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Hold Onto Your Heat

May 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Quicktip

by Kate Hehyoe

Microwave

Hold Onto Your Heat: Want to keep a cooked dish warm until serving? Use your microwave oven as a warming oven but don’t fire it up. A microwave oven’s insulation is good enough to retain heat for quite a while. If your dinner is finished in stages, put the ready dishes in the microwave and close the door; just don’t turn it on, especially with metal cookware in it.

Quick Tips

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

Gruyere-Toasted French Bread

May 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Quicktip

by Kate Hehyoe

Lasagna

Broiler Quickies: Gruyere-Toasted French Bread
Another Recipe to Cook While the Broiler’s Hot

Pop this goosed-up version of a cheese melt under a hot broiler, right after you’ve broiled a main dish. Slice a loaf of French bread in half lengthwise. Slice each length into pieces, about 3 inches long. Drizzle or brush 2 tablespoons walnut oil on the cut surfaces. Combine 4 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons coarse-ground mustard, and 1/8 teaspoon white pepper. Distribute on the bread. Broil until cheese bubbles and serve hot. (Serves 4)

Quick Tips

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

Double Up Roasting

September 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Quicktip

by Kate Hehyoe

Chicken

Double Up: Roasting two chickens uses about the same amount of energy as one. So roast two at the same time, enjoy one for dinner and save the other for sandwiches, tacos, or simply another meal. Freeze the meat for chicken salad.

Do the same with turkeys at Thanksgiving; after all, aren’t the leftovers the best part of the Thanksgiving dinner?

Quick Tips

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

More Double Up

September 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Quicktip

by Kate Hehyoe

Lasagna

More Double Up: Two smaller, shallower baking dishes and pans cook quicker than one large one. A lasagna recipe, for instance, can be cooked in two baking dishes, and shave off about ten minutes baking time. Enjoy one casserole the first night, and save the other for reheating on another night (it will fit easier in your fridge as well).

Pie Pan Casseroles: Don’t have two baking dishes? Glass pie pans (especially deep-dish) work great as baking dish alternatives and go right into the microwave. I even simultaneously roast two small chickens or pork roasts using two glass pie pans, and save one for leftovers.

Quick Tips

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

Reusable Net Produce Bags

July 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Quicktip

Produce Bag

Ever find you’ve accumulated way too many flimsy plastic produce bags? Stop the insanity! As I point out in Cooking Green, recycling is good, and bringing your own bags for produce as well as groceries is even better. Now, 3B Bags offers hip and practical bags for both vegetables and groceries. They make reusable, washable produce bags from fine, see-through netting. Cool!

They feature a drawstring, weigh next to nothing, and come three to a pack ($7.50). Bring them to the store in the 3B Paisley Tote ($6.00), which is made of polypropylene so it can be wiped clean, and features a clear pocket on the interior side (drop in garlic heads or a grocery list). According to the manufacturer, using three of their reusable produce bags once a week can save as many as 150 plastic bags per year. Check them out at 3BBags.com.

Buy the Self-Cleaning Oven

July 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Quicktip

by Kate Hehyoe

Frigidaire Self-Cleaning Oven B000XB5T52

Even if you never use the self-cleaning function, it’s a worthwhile feature. Why? Because self-cleaning ovens are better insulated than standard ovens, so less heat pours into your kitchen.

If you do use the self-cleaning feature, turn it on after your oven’s already hot, like after roasting, so you don’t waste extra fuel getting it up to inferno temperature.

Quick Tips

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

Freezer Packs

March 14, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Quicktip: Make Meats Last Longer

by Kate Heyhoe

Freezer Pack

Fresh meat and poultry can last up to three days longer if stored at 31 degrees F. (The spoilage rate slows down, but without solid freezing.) My fridge has a programmable bin with this setting, but you can lower a regular bin’s temperature by tossing in a freezer pack. By the way, fish markets tend to have loads of freezer packs; next time you shop at one, ask them for a pack or two for keeping the fish cool on your way home (and in your fridge). Wash the pack well with a little bleach in the water to remove any odors, and re-use it whenever you need to chill out, or chill in.

8 Green Ways to Use a Freezer Pack

Freezer packs thaw very slowly, especially if placed in an already cool environment. Keep some handy in your freezer, then use them:

  • In a bowl instead of ice when shocking vegetables in “ice water”
  • In the refrigerator meat bin (a lower temperature can extend freshness up to 3 days)
  • To take up vacant fridge or freezer space (the motor won’t need to work so hard)
  • To keep groceries chilled in an ice chest (less need to rush home, so you can do more errands while you’re out; plus perishables will last longer if kept consistently cold)
  • For chilled drinks on patios and at barbecues (with fewer trips indoors, the house and fridge both stay cooler)
  • To keep fish at its peak of freshness, even in the fridge (ever wonder why fish markets keep fish on ice?)
  • Under your milk carton (dairy products prefer 34 degrees F., slightly cooler than most fridges, which should run between 35 and 38 degrees to prevent freezing more sensitive items).

Quick Tips

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

Make Your Own Steamer

February 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Quicktip

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.

Quick Tips

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

Can the Bottled Water

February 13, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Quicktip

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

Cooking Methods

July 25, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 

You can, but you don’t have to, go vegan or grow your own vegetables, just to go green in the kitchen. This site is more about how you cook than what you eat. Not that organics and local foods aren’t important. They’re hugely important. But don’t we already get that message?

There are so many other ways not being addressed by media or publishers to reduce greenhouse gases and shrink your eco-footprint. The real news, the untold story, lies in the fuels you use, the method (steaming, boiling, baking, for instance), the cookware, and the clean-up. Let’s apply a concept of “bright green cooking,” very specific actions and totally practical plans that have more impact than “light green” steps alone, but are just as easy to do.

As a bonus, stretching energy consumption directly relates to saving time, too. Less time in the kitchen means fewer lights on, less cooking fuel used, and more personal time for you to do other things.

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