Sunday, February 13, 2011

Trim Your Waste. Go Low-Carbon.

With the fear of global warming rising, many people are trying to look for ways to lower their carbon footprints. Jackie Newgent addresses the threat of climate change with simple but effective cooking techniques and recipes in her latest cookbook, Big Green Cookbook. Targeting both vegetarians and meat-lovers, the book provides easy cooking methods for an eco-friendly lifestyle. However, it never pressures readers to drastically change their eating habits or give up flavorful foods. Instead, Newgent encourages cooks to incorporate small changes into their lives and to slowly adapt green practices. A comprehensive and well-organized introduction addresses greener methods of buying, cooking, serving, and storing food. It includes pollution-reducing party tips and grocery shopping guidelines as well as a kitchen appliance check-list. Newgent's kitchen philosophy promotes small-scale habits that can add up to save large amounts of energy, time, and money.

The 200 recipes in her cookbook are arranged seasonally. Further divided into sections such as "bites and snacks", "soups and salads", or "sips and sweets", the recipes are diverse and easy to incorporate into everyday meals or special occasions. All call for fresh, whole, all-natural ingredients and the use of environmentally friendly products. In the margin of each recipe, Newgent provides a little green cooking tip that is specific to the dish. For example, she suggests using edible dip bowls made out of peppers that can be filled and then eaten - no dish washing needed. When cooking meat, Newgent advises aiming for medium-rare: the cooking time saves energy but is long enough to ensure that the meat is safe for consumption. None of the recipes call for obscure or expensive ingredients. Instead, the focus is on the process. Below is one of Newgent's winter-friendly soup recipes: "Lotsa Veggie Clam Chowder."

Makes 4 Servings: 2 cups each

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, very thinly sliced
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled, and diced
2 1/2 lbs farm-raised littleneck clams, well scrubbed
2 cups low-sodium vegetable or organic chicken broth
1/2 tsp ground sage
1 cup organic half-and-half or plain unsweetened soymilk
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste
1 scallion, green and white parts, minced

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
Increase the heat to high. Add the potatoes, clams, broth, and sage and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook 10 minutes or until the potatoes are nearly tender. (Discard any unopened clams after 10 minutes).
Add the half-and-half. Cook for 3 minutes. Cover and turn off the heat. Let "lid cook" (cook covered while the burner is off) until the potatoes are fully cooked, about 5 minutes.
Remove the lid and stir in the parsley. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the scallion to serve.

She advises vegetarians to simply leave out the clams and use vegetable broth. And instead of tossing away the clam shells, Newgent suggests using them for crafts, decorations, or even wind chimes.

Jackie Newgent's Big Green Cookbook is available on her website.

1 comment:

  1. An interesting note is that the greenest diets are the ones that contain the fewest animal going veg even for a portion of your weekly meals is really beneficial to the environment!



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