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Tag Archives: sustainable
For many of us, this time of year is filled with present giving — weddings, showers, and graduations. I wanted to share this lovely idea for gifting Annieglass that was recently shared with us. As you know, I’m a fan of very minimalist and sustainable gift wrapping — wrapping paper from holiday gifts is largely to blame for a 25 percent spike in curbside trash volume between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to the EPA. And in the U.S., the annual trash from gift wrap and shopping bags adds up to over 4 million tons of garbage. That makes a pretty gift wrap, seem a little less festive, doesn’t it? I love the simplicity of presenting Annieglass with just a beautiful bow or ribbon, which can then be reused or repurposed. But this idea makes it even more personal — attach a recipe that matches the dish to the gift — in this case an easy and elegant chocolate chip pound cake to go with a rectangular tray. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
Water conservation is so important for so many reasons, and it’s especially important to reduce our consumption and reuse used water when we can. Here are two really easy ways to save and reuse water in the kitchen you may not have thought of:
When you are draining pasta or vegetables that you have boiled, place your colander over a bowl in the sink when draining and save the starchy water. You can use some of it to make the sauce or as a base for a soup.
Do you clean your vegetables by scrubbing them under a running tap? An alternate way is to wash them in a bowl of water. You can then reuse that water later to water your houseplants or garden.
What are your favorite water conservation tricks?
Has Spring sprung in your region yet? Throwing open the windows on the first warm day of the year is one of life’s true and great simple pleasures — until, of course, all that sunlight and warm breezes makes you realize how dusty and cluttered your house has become over the winter.
But traditional home cleaning products aren’t always the greenest option for getting your home clean. Products heavy on fragrances and harsh cleansing agents like bleach, ammonia and acids can produce indoor air pollution with the fumes — pets and children can be particularly sensitive to these. Look for eco-friendly cleaners or make your own. Even big messes or toughest stains can be tackled effectively with baking soda, borax, lemon juice and other simple ingredients that you may have around the house already.
Vinegar: A mix of equal parts of white vinegar with water in a spray bottle is great for cleaning windows.
Baking Soda: Baking soda makes an effective cleanser for your sink, countertops or tub. Mix about a quarter cup of water with three cups of baking soda so that it forms a paste, then scrub away. Baking soda is also great for deodorizing fabrics. Sprinkle it on your carpet or furniture, let it sit for at least half an hour, then vacuum it up.
Club soda: To clean caked on grease on your stovetop or soap scum in your shower or in your laundry, fill a clean spray bottle with club soda, spray it onto the area you want to clean and let it sit for ten minutes. Then wipe with a sponge.
Coca Cola: Strange but true, Coke makes a great toilet cleaner. Just dump one can of Coke into the bowl, let it sit for 15 minutes and then use a toilet brush to scrub. Voila! Totally clean.
Its a cold and chilly day for a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium but I can not pass up a chance to visit the seahorses. Once a year I meet the aquarium team that I work with for lunch at the cafe….yum! . We catch up about changes in seafood sustainability, how the Seafood Watch collection I designed to benefit the aquarium is selling and strategize about the future, while dining bayside on succulent sustainable seafood. This time we also talked about participating in the Cooking for Solutions event in May. I will be making the gifts for the chefs. www.cookingforsolutions.org
I don’t think I have ever eaten Artic Char before- it was delicious, fragrant with fennel and orange zest. The fish is deep orange like salmon…. and just as tasty. The recipe from Monterey Bay Aquarium who spent 20 years as food editor for Bob Appetit magazine, Kristine Kidd is below.
After lunch I checked out the Annieglass display at the Aquarium shops. I will back at the end of the month for the opening of a new display on jellyfish —those marvelously captivating creatures —I am fascinated by them!
Arctic Char with Fennel and Orange Recipe
Recipe by: Monterey Bay Aquarium Food Editor Kristine Kidd
4 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed, cut lengthwise into 1-inch wide wedges, some fronds minced and reserved for garnish
2 large red onions, peeled, cut through the stem end into 1-inch wide wedges
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more as needed
4 tsp. grated orange zest, divided
1¾ tsp. fennel seeds, crushed coarsely in mortar with pestle if desired, divided
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 Arctic char fillets, 5-6 ounces each
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 tsp. firmly packed brown sugar
Arrange one rack in the upper third and one rack in the lower third of the oven, then preheat to 450 degrees. Combine the fennel wedges and onions in a large bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1½ teaspoons of the orange zest, and 1 teaspoon of the fennel seeds and toss to coat the vegetables.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on a large-rimmed baking sheet. Place on the upper oven rack and roast for 15 minutes. Stir the vegetables and continue roasting until tender and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, brush a small, rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Brush the skin of the fish with olive oil and place skin side down on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the top of the fish with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, 1½ teaspoons of the orange zest, and remaining ¾ teaspoon fennel seeds.
After the vegetables have cooked 20 minutes, place the pan with the fish on the lower oven rack and cook the fish until it feels springy when pressed in the center, about 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. For another test of doneness, make a small incision in the thickest part of the fish; the flesh should be just opaque in the center. If it’s still translucent, cook a few minutes longer.
While the fish cooks, mix the vinegar, orange juice, brown sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon grated orange zest in a large skillet. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Simmer over medium heat until thickened to a syrupy texture, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat.
Divide the vegetables and fish among 4 warmed plates, saving the juices on the fish pan. Stir 3-4 teaspoons of the fish juices into the balsamic sauce. Spoon the sauce over the fish and vegetables.
Sprinkle lightly with fennel fronds and serve immediately.
We are exactly a week away from Valentine’s Day, so if you haven’t figured out what gifts you are giving to loved ones, now is the time to start. Sustainable and local gifts also show your love for your community and the planet.
Organic or local flowers. Nothing says Valentine’s Day like a big bouquet. But the environmental footprint of flowers can be huge. According to studies, supplying the 100 million roses ordered for a typical Valentine’s Day produces 9,900 tons of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions. And the pesticides used in large scale flowers farms in many places are cause for concern. But you don’t have to give up on blossoms for you beau. Instead look for organically grown flowers and/or locally grown flowers.
Give local wine, preferably one that is made organically and/or sustainably. Local wines don’t travel as far so they have a smaller carbon footprint. Spending money at a local vineyard also supports local industry and your community.
Organic Chocolates. Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest chocolate giving occasions of the year. Organically grown chocolates are made from ingredients produced without any pesticides or fungicides. Which is better for both you and the environment.