Tag Archives: salt

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.

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.

Whole Wheat and Cornmeal Blueberry Pancakes

While I was in Nashville, way back in the day, my mom made me delicious cornmeal blueberry pancakes. They were the inspiration for this dish 🙂 which is a great breakfast to get you up and at em’ in the morning.

Whole Wheat Cornmeal Blueberry Pancakes

Serves 3-4

  • 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 3/4 cup Cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tbsp. Canola Oil
  • 1 1/4 cup Soy Milk
  • 1/3 cup Water
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • 1 cup Blueberries

Mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Combine all other ingredients separately (except for the blueberries). Add wet to dry and mix until combined. Fold in the blueberries (very carefully). Cook pancakes :). Top with more maple syrup. So good.

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. Whole wheat flour means less energy than normal white flour (you don’t need to enrich it and bleach it, etc.)
  2. Get your blueberries organic, local, and seasonal. No pesticides, less transportation, and no extra energy put into growing them at that time of year.
  3. Vegan means never having to say you’re sorry. (Sorry. I’ve never even seen Love Story but I’ve seen Now and Then enough to know the line :)–>and I figure if you’ve read my blog at all I’ve probably beaten the vegan thing to death by now haha).

Pumpkin Spiced Sweet Potato Puree

Oh comfort food. Since I get home from Baja today (though I’m writing this the night before I leave because I’m up all nervous and jittery anyways), I figure I’ll be about ready for some homemade macaroni or some other comfort food like that. Therefore, I’m giving you a recipe for one of my favorites: Sweet Potatoes. You can do so much with them: baking, boiling, broiling, grilling, etc. And they’re so versatile: going from sweet to savory so easily. This recipe, however, is seriously one of the best. I recommend it for a dessert even because of how sweet it is (and a healthy dessert at that!)

Pumpkin Spiced Sweet Potato Puree

Feeds 1 as a Meal, 2 as a Side

  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • Dash of Salt
  • A couple shakes each of: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger
  • 1 tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp. Grapeseed Oil

Bake the sweet potato for ~45 minutes at 400 or until you can easily pierce through the potato with a fork. When it is no longer too hot to handle, take off the skin, place in the food processor with all other ingredients and blend until smooth. If you don’t like any chunks, you can push it through a wire mesh strainer. If you like it chunkier, just use a potato masher or a fork to mash it up. (I topped mine with vanilla greek yogurt more for the photographic quality than the flavor though it was very good).

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. You can bake these at the same time you’re baking something else. If the other thing is baking at a different temperature, just change the cooking time accordingly. Yay for cutting back on energy use!
  2. Organic sweet potatoes and local can decrease transportation and pesticides!

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.

Applesauce Oat Muffins

Nom nom nom for sure. I really wanted to have something to take while I was in the bus on the way down to our campsite in Baja so I came up with these little suckers. They’re vegan (again I know) but they’re really moist and delicious. I recommend not using instant oats (which was my problem) because they cook a little too much. But they were great anyways so tis’ up to you.

Applesauce Oat Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins

  • 3/4 cup Soy Milk
  • 1/2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 3 tbsp. Canola Oil
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 3/4 cup Oats
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
  • Pinch of Salt
  • optional: Dried Fruit of some sort (I’m not really into it but I know some people are)

Oven to 350. Whisk together soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Wait a minute (to let it curdle). Add the applesauce, canola oil, and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. (If using dried fruit fold in now). Scoop the mix into muffin cups. Bake for ~30 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean.

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. Whole wheat flour instead of white flour has less processing involved.
  2. Vegan (although I know I said I’d do something different for awhile… I can’t help it! I’d already made them!)
  3. Organic, local applesauce is easy to find! At the very least, most supermarkets now carry organic applesauce.

Irish Soda Bread

So I really like fresh homemade warm-from-the-oven bread. And I had a huge craving the other day. It led to me looking up Irish Soda Bread recipes and what I found was that they were all made with all-purpose bleached white flour, eggs for days, and refined sugar. So I did a little recipe enhancement to make this easy-to-make recipe a little more eco-friendly. Here’s what I came up with:

Irish Soda Bread

  • 1 1/2 cup All Purpose Bleached White Flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tbsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/6 cup (just do half of a third cup) Refined Sugar
  • 1/6 cup All Natural Unrefined Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 3 tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 cup Butter (I recommend Vegan Margarine but I didn’t have any on hand)

Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.

Combine dry ingredients: flours, sugars, salt, baking powder, baking soda. In a a separate bowl, mix the egg, milk, and lemon juice. Combine dry and wet together. Then add the melted butter. Mix it all up and put it in the oven for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Voila.

ECO-BENEFITS

  1. Halving the refined sugar and bleached refined flour and making the other half whole wheat flour and unrefined sugar decreases your foodprint while still allowing for the same flavor.
  2. I didn’t have any buttermilk on hand, so rather than making an extra trip to the grocery store I improvised by mixing the milk with the lemon. It’s a great substitute that improvises an ingredient not commonly used with some you’ll probably have on hand. Less gas!
  3. Using one egg still allows for binding but cuts out some animal byproducts!
  4. Vegan margarine would’ve been another great way to cut out animal byproduct, however, it isn’t worth the extra gas to go to the store to get just that.