Tag Archives: cilantro

Mexican Spiced Flank Steak and Chipotle Caesar Salad

I have to apologize. I lied to you guys. I said I was going to cook up some meat recipes for you this summer even though they aren’t what I eat so that you could see what it means to eat “greener” meat (“green” eggs and ham anyone?)… but I’ve failed. I gave you guys one chicken recipe that wasn’t even all that wonderful and then I pretty much wiped my hands of the idea of cooking up some “green” meat. I apologize. This blog is so that I can hopefully have even one person try to cook a little bit more eco-friendly than they might be doing right now and I couldn’t even spend the time to teach all of you non-pescetarians how to grill up some meat. This recipe, however, is sure to make you forgive me. My dad said it was quite delicious and I’ll give you tons of tips on how to eat your beef and not feel all of the guilt I’ve been heaping on you. And I’ll even give you the recipe for a delicious Mexican-style caesar salad.

Mexican Spiced Flank Steak

  • Flank Steak
  • 1 small box Vegetable Stock
  • 1/4 cup Lime Juice
  • 1 Jalapeno, diced as small as possible
  • fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Cumin, ground
  • dried Mexican Oregano
  • Chili Powder

Poke holes in the flank steak with a fork. Place the veggie stock (which gives the tomato flavor so present in many Mexican dishes) with the lime juice and all of the yummy Mexican seasonings in a plastic bag with the flank steak. Let marinate completely covered (you may need more lime juice or veggie stock if you’re feeding more than 2 people) for at least an hour (but the longer the better!). Then grill the flank steak for about 4 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second side (my dad likes his closer to medium rare so if you’re a medium-> well type go for a little longer). Slice the meat in 1/2 inch strips against the grain. It should be super tender and full of the flavors of Mexico. 🙂

I don’t know if you guys have figured this out yet, but I’m a HUGE fan of Mexican food. Maybe it’s the whole living in Southern California thing (and having worked at a Mexican restaurant) but it’s definitely my cuisine of choice when I can’t decide what else to eat. This salad is inspired by a recipe I found in a Mexican cookbook I got while I was in Baja, Cocina de la Familia and I thought it was absolutely wonderful. I hope you guys like it too.

Chipotle Caesar Salad (Ensalada Cesar con Chile Chipotle)

Serves 2 as a Side or 1 as a Meal

  • 2 Hearts of Romaine, torn and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Stale French Bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 can Anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 canned Chipotle Chile en adobo sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. EVOO
  • 1/2 tbsp. Peanut Oil

Preheat oven to 275 F. Warm the 1 tbsp. of EVOO and 1 tbsp. of unsalted butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic. When the garlic begins to lightly brown, add the bread and toss until just starting to brown as well. Then place the bread cubes in the oven for about 20 minutes. Turn while they are cooking to toast evenly.

Meanwhile, place the anchovies, garlic, cheese, mustard, and the chipotle chile, vinegar, and salt in a food processor and process until smooth. (If needed add more chile). Pour in the 3 tbsp. EVOO and 1/2 tbsp. peanut oil while motor is running. Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix together romaine leaves, croutons, and dressing to coat then toss the salad.

I hope that the recipe makes up for my lagging on the eco-information about beef. If not, here’s some real tips to keep your foodprint as small as possible even when you’re craving red meat.

  1. Because meat, especially cow and pig, has such a huge foodprint I can’t stress this enough: ORGANIC ORGANIC ORGANIC. Opt for organic, grass-fed and especially local if you can find it! Organic meat means organic feed means no harmful pesticides or gross antibiotics or growth hormones. Local means less transportation. Grass-fed leads to less cow flatulence leads to less greenhouse gas emissions. It’s better for you, better for the environment, and some people say it tastes better.
  2. Choose a meat such as flank steak that can be sliced (and in this case is meant to be). Then give everyone a smaller portion of meat and a larger amount of sides. Less meat= greener, however, you still get the protein you’re craving.
  3. Since you’re getting meat, pay attention to what else you’re serving. Opt for local and organic produce, quick-fix grains (such as bulgar wheat or quinoa), less dairy, and meat and sides with less packaging (recyclable packaging is best).
  4. Eat less beef. Make the days you do eat it count and then cut back on how often you make it. This recipe is perfect for that. Super yummy so you’ll be satiated until your next beef-fix. If everyone cut back a little bit on their beef intake, there’d be a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. If you were to cut back on 2 oz of meat a day, you’d save 819 lbs CO2 a year. If you were to cut back on 16 oz of meat a day you could save 6,548 lbs CO2 a year. That’s HUGE! –Go Green Get Lean
  5. In Go Green Get Lean, it shows that it takes: about 7 lbs of corn and 2, 500 gallons of water to produce 1 lb or body weight on cattle, more than 200 gallons of fuel to raise a 1,200-lb steer on a feedlot, about 5 times as much water to grow feed grains as it does to grow fruits and veggies, and roughly half of all irrigation water in the US goes to livestock… so think about the changes. I’m not saying stop eating meat. I’m just saying think about cutting back a little. Cows take a lot of land, water, and food. Even if you don’t believe in the “green” movement, think about the fact that that could be going to humans.

eco-benefits

  1. This meal used a lot of the techniques stated above to “green” up the meat. Smaller portion of meat to a larger portion of a side dish, organic grass-fed beef raised in CA (which is local for me), organic local salad ingredients, etc.
Advertisements

Halibut and Scallop Ceviche

I have been cooking up a storm lately, however, it seems that I continue to have a sort of writers block. So I’m going to let this delicious recipe talk for itself. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Halibut and Scallop Ceviche

  • Wild-caught Pacific Halibut
  • A couple of scallops for added flavor
  • 1 cup Lime or other citrus Juice (I actually mixed lime and grapefruit)
  • 1 medium Tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1-2 Jalapenos, diced (add more if you really like it spicy)
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Salt, Pepper, and Mexican dried Oregano, to taste
  • 1/2 Avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped, to top
  • Cilantro, to top

Put the fish into a nonmetallic bowl and cover with the citrus juice. Mix thoroughly, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Drain off excess juice and an hour before serving, stir in the tomatoes, onion, and jalapenos. Add enough olive oil to coat. Add the salt, pepper, and oregano, and return to the refrigerator until just before serving. Taste for seasoning and mix in the avocado. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Eco-Benefits

  1. My dad’s friends son was staying with us for the summer and actually went to Alaska and fished. The halibut that I used was one of the fish he caught. Non-commercial catching of fish is much healthier for the environment because there is no damage done to the ecosystem such as with nets and dredging.
  2. Pacific, wild-caught halibut is a sustainable fish according to Seafood Watch. Other types of halibut, are not sustainable so be careful what you’re buying.
  3. I used left-over scallops in this and ceviche really is a great way to use any excess fish you may have on hand.
  4. Buying seasonal and local vegetables helps allow for a greater flavor in this dish and it is more sustainable to not have to get ingredients transported large distances.
  5. Ceviche needs absolutely no cooking. Your gas bill and the environment will thank you.

And if you happen to be worried about fish parasites or other nasty no-cooking diseases, I recommend that you freeze your seafood for at least two days and then thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. The freezing will get rid of anything on the fish.

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 🙂 (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 🙂 (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!

Leftover Fish Tacoritos

So… I know I’ve given you guys a delicious fish taco recipe already but let’s be honest: it was not the healthiest of fish taco recipes. And though this is a blog about being more eco-friendly in the way you eat, I’ve begun to realize that doing so is pretty linked with eating healthier. Plus, this fish recipe is for a tacorito… not a taco.

Here’s a little backstory: my mom is an amazing cook and we made dinner together the other night. Shrimp and a delicious fruit salad (see recipe below). Between the two of us, however, we could not finish off the shrimp. The next day for lunch I came up with these bad boys. Super easy yet super addicting and delicious. I call them a tacorito because with so much yummins inside of the tortilla, they were too large to be a taco but too small to be a burrito. Here’s what I did:

Shrimp Tacorito

  • Whole Wheat Tortilla
  • Leftover Shrimp–>3-4 per taco (ours had been marinated in bourbon, teriyaki, maple syrup, dijon mustard, and chili powder)
  • Any Salsa or Pico de Gallo you have sitting around
  • 1/4 Bell Pepper per taco (any color) chopped
  • Shredded Cabbage
  • 1 tsp. per taco Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 avocado per taco, sliced
  • optional: Organic Shredded Cheese

Place some EVOO in a medium pan and saute the bell pepper until just warm–>keep it crunchy for a good texture! At the same time, in a different part of the pan heat up the shrimp. When warm, take out with a slotted spatula leaving the EVOO over some heat. Place the tortilla in pan. Top with cheese (if used) until just melty and then add the shrimp, bell pepper, and salsa. Take off heat and top with all other ingredients. Fold it up for a delicious tacorito!

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. It’s a great and easy way to use up leftover ingredients. One of the worst eco-faux paus is letting good food go to waste!
  2. Check this out for which shrimp is most sustainable because some are best choice for sustainable fish eating and some are avoid.
  3. Seasonal vegetables are convenient to buy locally and organically because they’re everywhere! (It’s bell pepper season).
  4. You can use any fish in this recipe for a filling leftover lunch or dinner.

Fruit Salad

(Recipe courtesy of my mom)

  • Cantalope balls
  • Watermelon balls (you can use any melon)
  • Simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water in the microwave for 3 minutes)
  • Mint, chopped

Place the mint in the hot simple sugar and let steep. Place in the refrigerator until cold. Pour through a fine strainer to get rid of the mint leaves. Place melon balls in the infused simple syrup.

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. Melons are all in season in summer!
  2. You only need a few ingredients which means less packaging which means greater sustainability!

Falafel with Homemade Tzatziki and Hummus

Alright. I can’t take credit for the falafel craving that led me to make this delicious recipe. My friend over at Whole Wheat or BUST! made some falafel the other day and I just had to follow suit. I did, however, use my own recipe so if you’re having a falafel craving you’re welcome to check out both of our recipes and pick your favorite.

So all of these recipes call for a food processer. If you do not have one, a blender will work just as well.

Tzatziki

(You can make this up to a few days ahead of time. It can stay in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it).

  • 1 whole Cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1 1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. Mint
  • 1 clove Garlic, crushed

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. (This recipe will give you a lot of tzatziki but it can be used on everything. I lovvvve it. And I like the mint instead of the normal dill but if you want a more traditional tzatziki use dill instead of the mint).

Hummus

  • 1 can Chickpeas (a.k.a Garbanzo Beans), drained except for a little bit of fluid
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 6 tbsp. Sesame Seed Paste
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • Paprika, to taste
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Put chickpeas (and leftover fluid) and lemon juice in the food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the sesame seed paste, olive oil, and garlic until smooth. Add paprika, salt, and pepper to taste. (This also makes some extra hummus. And if you’re only making hummus and not the whole pita meal, I recommend trying variations like adding kalamata olives or sundried tomatoes).

Falafel

  • 1 can Chickpeas (a.k.a Garbanzo Beans)
  • 1 Red Onion, chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 2 slices Whole Wheat Bread
  • 2 small Red Chiles
  • 1 tsp. ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp. Cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 3/4 cup Bread Crumbs
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for frying
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber

Place chickpeas, onion, garlic, bread, chiles, spices, and cilantro in the food processor for 30 seconds. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Shape mixture into walnut-sized balls.

Dip the balls into the egg and then roll them in the breadcrumbs (shake off excess).

Heat the oil in a large pan and deep-fry the falafel for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and browned.

At this point, I microwaved whole wheat pitas for about 30 seconds and topped them with hummus. I placed the falafel on that and then topped it all with the tomato, cucumber, and tzatziki. Falafel is also delicious in salads or by itself so don’t feel limited by anything. All of these recipes can be used in different ways and will taste just as delicious.

Eco-Benefits

  1. This was a vegetarian dish which means that a lot less animal by-products were used. Since animal waste is one of the #1 worst factors contributing to climate change this is a great way to eat.
  2. All organic and local produce was used in this dish. This means there are no pesticides (which can enter water streams and pollute them) and there was a lot less transportation (less greenhouse gas emissions).
  3. The cans that chickpeas come in are easily recyclable and you won’t have food waste if you decide not to use the chickpeas because canned foods last so long. You’ll easily use the chickpeas before they go bad.
  4. Whole wheat bread products require a lot less energy because they are not bleached and refined.
  5. And though this isn’t a “green” benefit, this is a super healthy fried recipe. (Again check out Whole Wheat or BUST for more facts on that).

The Magical Fruit

Lets talk “green” beans… green meaning eco-friendly… not actual green beans. I felt like I had to get to them eventually… they are in the title of my blog. So… what makes a bean eco-friendly?

  1. Eating less meat may be one of the most effective ways to fight global warming… and an easy way to cut back on meat (but keep up protein) is BEANS!!!!! (And as the song says: the more you eat…–> and who doesn’t want to stay regular?)
  2. Plant protein uses 1/10 of the fossil fuel than animal protein!
  3. Even when you buy beans in a can, you’re still eating at a much greener spot on the food chain.
  4. Less water is used in the production of beans (and all plant proteins) than animal proteins as well!!
  5. Beans have a super long storage life (canned or dried) so they won’t go bad!

And as an added bonus: the obesity rate among vegetarians is much lower than the average American (only 0-6% as opposed to 2/3 people in the normal population).

So yay for beans BEANS the magical fruit!

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

  • This recipe serves like 4-6 people (I made it for me and my roommates) so keep that in mind if you need to cut it back.
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large finely grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 can organic, vegetarian, refried black beans
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • cumin
  • garlic salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • curry powder
  • extra virgin olive oil

Cook the quinoa by boiling the 2 cups of water. Then add the quinoa, lower to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes.

Mix the cooked quinoa with carrot, cilantro, and spices. Meanwhile, Saute the shallot and add the black beans.

Mix the shallot and the quinoa mixtures together. Add the egg and flour. When everything is mixed together, make into uniform-sized balls. Place olive oil in a pan, flatten the balls and fry until cooked through. You can also bake them in the oven if you prefer.

Topped with salsa and placed on cracked wheat bread, black bean quinoa burgers are great for lunch or dinner!

I topped my burger with salsa, but the original recipe called for topping with guacamole. My roommate, L, topped hers with ketchup and said that the burger was better than her frozen TexMex (individually wrapped) vegan burgers–> they’re more sustainable as well!!

Lessons Learned

  • Beans are a great plant protein alternative to animal proteins.
  • Although they come in packaging, they will not go bad and the savings in fossil fuels by avoiding the animal protein is worth it.
  • Less water usage!
  • If you want to stay regular you know what the magical fruit is 🙂

2 Updates

  1. I made this recipe again for dinner but wrapped it up in a tortilla and it was so good!
  2. I also used the leftover black beans on top of a piece of wheat naan, added cheese and salsa and had a Mexican pizza! (I think I was craving that sort of food today).