Tag Archives: extra virgin olive oil

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.
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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.

Gnocchi with Tomato Basil Sauce and Bruschetta

Step one in becoming a good cook: TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS! I know this… I follow this… and yet I didn’t listen to my gut today. I thought that the gnocchi recipe I was basing mine off of seemed to have too much flour but I had never made gnocchi before so I went with it… And boy oh boy was the gnocchi too floury. So, in this post I’m gonna guesstimate the correct amount of flour (and I’m gonna add more spinach) so that you won’t have the same problem. Because when gnocchi is cooked correctly it can be DELICIOUS.

As an appetizer:

Bruschetta

  • 1 Baguette (whole wheat preferably, but I had white on hand), cut
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped
  • Fresh Basil, to taste, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, 1 chopped, the other whole
  • 3 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • Optional, add Mozzarella before toasting

Rub the whole garlic clove onto each piece of bread (one side only). Place into a preheated oven (to 350) for 5-10 minutes (or until browned). Meanwhile, mix the tomato, basil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar. When bread is done, top with the mix. It’s so easy and SOOO yummy!

Spinach Gnocchi with Tomato Basil Sauce

  • 1 lb. Red Potatoes (keep skin on)
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups Spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp. Vegan Margarine
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Shallot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 can Chopped Tomato
  • 3 tbsp. Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Red Wine (plus extra for drinking)
  • 2 tsp. Sugar

Cook the potatoes in their skins in a pot of boiling salted water until tender all the way through (took mine 35 minutes). Drain and press through a strainer (remove the skins as they come off). Cook the spinach in the hot water for 5 minutes (or until wilted). Chop the spinach and add to the potatoes. Add the margarine, egg, and half of the flour to the mixture. Mix well. On a floured counter, knead the rest of the flour into the dough. Roll the dough into thin ropes and cut 3/4 inch pieces. Press the center of each to curl the sides of the gnocchi. Let chill in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, saute the chopped shallot in the olive oil until a little browned. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, basil, red wine, and sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.

Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil and add the gnocchi. Cook until the gnocchi rise to the top of the water. Drain and top with the sauce.

ECO-BENEFITS:

  1. Homemade pasta does not have the transportation and packaging that are involved in pre-made pasta.
  2. Organic, local spinach, basil, tomatoes, and garlic are eco-friendified!
  3. Vegan butter cuts back on the amount of animal byproduct and therefore helps fight global warming!
  4. Whole wheat flour and bread uses less energy because it is not refined.
  5. A benefit just for you: Because this recipe calls for wine it basically tells you to enjoy a glass while you cook!

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).