September 18th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Cauliflower is usually served with butter or oil. Today’s recipe substitutes Dijon mustard, which lowers fat content and adds a nice flavor.
Be sure to use Dijon mustard, which is more refined than traditional yellow mustard. I recommend Annie’s Naturals’ Organic Dijon Mustard.
All of the ingredients in today’s recipe should be available at your local natural and organic food store. Tune in Sunday for another fab recipe: Curried Cauliflower.
Cauliflower with Mustard and Minced Dill
Makes 4 servings
1½ cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dill seeds
3 bay leaves
1 pound cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1–2 tablespoons minced fresh dill (or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried dill)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)
- Pour broth into 10-inch skillet. Add dill seeds and bay leaves. Cover and bring to a simmer.
- Add cauliflower. Cover and continue to simmer for about 5–6 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.
- Uncover skillet and place in the refrigerator. Let cauliflower chill in its stock for about 30 minutes.
- Drain cauliflower, reserving stock, and place in a serving dish.
- Strain the stock, and combine 1/4 cup of it with mustard, lemon juice and dill.
- Drizzle sauce over cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Per serving: 35 calories, 0 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 7 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 150 mg sodium
Recipe and photo courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research
Read More:Cauliflower with Mustard and Minced Dill
September 17th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
While researching Monday’s piece on laundry balls, I came across another interesting bit of information on dryer sheets.
According to Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, authors of Squeaky Green: The Method Guide to Detoxing Your Home:
Beef fat (aka tallow) is the secret ingredient that makes your clothes so soft. The very stuff you cut off your steak so you won’t gain weight or clog your arteries is coating your sheets, towels, shirts, jeans, even your underwear.
Ryan and Lowry, who founded the Method brand of nontoxic cleaners, recommend eco-friendly vegan dryer sheets that are made from plant-derived substances like canola oil. You can even reuse the sheets as dust cloths after you’ve finished your laundry, they say.
Method makes Squeaky Green Dryer Cloths. Another option is Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Dryer Sheets. Both products are available at natural and organic food stores.
Read More:Beef Fat in Your Laundry?
September 16th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower is one of those misunderstood vegetables. It’s certainly not the prettiest veggie on campus, but it’s one of the healthiest.
When properly cooked and seasoned, cauliflower is delicious—one of my favorites. I buy it at least once a week, usually to steam or roast as a side dish.
These days, cauliflower is available year-round. A member of the Brassicaceae family (broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens), it delivers a cancer-fighting compound called sulforaphane. A half-cup of cooked cauliflower provides 45% of your daily vitamin C requirement, as well as 2 g fiber, while weighing in at only 15 calories.
When choosing an organic cauliflower, look for a head that’s white or creamy, firm, compact, and heavy for its size. Toss aside heads that have dark spots, brown patches or other discolorations.
When you arrive home, place your cauliflower (stem side up) in your refrigerator’s crisper, where it should last for up to five days. If you buy precut florets, eat them within a day of purchase, as they don’t store well.
The most exciting development on the cauliflower front is the range of colors available—from green (often called broccoflower) to orange and purple. If you’re a cauliflower neophyte, start with the green variety, which has a milder taste. Regardless of color, cauliflower may be eaten raw, so add some small florets to a salad for added crunch and nutrients.
When you’re ready to cook your cauliflower, peel off the stem leaves, turn the head upside down, and cut the stem at the point where the florets begin to meet. They will then start to separate on their own, and you can help them along with a few knife cuts.
Be prepared for a sulfurous smell when you cook cauliflower. Yes, it usually stinks when cooked, but that odor will not influence its taste. Be patient! After steaming florets for 3 to 5 minutes, you’ll be able to serve them.
Here are some final cooking tips:
- If water touches cauliflower during steaming (or boiling), the veggie may turn yellow. To preserve whiteness, add a tablespoon of milk or lemon juice to the water.
- Don’t cook cauliflower in an aluminum or iron pot. The veggie’s compounds will turn it yellow or greenish-brown when exposed to aluminum and iron, respectively.
Tune in Friday and Sunday for some weekend cauliflower recipes. In the meantime, try this Roasted Vegetable Medley.
Read More:Organic Cauliflower
August 21st, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
As summer picnic and barbecue season winds down, make your next seasonal dish stress-free with a no-cook appetizer that’s perfect for potlucks or cookouts.
Our weekend recipe comes from Ingrid Hoffmann, host of Simply Delicioso on the Food Network and author of Simply Delicioso: A Collection of Everyday Recipes with a Latin Twist.
“Entertaining doesn’t have to be a time-consuming and tiresome process,” she says. “With a few ingredients, you can create simple and tasty recipes.”
Best of all, this healthful recipe will appeal to both children and adults. All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.
Black Bean and Corn Scoops
1 bag tortilla chips
1 cup salsa
2 cups frozen sweet corn, thawed
1/2 cup canned black beans (rinsed thoroughly)
1 bunch green onions, diced
1/2 avocado, sliced
Juice of half a lime
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- Combine all ingredients, except chips, in a glass bowl and toss well. Refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour to meld flavors.
- Spoon mixture onto chips, and place on a serving dish.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Tostitos
Read More:Black Bean and Corn Scoops
July 20th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
I have friends who are vegan—I’m sure you do too—and most of them are pretty ardent about it, which is great. If you’re going to do something, go all the way with it.
But this might be taking it a little too far. Farming with no animals involved, not even poop! That means no manure fertilizer.
Using poop seems totally natural to me, but for the Vegan Organic Network, it’s got to be totally animal-free.
The vegan agriculture movement promotes farming methods that involve no “animal inputs” which excludes many common kinds of soil-enrichments, such as fish meal, bone meal, manure or the remains from slaughterhouses.
That seems a little weird to me. I don’t know about the other stuff, but using animal poop is perfectly natural and it doesn’t hurt the animal. They have to poop! So why not use it? That’s where I think vegan farming is a little kooky.
But this part is cool. Since it’s an organic movement, it involves no artificial chemicals or pesticides. The group says the overall approach is for the well-being of humans, social justice, animal welfare, biodiversity and environmental sustainability.
This is all well and good, but you have to show poop some love!
Read More:What is Vegan Organic Farming? It Means No Poop!
June 24th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Brooklyn’s Isa Chandra Moskowitz hosts the online Post Punk Kitchen video series, which offers great vegetarian cooking lessons. She’s also the author of the highly acclaimed Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock.
The cookbook is divided into nine sections:
- Brunch (Sweet Potato Hash with Five-Spice and Watercress, Ginger-Pear Waffles)
- Muffins and Scones (The Best Pumpkin Muffins, Glazed Orange Scones)
- Soups (White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup)
- Little Meals, Sammiches and Finger Food (Parsnip-Scallion Pancakes, Fresh Corn Fritters)
- Sides (Balsamic-Glazed Portobello Mushrooms, Coconut Rice with Toasted Coconut)
- Pizzas and Pastas (Homemade Gnocchi, Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes and Kalamata Tapenade)
- Entrees (Pumpkin Seed-Crusted Tofu with Baked Pumpkin and Cranberry Relish, Moroccan Tagine with Spring Vegetables)
- Cookies and Bars (Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, Macadamia Blondies with Caramel-Maple Topping)
- Desserts (Coconut Heaven Cupcakes, Gingerbread Apple Pie)
Rocker Joan Jett added her review to the book’s back cover: “This fun and creative book is delicious for people like me, who don’t eat pets!”
Vegan with a Vengeance retails for $17.95, but the current price on Amazon is $14. Use the recipes to jump-start your organic Meat-Free Monday meals.
Read More:Vegan with a Vengeance
June 16th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Singer Paul McCartney yesterday launched a Meat-Free Monday campaign, which encourages consumers to help slow climate change by avoiding meat one day a week.
Celebrity supporters include Chris Martin, Alec Baldwin, Woody Harrelson, Sheryl Crow, Kevin Spacey, Kelly Osbourne, Gillian Anderson and Ricky Gervais.
Studies clearly show our food choices affect the environment. The UK’s Food Climate Research Network says food production is responsible for 20%–30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Farm animals, which release gases like methane and nitrous oxide, account for 50% of food-related emissions.
In fact, livestock production is globally responsible for more climate-changing emissions (18%) than transportation (13%), according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. And Compassion in World Farming says UK families that slash meat consumption by 50% would release fewer emissions than if they drove their cars 50% less.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Rajendra Pachauri, PhD, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said last year:
“IPCC found that changes in lifestyle and behavior patterns can contribute to climate change mitigation across all sectors. One area where individuals can make a difference in this regard is by altering their diets through consuming less meat, say by giving up meat at least one day a week. Reducing meat consumption in this manner will make individuals healthier, as well as the planet.”
“I think many of us feel helpless in the face of environmental challenges, and it can be hard to know how to sort through the advice about what we can do to make a meaningful contribution to a cleaner, more sustainable, healthier world. Having one designated meat-free day a week is actually a meaningful change that everyone can make that goes to the heart of several important political, environmental and ethical issues all at once. For instance, it not only addresses pollution, but better health, the ethical treatment of animals, global hunger and community and political activism.”
Organic Meat-Free Monday Playlist
- Amoeba’s Secret
- Unplugged (Official Bootleg)
Read More:Paul McCartney Calls for Meat-Free Mondays
June 9th, 2009 - Laura Klein
“It’s 100% vegan, but it tastes like KFC.”
Welcome to a magical place where grab and go, decadent comfort food blissfully coexists with super high nutrition and globally good underpinnings…The Veggie Grill’s got it all.
“Our overarching purpose is to show people how delicious and enjoyable plant-based food can be when prepared the right way,” says T.K. Pillan, one of The Veggie Grill’s owners. Goodbye bland tofu, uninspired bean sprouts…hello Chipotle BBQ, Grillin’ Chickin’ and Carne Asada sandwiches…all of which are made from 100% plant-based, veggie protein blends.
“The Best Chicken Sandwich I Ever Had!” Veggie Grill converts regularly proclaim that The Veggie Grill’s Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ (crispy fried chillin’ chickin’, lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado, southwestern spiced vegan mayo on a wheat bun with a side of red cabbage ‘slaw) is ‘the best chicken sandwich I ever had!” The irony? There’s no chicken in it!
By using its signature marinades and sauces, The Veggie Grill converts super nutritious plant-based proteins patties (which in their base form, are pretty much flavorless) into familiar and yummy all-American comfort food.
“There’s a certain stereotype about vegetarian and vegan food being boring and tasteless,” continues Pillan. The Veggie Grill busts through that myth, despite its cholesterol-, trans fat- and high-fructose corn syrup-free menu offerings.
Another amazing side effect? No bloating or sleepiness, as you might feel after a guilty indulgence in ‘conventional’ fast foods. What you eat affects your vitality, and The Veggie Grill is on the right side of your energy and nutritional levels.
Eco Bite The Veggie Grill takes a decidedly non-preachy approach to their vegan comfort food…but Pillan adds that 100% plant-based food is as sustainable as you can get.
The huge carbon foot print of cattle and other animals raised for food has a greater impact on the planet than even transportation, a little known fact.
“Meat is simply an inefficient use of the planet,” says Pillan, citing Brazilian rain forests that are currently being cleared to make room for raised-for-meat cattle grazing. You can get much more from land – and for people – by growing plant-based food versus animals raised for food.
Sourcing wise, The Veggie Grill strives for local and organic whenever possible, especially when it comes to produce.
Check out Fox’s Good Day L.A.’s recent visit to The Veggie Grill and plan your outing to this amazing eatery soon (there are two locations in Irvine and one in El Segundo, CA). Staying at home? Pick a new dish from Laura Klein’s huge offering of healthy organic recipes!
Know any other ‘comfort food’ vegan or vegetarian restaurants? Let us know!
Read More:Get Your Vegan Comfort Food On!
May 16th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Temperatures are climbing, which means it’s backyard barbecue season. If you’re a vegetarian (or you’re hosting a party vegans will attend), there are some fine alternatives for your organic hot dog stand. You just need to buy the right sausage substitutes at your local organic or natural food store.
Hood River, Oregon-based Turtle Island Foods specializes in “meatless meats” made from certified organic soybeans. For the grill, choose from Tofurky Franks and spicier Chipotle Franks (named Best New Vegetarian Product at Expo West 2006 by Veg News Magazine). The company also produces ready-to-grill vegan sausages: beer brats, kielbasa and Italian sausage. Click here to find a store in your area that carries them. You may also order products online by clicking here.
Rochester, New York-based SoyBoy manufactures gluten-free NotDogs and Vegetarian Franks. Both “dogs” are made with organic tofu and special spices. They’re available at organic and natural food stores.
Read More:Organic Food: Vegetarian Hot Dogs
May 3rd, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
The average American drives his car 8,322 miles each year, emitting 1.9 to 4.7 tons of carbon dioxide (depending on vehicle model and fuel efficiency). He also consumes 3,774 calories each day. (Yikes!) So, what do these statistics have in common?
Americans’ habits are hazardous to their health—and the planet’s, according to Drs. Gidon Eshel (right) and Pamela Martin of the University of Chicago. (See yesterday’s blog entry, Vegan Diet Is Earth-Friendly.)
In 2002, energy used for food production accounted for 17% of all fossil-fuel use in the United States, and the burning of these fossil fuels emitted three-quarters of a ton of carbon dioxide per person. This alone amounts to approximately one-third the average greenhouse-gas emissions of personal transportation. But livestock production and its animal waste also emit greenhouse gases not associated with fossil-fuel combustion—primarily methane and nitrous oxide.
“An example would be manure lagoons that are associated with large-scale pork production,” Dr. Eshel says. “Those emit a lot of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere.”
While methane and nitrous oxide are relatively rare compared with carbon dioxide, they are, molecule for molecule, far more powerful greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. A single pound of methane, for example, has the same greenhouse effect as approximately 50 lbs. of carbon dioxide.
In their study published last month in Earth Interactions, Drs. Eshel and Martin compared the energy consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions underlying five diets: the average American, red meat, fish, poultry and vegetarian (including eggs and dairy)—each of which equaled 3,774 calories per day. The vegetarian diet turned out to be the most energy-efficient, followed by poultry and the average American diet. Fish and red meat virtually tied as the least efficient.
The impact of producing fish came as the study’s biggest surprise to Dr. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysical sciences.
“Fish can be from one extreme to the other,” she says. Sardines and anchovies flourish near coastal areas and can be harvested with minimal energy expenditure. But swordfish and other large predatory species required energy-intensive long-distance voyages.
As for red meat, “the adverse effects of dietary animal fat intake on cardiovascular diseases are by now well established,” the researchers write. “Similar effects are also seen when meat, rather than fat, intake is considered. To our knowledge, there is currently no credible evidence that plant-based diets actually undermine health; the balance of available evidence suggests that plant-based diets are at the very least just as safe as mixed ones, and most likely safer.”
Drs. Eshel and Martin now plan to examine the energy expenditures associated with small organic farms to see whether they offer a healthier planetary alternative to large agribusiness companies. They know a 5- to 10-acre plot on an organic farm typically provides enough vegetables to support 200–300 families—and “we’re starting to investigate whether you can downscale food production and be efficient that way,” Dr. Martin says.
Photo by Lloyd DeGrane
Read More:The Energy-Efficient Vegetarian Diet