Earth Food – What Are You Doing To Spare The Planet?
I thought about it and figured this should be easy. I’m sorry… but I recycle – a lot, I compost my food waste, we’ve even changed over our light bulbs. But I’m no savior. I would assume that for every good thing that I do, I’m probably doing something energy sucking in return, like drive a car and run the dishwasher – often. Seriously, the stress from saving the planet could almost be too much to handle.
Then it hit me. While feeling guilty driving around, dragging my kids to from farmer’s market to farmer’s market, I realized that I am a local food junkie. Nothing tastes better than a fresh, seasonal, real tomato and when you buy a bushel of them to dry or jar for later, you can enjoy real flavour all year long – without the transport exhaust.
With all the buzz, I decided to do a bit of research, to back up some of my claims, I came across one of the most interesting statistics. Rated #31 on the Climate Crisis Solution lists being vegetarian, better yet, vegan as more beneficial for the planet than downsizing your vehicle(s).
According to a study done by the University of Chicago, the amount of pollution created by animal related methane gas and transport pollution would be greatly reduced by how “… close you can be to a vegan diet and further from the mean American diet, the better you are for the planet. It doesn’t have to be all the way to the extreme end of vegan. If you simply cut down from two burgers a week to one, you’ve already made a substantial difference.” (I’m assuming “mean” = average American diet :)
Think about what you eat and where it comes from. Your food will taste better and you’ll save the planet at the same time. Easy and delicious.
On that note, it’s August and the Farmer’s market is bursting with tomatoes and CORN!
I could post an exhausting instruction about how to roast corn, but it’s not hard. If it’s fresh like now, usually picked a few hours before getting to you from the market, the silks will still be moist, soft and light. If it’s older you can usually tell the same way. If the silks are browned and drier you don’t have super fresh corn may have to peel the only dry loose husks from the corn and soak it for a minute or two – but when it’s fresh bring it home and put it right on the grill – the sooner the better since the sugar in corn begins to turn to starch just about as soon as it’s picked. The natural moisture should be enough to steam the corn over a steady medium heat. Turn the corn regularly so the outside husks char evenly. Once it’s grilled on all sides, about 5 – 7 minutes, remove it from the grill. Once it’s cool enough to handle, peel the husks and the typical stray silks will glide right off.
I served mine with a dollop of Lemon Thyme Spread made from 1/4 Cup of vegan margarine with about 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Thyme and the zest of 1 lemon.
GRILLED POLENTA WITH FRESH TOMATO SALSA CRUDA
3 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 Cup Fine Cornmeal or Polenta
pinch of salt & a crack of fresh pepper
Cooking Spray or olive oil
In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer.
Using a whisk to combine, pour the polenta into the heated stock in a steady stream.
Reducing the heat to low, continue to stir frequently with a wooden spoon.
Polenta should come away from the edge of the pot and the spoon should be able to stand up in the center, or your arm will feel like it’s had a full workout, once it’s thickened.
Spray a 9″x13″ pan with oil and pour in the polenta. Flatten the polenta to the edges with a rubber spatula, dipping it in water, if necessary, to keep it from sticking, and cover with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until very firm.
Heat grill to medium flame.
Cut the polenta into portion size servings and remove from the pan.
Brush with olive oil and grill for a few minutes each side or until crisp and golden.
FRESH TOMATO SALSA CRUDA
2 Large Field Tomatoes
1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper
1 Clove Garlic, minced
2 Scallions, chopped
3-4 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, chopped
1 Chipolte pepper, minced, optional
salt and pepper to taste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Core and roughly chop the tomatoes.
Remove the seeds from the pepper and roughly chop.
Add the garlic, scallions, chopped herbs and chipolte pepper, if using.
Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Top grilled polenta, drizzle over olive oil and serve immediately.
Photo courtesy of WeirdFood.com.