Friday, April 21, 2017

Green Tips And Two Green Earth Day Recipes


Green Tips And Two Green Earth Day Recipes

As people gather to collectively celebrate the 47th Earth Day in America and elsewhere, many take time to review their own lifestyle strategies. recycling, reusing, reducing household waste and the use of plastic, chemicals, and ecologically unsustainable products. 

Much has to be done to protect the environment, but instead of waiting for the politicians to change things, each of us can start taking steps in his or her own home, office, school, or town. One of the simplest, but maybe not the easiest, thing we can do is to change the way we eat and obtain food:
  • buy organic
  • buy locally grown or produced
  • buy seasonal
  • grow your own
  • forage
  • make your own food
For many people this might be easier said than done, but lack of time or lack of money are not really good excuses. 

Organic food might be expensive at the first sight, but consider the increased nutrition fresh organic food provides. Less chemicals in your food also means less hazard to your health and possible reduced future health care coasts. Local farmer's markets are full of bargains.

Locally grown, seasonal produce helps reduce your carbon foot print, and once again, provides fruits and vegetable at its peak nutritional value. Many local farmers resorted to organic farming at some point in the past, but cannot afford the incredibly expensive organic certification. Visit such local farm to find out how food is grown or produced. Smaller farmers seem to have a very different set of ethical values than the food industry. Profit, while incredibly important, is not necessarily on top of the list. 

Grow your own! In 2017 a perfectly manicured 1950s American Dream style lawn looks a bit outdated to me. Some communities or residents' associations may not permit you to have a vegetable garden on your property, but you can still grow herbs and vegetables in decorative pots on your porch. Big city dwellers can easily create a container garden on their balconies or terraces. Those who only have a windowsill can at least grow fresh kitchen herbs. If you have never done this before you can take gardening courses. Many master gardeners offer gardening classes for beginners. Once you've got your fingers dirty, you will never want to buy another carrot or tomato. There is nothing more comforting than to see your food grow. 

Foraging is becoming more and more popular. If you do not have much experience with wild herbs, berries or mushrooms, you may have to take a class or attend a foraging workshop. The abundance of wild food is unimaginable, but you have to be very careful as there are herbs, berries and mushrooms that look like the good thing, but are often extremely poisonous. 

Last but not least, make your own food! If you are a working adult with kids and family on your head, this can be difficult. You may not be able to do it during the week, but you can certainly make a ritual out of family cooking on weekends. Weekend is also a good time to prepare some healthy food for the coming week:
  • salads in jars, that you can make ahead
  • smoothies or smoothie combos that can be made ahead - simply chop the ingredients and freeze them in small portions so that they are ready for blending during the week
  • soups can be cooked ahead and frozen, or fresh soup ingredients can be chopped, portioned out and frozen for later use
  • stews can be made ahead and frozen
  • bread baking on weekend can be a real fun
I hope that these few suggestions will help you get better organized. If you have tomatoes, peppers or herbs growing in your backyard you do not even have to drive to a store to get the salad ingredients.

Green Tips And Two Green Earth Day Recipes

 ~ Green Sauce Recipe ~

This is a variation of the famous Frankfurt Green Sauce. It can be used as a condiment for roasted meats, cold cuts, steamed, stewed or roasted vegetable, baked potatoes, and egg dishes; as a deep or a salad dressing; and in soups. It has a very green, almost grassy taste and may remind you a bit of the Argentinian chimichurri.

Ingredients:
  • 2-3 cups of mixed garden and wild herbs, roughly chopped (parsley, chives, arugula, sorrel, dandelion greens, ground elder, chervil, Sanguisorba minor or salad burnet, borage, ramsons)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium large purple onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp grated horse radish root (optional)
  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil 
  • 1 cup natural probiotic yogurt
  • 1 tsp Celtic sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method: 
  • In a food processor pulse blend herbs, garlic, onion, and lime juice until they turn into a green coarse paste. Do not over process.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients and blend until all is well combined. The sauce should not be too thick. Add more lemon juice or a bit more yogurt to achieve a nice consistency. 
  • Adjust the taste to your personal liking and serve with your favorite dish. The stores well in the fridge for two to three days, so it it quickly. It can also be frozen and used in soups.

~ Ground Elder Pesto ~

Green Tips And Two Green Earth Day Recipes

Ground elder, also known as bishop's weed, is a rather underestimated herb. When it shows up in your garden you will treat it as an unwanted weed, but the more you learn about it, the more you will come to love it. It also grows in the wild and can be foraged, but you must be careful as it resembles the highly poisonous hemlock. Both plants look almost the same when flowering. A simple test will help you distinguish ground elder form other plants: simply take a single leaf and rub it between you fingers. The aroma will remind you of carrots. Best time to forage for leaves is from May till July. This herb has many health benefits. It has a very high content of vitamin C and is good for gout, scurvy, digestion, and piles.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup ground elder leaves, packed
  • 1/4 cup pistachio nuts, raw or roasted 
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • juice of medium large lemon
  • grated peel of 1/2 organic, untreated lemon
  • 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
  • Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method:
  • In a food processor pulse blend ground elder, garlic, pistachios, lemon peel, and lemon juice. Do not over process. The mixture should be nicely coarse.
  • Add olive oil, salt and pepper and whiz again. Serve with pasta dishes, as a dip, soup or salad garnish. If you like cheese you can add crumbled Pecorino  or Parmigiano cheese, as you normally would if you made a classic basil pesto. 

Both recipes may sound slightly unusual, but if you can get the ingredients, give them a try.

This year Earth Day falls on weekend. Take advantage of it and go on a hiking trip, ride your bike, start a garden, or meet friends and family over a healthy, home made meal. Reach out to your community and see if there is anything you could do collectively to reduce your carbon foot print. The climate change may be real or perceived, but the environmental pollution is not. Many things must be done so that the generations to come can enjoy the beauty of our planet.

~ Happy Earth Day 2017 ~

Dominique Allmon

Dominique Allmon©2017