ENERGY BOOSTING BREAKFASTS

Manchego cheese breakfastWe’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but, during a busy morning, it’s easy to let breakfast fall low in your list of priorities.

A good breakfast fuels you up and gets you ready for the day. Also, eating a substantial, protein-rich breakfast keeps you full, so you end up eating less during the day. Yes, research shows that including protein at breakfast is critical to successful weight loss!

Manchego cheese has more protein than meat and so adding Manchego to your breakfast is not only yummy but a fantastic idea too. Here are three suggestions for a 100% delish energy boosting Manchego breakfast:

1. The healthiest option

A balanced, easy-to-assemble make-ahead morning meal: Grab an apple, wrap 1 to 2 ounces of Manchego in plastic, and toss ¼ cup of fiber- and protein-rich walnuts into a re-sealable plastic bag. You can snack this while driving to work.

2. The sweetest one

A quick and sophisticated alternative suitable for the everyday: Cut a couple of slices of bread – a French baguette if possible. Drop a bit of olive oil on each and toast them on the grill. Place a slice of Manchego cheese and a thin slice of membrillo paste on top of each toast.

3. The perfect brunch

A one-pan meal that will be an instant hit: In a large skillet sauté in olive oil ½ sliced onion and 2 sliced potatoes. Once ready, pour the mix in a bowl, then crack two eggs into it and add a handful of sliced green olives together with 2 ounces of Manchego, sliced thin. Stir gently with a whisk, then pour the mix back to the skillet and bake it in a medium-high heat oven until ready. Serve with freshly squeezed orange juice, hot coffee and a bread roll.

QUICK & TASTY RECIPES #11- Grilled asparagus with Manchego & walnuts

la foto 2Spring has sprung and so we’re kick starting barbecue season. Hooray!

If you, like me, love to add vegetables to any BBQ, here’s a fantastic recipe that has become an all time favorite in my family. This is so simple yet healthy and yummy that I’m sure your gang will love it too.

 

What you need:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oilwww.themanchegocheese.com
  • 1 ounce of Manchego, shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 2 walnuts
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions:

  1. Heat grill to medium-high.
  2. In a big bowl, toss the asparagus with the extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper.
  3. Grill until tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour the soy sauce on it
  5. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with the Manchego and walnuts.
  6. Enjoy!

PAIRING: MANCHEGO CHEESE & ALMONDS

Almonds & Manchego CheeseLast week I talked about enjoying Manchego with nuts as a fantastic way to boost your health and energy levels. Manchego & walnuts are my favorite combination. Almonds and pecan nuts are excellent options too.

Today I’ll dedicate the post to pairing Manchego with almonds. This is an all time classic snack in Spain, popular as a small “tapa” for the “aperitivo” and also great to eat while watching TV.

Manchego goes well with both raw and roasted almonds. Spaniards normally enjoy Manchego with the Marcona type of almond. This nut – native to Spain – has also become a very popular item in specialty cheese stores in the US too. This tells a lot already about its versatility as a cheese partner!

Try and find Marcona almonds roasted in oil and salted – I prefer them without skin but, since you can also eat their skin, with and without skin are perfectly fine options.

Here are two suggestions to savour this fantastic pair:

  • Almonds + Manchego + Apple slices = The perfect mid-morning snack. Not only tasty and healthy, also easy to prepare and carry to the office.
  • Almonds + Manchego + Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) = A sophisticated appetizer that will surprise your dinner guests.

Just two great ways to enjoy Manchego & almonds. What would your suggestions be?

PAIRING: MANCHEGO CHEESE & WALNUTS

Manchego cheese & walnutsNutrition experts keep on telling us that we should include nuts into our daily diet. Apparently, these little wonders are packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. They’re nature’s way of showing us that good things often come in small packages!

Pairing them with cheese is a good idea for a super healthy snack – great for people with special nutritional needs such seniors, children or pregnant women – or a simple yet delish dessert.

Manchego cheese goes well with different types of nuts. Having tried it in different combinations, I would recommend pairing your Manchego with walnuts, almonds or pecan nuts.

I’ll dedicate this post to the Manchego & walnut combination, my favorite couple from the three mentioned before, and a heavenly combination when made as a trio with a little honey on the top. Yum!

But, why is Manchego & walnuts such a great pair?

The crunchiness of walnuts is a tasty contrast to the texture of the Manchego. Also walnuts have an earthy flavor that compliments the taste of the Manchega sheeps’ milk really well.

Nutritionally, walnuts are great for the heart and arteries. They have high amounts of alpha linoleic acid (ALA), an acid that helps to prevent heart arrhythmias, reducing inflammation and oxidation in the arteries. Great news!

So, what are you waiting for? Do like me: At least twice per week, enjoy a platter of Manchego cheese sprinkled with walnuts and drizzled with Rosemary honey – Health and pleasure on a plate.

QUICK & TASTY RECIPES #10 – Watercress salad with red grapes & Manchego cheese

Watercress salad & manchego cheese

Still looking for the perfect starter? You’ve found it here! Watercress salad with red grapes and, of course, our favorite cheese: Manchego. You won’t be able to resist it! 

What you need:

  • 6 ozs watercress
  • 30 red grapes
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 (1/2-pound) piece Manchego cheese
  • 2 tbsps of almonds (toasted)
  • 1 tbsp red onionManchego Cheese salad
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Take the red grapes and the tomatoes, wash, dry and cut them in half and then in half again.
  2. Use a food processor: add 20 chopped grapes, the red onion, vinegar, honey and olive oil to make the dressing.
  3. Marinate the 10 grapes left with 2 tbsp of dressing for 10 minutes.
  4. Cut the Manchego cheese in slices.
  5. Cut the almonds in Manchego cheeseslices and toast them.
  6. Place the watercress in a bowl with the tomatoes, the marinated red grapes and the almonds. Drizzle the prepared dressing all over the salad.
  7. Top the salad with some slices of Manchego cheese.
  8. Enjoy! 

HOW TO STORE & PRESERVE MANCHEGO CHEESE

Preserve Manchego CheeseAs any hard cured cheese, Manchego is very easy to store and preserve as long as you follow a basic set of recommendations.

If you purchase an entire wheel of Manchego you can either keep it in the fridge or store it in a dry cellar or room that is no warmer than about 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20°C).

If you keep it in the fridge, place the cheese on a wooden tray, cover it with waxed paper and place it on the lower tray making sure it doesn’t get wet.

If you plan to store it in a room, then ensure there is good ventilation and the humidity levels are low. Also place the cheese on a wooden tray and wrap it with waxed paper. This will help to preserve the true flavors of the Manchego.

If you have a wedge of Manchego, then it’s better to store it in the fridge using a plastic storage container. Alternatively, you can wrap the wedge with a wet cloth, as it was done traditionally. Although you can use aluminium foil or a plastic wrap, these are not ideal and should only be used for short storage times – They are fine if you’re planning to eat your cheese fast!

A great idea to preserve small pieces of Manchego is to place them in a jar with extra virgin olive oil. You can also get creative and add some herbs or garlic into the mix. It’s important to remember that the jar with oil and cheese should not be sealed airtight. Instead, you should cover the opening with a piece of waxed paper and rubber band before placing in the refrigerator. This will last 2 to 3 months and will taste fantastic afterwards.

ONE CHEESE, SO MANY CUTS (Part I)

www.themanchegocheese.comIf you’re a cheese maniac like I am, here’s a question for you: How many different ways there are to cut a whole Manchego cheese?

Let’s start with the most obvious ones…

  • Chopped Manchego: Cut out the wedge you intend to chop (See my previous post on how to cut a whole Manchego cheese). Then slice the wedge first horizontally, then vertically. Although chopped food doesn’t need to be the same size, try to keep pieces as equal as possible. Cubes should ideally be around 1/2 inch in diameter. Manchego cubes can be use for the preparation of salads, appetizers and snacks.
  • Sliced Manchego: This must be the most popular way of presenting Manchego cheese. Slices can be used on sandwiches, crostinis and also as part of a delicious tapas assortment. To make the most out of the cheese, just remember that the perfect slice should be around 5mm (1/4”) thick.
  • Manchego strips: Cheese strips are a fun way to serve Manchego as part of a finger food selection. They also make a perfect snack platter when combined with fruits, nuts and/or vegetables. Finally, Manchego strips are ideal for children, as they can grab them easily with their little hands. What a great way to help them top up their calcium and protein intake!

I’ll share with you more ideas on how to cut Manchego cheese on my next post. In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts. What ideas have you got?