Tag Archives: oregano

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.

Veggie Enchiladas

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!

Vegetable Enchiladas

For sauce

  • 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

For enchilada:

  • 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).

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. 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.
  2. Because this doesn’t call for specific vegetables, you can pick those that you can find local and in season.
  3. 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.
  4. Whole wheat tortillas take less processing than their refined flour counterparts.

“Green” Pizza

So I have this great childhood memory of Friday night’s being pizza night. For my family, that normally meant Stuffed Crust from Pizza Hut. Now that I’m older, when my pizza craving kicks in, there’s still not much I can do to control it. So… here’s a couple of ways to “green” your pizza:

  1. If you’re definitely not going to cook your pizza yourself (which is obviously the best bet), use a local delivery service. They’ll use less gas than you will because they clump together trips in a more eco-friendly manner (though they do it for economic reasons)–>UNLESS you can bike or walk to your local pizza shop (then no gas is being used for transport).
  2. If you are making your own pizza (although I realize this is repetitive and I’ve pretty much beat this idea into you by now) buy local, organic, in season ingredients. ESPECIALLY for the cheese (unless you’re using vegan “cheese”–>which of course is better because as I’ve stated the less animal products used the better) you have to buy organic. It’s the only way that you’ll know that the cows are not treated with hormones, etc. Local dairy is fresher and logs less food miles.
  3. Try pizza without cheese. Instead, add things like adding extra herbs or veggies in lieu of cheese–>or at least add less cheese (triple cheese pizza may be delicious, but really fresh veggies can make pizza yummy too!).
  4. If you do have cheese on your pizza definitely skip the meat products–>or else you’ll be doubling up on the animal products (which is a big no no in the “green” world).
  5. Try using flatbreads such as pita, naan, or tortilla instead of the pizza dough. This allows the pizza to cook way quicker and it allows YOU to save on your utility bills.
  6. Crust from whole grains! Even if you aren’t down to switch your pizza to flatbread-style (or if you are) an easy way to be eco-friendly is using whole grains. They require a lot less processing. And they’re healthier for you!
  7. Make your own sauce! This cuts back on packaging waste and I think homemade sauces are way tastier too! (If you do use a sauce that’s premade, I recommend trying one in a glass jar–>that way you have an extra cup when you’re done with it! And, at least for my clumsy self, these are always needed!)

So… since I know I’ve been craving pizza, here are a couple of recipes that you will love! and they might even inspire the pizza-maker in you as well.

While we’re on the subject, check out Whole-Wheat or Bust!’s Veggie Naan Pizza. Yummy!

“Green” Green Pizza

  • Homemade Pesto (I made mine from this recipe). You could sub out the cheese (to make this vegan) by using breadcrumbs instead (–>it’ll give the same texture and there will be no animal byproduct!)
  • Swiss Chard (only leaves)
  • Arugula (only leaves)
  • Cherry Tomatoes, sliced
  • Zucchini, sliced
  • Dried Oregano
  • Optional: Goat Cheese
  • Some form of flatbread (I used a whole wheat tortilla)

Preheat the oven to 450 (while oven preheats, bake the zucchini–>cover with aluminum foil). Meanwhile, saute the chard and the arugula until darker green and a little wilted. Top the flatbread with pesto, wilted greens, tomatoes, and the zucchini once out of the oven. If you’re adding the goat cheese (it was a delicious addition), do so now. Place the pizza in the oven until the tortilla (or other flatbread is toasted and the toppings are hot). Top with the dried oregano. I’m not much of a bragger but holy moly it was SO good. Nom nom nom. For sure.

Classic-Style Flatbread Pizza (with extra veggies and less cheese)

  • Some flatbread (I used whole wheat naan)
  • Pizza sauce (here‘s a good recipe for homemade–>I was bad and used a bottle of jarred pizza sauce that I had on hand).
  • Organic cheese (I used a really delicious Mexican blend)
  • Artichoke Heart (Trader Joe’s has a frozen variety that are really tasty if you don’t like the normal canned type)
  • Broccoli, cut into little florets
  • Red Bell Pepper, cut into thin strips
  • Garlic, chopped
  • Optional: top with Parmesan

Alright. Like I said… sometimes I’m just in the mood for pizza. And as delicious as the Green Pizza is, it won’t end your craving like real tomato pizza sauce will. I topped the flatbread with the tomato sauce. I sauteed all of the veggies together before adding them to the top of the pizza. I then filled in the gaps with cheese (if you’re like me and you want a cheesy pizza–>try using less). Place in a preheated 450 oven until the cheese melts and the vegetables are hot. This pizza works with any veggies. I just used what I had on hand.

The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future.  ~Marya Mannes