Tag Archives: shallot

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!

The Magical Fruit

Lets talk “green” beans… green meaning eco-friendly… not actual green beans. I felt like I had to get to them eventually… they are in the title of my blog. So… what makes a bean eco-friendly?

  1. Eating less meat may be one of the most effective ways to fight global warming… and an easy way to cut back on meat (but keep up protein) is BEANS!!!!! (And as the song says: the more you eat…–> and who doesn’t want to stay regular?)
  2. Plant protein uses 1/10 of the fossil fuel than animal protein!
  3. Even when you buy beans in a can, you’re still eating at a much greener spot on the food chain.
  4. Less water is used in the production of beans (and all plant proteins) than animal proteins as well!!
  5. Beans have a super long storage life (canned or dried) so they won’t go bad!

And as an added bonus: the obesity rate among vegetarians is much lower than the average American (only 0-6% as opposed to 2/3 people in the normal population).

So yay for beans BEANS the magical fruit!

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

  • This recipe serves like 4-6 people (I made it for me and my roommates) so keep that in mind if you need to cut it back.
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large finely grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 can organic, vegetarian, refried black beans
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • cumin
  • garlic salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • curry powder
  • extra virgin olive oil

Cook the quinoa by boiling the 2 cups of water. Then add the quinoa, lower to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes.

Mix the cooked quinoa with carrot, cilantro, and spices. Meanwhile, Saute the shallot and add the black beans.

Mix the shallot and the quinoa mixtures together. Add the egg and flour. When everything is mixed together, make into uniform-sized balls. Place olive oil in a pan, flatten the balls and fry until cooked through. You can also bake them in the oven if you prefer.

Topped with salsa and placed on cracked wheat bread, black bean quinoa burgers are great for lunch or dinner!

I topped my burger with salsa, but the original recipe called for topping with guacamole. My roommate, L, topped hers with ketchup and said that the burger was better than her frozen TexMex (individually wrapped) vegan burgers–> they’re more sustainable as well!!

Lessons Learned

  • Beans are a great plant protein alternative to animal proteins.
  • Although they come in packaging, they will not go bad and the savings in fossil fuels by avoiding the animal protein is worth it.
  • Less water usage!
  • If you want to stay regular you know what the magical fruit is 🙂

2 Updates

  1. I made this recipe again for dinner but wrapped it up in a tortilla and it was so good!
  2. I also used the leftover black beans on top of a piece of wheat naan, added cheese and salsa and had a Mexican pizza! (I think I was craving that sort of food today).


The Cost of Oil

I know we’ve all realized the price of gas these days. I know that when the price of gas started getting towards $5 a gallon we freaked out and pushed for new modes of transport, “greener” fuels, and new technologies. I also realize that when the price per gallon started to decline, people stopped their eco-push. When the price was more manageable, people once again hopped into their SUVs and put their hybrids into the garage.

Let me tell you why the cost of gas is not the only factor that should be determining how hard we push for eco-friendly variations in fuel and technology… oil has a really large cost that cannot be seen by looking at the price at the pump.

If you don’t believe me, just check out this Times article and read some about the devastation happening in the Gulf of Mexico. The devastation is worse than anticipated. This oil spill is the largest oil disaster ever.

Oil also has a large carbon footprint which makes it a factor in the climate change.

This site talks of other effects oil can have on the environment… and let me tell you… none of them are good.

So… what are we supposed to do?

  1. Push for change. Our votes elected the government representatives. Let’s tell them what we would like them to accomplish.
  2. When you’re driving, try running all of your errands at once. This allows you to get your errands done quicker, and you use less gas!
  3. Carpool.
  4. When you’re cooking, use one appliance. Try not to grill one thing, bake another, and boil a third. If you’re going to boil things, boil them all (you can even reuse the water that way). And if the oven or grill are on, it’s less cost for you to use that for everything!
  5. In the upcoming summer months, invest in a screen door and keep your door open. Or (if you’re in a humid place), try only turning on your AC when you’re at home–>there’s no use paying for unused air conditioning.

As I’ve told you all, one of my goals for this blog is to teach myself about “greener” eating. Therefore, I’ve been researching a ton. I’ve learned so many interesting things that I hadn’t even thought about (that I promise I’ll share with you). For instance, did you know that “The average American diet creates 2.8 tons of CO2 emissions each year per person, which has now surpassed the 2.2 tons generated by American driving” (Go Green Get Lean, Kate Geagan). This includes the “production, transport, processing, packaging, storage, and preparation” (Geagan) of our foods. That’s CRAZY! 2.8 TONS of CO2 per person just for eating! “The amount of fossil fuel going into our food choices has outstripped the actual amount of energy in the food itself” (Geagan).

Well, today I’m giving you a couple of recipes that will hopefully get your diet to a “greener” level.

  • For today, each of these recipes are going to be using local, organic produce –> if you do not have a local farmers market or food co-op to find these at, check out Whole Foods (they have signs telling where your produce is coming from–> get something coming from the closest location if you are not in a produce-farming location).
  • If you would like to have meat in your dish, try buying lower on the food-chain. This is an easy way to tell which meat has more energy going into it–> more on that in another blog post.
  • Each of these recipes is going to use one appliance. It saves energy!
  • Take a hint from Kate Geagan’s Go Green Get Lean: Use the acronym L.E.A.N: Is the food local or global? (Local is greener), Energy used to bring it to your plate? (This includes transport, processing, packaging, and temperature food must be kept at–> having to use your refrigerator v. freezer), Animal or Plant? (Plants are the greener choice), Necessary? (Is it critical for you to eat this for your health?–> i.e. If you refuse to eat soy/tofu/nuts, you’ll probably need some sort of animal product in your diet to get enough protein).

Bulgar with Sun-dried Tomato, Feta, and Kalamata Olives

  • Find the original recipe here
  • I’ve cut it down since I’m just one person.
  • 1/4 cup bulgar wheat (find in the bulk section of your local supermarket–>cuts down on packaging!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced (take it out or buy pitted)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled  (if you want this recipe to be vegan you can withhold this ingredient)
  • 1/4 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley, minced (I love this flavor and found it locally grown so I added extra. You can add less if you don’t love parsley)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (the recipe called for red wine vinegar but I had a local balsamic vinegar at my hands that I lovvvve)
  • juice of 1/4 lemon (add zest for extra lemony goodness)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil, add the bulgar and cover (turn down to a simmer) for 30 minutes. Combine the sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, parsley, shallot, and feta in one bowl. Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Drain the water from the bulgar and pat dry. Add the sun-dried tomato mixture and cover with the liquid dressing. Stir it all together and you have a delicious lunch!

Local Produce Stir-Fry

  • This year I became involved in a movement called “Food Not Bombs”. It’s an all-vegan group that cooks for local houseless people (or whoever would like to eat for free). The local farmers market donates all of their extra produce at the end of their Sunday market and we use it to cook for these persons.
  • One thing this has taught me is how easy it is to make a delicious veggie stir-fry regardless of the greens given to you.
  • All you need is some veggies, a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil, and a pan with a top to help steam and cook the veggies.
  • My newest love is this map from epicurious that tells you (by location) the seasonal produce in your area.
  • My stir-fry was an asparagus, mushroom, cauliflower, sugar snap pea, kale, red bell pepper stir-fry but you will find different local produce wherever you go.
  • I added some extra flavor with a kick of cayenne and some cumin and paprika, but that is up to you.
  • I also used soy sauce instead of salt for this dish. It gives it a little extra liquid and I think the flavor adds to the dish nicely.

I’m telling you this dish is idiot-proof. Turn on some heat, coat the pan with your EVOO, and then put in your veggies (time for cooking varies on how hard your veggies are and how little they have been cut so put in your hardest and largest veggies first–> add the others after those have cooked for a while), place the lid over your pan to help steam the veggies and VOILA, deliciousness.

Throw together some locally grown, organic, in-season veggies for a quick easy DELICIOUS dinner!

If you’d like some added protein, I suggest adding some peanuts to this dish (but make sure to cook them for a little as well). YUMMY!

Lessons Learned

  • Food is adding to climate change more than driving! This is due to the production, transportation, processing, packaging, storage, and preparation of the food.
  • There are ways to make better choices!
  • Use the acronym L.E.A.N when choosing your foods.