Archive for ‘Eating Locally’

February 21, 2012

California Pizza Kitchen for Veggies

by jem614

By Jessica Michael

I’m sure our savvy-er readers will already know this but California Pizza Kitchen has quite a few vegetarian options on their menu.  They are also extremely family friendly and won’t break the bank.

My favorite part is that they have this little menu with “smaller” portions at a lower cost.  You can get two small portions meals for about $9 (which helps you not have to choose just one item)!

I had the Grilled Vegetable Sandwich and Tortilla soup- which was amazing.  The sandwich was not my absolute favorite; I thought it could be a little more flavorful but it was still really good and tastes great reheated in the oven.  Afterwards we shared the buttercake which had: a layer of sugar crystals on the bottom, the buttercake and then a layer of cheesecake which was topped off with a scoop of ice cream.  Delicious and perfect for a table of four to share and not feel guilty (starting to really love sharing deserts!).

I am really looking forward to trying some more fare at CPK soon!

October 17, 2011

The “Green Thing”: Is the new green revolution really that green?

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

I received a chain letter this morning in my e-mail that actually made a lot of sense, surprisingly enough. Everywhere you look today there are “green” products: bottles made from plants, reusable grocery bags, less harsh chemical cleaning products. These are all great things, however our world still needs a lot of work.

Just something to think about as you start your week 🙂 !

 

Green Thing

Anonymous

In the queue at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

He was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in  conservation from a smartass young person.

Remember: Don’t make old People mad.

We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to set us off.

July 25, 2011

Does Latin and Vegan sound like an oxymoron? It isn’t with Jackfruit Tamales!

by ashley

My beloved jackfruit, for which I drove 50 miles south of my home to buy and three hours of my time to cut, also became a wonderfully fresh, Latin meal when combined with simple ingredients. (Read more about the jackfruit itself here)

Tamales are traditionally made with either corn or yucca flour, stuffed with beef or pork, and wrapped in a plantain leaf or corn husk. My version is the quick-fix method, when you don’t have much time. Making tamales the traditional way is a time consuming and painstaking process, however does indeed yield much tastier results. I have used brand names in my ingredients list as it makes a difference in flavor if using other brands.

To make the jackfruit filling:

 

2 cups peeled green jackfruit, fresh

1 small onion, diced

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 pkg Goya achiote seasoning

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp Goya recaito (cilantro cooking base)

Oil spray for coating pan

 

Mix ingredients well in a medium bowl, cover and let marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. Heat a large skillet to medium heat and spray with oil spray to prevent sticking. Sauté marinated jackfruit and onion over medium heat until translucent and browned. Cover and set aside.

 

To make the tamales:

 

2 cups pre-cooked Harina PAN Masarepa (yellow cornmeal)

2 ½ cups hot water (almost boiling)

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp Earth Balance Original

4 plantain leaves or 6 corn husks, soaked in warm water so they are pliable

Kitchen string

 

In a large bowl, add the almost-boiling water, salt and Earth Balance. Slowly add the cornmeal, stirring constantly until a soft dough is formed. Carefully knead the dough to evenly distribute water, salt and Earth Balance. Assemble the tamales by adding a tablespoon or two of dough onto a plantain leaf or corn husk. Flatten the mixture, add a little of the jackfruit and cover with another tablespoon of dough. Wrap the tamal like a package in the leaf or husk, carefully tying with kitchen string. Continue until you have made the desired amount of tamales or you run out of ingredients (will be about 4-6 tamales).

 

Boil water in a large pot. Add the tamales and boil until they float, or about 15 minutes. Serve fresh.

 

July 20, 2011

Spiny, spiky, oozy – fruit? And as a vegan meat replacement?

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

Is it an alligator? It is a lizard? A dinosaur??

No, it’s a jackfruit! The largest tree-born, and arguably most delicious, edible fruit in the world. And when I say large, I mean it. The jackfruit can grow up to a whopping 80 pounds. That’s over 36 kilos of heavy, sweet fruit. While I have seen the jackfruit for much of my life in Florida and throughout the Caribbean, I only recently found out about its use as a meat replacement. And since I really can’t stand many “fake” meats, I knew that I needed to make a dish to see how it tastes.

Ripe, the jackfruit’s texture and flavor is like a banana, mango and pineapple all mixed together. Super sweet and perfect without any dressing. But, unbeknownst to me, the younger, green fruit has a very mild taste, meaning it will absorb flavors almost as well as tofu. What I found out after taking these photos (and making a couple recipes that you will see posted soon) is that, unlike when eating the ripe fruit, the younger fruit can be cut up in its entirety. Just peel off the skin, cut it, marinate it and eat. The ripe fruit you actually peel out the individual pockets of fruit, which are good for eating raw. Don’t try eating the green jackfruit raw, though. It doesn’t taste good and can possibly give you a major stomachache.

I bought my jackfruit from a locally-grown farm here in South Florida. I didn’t want anything too extravagant (and consequently ridiculously expensive) but rather a modest fruit. Well, apparently a modest jackfruit is 9.8 pounds, the smallest they had available. After paying $18 for one fruit, I brought it home and began examining it. I had eaten ripe jackfruit before, but never had the delight of cutting and peeling it myself. Even before peeling the stem began oozing its white liquid on everything, which consequently is actually used as caulking in some Asian countries (yes – it is that sticky and thick). So be prepared for a sticky, messy endeavor if you are trying this yourself. To counteract the stickiness, have a small bowl of oil at the ready for coating hands, cutting boards and your knife.

Cutting the jackfruit is easy, as long as you have a large enough knife. Remember this while purchasing, you’ll need to have a pretty big knife to go through some of the larger jackfruit. It’s possible without, but it creates a lot more work. If you’re eating it ripe, just cut the fruit in fourths, peel away the hard tethers, pull out the seeds and eat the soft fruit. If you’re making a recipe with green jackfruit, I’ve now learned all you need to do is peel off the outer skin and cut. You will still need to take out the seeds, however. In either scenario, the seeds shouldn’t be discarded. Keep them and roast, they have lots of health benefits and are great when added to a trail mix (which, by the way, I have a great recipe for that I’ll be posting soon).

There are a multitude of recipes out there for jackfruit, Asian and otherwise. I’ll be posting a few of mine over the next few days, which include a couple Latin recipes that are completely unique. If you have any questions about the jackfruit, or are looking for a place to purchase in South Florida, please let me know and I’d be glad to help.

 

 

May 19, 2011

RAAW Carrot Lemonade

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

I bought a bottle of It Tastes RAAW Carrot Lemonade at my health food market today while picking up lunch, thinking it would be a nice drink to calm my appetite while driving back to work. I especially liked that it is manufactured here in Miami, as I like to support local brands as much as possible.

Unfortunately, upon opening the container a strong smell, almost like when you’re walking into an older vitamin store when there is a strong smell of open capsules. If you’re from Miami and you’ve been to that old health food store next to Jimmy’z Kitchen on Alton Road, then you know what I’m talking about. But, despite the smell, I decided to dive in and try a sip. To my dismay, it tasted almost worse than it smelled. I turned the bottle over and read the ingredients, “Carrot Juice, Pineapple Juice, Apple Juice, Lemon Juice…” well, those things cannot possibly taste this badly. I could blend those in my home blender and make a great juice. I continued reading “Natural Flavors, Apple Pectin & Beta Carotene”…wait, what exactly is “Natural Flavors”? And why would we need more beta carotene added to carrot juice?

I hate to do this to RAAW, however I just really did not like their juice. I really hope that they rethink this recipe and come up with something more natural and pleasant.

April 18, 2011

The Apartment Farmer

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

Eating locally is an amazing step towards a fresher, healthier and more sustainable way of life, for yourself and your community. With that in mind, what could be more local than your own balcony? I personally am a city-dweller, living right in the midst of a sea of high-rises, a true concrete jungle. However my surroundings have not hindered me from cultivating a thriving kitchen garden, while small, baring the fruits of many plants. All you need is a sunny spot, a way to irrigate (whether that be a fancy watering system or just a simple watering can) and lots of patience. I change my garden every season, planting new and exotic plants to keep me entertained. But even just a bit of green and a sprinkling flowers will brighten your mood and home. When shopping for plants, be sure to read the labels for the proper sunlight recommendations (full sun, partial sun, full shade) and choose dwarf varieties of larger plants to maximize space on your balcony. I haven’t yet been able to get one, however I would love a dwarf lime or lemon tree. The scent of the leaves is intoxicating, and the dwarf variety can easily be grown in a container. I’ve included some photos of my past endeavors in my little piece of jungle. Feel free to comment below if you need help cultivating your own kitchen garden.

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