Why I Am Posting These Recipes
Saturday, November 23, 2013
In order to make cooking and eating these delicacies as sustainable as possible, consider the following:
Source as many vegetables as you can from local organic farms. By supporting local farmers, you are reducing the use of fossil fuels used in transportation of food, thereby reducing your carbon footprint. Organic farming practices work to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, so again you are further reducing your carbon footprint by supporting organic farmers. In contrast, the manufacturing of synthetic fertilizers used in conventional farming releases large amounts of greenhouse gases, so purchasing foods that were produced using synthetic fertilizers (which includes animals fed grains that were grown using synthetic fertilizers), unfortunately, contributes to the release of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere and therefore to climate change. I don't mean to make anyone feel guilty about eating. (I am unable to choose exclusively local organic produce, after all, so I am far from perfect.) The important thing is to recognize the impact that your individual actions can have on the environment and to consider this when you have choices about the source of your food. One of the environmental benefits of the recipes here is that they use minimal amounts of energy for cooking, so in that respect the preparation of these food items is better for the planet than the preparation of food that requires larger amounts of energy for cooking!
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Monday, October 21, 2013
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Thursday, October 3, 2013
The next day, I made a small batch of hummus with some of the chickpeas. (Use the search bar in the upper left hand corner of this blog to find the best hummus recipe.) Last night, I knew I needed to finish the rest of the chickpeas. I could have put them into the freezer right after I cooked them, and then there would have been no pressure to use them quickly, but I neglected to do that, so I needed to come up with a recipe. I spent the day imagining how to prepare the chickpeas. I have had dishes in the past that included chickpeas and canned tomatoes in a stew. I had a couple of perfect, large juicy tomatoes from last weekend's farmers' market on my counter. I decided to sacrifice one of them for this dish. I also had a bunch of kale that needed to get consumed. And I had garlic and onions on hand, as I try to always have these essential ingredients available. As an aside, all of these vegetables except the chickpeas came from the farmer's market, so this is a true locavore recipe. I had leftover brown rice from the night before, enough for the three of us who would be eating dinner together. Simple supper!
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Last night I wanted to make a roasted beet salad for dinner, but a roasted beet salad is just a side dish. I needed something else for the "main dish." I wanted something vegetarian. I did not want beans. I did not want pasta. I kept going back to those Asian flavored millet cakes that I last posted, but I did not think the Asian flavoring would go well with the beet salad. I thought mediterranean flavors would go better. So I decided to adjust the recipe I developed for the Asian millet cakes so that it would go better with the beets. There are lots of mediterranean flavors, but kalamata olives and capers say "Mediterranean!" to me. And I had a luscious home-grown tomato on my counter, which would go marvelously with the olives and capers. I used the idea of cooking carrots and onions in the water with the millet to impart a slightly sweet flavor, as it had worked well with the Asian millet cakes. I did not have feta cheese but I bet that would go well with these. If you have some in your refrigerator, try adding a little to the mixture if you are adventurous enough (I cannot vouch that it will work, since I did not try it, though I definitely will try it another time). Or you could just try sprinkling a little on top so that if it turns out not to be good you haven't spoiled the whole batch. I am pretty sure the flavors will go well together, though.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
I try to use as many local ingredients as possible. Kale is a vegetable that you can probably find at your local farmers' market, if you don't grow it yourself. I even included kale in my garden this year, which speaks to the ease of growing it. Increasing the proportion of plants to meat in your diet will help sustain our planet, as plants require fewer resources to grow than animals do. As the human population increases, and as a greater number of people globally become more affluent and eat more meat as a result of their new affluence, our food resources will become more strained. By reducing your own meat consumption, you can set an example for the rest of the world to help sustain our planet.
This dish includes a small quantity of chicken, relying on vegetables included in the meal to fill people up. I find that cutting boneless chicken into bite-sized chunks and combining it with vegetables enables me to reduce the amount of chicken I cook for people. When I serve whole pieces of chicken, I allow a piece per person, otherwise I think people would not feel they were getting an adequate amount of meat. Using chunks of chicken hides from people the actual quantity being served, so it allows the cook to reduce the amount of meat in a way that does not make people feel cheated. While I have pretty much eliminated meat from my diet, through a gradual process, I still cook meat for other members of my family who do not want to take such extreme measures. Last night, I created this dish and served it with roasted delicata squash slices, tossed with a lemon tahini dressing (I got the recipe from epicurious.com), and a Spanish rice dish. I served myself only the kale from this dish, while other members of my family ate the chicken cooked with the kale. It was a filling, wholesome and delicious meal.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best. I love fresh green beans, best when eaten within a day or two of picking. This is the time of year to enjoy them! I was raised eating green beans with melted butter, salt and pepper. Delicious, but not so good for your arteries. Others have served me green beans with sesame oil, which is nice, but a little bland. I wanted to develop a simple way to prepare green beans that was heart-healthy and delicious. And not much more complicated than smearing them with butter. This is a real winning recipe, in my opinion. My 12 year old nephew couldn't stop eating them--he even picked them out of the pan with his fingers after we had finished eating dinner! The highest compliment, and makes cleanup easier! I think the secret is in the ume plum vinegar, which gives the dish a bit of oomph.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Wonderful picnic food!
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
So to prepare my lunch today, I pulled out a medium-sized yukon gold potato, a clove of garlic, my trusty olive oil, and 5 cherry tomatoes that were the last of a pint I had used over the weekend. I also found a dried hot red pepper in the back of my basket where I keep potatoes, which was given to me by a friend last fall, from her garden. I'm not sure what kind it is, I only know that it is small and red. It gave this dish an obvious and very nice punch!
1 bunch of kale, leaves stripped from the stem and chopped
5 (or however many you want to use) cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 small dried red pepper, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Parboil potatoes: place sliced potatoes in a small pan of boiling water and boil for a few minutes, until tender. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic. Using a strainer spoon, transfer the potatoes from the pan of water to the skillet. Cook, stirring occassionally, for a few minutes. Next add the kale and saute until kale is tender. Drizzle some more olive oil over the kale as you cook it, for good measure. Stir occassionally. Add salt, pepper and chopped red pepper, then cherry tomatoes. Cook a few more minutes, stirring everything together, until everything seems cooked. Serves one as a main course. (This was all I ate for lunch). You can adjust the amounts of greens, potatoes, and cherry tomatoes if you want to serve more people. Yum!
Monday, May 13, 2013
Friday, May 10, 2013
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
I have been fantasizing about creating a vegan version of Cream of Broccoli Soup that tastes as good as a couple of fabulous broccoli soups I have had in restaurants over the years. I really like broccoli soup, but there have been occassions when I absolutely loved it. Whenever I eat something especially good in a restaurant, I try to detect the various ingredients that give it the subtle taste I enjoy. Sometimes I ask the waiter or waitress and find out secret ingredients that way. I remember once eating a broccoli soup at the Museum Cafe in Baltimore, many years ago, that had fennel in it, and that soup was particularly memorable. I don't know if this version is as good as that one was, but I tried.
I began this soup with a mushroom broth. I made stuffed mushrooms the other day, and then something else with mushrooms in it yesterday, and saved all the stems when I cleaned the mushrooms. When I prepare portobello and shiitake mushrooms, I remove the stem and usually throw it away. I decided, this time, to save them in a container on the counter until I felt like making broth. This morning, I put the mushroom stems in a pot, along with a quartered onion, a carrot, some salt, peppercorns, a couple of sprigs of thyme, a handful of parsley, and a bunch of water--enough to cover everything, and since I wanted enough broth to make a batch of soup for dinner, I made sure there was enough water to end up with enough broth for a batch of soup. In the end, there was about 6 cups of broth. I just eyeballed it, though. This process took about 5 minutes. I put the pot on medium heat and did a bunch of things: went to the grocery store, did laundry, started spreading mulch in the garden . . . The point is, you can make your own broth, using leftovers, without spending much time. It is best if you can at least be in and out during the cooking time, but if you can't, throw it all in the slow cooker! Using leftovers in this way is the greenest way to cook. You are using up stuff that would end up in the trash. You are saving all kinds of natural resources by cutting out the food manufacturer that processes broth, packages it, emits goodness-knows-what into bodies of water and the air, and then more stuff into the air by transporting it to the store where you buy it. And--BONUS!--you are making something wholesome.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Sunday, April 21, 2013
spicy black beans (from yesterday's posting)
3 chopped cherry tomatoes (you could use bottled salsa instead if you don't have cherry tomatoes on hand, though this will add extra spiciness)
shredded cheddar cheese, or a blend of cheddar and montery jack
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Yesterday morning, I had pulled a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts out of the freezer and anticipated making a stir fry for dinner with chicken, veggies, and teriyaki sauce. After reading the first chapter or so of this new book, I decided I really did not want to eat meat for dinner. Yet I knew that others in my family would not appreciate or feel satiated by a meal of stir-fried veggies and rice alone. So I decided to cook the chicken in a separate pan from the vegetables, using the same sauce to flavor the contents of both pans. That way the people who wanted chicken teriyaki could have it, and I could just eat vegetables. I used the vegetables that I found in my refrigerator. One thing that you might be unfamiliar with is black radish. I bought this vegetable from a local farm, not knowing what it was or how to prepare it. I have enjoyed it raw, dipped in hummus, and decided to see what it would taste like in a stir fry. It was delicious! If you don't have access to this vegetable, you might try substituting another crunchy white vegetable--jicama, jerusalem artichoke, or water chestnuts?-- for similar effect.
Now, I have posted Asian stir fry dishes on this blog with sauces I concocted from scratch. Sometimes, though, I prefer the ease of pulling a bottle of Trader Joe's Soyaki Sauce from the pantry to quickly and easily flavor a dish. It is definitely better for the planet, however, to make your own sauce (think about cutting out the middle-man factory that produces and packages the sauce, and all the pollution a factory creates). If you want to combine the ideas in today's recipe with a homemade sauce, feel free to use the search bar in the upper lefthand corner to look for "stir fry" and find a recipe I posted previously with a homemade sauce. Those of you who decide to go with Trader Joe's Soyaki or another bottled sauce, just know that, once in a while, I share your imperfection. We can try to compensate for our imperfection by taking some other action to counteract planet destruction: maybe replace a plastic-packaged item in our shopping cart at the supermarket next time with an item that is sold in-bulk (ideal) and put it into a recycled container we bring from home (even more ideal), or at least replace the plastic-packaged item with something packaged in a non-plastic container.
It is time to start cooking! First, slice the chicken breast into strips. I used 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves to serve 3 people. Place strips in a bowl and pour enough sauce over them to cover. Toss so that all strips are covered with sauce. Marinate on the counter while you make the rice and prepare the vegetables for cooking.