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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
Posted in Dinner, Lunch
Tagged anchovy, butter, chili powder, chipotle, cilantro, cumin, dijon mustard, EVOO, extra virgin olive oil, flank steak, french bread, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, oregano, parmesan, peanut oil, pepper, red wine vinegar, romaine, salt, vegetable stock
Sauces. They really do make or break a meal. That’s why a saucier is so important in commercial kitchens. But how to eco-up something that can have a ton of ingredients? Easy. Make sure the ingredients (as many as you may want) are as “green” as you can get.
Here’s a recipe for an apricot barbecue sauce. I think the sauce tastes absolutely great (I happened to eat it on fish) and I think it could be really good on chicken (organic and free-range of course), seitan, or tofu. You could also sub the apricots for other seasonal fruits such as peaches.
Apricot Barbecue Sauce
- 1/2 small Yellow Onion, chopped
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 3-4 Apricots, pitted and sliced
- 1/4 cup Vegetable Broth
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
- 1/4 tsp. Ground Coriander
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1/8 cup Molasses
- 1 tbsp. Maple Syrup
- 3 tbsp. Tomato Sauce
- 2 tbsp. Tamari Soy Sauce
Saute the onions until brown. Then add the garlic. Deglaze the pan with the veggie broth. Add the apricots, ginger, and coriander and bring to a boil. Cover and lower to a simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover and add the remaining ingredients. Cook for 10 more minutes and then transfer to a food processor. Blend until smooth. Top your chicken, tofu, seitan, or fish with it. Yum yum!
- Using seasonal, local produce (like the apricots) leads to tastier products that are better for the environment. Win win!
- Buying organic spices and vegetables helps to alleviate pesticides from poisoning our watersheds.
- Vegetable broth is a great alternative to chicken stock if you’re trying to avoid using so many animal products.
- The fruit salad I had on the side of the dish is a hodge podge. You can really make it with any fruit you’re trying to rid your refrigerator of.
- If you’re using fish, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch List to know which fish are sustainable and which you should be avoiding due to overfishing.
Posted in Dinner, Lunch, Snack
Tagged apricot, coriander, garlic, ginger, maple syrup, molasses, onion, pepper, salt, soy sauce, tamari, tomato sauce, vegetable broth
As an ode to the fact that at this moment I’m in Bahia de Los Angeles in Baja, Mexico, here’s a recipe for enchiladas! And make extra! I ate my two and wanted more. They were so delicious!
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 1/2 small Yellow Onion, chopped (as small as possible)
- 1 1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
- A couple shakes each: dried oregano, dried basil leaves, cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin
- 1/4 cup Tomato Sauce
- 1/4 cup Salsa
- 3 tbsp. Water
- 2 Whole Wheat Tortillas
- Organic Mexican Cheese
- Veggies, chopped (I used bell pepper and onion but that’s all I had)
Cook the sauce first by sauteing the garlic and onion until the onion is just starting to brown. Add the tomato sauce, salsa, and water and turn heat to a simmer. Add all of the spices and let simmer for at least 5 minutes (the longer the better). Meanwhile, saute the vegetables you will be using in your enchilada. Place them in the tortillas and roll up. Place them into a pan (fold side down). Top with the sauce and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes (or until heated through). Top with cheese and bake until it melts (about 2 minutes).
- Using vegetables allows you to cut back on the amount of cheese you need to get a great flavor (same with all of the spices). Plus you can get spices and vegetables organic.
- Because this doesn’t call for specific vegetables, you can pick those that you can find local and in season.
- The sauce gives the same heartiness to the enchilada that you get with meat enchiladas without the meat! I recommend making it with extra chili powder if you can handle it! And topping it with organic local avocado can help cut back on the heat from the chili powder if you can’t.
- Whole wheat tortillas take less processing than their refined flour counterparts.
Posted in Dinner, Lunch
Tagged basil, bell pepper, cayenne, cheese, chili powder, cumin, garlic, onion, oregano, paprika, salsa, tomato sauce, water, whole wheat tortillas
Ok. I officially realize that I’ve been making a lot of vegan recipes lately and I also realize that all of you out there are not vegan. For that reason, I’m going to make a conscious effort to make some vegetarian, fish, and even some meat recipes for your reading pleasure. This, however, is not one of them because I had not realized how much vegan goodness I’d been cooking up until this recipe. I promise I’ll do better from now on.
I was having a craving for pineapple when I came across a recipe for a pineapple stir-fry. I redid the recipe to fit what I had in my refrigerator (why make a whole trip to the store if you don’t need to) and it totally warped my view on how pineapple should be used in cooking. I’ve always been one of those “pineapple is better by itself or in a dessert than as a savory ingredient” types of people and I was definitely put in my place with this. Maybe it’ll change your view too?
- 1/2 cup Quinoa
- 1/2 cup Macadamia Nuts
- 2 tbsp. Tamari Soy Sauce
- 1/3 of a Pineapple, cored and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
- 1 Scallion, white and green part chopped
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 1/2 inch Ginger, minced
- Cayenne, to taste
- Mint, to taste, chopped
Boil 1 cup of water and then add quinoa, turning down the heat and covering. Let simmer for ~10 minutes or until all of the water has been soaked up. Set quinoa aside. Place the macadamia nuts in a pan that has NOT been oiled. Toast them to a golden brown. In a bag, marinate the pineapple chunks in the tamari. In a separate pan, saute the red bell pepper, garlic, and finger in oil until tender. Add the scallions and let brown a little. Add the pineapple and saute until just turning brown. Mix in the cayenne. Add the macadamia nuts and mint to heat/reheat and mix in. Place the mix over the quinoa and you’re finished! (I topped mine with some chia seeds too).
- Quinoa is a quick-cooking grain. It cooks much quicker than rice and is grown with less water. Because of that it is a great “greener” alternative to rice.
- Getting the veggies local and organic can cut back on food-miles and the use of no pesticides helps protect our land and waterways.
- Nuts are a great source of protein that help us avoid heavy foodprint proteins such as meat and fish.
- Vegan! Though I promise I’m not going to make everything vegan because that wouldn’t teach you anything about how to go greener with the food you’re always eating (unless you are vegan).
Posted in Dinner, Lunch
Tagged garlic, ginger, macadamia nuts, mint, pineapple, quinoa, red bell pepper, scallion, soy sauce, tamari
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).
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.
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.
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!
Whole wheat tortillas have less energy consumption than refined bleached white flour tortillas.
Beans are an awesome source of plant protein so you can avoid animal proteins for a meal :).
Organic cheese means organic produce for the cow! Same as when you eat organic this means no pesticides entering water systems!
I used Plain Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream due to the amount of protein found in greek yogurt! Super good for you!
Posted in Dinner, Lunch
Tagged avocado, black beans, cheese, cholula, cilantro, garlic, greek yogurt, guacamole, lime juice, pepper, red onion, romaine lettuce, sea salt, sourcream, tomato, whole wheat tortilla
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
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
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
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.
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!
The chicken’s coating used whole wheat flour instead of regular all-purpose bleached flour.
The asparagus and mushrooms are in season and I bought them local and organic!
The chicken was organic and free-range (I didn’t buy it local although that would’ve been an added plus point).
Posted in Dinner, Lunch
Tagged asparagus, chicken, garlic, lemon, mushrooms, paprika, parmesean, pepper, rosemary, salt, whole wheat flour
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:
- 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.
- Homemade pasta does not have the transportation and packaging that are involved in pre-made pasta.
- Organic, local spinach, basil, tomatoes, and garlic are eco-friendified!
- Vegan butter cuts back on the amount of animal byproduct and therefore helps fight global warming!
- Whole wheat flour and bread uses less energy because it is not refined.
- A benefit just for you: Because this recipe calls for wine it basically tells you to enjoy a glass while you cook!
Posted in Dinner, Lunch, Snack
Tagged baguette, balsamic vinegar, basil, bruschetta, canned tomato, egg, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, gnocchi, mozzarella, potato, red wine, shallot, spinach, sugar, tomato basil sauce, tomato paste, vegan margarine, whole wheat flour