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.

TOP 10 VEGETARIAN TAPAS (Part II)

Manchego Veggie tapas IIDid you think that last week’s list was absolutely delicious? Did you have the opportunity to try all the veggie “tapas” I recommended? Then get ready for more to come! Who said Spanish food was just about paella & meat?

6. Salmorejo – Vegetarian cold soup

This is similar to gazpacho but even tastier. Ensure it comes “sin jamón” (without ham), as many versions come with Serrano ham sprinkled on top.

7. Huevos rotos – Fried eggs with potatoes

Simple food at its best. Again ask for “sin jamón, por favor”.

8. Pimientos de padrón – Spicy bell peppers

If you’re the kind of person who likes surprises, this will surely be your tapa of choice. As some peppers are sweet and others spicy, you’re in for a fun ride!

9. Croquetas de espinacas – Spinach croquettes

Croquettes are a must have “tapa”. For veggie enjoyment, as for croquettes “de espinacas” or “de setas” (mushrooms). Yum!

10. Queso Manchego frito – Fried Manchego Cheese

Fried cheese is a commonly found “tapa” in the La Mancha region, home of the Manchego cheese. Try it with some marmalade on the side to maximize the enjoyment. Surely, the perfect end for a veggie “tapas” feast.

TOP 10 VEGETARIAN TAPAS (part I)

Manchego Cheese tapaSpain has lots of delicious tapas”, but a healthy chunk of them involve meat. True, being a vegetarian in Spain is not that common and may draw lots of weird looks. However, it’s entirely doable and enjoyable!

If you’re vegetarian and are planning a holiday in Spain, arm yourself with two short phrases: “lleva carne?” (does it have meat?) and “sin carne, por favor” (without meat, please) and take note of the below list of vegetarian “tapas”, all of them commonly found everywhere in Spain:

1. Aceitunas – Olives

Olives are fantastic in Spain. They come in all type of varieties and flavors. If you’re strict vegetarian just beware of the ones stuffed with anchovies.

2. Pan con tomate – Toast with olive oil & tomato

A humble, yet tasty and delish, dish. Being originally from Catalonia, it’s nowadays found pretty much everywhere in Spain.

3. Queso Manchego

Of course, this has to be our preferred veggie “tapa”! Ask for it with some “membrillo” (quince) on the side, and get ready for an out-of-this-world experience.

4. Patatas bravas y alioli – Fried potatoes with salsas

For complete enjoyment, wash these “patatas” down with a “caña” (small glass of beer).

5. Tortilla española – Spanish omelette

This has to be the basic vegetarian go-to dish. Just make sure it’s homemade and slightly moist in the center – dry and hard “tortillas” are awful, believe me.

Want to know more delicious veggie “tapas”? Then watch this space!

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!

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! 

QUICK & TASTY #9 – Green salad with Manchego & walnuts

Manchego cheese saladContinuing with the string of tasty and healthy recipes with Manchego, today I bring you a salad that – unlike others – is full of personality.

The gutsy contrast of assertive greens with the sweet caramel, the slivers of Manchego, the wild raddish and the walnuts; will surely impress your guests.

What you need:

  • 1 head of green or red leaf lettuce
  • 1 (1/2-pound) piece Manchego cheese, rind removed and cheese shaved into thin slices (preferably with a cheese plane)
  • 4 oz chopped walnuts
  • 4 oz wild radish
  • 3 oz brown sugar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. Wash and dry lettuce and tear into pieces. Arrange lettuce on a large platter.
  2. Sprinkle walnuts and chopped wild radish over lettuce.
  3. Cut the Manchego cheese in slices and place them in a grill – this can be done either using the microwave or a medium-heat oven.
  4. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the cheese slices and grill them for 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese is caramelized on top.
  5. Dress salad by drizzling vinegar and olive oil all over.
  6. 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.