Mediterranean Food Pyramid

The Mediterranean Diet has been proven to be one of the most healthiest diets in the world. At the bottom of the Mediterranean Food Pyramid are breads and cereals which should be consumed daily. A key component is cous cous.

As you move up the pyramid, there are increased amounts of fruits and vegetables (much more than the standard USDA food pyramid).

Mediterranean Food Pyramid

There are smaller amounts of cheese, yogurt and other dairy in the Mediterranean Pyramid than in the USDA pyramid.

Olive oil is a key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet.

Other key points are that: there is VERY LITTLE RED meat that is used in the mediterranean diet and very small amounts of sweets since fruits are eaten as sweets. Olives and tomatoes are the most common fruits. Legumes and nuts are eaten as snacks. Fish and poultry are more common than red meats. READ MORE

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Armenian Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuff it!!!  Most of us were brought up to think that meat and vegetables were cooked separately… side by side so to speak… but if you grew up in our house being that we were from Armenian descent, veggies stuffed with meat or dolmas as we called them were part of the norm.  We stuffed grape leaves, cabbage, eggplant, tomatoes and even peppers. 

Stuffing peppers is actually pretty common in a lot of cultures.  Hungarians, Greeks, Italians and Armenians all have some sort of variation for this recipe. 

The one I’m going to share with you today is an Armenian recipe.  You can actually use this recipe to stuff  just about any vegetable that you like!

Red, Green, Yellow… the color of the pepper doesn’t matter! This is one of those no fail type of recipes… go ahead and try… you can’t ruin it!

 This one is for you Lelo… thanks for writing to me for the recipe! I know grandma would be proud of you! –Michelle Karam of Mediterranean Medley on MCCN

 Stuffed Peppers Ingredients

8 Bell Peppers

1 pound ground beef/turkey/chicken

½ cup long grain rice

½ onion finely chopped

¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 can peeled, petite dice tomatoes

Juice of 1 lemon

½ teaspoon dried mint crushed

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 small garlic clove minced

salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • Wash the peppers and cut off the tops & remove seeds. Set aside
  • Mix the meat, rice, onion, parsley, garlic, cayenne, salt & pepper and half of the can of tomatoes in a large mixing bowl.  Combine thoroughly.
  • Stuff the cored peppers with meat- do not stuff all the way to the very top. Leave about ¼ of an inch from the top as the rice will expand while cooking and it will overflow.
  • Arrange the stuffed peppers in a large pot.  Pour the remaining tomatoes over the top.  Add the lemon juice, mint  and a little water so thereis approx 2-3  inches of liquid in the bottom of the pan.
  • Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer, covered, for about 45 min, or until the peppers are tender. 

 OPTIONAL: You may serve with a dollop of yogurt or Lebni (Armenian style yogurt- it has a thicker consistency than plain yogurt) on the side

See Michelle’s Recipe:  Mediterranean Fish

Background: Multi-Cultural Consumption of Goat

Goat is thought to have been the earliest animal domesticated besides sheep and dogs. Cave art 10,000 to 20,000 years ago indicates that goats were common and important then. At the present time, goats provide the principle source of animal protein in many North African and Middle Eastern nations. Goat is also important in the Caribbean, in Southeast Asia, and developing tropical countries. Three-fourths of all the goats in the world are located in the developing regions of the world.

Kids (goats under a year of age) are often slaughtered when 3 to 5 months of age and weighing from 25 to 50 pounds. Kids do not store much body fat until they are about a year of age. Many goats are older and heavier when marketed, but most, except aged cull goats, are slaughtered when less than a year of age. The meat of older goats is darker and less tender, but more juicy and flavorful than kid. The meat from males is lighter in color and lower in fat. The meat from females is more desirable for steaks and chops, and is more tender.


Milk, Butter & Cheese

Some goats are bred for milk, which can be drunk raw, although some people recommend pasteurization to reduce bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. If the strong-smelling buck is not separated from the does, his scent will affect the milk. Goat’s milk is commonly processed into cheese, goat butter, ice cream, cajeta and other products.

Goat’s milk can replace sheep’s milk or cow’s milk in diets of those who are allergic. However, like cow’s milk, goat’s milk has lactose (sugar), and may cause gastrointestinal problems for individuals with lactose intolerance.

Visit the Food History Section at http://multiculturalcookingnetwork.com

*Milk Butter and Cheese info from Wikepedia

First Looks in the Kitchen with MCCN Hosts

(From Left to Right: Efren, Michelle & Sunni)

Get ready for exciting and informative programs with the chefs and cooks of the Multi Cultural Cooking Network.    Read their bios at http://multiculturalcookingnetwork.com

This dynamic trio is serving up some great recipe for the holidays.  Stay tuned….

( Efren Cardinas  serves up desserts to be featured on his holiday show)

Mediterranean Delights by Michelle

Sunni Boswell will teach you quick and easy Asian Cuisines

Food History: Egyptian Cuisine

(From Wikepedia)

Egyptian cuisine is characterized by dishes such as Ful Medames, Kushari, rice-stuffed pigeon, Mulukhiyya with rabbit, and Feteer Meshaltet, while sharing similarities with food found throughout the Eastern Mediterranean like rice-stuffed vegetables or grape leaves, Shawerma, Kebab, Falafel, Baba Ghannoug, and Baqlawa. Bread forms the backbone of Egyptian cuisine. Bread is consumed at almost all Egyptian meals; a working-class or rural Egyptian meal might consist of little more than bread and beans. The local bread is a form of hearty, thick, glutenous pita bread called Eish Masri or Eish Baladi (Egyptian Arabic: عيش ʿēš) rather than the Standard Arabic خبز khubz. The word “Eish” comes from the verb “ʿāš, yuiʿīš” meaning “to live” indicating the centrality of bread to Egyptian life. In modern Egypt, the government subsidizes bread، dating back to a Nasser-era policy; as of 2008[update], however, a major food crisis has caused ever-longer bread lines at government-subsidized bakeries where there would normally be none; the occasional fight has broken out over bread, leading to fear of bread riots.[1] The bread subsidies are also viewed by political observers as a means by the government of mitigating opposition by the lower-classes to an authoritarian domestic political system.

Some Egyptians consider Kushari, a mixture of rice, lentils, and macaroni, to be the national dish. Ful Medames (mashed fava beans) is also popular and is used in making Ta’meyya (also known as Falafel), which Egyptians consider to be superior to elsewhere in the Middle East where chickpeas is the major ingredient of this dish, although chickpeas have been grown by Egyptians for thousands of years.

Abu_tariq_koshari 

Kushari served at an Egyptian restaurant in Cairo.

Ancient Egyptians are known to have used a lot of garlic and onion in their everyday dishes. Fresh mashed garlic with other herbs is used in spicy tomato salad and is also stuffed in boiled or baked aubergines (eggplant). Garlic fried with coriander is added to Mulukhiyya, a popular green soup made from finely chopped jute leaves, sometimes with chicken or (preferably) rabbit. Fried onions can be added to Kushari

For more information, visit Wikepedia.

Per Request here is the Kushari Recipe: http://www.multiculturalcookingnetwork.com/recipes/item/329-kushari-recipe.html