Tag Archives: recipe

Tortilla chips and cheap food

You could like chips and dip more than me, but it’s not likely. I can eat them everyday for months with an endless variety of dips. I love them…but I have a problem. All chips are made from cheap food – I can eat an entire bag, have an exploding stomach, and still be hungry.

It’s the sign of cheap food – eating and still being hungry. The equivalent of the worst blind date. You give up a whole evening, pay for dinner, and head home completely unfulfilled. Most people don’t think about bad dates when buying food, they only see price tags. The cheaper the item the better it is. But cheap food usually means low quality food. Something so empty of nutrients and vitamins, that we can eat – and eat – and still be hungry.

Unfortunately, the same is true for the expensive chips. I’ve tried them all, from natural food stores to Whole Foods, and even the farmers market – with the same result, overeating and still hungry. I was so upset and about to give up on chips and dip, when it occurred to me I could make my own.

Now, this is a serious commitment. Spending an hour of my time, sweating with a roller, to make something I can buy at the store for two dollars. But, being Sustainable Steve I had to try it, and so I bought a bag of whole wheat, and went through the process – kneading, rolling, and baking. My first taste was…amazing.

These are real tortilla chips with taste and flavor. No salt or chemical flavoring added. And I can only eat a few – no more than seven or eight at a time. Which completely changes my chip and dip routine – I’m eating less chips and therefore less dip. Feeling full and losing weight.

A great example of how cheap food has penetrated every corner of our lives. It seems like a simple thought – homemade tortilla chips – but I was so conditioned to think that’s impossible. With thousands of commercials ringing in my head – like Lays potato chips, “you can’t eat just one.”

I was convinced overeating chips was natural. But here I am, noshing on whole wheat delights, and wondering how I ever did it differently. Beware cheap food and commercials, they can trick you into believing anything.

 

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Recipe for Curry Butternut Squash Soup

After a long summer of iced coffees and frozen fruit drinks, we can finally enjoy hot and savory soups. Fall brings back cozy nights with a comfy blanket, a good book, and a steaming bowl of soup.

The first soup of the season is Butternut Squash Soup – so easy to make and so overwhelmingly…orange.

source: Simply Recipes

 

The rich orange-ness will bring you into Halloween, the proper way. Here is the recipe for Curry Butternut Squash Soup, from Simply Recipes

Ingredients: butternut squash, curry powder, onion, olive oil, & ginger

Cut the squash into small cubes and sauté until brown. In another pot add chopped onions, cook until soft – add curry, ginger, and olive oil, and warm for a minute. Then add the cubed squash bits and simmer for 40 minutes (add water or chicken broth for a liquid base). Once the squash is mushy and tender – purée in a blender.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, chopped cilantro.

 

For more details and portion sizes visit Simply Recipes – Curried Squash Soup.

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Easy recipe for drying basil – use the microwave

Summer is coming to an end and it’s time to pick all that basil. Don’t forget or you might find all the leaves fallen off. And thanks to some friends and HomeGrown.org for this easy recipe – drying basil in the microwave:

  • Wash and dry basil.
  • Place leaves on a paper towel in microwave and cover with another paper towel.
  • Let the microwave run for 30 seconds. Turn leaves over and run for another 30 seconds.
  • Repeat as necessary (can take 1.5 minutes).
  • Before storing (whole or crushed), make sure all moisture is gone (option: place in plastic wrap overnight to get rid of moisture).

 

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4 delicious recipes for summer tomatoes

Every year I grow a tomato plant and about this time, late summer, it produces way more than I can handle. At the farmers market, tomatoes are cheaper than ever as are complimentary ingredients like peppers, cilantro, basil, etc. Which always leaves me left with heaping bowls of tomatoes and until this year I was never sure what to do with them.

The cultural and family expertise of handling real food is many generations removed in my family. My remaining grandparent only has a few tips and only around Atlantic fish (he’s from Newfoundland in Canada). This means I’ve had to play around with various tomato recipes while researching what others do. Now, a few years later, I am leading a renaissance of real food in my family and ready to share those tips with you. Hopefully, this will inspire you to get in the kitchen or visit your farmers market for a few pounds of tomatoes!

I’ve found four delicious ways to handle the tomato overload. They are marinara/meat sauce with pasta, pico de gallo, insalata caprese, and plain old can-freezing. The first three can be a full meal with all the extra ingredients, while the last insures a prolonged tomato enjoyment throughout the winter.

 

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The Zero Waste Dog – how to handle the poop

Dogs can be Zero Waste and it’s easier than you think. There are (3) things you need to consider: 1) the type of bag you use, 2) how to dispose of the waste, and 3) adjusting your feeding to minimize waste.

The best doggy bag is a biodegradable one. They are easy to find at pet stores and Amazon offers a wide range from $8-11. It is recommended that you reuse each bag as many times as possible. I place mine on a shelf somewhere out-of-the-way after each use. The following day, it is dried out and easy to use without any odor, touch, or gross problems.

Of course, messes do happen and eventually you will have to throw the bag out. As long as it’s biodegradable, tossing it only contributes a small amount to a landfill, and eventually nothing at all.

Disposing of the waste in a smart way is the single most important thing you can do. According to the EPA, pet waste is very bad on parks, waterways, and in landfills:

Decaying pet waste consumes oxygen and sometimes releases ammonia. Low oxygen levels and ammonia can damage the health of fish and other aquatic life. Pet waste carries bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can threaten the health of humans and wildlife. Pet waste also contains nutrients that promote weed and algae growth (eutrophication). Cloudy and green, Eutrophic water makes swimming and recreation unappealing or even unhealthy.

In response, the EPA and many cities are beginning to ask dog owners to flush waste. It goes down the toilet just like ours.

Last, what you feed your dog impacts what comes out the other end. I’ve discovered that different types of food make waste picking-up easier. The best results I’ve found, come from food I make myself using Dr. Pitcairn’s recipes. I feed her less and she poops less, it’s great!

I’ve tried out these methods for a while now and have it down. I feed my dog just enough food to keep her healthy, and not fat. It keeps her waste minimal which I flush down the toilet. I pick it up in a biodegradable bag that I reuse a few times. That’s how the Zero Waste dog works.

 

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Do you know your baker?

Everyone needs a good baker in their life. Especially, if you live on the farmers market diet, and you’re a guy. For some reason, dudes need, not like, but NEED bread on a regular basis. Maybe it’s the higher muscle mass or something, but (most) girls simply don’t care about bread.

For me, it’s huge, and I have my own baker. His name is Gunther and every week at the market I meet his wife Dawn or their friend Eddie. I have a standing order with them, two croissants and a loaf of their finest, that I pick up every Saturday at my farmers market.

By the way, no one within 50 miles makes a better croissant (trust me, I’ve tried a lot of places). I asked Dawn about this and she told me that Gunther sticks to his European recipes. He likes to make things the right way. In this case, it means the croissant should be flaky and have a crunchy sour/bitterness to it.

She told me that, at first, nobody agreed with him because nobody makes it that way. Then, as he perfected the recipe and they all tried it, they were instantly fans. Me, too, and I think the whole market agrees as well. They sell out every week!

This is one of the best parts about regularly shopping at a farmers market. You get on a first-name basis with your farmers and bakers. You hear their stories and learn about their lives and families, and they learn about yours. It brings back that sense of community that most feel is slowly fading into the past.

It’s simply another benefit of living a low-carbon, farmers market lifestyle. And, if you’re ever in Orange County stop by the market or visit Dawn, Eddie, and Gunther at their shop, the Bread Gallery.

**P.S. — They also make the best sandwich for 50 miles, but that’s for another post

 

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Huge internet celebrations for Julia Child’s 100th birthday, tomorrow Wednesday August 15

Anyone who’s seen a Julia Child cooking show loves the woman. She was so interesting and weird, over-the-top and funny, and brought so much French cooking to America. Her work inspired a generation of chefs, including bringing cadre of talented French chefs to our shores.

Today, you can find fine French food everywhere and cooking shows run like marathons. So, take some time out of your daily food watching to celebrate Julia Child’s 100th birthday. The internet is doing what it does best, organizing awesome events around obscure topics:

 

 

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Easy homemade mozzarella made with 1 gallon of milk – combine with tomatoes for Insalate Caprese

The full heat of summer is here and I’m drowning in tomatoes. I’ve been searching for new ways to use my bounty, beyond the basics of salsa, marinara sauce, and jarring for winter stores.

Next on my list is homemade mozzarella with a surprisingly easy recipe:

 

Mozzarella is one of the easiest cheeses to make, it only takes 30 minutes and the taste can’t be beat!

The ingredients are simple although a couple of them you may have to search a bit for, but the end result is worth it–especially when you can say “I made it myself!”

 

All the recipe calls for is 1 gallon of milk and tiny amounts of citric acid, rennet tablet, and cheese salt (though one recipe said you can skip the salt).  Extremely simple and cheap ($2.50) when it comes to making cheese and when combined with tomatoes and basil becomes:

 

Insalata Caprese

 

Insalata Caprese (salad in the style of Capri) is a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania, made of sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, seasoned with salt, and olive oil. – Wikipedia

 

Now off to find those interesting ingredients!

Grilling corn without aluminum foil – keep the husks on

Here are 2 natural ways to cook corn, without aluminum foil. Both recommend pre-soaking the corn and keeping the husks on while grilling.

The first is from favorite chef Rick Bayless and the second, a top Google result, from What’s Cooking America:

Rick Bayless

Preliminaries.   About an hour before serving, place the ears of corn in a deep bowl, cover with cold water and weight with a plate to keep them submerged.  Light your charcoal fire and let it burn until the bed of coals is medium-hot; adjust the grill 4 inches above the fire.

Grill the corn.   Lay the corn on the grill and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, turning frequently, until the outer leaves are blackened.  Remove, let cool several minutes, then remove the husks and silk.  About 10 minutes before serving, brush the corn with melted butter, return to the grill and turn frequently until nicely browned.

Techniques. Soaking in Water, Roasting in the Husk:  The preliminary soaking keeps the outside from burning right off the bat and the inside damp enough to steam.  First roasting in the husk penetrates the corn with leafy flavor, but the step is often omitted—especially with sweet corn.

 

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Jacques Pépin crêpes – simple ones in seconds, plus an orange soufflé crêpe

My favorite chef is at it again, this time showing us how easy crêpes are to make. Simple ingredients and in a few minutes you have a great dessert or lunch snack.

 

 

Transcript of the recipe:

  • Melt some butter in a skillet.
  • While it’s melting, combine flour, two eggs, a few dashes of sugar, dash a salt, and a quarter of a cup of milk
  • Whisk until smooth and thick. Then add enough milk to make a thin batter. Add the melted butter.
  • In the same buttery skillet, ladle in some of the batter. Quickly turn the skillet to coat the pan with the batter.
  • Cook for about 1-minute, at least, on one side. When you see it is golden, flip it over to cook for a little bit longer. Remove from pan and voilà.

 

This is only the first of four recipes on the show. Keep watching to see them make Orange Soufflé CrêpesBaked Alaska, and Apricot and Pistachio Soufflé.

It’s amazing what you can do with egg whites!