It’s been a while since I’ve last posted. Since then I’ve been to Thailand and back to conduct research on elephant sanctuaries. And for all you elephant fans, don’t worry, I’ll be posting about that next! In the meantime I’ve also been thinking and reading about food sustainability. One thing I came across is this helpful website that allows you to calculate the carbon footprint of your diet. I discovered that the difference between eating avocados and citrus fruit 1-2 times a week amounts to the difference between driving a car 39 (avocados) and 6 (citrus) miles in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. If you would like to give it a try, visit the BBC Climate Change Food Calculator.
The Climate Change Food Calculator made me think about the role that transportation plays in the carbon footprint of my food. But as often as I shop at local farmers markets, I’m often tempted by exotic fruits and vegetables when I shop. In order to guarantee a that a sizable portion of my weekly groceries were local, I signed up for a CSA with Highland Orchards. Highland Orchards has a table at the farmers market closest to my house, which makes pickup really easy. They also post a list of the week’s share and helpful recipe ideas on the Facebook page, so subscribers like me can start planning ahead. Pictured above is most of what came in my first share: sweet potatoes, garlic, spinach, red-skinned potatoes, two kinds of apples, onions, carrots, and a huge head of escarole!
One of the first things I made was roasted sweet potato slices and carrots. The carrots were lightly drizzled with blood orange olive oil and then seasoned with whole cumin seeds, marash pepper, and sea salt before roasting. This is a variation on a simple but delicious recipe by Mark Bittman. All you need to do is peel and slice carrots, drizzle with oil, season, and bake in a 425 degree oven until done (check after 20-25 min). I love roasting vegetables on a Saturday or Sunday night, because it means I can mix and match them during the week to create endless variations on Buddha Bowls.
For this bowl I used chile-spiced sweet potato slices, broiled mushrooms, blanched kale, and “bulldog tofu” over quinoa. Granted, I’ve been feeling pretty guilty every time I cook quinoa, but everything else in this dish was locally produced. Bulldog tofu is what I call nutritional yeast seasoned tofu, because the first time I ever encountered nutritional yeast and tofu was at the legendary Bluebird Cafe in Athens, Georgia in a dish called, you guessed it, Bulldog Tofu. If you would like to try making these delicious bites, simply mix about 2 tablespoons each of soy sauce and your favorite cooking oil (I used coconut oil, which gave the entire dish a great flavor). You can marinade cubes or slabs of tofu in this mixture, roll in nutritional yeast, and then bake them on a sheet at 350-375 degrees for about 30 min. OR you can add 2-4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast to the marinade to make a pasty coating for your tofu, place the tofu on a sheet, and bake the same way.
For a midweek dinner of red-skinned potatoes and escarole, I kept it simple but rich in flavors and textures. I baked the potatoes in one of Sambar Kitchen’s wonderful cooking sauces. I love the Lemon, but they are all very tasty and can even be used by themselves as a dish over rice. Because the potatoes were so flavorful, I simply blanched the escarole, then gave it a quick sauté with olive oil and garlic. You can see more of my cooking and eating on my Instagram account.