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Make Your Own Steamer

February 24, 2009 by · Comments Off on Make Your Own Steamer 

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by Kate Heyhoe

Cooktop cooking can be more than six times as energy efficient as oven cooking. Steaming is one form of cooktop cooking.

Bamboo Basket

Types of Steamers: Bamboo steamers, the kind used with woks, are biodegradable, but foods may stick unless you place them on a plate or line the steamer with lettuce leaves or parchment paper; bamboo also releases its own grassy aroma, which may or may not be desirable. Stainless-steel steamers require more resources to manufacture, but they can last decades, and they clean up readily. For steaming one dish at a time, inexpensive collapsible steamer baskets work fine, and some cookware pots come with steamer inserts.

NGB Tip: Instead of buying more equipment, shrink your cookprint by making a steamer out of an existing pot, like this:

1. Raise the food using a rack or any pedestal-like object tall enough to elevate it above water level. Examples: Set a plate or a roasting rack over a small empty can (with ends cut out; a tuna can works well) a heatproof trivet, or a canning jar lid. Or use a metal colander if it fits in the pot.

2. Steam the food on a heatproof plate to catch the juices; or it can rest on a rack, or a lettuce leaf, or a cornhusk, or a piece of foil, or parchment paper, a pie pan, or a tart pan. (Just make sure there’s enough room for the steam to circulate.)

3. If your pot doesn’t have a proper lid, cover it with a plate or a heavy baking sheet; if necessary, set a weight on top (like a can or kettle of water) to hold it in place.

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Find more tips to shrink your cookprint in Kate Heyhoe’s book Cooking Green

Can the Bottled Water

February 13, 2009 by · Comments Off on Can the Bottled Water 

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by Kate Heyhoe

bottled water

Alice Waters, the patron saint of all foods good and green, has banned bottled water from her legendary restaurant Chez Panisse. Most bottled water brands are owned by two giants, Coca Cola and Nestlé. But that’s not the issue. It turns out that public water systems, regulated by the EPA, undergo testing for bacteria and contaminants several times a day. The FDA, though, controls bottled water, and only requires a once weekly test of the source, the results of which can be kept private. So restaurants from NYC to SF Bay are going back to filtered tap water, and even converting it to sparking water in-house.

This makes such good sense at home, too. With tap water, you help keep the recycling bin clear, and you’re drinking locally (instead of trucking in water to grocery stores from some distant plant, then driving to the store yourself to buy plastic bottles of the stuff, and sending the empties on yet another journey to a recycling center or landfill. By the way, if you do have plastic water bottles on hand, fill them up and stick them in your fridge. They’ll keep the refrigerator from working so hard to chill the vacant spaces, and you can always pull them out when you need more room.

Quick Tips

Find more tips to shrink your cookprint in Kate Heyhoe’s book Cooking Green

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