Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Mediterranean Diet

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Who couldn't find something to love in The Mediterranean Diet? Olives, nuts, fruits, fish, poultry, and lamb are among my favorites. The mixture of sweet and savory flavors in one dish defy the plate to claim boredom, and who could argue with a diet that includes moderate amounts of wine? Information from the American Heart Association on the Mediterranean diet follows, and then a recipe that includes some of the typical ingredients found in the diet. Bon Appétit!

What is the "Mediterranean" diet?

There's no one "Mediterranean" diet. At least 16 countries border the Mediterranean Sea. Diets vary between these countries and also between regions within a country. Many differences in culture, ethnic background, religion, economy and agricultural production result in different diets. But the common Mediterranean dietary pattern has these characteristics:

  • high consumption of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds
  • olive oil is an important monounsaturated fat source
  • dairy products, fish and poultry are consumed in low to moderate amounts, and little red meat is eaten
  • eggs are consumed zero to four times a week
  • wine is consumed in low to moderate amounts.
Finish this article at American Heart Association.

Chicken with Green Olives and Prunes
The delicious combination of sweet, ta
rt and savory flavors makes a simple dish the star of a weeknight meal. Serve with whole-wheat couscous, to soak up the tasty sauce.

Makes 4 servings

ACTIVE TIME: 10 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes


1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped pitted green olives, such as Spanish, Cerignola or cracked green
1/4 cup chopped pitted prunes (dried plums)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Add broth and vinegar to the pan; bring to a simmer, stirring. Add olives, prunes and pepper; reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender and no longer pink in the center, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Spoon sauce over the chicken and serve.

When I make this, I will use a combination of white and dark meat in an attempt to accommodate the disparate preferences that reside in my house.

Recipe from Eating Well.

You will find recipes at The Mediterranean Diet Beyond The Myth.

For more on the traditions, people and diet of the Mediterranean region, click here.

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