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Hola from España

A taste of sustainable eating from Spain

The 17th International Congress of Dietetics attended by delegates from 49 countries early last month in Granada, Spain promoted sustainable eating. The Philippines, after having been under the Spanish rule for over 300 years, may just learn something from the very country that has greatly influenced us in so many ways.

Marlon Pelayo, RD and director of In-Patient Services at Kaiser Permanente Roseville in the US, astutely observed the Spanish way of eating and their lifestyle during the said conference.

“They adapt sustainability by supporting local produce, offering what’s in season and are conscious about waste. Fastfood is not widely embraced. They eat smaller serving portions compared to other Western countries. They also lead an active lifestyle through walking, cycling, and commuting. The Spaniards take long siestas (afternoon rest or nap), which helps with stress and energy management. In my observation, the people of Spain are relatively healthy,” says Pelayo.

There is a resemblance between Filipinos and Spaniards when it comes to taste preference. “Our partiality for saltiness is no doubt a heritage that we acquired from the Spaniards,” adds Pelayo.

Here are two traditional Spanish recipes by Dona Elena olive oil. They combined nutrient-rich ingredients and good fats to create these recipes that are bursting with flavors from Spain.

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Paella Mixta

A rice dish that I consider a complete meal. It comes in many types but only uses olive oil. It originated from Valencia.

Ingredients:

200 g chicken thighs, marinated in:

¼ tsp paprika, 1tsp olive oil,

1 pc onion, finely sliced

4 pcs garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 pc capsicum, cut into strips

125 g tomatoes crushed

50 g  tomato paste

Salt and pepper

600 g bomba rice, washed

75ml Doña Elena olive oil

15 pcs saffron threads, soak in ¼ cup boiling water

1 tsp smoked paprika

1.2 L boiling hot chicken and/or seafood broth, mixed with  1tsp paprika, salt, and pepper

150 g squid rings

10 pcs prawns

3 pcs cooked whole crabs, bite-sized

15 pcs cooked clams or 16 to 20 pieces fresh clams

15 pcs cooked mussels

35 g green peas

40 g olives

10 pcs lemon wedges

2 tsp Italian parsley, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

Instructions:

In a paella pan heat 50 ml olive oil and sauté chicken until brown. Set aside.

In the same pan, sauté onions, add garlic and capsicum, cook for one to two minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, then sauté for two minutes.

Add tomato paste and stir until all ingredients are coated. Add olive oil as needed. Tomato paste must darken.

Sprinkle smoked paprika. Mix until evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper.

Sauté rice until translucent, stirring constantly for a few minutes. Control pan temperature.

Pour saffron liquid and mix. Add the broth. (Extra broth can be added later)

Cooking time is approximately 20 to 25 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Do not stir. From high to medium heat, turn heat to low once liquid has evaporated.

Just before rice is done, add the squid and prawns. Cover with foil until prawns and squid are cooked.

Add remaining ingredients evenly and decoratively throughout the skillet in the following order: clams, mussels and crab, olives, and green peas. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.

Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.

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Gazpacho

A cold vegetable soup that is native to Andalucia in the southern part of Spain.

Ingredient:

1 kg ripe tomatoes, diced

2 pcs cucumber, seeded, diced

2 pcs capsicum, seeded, diced

50 g onion, diced

1 pc garlic clove, sliced

400 ml Doña Elena olive oil

350 ml tomato juice

150 g day old sour dough bread, crust removed

50 ml red wine vinegar

Juice from ½ lemon

Salt and pepper

Sugar (optional)

Instructions:

In a glass or ceramic bowl, mix tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, onion, garlic, and bread.

In another bowl, mix vinegar, 200ml olive oil, tomato juice, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Pour mixture over vegetables and bread. Mix well.

Cover and marinate overnight.

Blend vegetables with marinade and remaining olive oil. Divide the oil according to batches. Blend until smooth.

Strain gazpacho and discard solids. (Do not use fine strainer)

Place gazpacho in a glass or ceramic bowl. Adjust acidity by adding sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve chilled.

Top with olive oil and freshly milled pepper.

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