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Author Interview

April 26, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Kate Heyhoe answers questions about her new book…

Cooking Green
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen
the New Green Basics Way

What do you mean by “shrink your cookprint”?

Your “cookprint” measures the entire environmental impact you make on the planet when you cook or eat—whether you cook the meal or someone else prepares it for you. In other words, your “cookprint” is the entire chain of resources used to prepare meals, and the waste produced in the process. So essentially, Cooking Green is a lifestyle manual for shrinking your “cookprint.”

The cookprint starts with food, in your garden or at the farm; it travels to your kitchen (or a restaurant kitchen) and takes residence in the fridge, freezer or pantry. The cookprint also includes the food’s packaging, transportation and refrigeration demands along the way. Then, the cookprint grows larger every time heat or fuel is added, from a cooktop, oven, or small appliance. Discarded resources, whether they’re organic produce trimmings, plastic packaging, or water down the drain, further color the cookprint. As do the implements you cook with and the way you store leftovers. Understanding your cookprint helps put the cook squarely in charge of just how big, or how green, that cookprint will be—in ways that include yet extend beyond buying organic or local, or eating meat or not.

 

Is this book just for cooks?

Cooking Green is for any one who eats. President Obama has committed to a green economy, and on every level, being “green” has established itself as a national priority. Adopting greener lifestyles doesn’t have to be tough, and this book focuses on ways to be green without feeling deprived. Chapters highlight which types of foods are lower-impact, and tips address water heaters, garbage disposals, barbecuing, shopping, restaurants and each link in the food chain, so it’s of value to every one who eats, even if you don’t cook.

And if you do cook, you’ll discover that the kitchen is ripe with opportunities for going greener. It’s the place where people can make real choices, and take direct control of their impact—without letting the family feel deprived, hungry, or stressed. In fact, everyone will feel better just knowing they’re helping the planet. With the book’s step-by-step model recipes, they can do it one bite at a time.

 

What inspired you to write this book?

Buying organic is a great green practice, and as a cook, I knew we could do more to combat climate change. Lots more. The result: A treasury of eating, cooking and shopping habits that are as simple as changing light bulbs, and integrate just as easily into daily life. Collectively, they’re a whole new approach to cooking the basics. They include fuel and water conservation, and the strategies go from farm, to food, to fuel, to fork. They push the concept of “green cooking” into how we cook, including cooking methods and cookware, appliances, and water usage.

 

What makes this book different from the rest?

Many green living books require such a major commitment to lifestyle change, I think they push mainstreamers away. They provide great advice on green construction and buying composting worms, but often they don’t address common day-to-day tasks, like cooking and eating.

My book connects the gap between buying greener foods and greener ways to cook them. What really sets this book apart from other culinary or green living books is that my message includes, but goes far beyond, organics, composting, and recycling—because it also scrutinizes the physical ways we cook. My book asks (and answers) such questions as:

  • Can the way I cook my favorite meatloaf truly make a green difference?
  • How can I be more fuel-efficient when it comes to baking, broiling, or doing dishes?
  • Why is grilling with hardwood less polluting than using charcoal briquettes?
  • Is it really so easy to be greener when I shop, cook, and clean? (Yes, it really is.)

So my book is about every aspect of energy-efficiency—shopping, cooking, eating and cleaning up. In ways not instantly thought of as “green.”

  • …Like certain benefits of small appliances (including rice cookers and electic tea kettles, not just toaster ovens or slow cookers)
  • …It’s about foregoing the bigger-is-better mentality (do you really need a double-wall oven in your next house? A toaster oven is a better second choice)
  • …And making better use of the tools you already now (did you know convection ovens produce 30% less greenhouse gases than conventional ovens? Maybe it’s time to figure out how that convection setting works.)
  • …It’s carrying an ice chest with freezer packs in the car so you can do a full day of errands at once, without the food going bad, thus saving on mileage, gasoline, and time.
  • …Or neat tricks to keep lettuce and other perishables fresh an extra three days, so you can eat better and shop less frequently.

 

And it’s realistic: Baking and roasting in winter naturally make more sense, but sometimes a cook just needs to use her oven, no matter what time of year. So this book tackles summer baking with green options that avoid ratcheting up the AC. Eating lower on the food chain is also important, and the book recommends consuming less meat, but it also suggests greener meaty options, like stretching out portions of grass-fed beef, for die-hard committed carnivores.

 

What’s an “ecovore”?

Our planet’s food resources can shift in abundance amazingly quickly. A fish species that thrived last winter may be in short supply this year, or a plentiful crop (like corn) can inadvertently increase global hunger when it becomes a biofuel. Ongoing drought can limit what’s available and increase the prices we pay. I believe it’s important to be mindful of our food supply even as it changes. Food is impacted by climate, and also by our own actions, which can have both good and unintended consequences. An ecovore watches, reads, and pays attention to global food conditions, and makes choices based on what’s happening now. It’s conscious eating with a “to-the-moment” awareness.

 

You say this book speaks to short attention spans. What do you mean?

The opening chapters detail the concept of “New Green Basics” and preview the strategies. But overall, chapter-by-chapter reading of this book is optional—it’s meant to be absorbed in snippets, sidebars, and quick hits, ideal for new-media-minds. Flip through it whenever you have time, and you’ll find something handy to absorb. For instance, there are sidebars and tactics presented in lists, tips for water conservation, and a “Green Meter” introduces each recipe with bullet points on the basic green strategies being used, when the dish is most seasonal to make the most of local ingredients, estimated prep and cooking times, and special conveniences for the cook.

 

What exactly are the “New Green Basics”?

They’re the basic rules of everyday cooking, but updated with the planet in mind. How you cook is as important as what you cook. Without abandoning your favorite recipes, you can bake, roast, broil, grill, and fry in vastly greener ways, saving fossil fuels, reducing greenhouse gases, and shrinking your carbon footprint. Cooking Green (the book) shows you how, and you’ll find more recipes and strategies here at NewGreenBasics.com.

 

For other interviews with Kate Heyhoe about Cooking Green, check out Celebrity Chef Chat at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online and, in print, It’s Easy Being Green in the April issue of Austin Monthly (Austin, TX).

 

Buy Cooking Green

 

Cooking Green:
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen
the New Green Basics Way

Alter Eco Chocolates

April 26, 2009 by · Comments Off on Alter Eco Chocolates 

Neat Sweets

Alter Eco Chocolate

Green Star Review Green Star

This Mother’s Day (and every day) keep Mother Earth in mind, with Alter Eco Organic Chocolate Bars. We’ve been impressed with all nine flavors, from Moka Milk to Dark Mint. Rich and imminently satisfying, these chocolate bars easily stand out among their competitors. Which is not surprising, since they’re made in Switzerland by a master chocolatier using some of the world’s best quality cacao beans from Bolivia and Ghana.

But it’s their good green profile that jumps them ahead of the conventional pack. Alter Eco’s not the sexiest brand name for foods, but it’s accurate. For besides being organic, Alter Eco bars are fair trade certified, vegan, GMO-free, and contain no artificial flavors, chemical additives, or emulsifiers. The brand specializes in fair trade foods cultivated by small-scale farmers in developing countries. The farmers and their cooperatives are paid decent wages, and Alter Eco adds a premium for investing into community projects, like wells for clean water, computers, scholarships, and even micro-credit loans. Besides the chocolate bars, Alter Eco products include coffee, tea, unrefined sugar, jasmine rice, quinoa and hearts of palm.

Our favorite chocolate flavors? Tough question, as they’re all so good, but the Dark Velvet with a touch of organic milk has dark chocolate’s intensity mellowed by a silky texture. As I say in Cooking Green, one way to shrink your cookprint is to shop with your dollar: buy products with good global impact, which in this case is easy, since these chocolates are tasty winners all the way around.

 

Wild Albacore Tuna

April 26, 2009 by · Comments Off on Wild Albacore Tuna 

Albacore Tuna

Green Star Review Green Star

Two microcannery brands of wild albacore tuna floated across our desks recently: Wild Planet and Wild Pacific Albacore brands have similar names, and both are small but unrelated canneries in the Pacific Northwest.

Albacore Tuna

These days, knowing which fish species to eat can be confusing, even for the most informed good green citizen. Before your inner tuna alarms go off, rest assured these two brands get green stars from NewGreenBasics.com, and here’s why.

  • Catch Method: Troll-caught, an environmentally friendly method (unlike longline fishing, whose bycatch-method destroys sea turtles, dolphins and endangered species)
  • Sustainability: Albacore from U.S. waters is a Best Choice at Seafood Watch, provided they’re troll- or pole-caught. These populations are healthy and sustainable.
  • Health: Low-mercury, high Omega 3 oils, good source of selenium (an antioxidant). These brands select smaller tuna; the smaller the fish the lower the mercury accumulation. They’re higher in Omega 3 oils than major commercial brands.
  • Canning Process: Both brands cook their tuna only once, in the can, which retains flavor and texture. (Major commercial canneries cook the fish whole, then strip the meat, pack it in a can, and cook the can yet again, often adding water, broth or vegetable oil; nutrients, firmness, natural oils, and flavor are lost in the process.)
  • Why we like them: Tastes like real food. Wild Planet Wild Albacore Tuna consists of hand-cut steaks, sashimi-grade, packed in the tuna’s natural oil with no liquid added (don’t drain the oil!). Wild Pacific Albacore packs theirs in tasty organic olive oil and sea salt.
  • AND: Both brands use certified BPA-free cans, a rarity today and an action that helps earn them a New Green Basics Green Star.

Wild Planet tuna is available at Whole Foods, Targets, Ralph’s, Peyton’s, Kroger’s, Earth Fare, Coburg’s, Heinen’s, Wakefern’s, Andronico’s, and many smaller regional chains as well as many upscale specialty and natural stores around the country.

All US troll-caught albacore earn a green rating (best choice) from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide.

 

Troll-Caught Albacore Tuna Recipes

Thai Style Albacore

April 26, 2009 by · Comments Off on Thai Style Albacore 

with Lemongrass & Mushrooms

Serves 2-3

Thai Style Albacore

  • 3 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 lb albacore tuna, loin cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, minced
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 2 dried chilies (or to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups bok choy, shredded
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Heat the oil over high heat. Add the tuna and season with salt & pepper. Stir fry the tuna until the chunks are seared on all sides.

Remove to paper towels to drain and set aside.

2. In the same pan (adding oil if necessary) add the lemongrass, shallot and chili peppers. Fry until shallot begins to turn golden.

Add the garlic, shitakes and bok choy. Stir fry 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce, nam pla, palm sugar, cilantro, and the reserved tuna.

Toss together until thoroughly incorporated and hot through.

3. Serve immediately over steamed rice, bean thread noodles or soba noodles.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Eric Jenkins

 

About Wild Albacore Tuna

 

Troll-Caught Albacore Tuna Recipes

Salade Nicoise Sandwiches

April 26, 2009 by · Comments Off on Salade Nicoise Sandwiches 

Makes 6 sandwiches

Salade Nicoise Sandwiches

  • 3 six-ounce cans of troll-caught albacore, drained
  • 2 1-pound soft French or Italian bread loaves
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons olive paste (olivada) or olive spread
  • 2-1/2 ounce packages fresh arugula or watercress
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

1. Combine albacore, capers, mayonnaise and fresh lemon juice in medium bowl, add pepper to taste.

2. Cut each bread loaf crosswise into 3 pieces, then halve each piece lengthwise. Pull out centers of bread pieces, leaving 1/2- inch-thick crusts.

3. Spread olive paste on inside of each bread piece, then line with a generous amount of arugula or watercress.

4. Spread on 1/2 cup of the albacore mixture, top with the sliced tomatoes and onions, and replace the top pieces of bread.

 

About Wild Albacore Tuna

 

Troll-Caught Albacore Tuna Recipes

Moroccan Tuna Skewers

April 26, 2009 by · Comments Off on Moroccan Tuna Skewers 

with Zucchini & Oranges

Serves 6

Moroccan Tuna Skewers

 
  • 1-1/2 lbs fresh tuna, cut into one inch cubes 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice Salt & Pepper to taste Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 oranges, cut into small wedges 3 zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1. Mix together the cumin, paprika, turmeric, cayenne, garlic, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper and lemon zest.

2. Pour over the tuna cubes and marinate, preferably at least 2 hours, but no more than 6.

3. Divide the tuna onto the wooden skewers—that have been soaked in water—mixing with the zucchini and orange wedges.

4. Grill the skewers over medium high heat for 6-8 minutes, turning occasionally and brushing with the leftover marinade.

5. Serve hot or cold

Recipe courtesy of Chef Eric Jenkins

 

About Wild Albacore Tuna

 

Troll-Caught Albacore Tuna Recipes

Grilled Curried Albacore Cakes

April 26, 2009 by · Comments Off on Grilled Curried Albacore Cakes 

Serves 2

Grilled Curried Albacore Cakes

  • 1 lb albacore chopped into fine pieces
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 stalks green onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 heaping tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-3 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup olive oil for cooking

1. Patties—Add albacore, 1 egg, green onion, bacon, parsley, parmesan cheese, Dijon, curry powder, salt & pepper and just enough Panko bread crumbs to bring the mixture together enough to form patties. Refrigerate for at least an hour, and then form patties.

2. Grill albacore cakes in pan or on grill with olive oil for about 4-5 minutes each side or until golden brown and hot through. Place sauce on a plate and top with tuna cakes.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Eric Jenkins

 

About Wild Albacore Tuna

 

Troll-Caught Albacore Tuna Recipes

Albacore in Puttanesca Sauce

April 26, 2009 by · Comments Off on Albacore in Puttanesca Sauce 

Albacore in Puttanesca Sauce

 
  • 2 lbs albacore medallions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 2-oz can anchovy filets
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 cup black or green olives
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes salt & pepper to taste

1. Sprinkle both sides of the medallions with salt & pepper, place them in a bowl and set aside.

Peel the garlic and set aside.

2. Place the contents of the anchovy can in a large skillet on medium heat and add 2 tbsp. water. With a wooden spoon, break the anchovy filets into quarters, cooking for 1 or 2 minutes until they shrivel into small pieces.

3. Add the olive oil and the garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add the capers and olives; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes. Cook for 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently. Add 1/2 to 1 cup water as necessary as the sauce thickens.

4. Add the albacore medallions and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side, till just cooked &when the fish is opaque and no longer translucent.

5. Serve as a sauce with your favorite pasta.

 

About Wild Albacore Tuna

 

Troll-Caught Albacore Tuna Recipes

CDN Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer

April 1, 2009 by · Comments Off on CDN Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer 

CDN ProAccurate® Heavy Duty Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer

Thermometer

Other than the heater and AC, the biggest energy-guzzling appliance in your house is your refrigerator. To keep fridge and freezer, and the food that’s in them, at their optimum temperatures, use a thermometer. Ideal temperatures extend the life of perishables without burning excess energy or risking contamination.

I’ve been using the CDN ProAccurate® Heavy Duty Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer (model RFT1). It’s got several features that make it a winner: an easy to read dial (no squinting at thin red bars), at-a-glance indicators to show the ideal range, and mounting options for hanging or sitting wherever you want (no suction cups). It comes with a 5-year warranty but looks sturdy enough to last a lifetime. By using it, you can save energy and prevent food waste. At $7.99 or less, this CDN thermometer is money well spent.

Buy CDN ProAccurate® Heavy Duty Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer

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