Tag Archives: pepper

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.

Apricot BBQ Sauce

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!

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. Using seasonal, local produce (like the apricots) leads to tastier products that are better for the environment. Win win!
  2. Buying organic spices and vegetables helps to alleviate pesticides from poisoning our watersheds.
  3. Vegetable broth is a great alternative to chicken stock if you’re trying to avoid using so many animal products.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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!

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).

 

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).