Jonathan Vrban, D.N.P., began his career in health care in 1985, when he completed training in radiological technology in Springfield, Missouri. In the years following, he earned several nursing degrees, including a Doctor of Nursing Practice, which he received in 2008 from the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. When he is not attending to his professional obligations, Jonathan Vrban enjoys numerous activities, including travel, botany, gardening, and cooking.
Many cookbooks emphasize the advantages of using fresh spices and herbs in recipes, and many cooks honor that advice by maintaining gardens of the herbs they use most often. Many herbs can be grown quite easily in a home garden, containers on a patio or deck, or even in pots indoors, and it’s not unusual to see an herb garden of a dozen or so varieties. Oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage are popular in many Mediterranean dishes and can be planted together in a single large container so the cook can easily snip sprigs of all four. These four herbs will sprawl in their container and produce a visually appealing presentation, and frequent snipping of sprigs will ensure their lively growth.
Another favorite herb is basil, which pairs well with tomato-based dishes and salads. The leaves can be used whole, especially when cooking tomato sauces, but some cooks recommend chopping larger leaves. Chives, a member of the onion family, are generally chopped coarsely and used as garnishes on hot foods and soups and in salads; the purple flowertops are also edible. Other popular herbs that can easily be grown in a home garden are dill, tarragon, and cilantro.
Hawaii-based former nurse practitioner, who bacame a doctor, Jonathan Vrban enjoys world travel and cooking. Having visited Turkey, Spain, Italy, Israel, and Greece, among others, Jonathan Vrban combines these passions through home-cooked versions of world cuisine, particularly from the Mediterranean region.
With a mild climate and lots of sun, the Mediterranean region produces a lot of healthy ingredients, including artichokes, cucumbers, eggplant, legumes, and a host of other vegetables. Figuring prominently in the cuisine, many of these vegetables are served fresh, baked, grilled, roasted, or sauteed. Similarly, many dishes feature fresh olives, as olive trees are plentiful in the region and account for one of its major exports—namely, olive oil.
Mediterranean cuisine relies less heavily on meat than cuisines from many other parts of the world. Smaller domesticated animals like goats, sheep, and chicken are utilized from time to time, while seafood, for obvious reasons, is a more widely used source of protein.
Herbs used to season dishes are very prominent, since the region is naturally herbaceous. Plants like marjoram, parsley, basil, thyme, and tarragon, as well as numerous others, are common to the region’s culinary fare.
Based in Honolulu, Hawaii, Jonathan Vrban maintains involvement in a vast array of professional and personal projects, honing his talents as a writer, chef, and gardener.