Tag Archives: vegetable stock

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.

Leftover Ingredients

Alright. Let’s talk about one of the WORST food faux pas:

Not using up the leftover ingredients from recipes past.

My dad can definitely tell you that I used to be one of the worst about this. I would use an ingredient once and then let it expire in the fridge before just throwing it out. Luckily, I’ve learned my lesson. Hopefully, if you haven’t already, this will help you see the wrong in your ways.

Reasons that using your leftovers helps you and the world:

  • In this recession, no one can afford to let food go to waste! We just don’t have that kind of money!
  • When you waste leftovers, you put to waste the energy that went into getting that food to your table. All of the transportation that added to the greenhouse gases!
  • You also add to the amount of land being put to waste, overfishing, and water source degradation (obviously this depends on what food is going unused).
  • There are so many ways to use leftover ingredients! This never needs to happen!
  1. Freeze extra fish/meat and many vegetables/fruits. I’ve even found that it’s easy to freeze extra bread products (they are exactly the same once you defrost them).
  2. I bet you didn’t know you can also freeze things like eggs and milk! Check out this website it gives you some cool little hints!
  3. You can make a stock out of extra veggies, or even leftover chicken bones! Stocks can be used in everything from soup to roasted chicken. Here are some ideas for your leftover chicken stock.
  4. There are so many ways to use leftovers! Check out this website if you want some more ideas!

So, now that I’ve hopefully convinced you that you need to use your leftovers, I’ll show you some recipes I came up with for the things I have in my fridge.

Salmon Caesar Salad Wraps

  • I used the leftover salmon from the homemade sushi. About 1/4 lb.
  • 1 wheat tortilla
  • Romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Blend the parmesan, garlic, olive oil, egg, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. It makes way more caesar dressing than you’ll need, but it was really good and you can always use it on your leftover romaine lettuce.

Place the romaine lettuce, caesar dressing, and salmon (I ate it raw, but if you don’t have sushi grade salmon or you feel like it, bake the salmon) onto the wheat tortilla.

Salmon Caesar Salad Wraps make yummy leftover lunches!

Let’s talk about why this was better for getting rid of excess ingredients than for getting new things to get rid of:

  • Salad is delicious and great for you! You can always use extra lettuce!
  • The ingredients for the caesar dressing tend to be lying around. It’s a very pantry-friendly salad dressing to make.
  • Wheat tortillas can be used for wraps, quesadillas, pizzas, etc.
  • Salmon is really great for you so even if you did not have extra lying around it’s a good thing to eat!

For dinner, I had so much leftover vegetable stock and kale from yesterday’s vegan adventures that I decided to turn it around and use both in a hearty soup. I based my soup off of this one, but my recipe is a bit different.

Sweet Potato Kale Coconut Peanut Soup

(You may want to come up with an easier name)

  • 1 whole sweet potato (no leftovers there!)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • I used all of the leftover vegetable stock I had (around 2 cups)
  • All of my leftover kale (a really good amount because it shrinks a lot)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • cinnamon
  • pumpkin spice (I love all of the flavors in it)
  • cayenne pepper (I love the little kick it gives to everything. It’s my #1 spice to have)
  • raisins
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • top with peanuts (for protein!)

Cover the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and brown the sweet potato (cut into small, uniform cubes) and the garlic (minced). When they are browned, add the coconut milk and vegetable stock (you can also add a bit of milk if you like your soup creamier). Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Blend mixture and then strain with a super fine strainer to get rid of all of the extra lumps.

Put the soup back into the pot and add all of the other ingredients (except for the peanuts –> those are for the top). Cook until kale is bright green.

Leftover kale made into a delicious dinner!

I made this soup recipe so large not only to avoid having extra ingredients, but also because it is so good you’ll want the leftovers!!!

Lessons Learned:

  • Leftover ingredients are easy to use in many different ways!
  • It’s good they’re easy to use because they’re horrible for the environment! All of the environmental degradation done in getting the food to you is a waste if you do not use the food!