Monthly Archives: June 2010

Tostada

I’m going to start out by telling you a little about my Louisiana–>New Orleans trip: there’s definitely a reason it’s said that they are the masters of fried food… and believe me I ate a lot of it :). I figured I could treat myself with Cafe du Monde beignets since I do normally eat healthy (my mom and I have since made a pact to eat only salads for a couple of days just to counter-act the grease and not-so-healthy foods we ate while in New Orleans). Basically we ate, walked, and did all of the normal touristy things ūüôā (I have a ton of pictures to prove it). Sadly, we did not make it to the coast because most people we asked about it said that most of the beaches would be closed and that you can see everything better on the TV¬†anyways. Even in New Orleans, however, the devastation of the oil spill has started to have its effects. We may have been there one of the last weeks that we could still have seafood at all (for awhile at least). Many restaurants had stopped serving seafood dishes (and in a town that is known for its seafood this will have effects on other things such as tourism). The people in New Orleans are still waiting to find out if the oil will travel into their town, but the effects have definitely already spread. My mom and I had a great time there though! Here are some pictures from our trip:

Char-Broiled Oysters from Dragos->theres a reason it's a New Orleans institution. I actually have a cookbook with the recipe so I'll green it up and post it someday.

I'm pretty sure if you're in New Orleans you HAVE to get a beignet and a chickory cafe au lait from Cafe du Monde. We got them twice!!

There's still a lot of work to be done from Hurricane Katrina. Only ~380,000 of the million people that used to be in New Orleans are back.

I loved this quilt! It shows some of the all-time jazz musicians.

We tried to be healthier with this vegetarian pasta... but because we were in New Orleans where there's such a strong French influence, the delicious sauce was super buttery.

A 100 year old shrimp creole recipe. Sooo good. And how pretty is that kale leaf? I've never seen kale those colors.

 

No trip to New Orleans is complete without bread pudding!

 

This ad is actually in Nashville but I find it so funny and you should eat mor chikin than beef if you want to be "greener" so it was appropriate :).

Since we’ll be eating salads, I decided to spice it up by making a tostada in a tribute to the south-of-the- border country I will be in soon (I’m going to be researching whale sharks¬†in Baja, Mexico¬†for the end of July).

Tostada

Makes 2 Servings

  • 2 Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • 1 can Black Beans, warmed
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • Romaine Lettuce, shredded
  • A dollop of low-fat Plain Greek Yogurt per tostada
  • A dollop of Homemade Guacamole per tostada (see recipe below)
  • Shredded organic Mexican Cheese
  • optional, top with more Cilantro

Fry the whole wheat tortillas in EVOO until crispy and hard. Top with beans, shredded lettuce, guacamole, plain greek yogurt (or sour cream), cheese, and tomato.

Homemade Guacamole

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 big clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/3 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp.¬†Lime Juice
  • 1 tbsp. Cholula (or other Mexican hot sauce)
  • Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Cilantro, chopped, to taste (I like a lot!)
  • 1/2 Tomato, chopped

Mix all ingredients together with a fork until blended and the correct texture.

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. Organic veggies! Local if you can find them. Most farmers markets have tomatoes and lettuce year round ūüôā (though in summer while they’re in season you can get them from local growers not using hot-houses). But make sure you get the Hass avocados while they’re in season during summer!
  2. Whole wheat tortillas have less energy consumption than refined bleached white flour tortillas.
  3. Beans are an awesome source of plant protein so you can avoid animal proteins for a meal :).
  4. Organic cheese means organic produce for the cow! Same as when you eat organic this means no pesticides entering water systems!
  5. I used Plain Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream due to the amount of protein found in greek yogurt! Super good for you!
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Water Bottles

So let me tell you about my nemesis… plastic water bottles. And before you turn away because you think you’ve heard it all give me a chance. I understand the convenience factor that can play a role with these unsustainable landfill filling bottles. I can’t even claim that I always take the high ground. There are times, such as at amusement parks, where I don’t want to be lugging around my reusable tap-water filled bottle… and I have on occasion given in to temptation. In fact, I used to be the type of person who sat in my living room drinking from a plastic water bottle… I’ve come a long way from there.

Let me tell you why these are so horrible for the environment:

  1. There are alternatives! It’s not like this is the only way you can have water on the go! There are all sorts of reusable bottles now and if you “hate the way tap water tastes” there are filters everywhere! Get a Brita!
  2. These are completely recyclable and yet most people don’t recycle them. Maybe that says something about the lack of recycling in some parts of the country, however, there’s no excuse for these to end up in landfills when they can be recycled. (It’s said that about 80% end up in landfills instead of being recycled). And in case you didn’t know… plastic doesn’t biodegrade so it’ll be there for our children’s children’s children’s children’s……..etc. children.
  3. A lot of plastic water bottles leach chemicals into your water! I’m sure I don’t need to point this out, but this is horrible for you!
  4. Most bottled water: including many leading brands hold only purified water: the same as if you had gotten a Brita and filtered it yourself… not some magical stream’s water.
  5. Approximately 17 million barrels of oil a year are used in the production of your water bottles. That’s a lot of fossil fuel!
  6. Tap water is held to stricter regulations than bottled water!
  7. If you think the prices at the pump are bad: do the math on the difference between how much your tap water costs you versus your bottled water. You’ll be amazed at how horribly you’re being ripped off.
  8. Millions of gallons of water are used to make the plastic bottles that then hold water purified by more water. I don’t know if you know this, but the amount of clean drinking water in the world is steadily decreasing… and I’m pretty sure that using a lot of water to drink a little water probably doesn’t help matters much.
  9. If you’re still worried about your tap water check out the EPA’s frequently asked questions here.
  10. Check out some other information here (including the fact that the US consumes 1500 plastic water bottles a second).
  11. At the start of writing this, I told my mom that I would try to include a list of which plastic water bottles are more eco-friendly… the problem is, the more research I did the more I realized that there’s no such thing as a “more eco-friendly” plastic water bottle. They aren’t even healthy for you so the fact that they’re definitely not healthy for the planet shouldn’t surprise you. Tap water is by far better for your health and the planet. And with so many tools to purify it, etc. I really can’t condone the use of plastic water bottles. If you have to use them, try to use one with less plastic… and definitely 100% recycle it.

Irish Soda Bread

So I really like fresh homemade warm-from-the-oven bread. And I had a huge craving the other day. It led to me looking up Irish Soda Bread recipes and what I found was that they were all made with all-purpose bleached white flour, eggs for days, and refined sugar. So I did a little recipe enhancement to make this easy-to-make recipe a little more eco-friendly. Here’s what I came up with:

Irish Soda Bread

  • 1 1/2 cup All Purpose Bleached White Flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tbsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/6 cup (just do half of a third cup) Refined Sugar
  • 1/6 cup All Natural Unrefined Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 3¬†tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 cup Butter (I recommend Vegan Margarine but I didn’t have any on hand)

Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.

Combine dry ingredients: flours, sugars, salt, baking powder, baking soda. In a a separate bowl, mix the egg, milk, and lemon juice. Combine dry and wet together. Then add the melted butter. Mix it all up and put it in the oven for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Voila.

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. Halving the refined sugar and bleached refined flour and making the other half whole wheat flour and unrefined sugar decreases your foodprint while still allowing for the same flavor.
  2. I didn’t have any buttermilk on hand, so rather than making an extra trip to the grocery store I improvised by mixing the milk with the lemon. It’s a great substitute that improvises an ingredient not commonly used with some you’ll probably have on hand. Less gas!
  3. Using one egg still allows for binding but cuts out some animal byproducts!
  4. Vegan margarine would’ve been another great way to cut out animal byproduct, however, it isn’t worth the extra gas to go to the store to get just that.

Tabbouleh

First off, I’m just gonna let you know that my mom and I are actually heading to Louisiana right now. I’ve set up some posts to keep you busy while I’m away in New Orleans munching down on all of the Creole cooking I can eat.

On that note, I’ll have a ton to talk about when we get back because we’re also going to go look at the oil devastation on the coast.

For now, I promised you a tabbouleh recipe and here it is:

Tabbouleh

  • ¬†1 cup Bulgar Wheat
  • 1 1/4 cup Boiling Water
  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 3 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 bunch Scallions, chopped (white and green part)
  • 1 bunch Mint, chopped
  • 1 bunch Parsley, chopped
  • 1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Pour the boiling water over the bulgar wheat and mix in EVOO, half of the salt, and the lemon juice. Let stand for an hour then add everything else and mix well. Place in the refrigerator over night so the flavors can meld together well.

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. Vegan
  2. Organic
  3. Bulgar is a quick cooking grain… in this case you only have the stove on as long as it takes to boil water.
  4. Check out this link to learn about the difference in salts for the environment.

Rosemary Garlic Chicken

Yes. It’s finally here: a recipe for meat on a pescetarian’s blog. I cannot personally tell you how this recipe tasted, however, my mom vouches for the chicken. She tells it like it is and she said it was delicious and moist and… well she is still my mom.

I’m going to let you use this recipe if you PROMISE that you will go find organic, free-range, minimally packaged chicken. I’ll give you the low down on the way to “greenify” your chicken after the recipe but seriously. If you do those three things you can really improve your chicken foodprint.

Rosemary Garlic Chicken

Serves 2

  • 1 ORGANIC, FREE-RANGE Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 3 sprigs Rosemary, chopped
  • 2/3 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic, minced
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 Lemon

Place chicken breast in a plastic bag and beat it until it flattens to 2/3 it’s original width. Take chicken out of the bag. In order to be eco-friendly, reuse the bag and put into it the flour, rosemary, paprika, and salt and pepper. Mix that all up and then place chicken back in the bag to coat it. Meanwhile, put some EVOO in a pan and add the garlic. When that has just begun to cook, place the chicken in the pan. Cook for 4 minutes on Side 1. Flip the chicken to Side 2 and add the lemon juice. Cook for another 4 minutes or until cooked through (chicken cannot have pink in it because it is a huge disease carrier!). Enjoy!

How to “Green” Your Poultry

(I really wanted to rhyme and say “How to “green” your lean protein”… but I thought it might be a little corny)

  • Poultry¬†is about 3x as energy efficient as beef and 5x as energy efficient as pork (so cut back further on those two sources of animal protein and less on the birds) because they do not have the flatulence problems of these other animals.
  • Poultry also needs less water and food to get to full size.
  • If you’re eating poultry (or any meat) you really should be shelling out the extra money for organic and free-range. Any animal protein labeled organic has to eat solely organic feed its entire life (plus no growth hormones or other icky stuff like that). So you’re getting a double-bonus here. You’re avoiding land degredation and water source pollution through the use of pesticides AND you’re eating a bird that doesn’t pollute your own system with growth hormones and pesticides! The government is still figuring out what free-range should mean, however, it does mean that the chickens are allowed to be outside which is more humane. And if you add in the organic, it probably means they have a vegetarian diet (super eco-plus–>a huge waste is growing animals to feed them to other animals).
  • Every farmers market I’ve ever been too has local farms selling chicken. Ask about their practices and if they are labeled organic or have organic practices (and can’t afford the title) buy your chicken there! Then you also cut back on food miles (though in the case of chicken this is not the most important thing so always spring for organic over local unless you can get both).
  • As with my recipe above, add veggies and sides to your chicken so that you can stretch one breast to feed two people (by beating it down it’ll also look like a normal portion per person).
  • Cut your meat diet down. Even by one day. If everyone could do that it would really be great for the environment.
  • Make sure you’re using produce that’s super eco-friendly when you do cook chicken. They don’t cancel each other out, but it will keep your foodprint down for the meal.

Garlic Parmesean Mushrooms and Asparagus

Serves 2

  • 1 tbsp. Garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. Fresh Parmesean
  • 1/3 cup Mushrooms (seasonal), sliced
  • 1/2 bushel Asparagus

Place EVOO in a pan and add the garlic. When it starts to cook, add the mushrooms and asparagus and place a top on the pan (this steams the veggies while they cook–>and makes the asparagus a delicious texture). Mix the veggies around a little and then place top back on.¬†Cook ~5 minutes (or until tender) then add the cheese. Wait until the cheese melts and you’re done!

P.S. You can use any veggies you want for this. I think broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc. would be great as well.

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. The chicken is served with brown rice (better than white rice) and veggies plus it was pounded until thinned out so 1 breast can feed 2 people!
  2. The chicken’s coating used whole wheat flour instead of regular all-purpose bleached flour.
  3. The asparagus and mushrooms are in season and I bought them local and organic!
  4. The chicken was organic and free-range (I didn’t buy it local although that would’ve been an added plus point).

 

Seitan With A Citrus Ginger Teryaki

So… the time has come where I’m answering the call for eco-friendly meat recipes… but first I’m gonna push the vegan thing one more time :). While my mom ate the Rosemary Garlic Chicken I made her last night, I ate this vegan deliciousness. And as I’ve stated, going vegan is the #1 way to reduce your foodprint. This is because you cut out all animal byproducts and animals take a lot of land, and the animals themselves eat a lot of veggies that you could have in your diet instead! Plus, a lot of time the meat is flown from all over to get to your plate. And don’t forget that cow flatulence contains methane which is a greenhouse gas 20x worse than carbon.

But… I’m gonna get off my high-horse. Tomorrow you’ll get information for how to be eco-friendly and eat chicken but today you’ll get a delicious vegan recipe:

Seitan With An Orange Ginger Teryaki

Serves 2:

  • 1 package Seitan: I used WestSoy’s Seitan Strips
  • 1/2 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce or Tamari
  • 1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice (or any citrus fruit in season)
  • Orange Zest
  • 1 tbsp. Ginger, grated

This is a super easy recipe: Just place the soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, brown sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and ginger in a pot and bring it to a boil. Then lower it to a simmer for around 30 minutes or until it boils liquid off and thickens. It’ll taste REALLY strong. But trust me. When there’s only a little time left on the sauce, saute your seitan (I didn’t use any olive oil but you can if wanted) until warm. Top with the teryaki and munch :). I had mine with some brown rice and some asparagus and mushrooms (I’ll give you those recipes with your chicken tomorrow).

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. VEGAN Vegan vegan…
  2. Using seasonal citrus fruits allows you to buy them tastier and with less food miles attached.
  3. If you don’t want to buy packaged seitan (thus cutting back on packaging–>eco praise if you do this)¬†you can totally make it yourself. Here’s a recipe.

See you tomorrow for the chicken you’ve all been waiting for.

Locavore Alternatives

So as I walked through the Whole Foods here in Nashville, I was stoked to see so much local produce…. from California. It took me a little while to realize that I was in Tennessee and produce from California was no longer “local”. I spent some time looking for the local Tennessee produce and what I realized is that they only have “regional” products here in Nashville. What? Georgia is not Tennessee. They’re closer than California and Tennessee but how am I supposed to eat locally grown produce when there are no options!

This spurred a realization: I have not been telling ya’ll (yeah I said it) about how to shop if you do not live in a state (or country) where the produce is fresh and local. So, stumped, I thought I would just tell you to go to your local farmers markets. Those occur in most cities… but what if you’re living far away from a city? Then your own car travel would be adding to those nasty food miles! And farmers markets happen as few as one times a week! What if you really need peaches for that delicious peach pie you’ve been waiting to make all year and the farmers market isn’t for another six days?

Therefore, I have done some research into alternatives to the locavore diet:

  • If you can’t find it local, definitely buy it organic. Sometimes local products are not organic because the small farmers cannot afford to get their produce checked by the USDA. They may be using organic practices though. But if you can’t find it local (and potentially unorganic) then really do buy it organically. Organic means no pesticides (which are made with fossil fuels and lead to increased greenhouse gases and the pollution of water sources).
  • Join a CSA. This means Community Supported Agriculture and here is some info about how it works. Basically you get yummy produce around once a week from a local farmer. They may not be the produce you’re looking for, but how fun is this idea? And you get to try new things!
  • All produce in the US must now follow COOL: Country of Origin Labeling. This means that when you’re at your grocery store you can figure out which products are coming to you from America and which have been shipped halfway around the world. Therefore, you can pick the produce with less food miles attached to it. Some stores, like Whole Foods, also label based on state making this even easier!
  • This site shows the farmers’ markets, farms, and sources of sustainably produced foods closest to you. Even if you don’t think you have any you’ll be surprised.

Basically just do your best. As I’ve stated it’s not about changing your ways completely (in this case moving closer to local produce). It’s about doing what you can. So if you can’t find local or organic produce, cut back on the meat and fish. It’ll make the same eco-positive effect. And I will definitely try to be more aware of the fact that you don’t all live in CA next to fresh local produce. For some of you, “regional” produce is just fine.