April 8th, 2010 - Scott Shaffer
Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein has fanned the flames of discontent. In a post yesterday Klein recounted a tale where he asked for a vegetarian option at a Washington, DC restaurant and they offered him a “grilled vegetable plate,” or GVP. He rejected the dish as tasteless, uninspired, and offensive. Here’s the peroration of his manifesto:
Vegetarians of the world need to stop accepting the GVP. It’s an insult, both from the kitchen to the diner, and from the kitchen to itself. It’s not that hard to cook without meat, and choosing to eat less meat shouldn’t result in a form of culinary punishment for diners. We can do better. Change is possible. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. So say it with me: “No. The grilled vegetable plate is not acceptable. Do you have pasta? Or pizza? Or salads? Or an employee trained in the art of putting different kinds of foods together on a plate in order to create a satisfying dining experience for customers? Because if not, my party and I will go elsewhere.”
Organic Authority supports Klein’s campaign for great-tasting vegetarian meals. In this spirit, we offer some of our favorite organic vegetarian recipes below. Enjoy, and fight on!
Read More:Ezra Klein’s Crusade Against the Grilled Vegetable Plate
February 18th, 2010 - Laura Klein
I have been doing a lot of phone consults for the LauraKleinGreenClub.com to help clients lead a more organic and green lifestyle and they are absolutely a blast! I love helping people, and a common stumbling block is cooking healthy organic foods on a regular basis. For many it is overwhelming.
So here are my top tips for everyday cooking that will get you organized and put you on the path to everyday healthy eating!
- Get organized and create a calendar of recipes for what you are going to cook for the week, and literally write it on the calendar.
I put mine on my calendar in the kitchen. That way all I have to do when I go to the kitchen is glance at it, and I know what’s for dinner!
- Once you’ve chosen the recipes, make a shopping list and shop for all of the ingredients once, or at most twice a week.
The point is to get organized so you don’t have to go to the grocery every other day.
- Depending on how much you eat in our out, pick 2-4 nights to cook.
- When you cook, cook enough so you have leftovers for at least one to two more meals for the whole family i.e. lunch and or dinner.
- Cook every other night and eat leftovers every other day and or night. This will get you organized and take the pressure off of having to continually figure out “What’s for dinner?!?!”
When I started this routine, it made my cooking and grocery shopping life so much easier! I didn’t have to continually reinvent the wheel everyday and figure out “What’s for dinner?!?!”
And by the way, another stumbling block for people going organic, can be resistance from a spouse and or family member(s). If your family is resistant to going organic with their food, my advice: Don’t ask permission, JUST DO IT!
To get some easy organic recipes check out our:
Organic Food Recipes
Our cooking demos on OrganicAuthority.com TV
Read More:5 Top Tips To Figure Out, “What’s For Dinner?!?”
June 1st, 2009 - Laura Klein
With all due respect to my fellow OrganicAuthority.com blogger, Gerry Pugliese, who recently shed doubt on whether organic foods are actually more nutritious: I strongly disagree!
It’s been proven, scientifically, that plant-based organic foods are higher in nutrients and better for our health. I am deeply passionate about this – in fact it’s one of the core reasons I launched OrganicAuthority.com several years ago!
After studying the science behind how conventional and organic foods are grown in culinary school, I had a paradigm shift. I discovered why organic foods taste better and are of superior quality: we aren’t spraying them with synthetic toxic pesticides that are designed to kill (see the EPAs definition of pesticides). And I discovered that we are poisoning the earth, humans, animals and everything in between with these same synthetic toxic pesticides (see our blog Carbofuran Gets the Axe – a single granule of the chemical can kill an adult bird).
Today, I consider organic food to be one of the most powerful forms of preventive medicine we have available to the human race; and is a key component to green and healthy living. The good news is, you can simply buy organic foods over the counter! If you think organic foods are expensive, I say try health care and prescription drugs. Now that’s expensive. There are truly miraculous stories of people healing themselves from serious disease and illness like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, MS and more, simply by switching to a pure organic whole foods diet. The added bonus, organic foods are of superior quality and flavor!
Myriad qualified experts agree that organic food is nutrient-rich and healthier than ‘conventionally’ grown foods…
Organic Produce: Nutritional Powerhouse
In a study published in March 2008 by The Organic Center,1 a host of past and present studies were analyzed.
One of them, The Worthington study, focused on fertilizers and food nutrition levels. In the study, four nutrients tested as being significantly higher than conventionally-grown food, while one “toxic” nutrient (Nitrate) was significantly lower in organic food (that’s a good thing):
- Vitamin C: +27%
- Iron: +21%
- Magnesium: +29%
- Phosphorus: +19%
- Nitrates: -15%
The same study also found higher quality protein in organic foods vs. conventional food (higher quality protein is determined by the number of amino acids that are evident).
Healthier Food, Organically Grown
In another recent study entitled “Living Soil, Food Quality, and the Future of Food,”2 the following was revealed:
- Organically grown spinach demonstrates significantly higher levels of flavonoids (an antioxidant) and vitamin C, and lower levels of nitrates.
- Organically farmed tomatoes have significantly higher levels of soluble solids and natural plant molecules called secondary plant metabolites, including flavonoids, lycopene, and Vitamin C. Most secondary plant metabolites are antioxidants, a class of plant compounds that have been linked to improved human health in populations that consume relatively high levels of fruit and vegetables.
Definition of Organic Food: Common Sense Dictates Better Health!
Organic foods are grown without the use of chemical fertilizer or pesticides and have not been processed using irradiation or added hormones.
Let me repeat:
- no fertilizers
- no pesticides
- no irradiation (the process of exposing food to radiation)
- no added hormones
I’m not a scientist, but this statement alone is quite convincing that organic foods are a healthier and more nutritionally rich option! Simply put, organically grown foods are not bombarded with synthetic, toxic chemicals that are linked to serious diseases like cancer.
As always, be an informed consumer:
- Products labeled “100 percent organic” must contain only organic ingredients with the exception of water and salt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Products labeled “organic” must contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients.
- Products that are made with at least 70 percent organic ingredients are allowed to be labeled “made with organic ingredients.
Interested in step-by-step, personalized guidance on creating a healthy, green lifestyle? Check out my free Green Club online introduction video to find out more!
1. The Organic Center, March, 2008 Report:
2. The Organic Center, March 13, 2009 Press Release:
Read More:The Science is There, Plant-Based Organic Foods Are More Nutritious!
May 22nd, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
As discussed yesterday, cardiologist Roger Blumenthal, MD, of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, encourages us to eat more fish each week as part of a heart-healthy diet.
Children and adults who aren’t fish lovers should appreciate our weekend recipe, which incorporates graham cracker crumbs for a crunchy baked crust. Just be sure to shop for sustainable fish fillets that are medium-firm and approximately 3/4 inches thick. Pacific cod, Alaskan pollock and Pacific halibut are good choices.
Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes, and all of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.
Graham-Crusted Fish Fillets
Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons chopped, toasted pecans
1 pound medium-firm fish fillets, about 3/4 inches thick
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 8 squares)
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons canola or soybean oil
To toast nuts, bake uncovered in an ungreased shallow pan in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Set aside.
Place oven rack slightly above the middle of the oven. Heat oven to 500°F.
Cut fish fillets crosswise into 2-inch-wide pieces. Mix cracker crumbs, lemon peel, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Place milk in another shallow dish.
Dip fish into milk, and then coat with cracker mixture. Place in an ungreased rectangular pan, 13 x 9 x 2 inches. Drizzle oil over fish; sprinkle with pecans.
Bake uncovered, about 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with fork.
Recipe and photo courtesy of The Betty Crocker Heart Healthy Cookbook
Read More:Graham-Crusted Fish Fillets
April 19th, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
We’re celebrating the fungus among us this week with a tribute to the versatile mushroom.
Here’s a recipe that makes a great lunch or appetizer. Make-ahead directions follow the recipe, and there’s a bonus recipe at the end for a Vegetable Platter with Balsamic-Beet Vinaigrette.
All of the ingredients are available at your local natural and organic food store.
Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Beets and Goat Cheese
Makes 4 servings
- 1 jar (16 ounces) whole pickled beets
- 4 large portobello mushrooms (about 1 pound)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (sourdough or whole wheat)
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions or chopped chives
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Drain beets, reserving liquid. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup beets; set remaining whole beets aside with beet liquid to use in Vegetable Platter With Balsamic-Beet Vinaigrette (recipe follows).
- Trim stems flat and remove gills from mushroom caps using a spoon; discard. Place caps, rounded sides down, on foil-lined baking sheet; season with salt and pepper.
- Combine chopped beets, bread crumbs, green onions and walnuts in medium bowl; mix well. Spoon mixture into caps and top with cheese. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until heated through and mushrooms are tender.
To Make Ahead: Stuff mushroom caps. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours before baking.
Appetizer Variation: Remove stems from 1 pound baby portobello or crimini mushrooms. Proceed as directed above, mounding caps with crumb mixture and topping with cheese. Bake as directed above. This version makes about 18 stuffed mushrooms.
Vegetable Platter with Balsamic-Beet Vinaigrette: Arrange reserved beets on platter with an assortment of steamed fresh vegetables like baby carrots, green and wax beans, sugar snap peas, and small halved new and fingerling potatoes. Combine 1/4 cup reserved beet juice with 3/4 cup prepared balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing. Whisk until well combined. Drizzle vinaigrette over vegetables.
Photo and recipe courtesy of Aunt Nellie’s Beets/Seneca Foods
Read More:Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Beets and Goat Cheese
April 18th, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
It’s Mushroom Week at OrganicAuthority.com, and Bob Greene—the man responsible for Oprah Winfrey’s dramatic weight loss—has included this nutrient-dense super-food in his recently published book, The Best Life Diet.
“I recommend bolstering your diet with fresh mushrooms,” he says. “From Portabella and shiitake to common white button, mushrooms have a unique flavor that goes well with so many foods and contain the antioxidant selenium.”
Here’s another great recipe featuring ingredients available at your local natural and organic food store.
Sautéed Mushroom Salad
Makes 4 servings
8 cups spring mix (assorted baby salad greens)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound white button or crimini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and quartered
1/2 cup shallot or onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chives, minced
- Divide spring mix among 4 serving plates; set aside.
- Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a single layer of mushrooms and cook, without stirring, for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms become red-brown on one side.
- Turn the mushrooms and stir in shallot or onion, red pepper and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, or until shallot or onions begin to soften.
- Remove from heat and transfer to a separate bowl. Stir in vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and mix until sugar is dissolved. Spoon mushroom mixture on top of greens and scatter fresh chives on top. Serve immediately.
Recipe and photo courtesy of the Mushroom Council
Read More:Sauteed Mushroom Salad
April 12th, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
Mushrooms are a produce-aisle favorite, but ever wonder how they stack up nutritionally?
“Mushrooms provide a variety of nutrients with few calories,” says nutritionist and registered dietitian Karen Collins, a consultant for the American Institute for Cancer Research. “A half-cup of mushroom pieces contains just 9 calories when raw or 21 calories when cooked without added fat.
“Mushrooms are a good source of the mineral selenium, which protects against cancer as an antioxidant and by promoting DNA repair,” she adds. “Mushrooms also contain other compounds that act as antioxidants and may lead to the lowering of estrogen levels in postmenopausal women.” (High estrogen levels are linked with increased risk of breast cancer.)
Here’s a basic mushroom primer:
- White mushrooms (“button” mushrooms) are the most common variety of cultivated mushroom, but usually the least flavorful. They keep better than most wild mushrooms, as they tend to be firmer.
- Their brown counterparts, “crimini,” have a slightly fuller flavor.
- Portobello mushrooms are the fully mature form of crimini and have become a popular substitute for meat.
Tune in tomorrow for a great new recipe: Mushroom Sauté with Toasted Walnuts.
Additional Mushroom Recipes on OrganicAuthority.com
Read More:Organic Mushrooms
April 5th, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
Many of the casseroles we associate with Mom’s home cooking call for condensed “cooking soups” (cream of mushroom, cream of celery, cream of chicken, etc.). Today, you have your choice of several organic brands, which means you can add a natural twist to comfort-food favorites.
Condensed soups were invented by the Campbell Soup Co. in the late 19th century. Through an evaporation process, the water was removed, allowing the company to package and ship its products more economically. Once customers added water or milk, they were good to go—and sales show no signs of slowing as Americans embrace the simplicity of one-dish cooking.
Organic broths have been shelf staples for several years, and mainstream companies like Swanson’s (a Campbell’s brand) have joined the fold. Organic cooking soups are available from companies like Health Valley and Amy’s Kitchen. They should be easy to find at your local natural and organic food store.
So, pull out some of Mom’s favorite casserole recipes, and get cooking! And don’t forget to tune in tomorrow, when we’ll feature a great recipe for a creamy Squash Casserole that blends loads of fresh vegetables with cream of chicken soup. It will make a perfect addition to your Easter table.
Book Pick of the Day: Cooking Soups for Dummies
Read More:Casserole Cooking
February 13th, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
Good things come in pairs: You and your valentine. The sweet/spicy concert of flavors in a well-prepared dish.
Professional chefs combine sweet, hot, tangy, salty, bitter and sour flavors for crave-worthy meals. In our Valentine’s Day featured entree, watch out when wasabi and maple—the ultimate in sweet heat—team up.
Accented by ginger and garlic, Maple Wasabi Glazed Salmon features an exciting twist on teriyaki. This combination is also great for enhancing the flavor of stir-fries, ribs and chicken.
Maple Wasabi Glazed Salmon
Makes 8 servings
2 teaspoons wasabi powder
1 teaspoon water
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 pounds salmon fillets
- Mix wasabi with water in small bowl until well blended. Add remaining ingredients, except salmon; stir until well mixed.
- Place salmon in 13” x 9” baking dish. Spoon wasabi mixture evenly over salmon.
- Bake in preheated 375°F oven 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting occasionally with wasabi mixture.
Note: Because you’re dedicated to organic living, OrganicAuthority.com recommends using certified organic ingredients, when available, in all recipes to maximize flavor, while minimizing your risk of exposure to pesticides, chemicals and preservatives.
Book Pick of the Day: Salmon: A Cookbook
Recipe courtesy of McCormick & Co.
Read More:Maple Wasabi Glazed Salmon
February 2nd, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
Whether you’re hosting a Super Bowl party or bringing a dish to a potluck, here’s a quick and easy starter that will score a culinary touchdown. (How can you miss with beer and cheese?)
All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.
Enjoy the game—and stay sane!
First Down Fondue
Makes 8 servings
2 cups (8 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 cups (12 ounces) colby-jack cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Dippers: Assorted breadsticks, bell pepper pieces, sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes
- Toss cheeses with cornstarch in medium bowl; set aside.
- Pour beer into fondue pot; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; add cheese mixture.
- Cook 2 minutes or until cheese is melted, stirring constantly. Stir in hot sauce.
- Keep fondue over low heat. Dip breadsticks and vegetables into fondue.
Book Pick of the Day: Let’s Fondue
Recipe courtesy of Sargento Foods Inc.
Read More:First Down Fondue