Go directly to recipe
Living in other countries has taught me that, while there in an underlying humanism that binds us all together, it's the little things that can be so befuddling, particularly to the novice traveler!
Something as simple as daily habits can leave people scratching there heads in bemusement, or, much worse, totally missing lunch or going to bed hungry because they don't know what time the locals eat.
Most of the people that I know in the U.S. think 11:30 is a reasonable time for lunch. In Ireland that's time for 'elevenses': coffee and a sweet roll or biscuit. In Spain it's 'second breakfast': usually a small ham sandwich and a wine or beer. 'First breakfast' is coffee and a bit of bread around 8:00.
If you try to eat lunch in France before 1:00 you'll have a bit of difficulty because most restaurants aren't open yet. But don't wait until after 2:15, they're already closed.
Lunch in Spain doesn't start until 2:00 in the northern parts, closer to 3:00 in the south. And you might as well plan on a leisurely lunch because all of the shops, banks, businesses, etc. close for 2 or 3 or 4 hours.
After an 11:30
breakfast lunch Americans, or, at least, Midwesterners, are hungry by late afternoon and start thinking about dinner. Early bird specials start at 4:30. 4:30!?!?! I'm barely through with lunch! In French farm country, where we live, dinner is about 7:00 (farmers are early risers, after all, usually up by 7:00 in the morning). In the cities, 8:00 is a more usual dinner hour, running to 10:30 in summer with the long evenings.
Back in Spain, of course it's a wee bit later. If you want to eat at a decent, non-tourist restaurant in Madrid don't plan on a reservation before 11:30 (yes, that IS in the evening) and even at that you'll be the first ones there. The Madrileños will trickle in around 1:00, children in tow.
I have to confess here, we maintain our Spanish habits. Breakfast around 8:30, a light lunch between 2:00 and 3:00 and dinner around 11:00. When I visit my family in the U.S. they move dinner back one hour,to 6:30, in deference to me. When they visit us, we move dinner forward 3 hours, to 8:00, in deference to them. (Hmmm, seems like I do the most compromising, here…Oh well, I do try to be reasonable…)
Now I can hear all the 'But it's so unhealthy to go to bed on a full stomach!'
My answers: First, one doesn't have to eat so
damn much at dinner! Second: all the other mammals sleep after eating, why shouldn't humans? Do you think you know better than Mother Nature? Huh? DO YOU?
And explain please, why my 'full stomach' of a bit of protein, some vegetables and whole grains, washed down with a glass of wine is worse than a full stomach of sugar and fat from the big bowl of ice cream eaten whilst watching the evening news….in bed?
Now to get to the Heart of the Matter, being hosted this month by Ilva, of Lucullian Delights. The theme is Waterlife, anything animal, fish or vegetable that lives in the sea, ocean, lakes and rivers.
Tuna is probably the most commonly eaten of any fish. It has been eaten smoked or pickled since ancient times and is available everywhere canned. World's Healthiest Foods site has an enormous list of health benefits – so go read it. A few tidbits: It's very high in omega 3 essential fats which can help prevent fatal heart arrhythmia; can lower triglycerides and help prevent high blood pressure. Americans get way too much omega 6 and need to increase their intake of omega 3 to counterbalance. An imbalance between the two can promote inflammation.
My second entry for this month can either be a first course (at 11.00pm), or, accompanied by some fresh fruit and maybe a bit of whole grain bread, a light lunch (at 11:00am). I found canned Tuna Fillets in Lemon and Olive Oil for this salad, which were excellent. Use the best tuna you can find.
1 6 oz can tuna (180gr)
1 small avocado
Lettuce for 2 small salads
2 oz feta (60gr)
Olives, Cherry Tomatoes for garnish
Prepare lettuce and put into medium bowl. Add half of the vinaigrette and toss lightly to combine. Taste and adjust. Arrange on 2 dinner plates. Slice avocado and fan out next to lettuce. Open and drain tuna and arrange next to lettuce. Sprinkle with feta, olives and halved Cherry Tomatoes. Drizzle with a bit more vinaigrette and serve.
2 tbs hummus
1/2 tbs sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbs olive oil, the good stuff
1 tsp oregano fresh
1 tsp snipped chives
In small bowl whisk hummus, vinegar, and mustard. Slowly whisk in olive oil. When incorporated add herbs and whisk to combine.
To give credit where it's due, the idea for hummus in the vinaigrette came from Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen
It was lovely, thanks Kalyn!
When I told mon mari that I was putting hummus in the vinaigrette he thought of haggis….Even I wouldn't try THAT! (Although, I actually like haggis…just not in a salad… Haggis Salad?)
What time do you'all eat?