly after a heavy meal. Adding fresh mint to hot and spicy dishes, particularly to sauces, marinades and dips can balances the dish and cools the palate. Many spicy Middle Eastern dishes include peppermint for this reason.
This winter sure took a toll on me! Long months of frigid weather kept me indoors much more than I would have liked. I turned to comfort foods for nourishment- hot stews, more meat than usual and starchy vegetables. Stagnancy set in a bit. Just when I was beginning to think it would never end, Mother Nature reassured me of the cycle of the seasons by melting the snow and giving new life a chance to grow. I cried happy tears when I raked the leaves out of my garden beds and saw the first green shoots poking up: the crocuses, lilies, and hostas. The lemon balm and St Johns wort were also alive and well. It seems impossible that plants can be so hearty.
Last weekend, my wife, Christine, and I tried our hand at creating one of the succulent sauces of Morocco. Chermoula, which is often used to top baked fish or chicken has as many variations as there are cooks who have made it. The base usually includes fresh cilantro, freshly squeezed lemon juice, onion, garlic, extra […]
Eat “nose to tail” with fennel. From fronds, to seed to bulb, you’ll find fennel delicious and full of healthful benefits!
Cumin is a spice that does the body good! And of course, it is delicious in Mediterranean cuisine.
Show a little love for your heart by eating spicy cayenne pepper! Stop by to learn about healthy and delicious cayenne pepper.
Learn all about the ways you can add tea to your winter lifestyle for a health and calming benefits. Make time for tea time!
Many Cretan’s credit drinking Cretan Mountain Tea for their longevity. It also has a delicious, aromatic, slightly floral flavor.
During our trip to Crete, we were so fortunate to spend a day cooking with, and learning from Koula Barydakis.
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Foods of Crete Cook Book
Do you want to eat like the
healthiest people in the world?
In the 1960’s, the Greek island of Crete had the highest longevity rates in the world, the men lived to be the same age as the women and researchers could only find one man on the island who had heart disease.
In our cookbook, Foods of Crete: Traditional Recipes from the Healthiest People in the World you will find over 110 delectable recipes by Koula Barydakis, a chef and cooking teacher from the island and a guide to eating the Mediterranean diet by Bill Bradley, Registered Dietician.
Buy Olive Oil From Crete
Delicious and buttery, this is the oil that can be used for all your cooking needs including sauces, dressings, soups, bread dipping and even baking! Makes everything taste better!