Thursday, April 24, 2014

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ON THE BACK BURNER



04/21/2014 03:15 PM Posted By: Dan Eaton

We are blessed by a fertile earth that feeds us every day, and we are spoiled by a constant supply of food and we’ve come to take that food for granted.

We often treat it as a disposable thing, not the sacred thing that it is. According to a recent study, Americans are wasting 40 percent of the food we produce.

On top of that staggering figure, we’ve also come to learn that the methane gas given off by wasted food in landfills contributes to almost 25 percent of our total greenhouse gas emissions.

Think about it...that is 40 percent wasted, despite knowing there are many hungry families that don’t have nearly enough to eat in this country. Think of all the wasted energy required to grow, harvest, distribute, refrigerate and cook that food.

Another way we can make a positive difference in our environment is to commit to eating less meat. Global demand for meat is at an all time high, but that demand requires more and more supplies of water, corn, soy and other grains to produce it.

Those same grains could be used to feed humans directly with less negative greenhouse gas impact on our planet. The demand for meat has also led to the destruction of large portions of our world’s tropical rain forests.

Choosing not to eat meat one day per week can make a huge difference for our planet if enough people join in the effort...commit to “Meatless Mondays”.

Remember:
•Don’t take food for granted
•Don’t buy more food than you know you’ll use
•Order less food when dining out, and commit to eating leftovers
•Know what’s hidden in the back of your refrigerator and plan to use it sooner than later

Stop...think...and don't forget...our planet is sacred and so is our food supply. In honor of Earth Day, and on every other day, please make conscious food choices that are good for our Mother Earth.


03/25/2014 11:04 AM Posted By: Dan Eaton

Super foods are foods considered beneficial to your health, and often contain high levels of antioxidants and vitamins that are purported to have cancer fighting abilities.

Most foods considered super foods are basic things humans have been eating for years and years: greens, nuts, fruits, legumes, fish, berries and whole grains etc.

Chances are, if you eat a well rounded, unprocessed diet, you’re probably already eating lots of super foods. Most of these things are easily recognizable, although some greens may be harder to identify than others, but whole grains are a food group that many of us are just starting to explore.

Sure, we know what oatmeal is and what whole wheat flour is, but many of the other grains are more mysterious. There are many ancient grains that are becoming more popular. For example, quinoa is certainly gaining popularity.

With so many people having gluten allergies it’s hard to know what is, and what isn’t safe to consume. I recently stumbled across the Whole Grains Council's website, and I wanted to pass along the wealth of information it contains about grains and gluten intolerance.

The thing about food and cooking is that we never run out of things to learn about! I hope you find this information helpful, because I certainly did.

For additional information, check out the links below:
www.wholegrainscouncil.org
Gluten Free Whole Grains


03/06/2014 05:00 AM Posted By: Dan Eaton

A week or so ago I had the pleasure of taking a trip to Oaxaca Mexico. It’s a beautiful city located up in the mountains (5,000 ft elevation) in the Southern part of Mexico in the state that is also called Oaxaca. The city itself has been designated a World Heritage site, which means that, in order to honor the history of the city, the existing buildings are not allowed to be demolished or changed in appearance.

It really is a stunning city with a thriving art and music community, great food and huge, beautiful churches everywhere you look. And just outside the city (at 7,000 ft elevation) are the ancient ruins called Monte Alban and,nearby, you can find the world’s largest diameter tree and another site of ancient ruins in Mitla.

There was plenty to do every day, including visiting artisanal weavers spinning their own wool and making all natural dyes and touring the production facilities of artisanal makers of mescal, an alcoholic spirit made from agave and made nowhere else in the world but Oaxaca.

But, out of all of these adventures, the thing I enjoyed the most was taking a cooking class with Chef Oscar Carrizosa of Casa Crespo.

It was hands on all the way, starting with a trip to the local grinding shop that grinds flours, grains and corn to order, and where we had corn ground to chef Oscars specifications for making our masa dough.


And then walking on to the market where Chef purchased and explained the foods that we would be using to make the meal that our class had agreed to make together…things like avocados, cheese, peppers, plantains and chicken.




Then it was back to the restaurant to make and cook fresh masa tortillas filled with squash blossoms, chicken and cheese and corn husk wrapped tamales with masa, chicken and a dark mole.





The ingredients below were used for our lighter chicken mole recipe…olives, almonds, cinnamon, raisins, tomatoes, onion, garlic, bread, bay leaf, thyme and chicken broth.


Here’s a lentil soup made with bacon, pineapples and plantains that inspired a lentil soup I made on Cooking at Home with smoked ham, sweet potato and pineapple.


Oh yeah, there’s the bottle of mescal that we used to make a mescal sorbet to finish the meal.

The chef's kitchen staff helped a good bit too, and actually finished cooking some of the longer cooking dishes, and we retired to the rooftop patio and enjoyed having our homemade meals served to us in stages.

I’m embarrassed to say that the camera didn’t make it to the dining table – you’ll just have to trust me that everything was really, really good!


02/10/2014 01:10 PM Posted By: Dan Eaton

Wow! It’s only February and winter seems like it’s been here forever...without any end in sight!

We all do what we have to do to get through it…day after day of shoveling and brushing off the car, and bundling up anytime we leave the house. I can handle it to a point but, without the warmth and light of the sun, the only bright spot is getting to cook some of my favorite comfort foods…which happen to be good for warming me up at the same time.

Here is a list of fifteen of my favorite comforting cold weather recipes. Enjoy!

Pasta Fagioli with Italian Sausage

Slow Cooker Beef Chili

Lentil Soup with Honey Mustard Baked Salmon

Turkey, Cabbage, and Rice Casserole

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

Lamb Shepherd's Pie

New England Clam Chowder with Smoked Paprika

Vegetable Pot Pie with Puff Pastry Squares

Roasted Stuffed Pork Loin

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

Italian Sausage Marinara with Garlic Bread

Oven Roasted Chicken Legs with Caramelized Brussel Sprouts

Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Onions, Oranges and Rosemary

Chunky Vegetarian Borscht

Apple Crisp with Maple Syrup, Dried Cranberries and Crystallized Ginger


01/31/2014 01:23 PM Posted By: Dan Eaton

With the 2014 Super Bowl only days away, check out my list of Super Bowl party favorites. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Beef Chili

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken with Pineapple Barbecue Sauce

Baked Buffalo Style Chicken Skewers

Tortilla Chip Crusted Shrimp with Guacamole

Mini Banh Mi Sandwiches

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

New Orleans Style Fried Oyster Po’ Boy

Fish Tacos

Turkey, Corn, Zucchini, Red Bean and Chipotle Pepper Chili

Blackened Pork Tenderloin Sliders

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

Sweet Potato, Corn, and Black Bean Quesadillas

Football Shaped Cheese Ball with Pickled Jalapeno Peppers and Smoked Paprika

Twice Baked Baby Potatoes with Bacon, Cheddar Cheese and Green Onions


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