24 July 12 Traveling Taste Buds: An American Dietitian Peaks into the European Kitchen

Guest post by by Martha Henze, MS, RD, Traveling Taste Buds, LLC

Before attending cooking school in Spain last month, I had high expectations that I would travel home to Colorado with the perfect healthy cooking nugget for my blog. However, when our Spanish chef poured a whole teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil into my roasted red pepper cream soup, which was served in just a 3 oz. shot glass, and my teenage daughter sarcastically asked, "Was that really necessary?" I began to second guess my expectations.

However, I continued to keep my eyes and taste buds open looking for healthy eating tips from the locals while visiting Spain, Germany, and Switzerland.

Germany: More than bratwurst and huge pretzels

The counter was filled with colorful bowls of fresh cut up onions, garlic, carrots, red peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini. While the charcoals were turning from black to crimson red, our German friend was in the kitchen sautéing vegetables on the stove in a large pan. He called this his "Gemuese Pfanne" (directly translated it means Vegetable Pan). He put a little bit of olive oil in the frying pan on medium-low heat and started sautéing the vegetables that needed to be cooked the longest first, such as onions, garlic and carrots. Then, he added the rest of the vegetables and let them cook until they were tender and slightly browned. It was a colorful delicious side dish!

Tips for your Grill Fest or BBQ!

Prepare two vegetable side dishes: one hot and one cold. What a colorful and healthy way to FIRST fill half your plate with vegetables!

Stir up a "Gemuese Pfanne"! Watch this fun video for some cooking tips on delicious Mediterranean summer vegetable side dishes.

Concoct a lettuce salad with at least three additional colors! Use Eleonore's recipe (below) to make homemade dressing.

Eleonore's Oil and Vinegar Dressing

3 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar (high quality)

1/2 teaspoon mustard (I prefer spicy or Dijon mustard for added spunk!)

1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs or 1 Tablespoon fresh herbs (finely chopped)

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt or 1/4 teaspoon fresh garlic (finely chopped)

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a measuring cup, mix well with a fork. Drizzle over lettuce just before serving.

Switzerland: More than Alps and Lindt chocolate bars

While in Europe, it was "Strawberry Season". Growing up in South Dakota, I remember that when we would go to a local "pick your own" strawberry farm, my dad joked with me that not only was the farmer going to weigh my strawberry basket before and after picking, but also me, before and after picking fresh strawberries! Who can resist fresh sun-kissed strawberries freshly picked?

After picking fresh June strawberries we decided to make a favorite Swiss dessert called "Erdbeer Quark". While "quark" is a term that my father used to talk about in his physics classes, it is also a smooth and creamy European cheese, similar to a Greek yogurt.

Try this dessert that is rich in calcium and vitamin C and made with locally grown and seasonal fruit! You can substitute the strawberries with whatever seasonal berries are available! Since true German quark in America is expensive, I substitute thick nonfat Greek yogurt.

Erdbeer Quark

1. Wash 3 cups of fresh strawberries Remove green stems.

2. In a small bowl, cut up each strawberry into 4 pieces. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sugar.

3. In a large bowl, mix two cups (16 oz.) of plain nonfat Greek Yogurt with two cups (16 oz.) of vanilla nonfat Greek Yogurt.

4. Add cut up strawberries and carefully mix so that strawberries do not become mushy.

5. Cool in refrigerator for at least one hour. Stir and serve.

Enjoy some delicious European fare while keeping your healthy summer eating habits!

Alles Gute,



Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
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