In yesterday’s post, I told you healthy food doesn’t have to be boring or bland, and I meant it. You’ll get no grilled chicken breasts and steamed broccoli from me. Mainly because I don’t eat meat, but also because steamed broccoli is pretty sad. Don’t get me wrong, I love broccoli, but there are much better ways to prepare it, so you actually enjoy it.
Moving on, if you love garlic, you’ll love this next recipe. And just in case you are on the fence about garlic, here’s some good reasons for you to ingest it, often.
- It helps dilate our blood vessels and helps keep our blood pressure under control.
- It is an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C and a good source of selenium.
- It helps lower our blood triglycerides and total cholesterol, although this reduction can be moderate.
- It helps prevent our blood vessels from becoming blocked.
The health benefits for garlic goes on and on and gets really scientific (lots of big words, chemical reactions, peptides and such), so if you want to learn more, you can do so here: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=60.
Let’s get to the main course, which is Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Black Olives, Garlic and Feta Cheese. This one is so delicious, such a fun twist on your regular pasta and requires minimal effort. Having a sharp knife is one way to make your life easier in the kitchen. If you can, you should invest the money in a good one; it can cut your prep time in half. Puns aside, I actually bring mine on vacation with me when I know cooking is involved, and I’m traveling by car because they’d never let me through airport security with my trusty Wusthof.
The first step in this recipe is to throw a pot of water on the stove (not literally, that would be bad) and bring it to a boil. While this is happening, you’ll want to chop up some tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and parsley and throw it all together in a bowl along with some feta cheese, salt and pepper. Then you need to mince some garlic cloves. We got this cool garlic grater at the Food Show last November, and it pretty much turns the garlic into liquid mush. The bottom of the small festive plate is a bunch of jagged edges which will shred pretty much anything. Just rub the garlic along it and viola, liquified garlic. Best invention ever…well maybe after electricity and indoor plumbing, but it’s still pretty cool, way better than your typical garlic press and so much easier to clean. Plus its French. J’adore…
When your water comes to a boil, go ahead and throw in your spaghetti and cook it according to the package directions. I use whole wheat spaghetti, and I know the taste can be off-putting for some, but you won’t even notice with this dish. When the spaghetti is nearly done, heat some olive oil in a shallow pan. Once the oil is hot, add your crushed garlic and cook until it just starts to brown. This should take a minute or less. Pay close attention because it can burn easy.
Drain the cooked spaghetti and add it to your bowl of tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, and parsley, and then toss the garlic and oil mixture on top of the whole thing. Stir it up, and the end result is a big bowl of delicious.
- ◾1 1/2 pounds tomatoes (about 3), seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- ◾1/2 cup Kalamata or other black olives, pitted
- ◾1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled
- ◾3 Tbsps. drained capers (optional; I skipped these because I didn’t have them on hand)
- ◾3 Tbsps. chopped flat-leaf parsley
- ◾1/4 teaspoon salt
- ◾1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- ◾3/4 pound spaghetti
- ◾6 tablespoons olive oil
- ◾3 cloves garlic, minced
- In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, olives, feta, capers, parsley, salt, and pepper.
- In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done, according to package directions. Drain.
- Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the cooked pasta and the garlic oil to the tomato mixture and toss.
- This dish is wonderful and packed with flavor, which doesn't reheat very well.