UPDATE: Congratulations to Maria, a.k.a. mpl15, who won the giveaway with this great eco-friendly cooking tip: “Avoid wasting greens such as cilantro or spinach, by cutting half or 1/3 when you bring it home, put a small amount in ice cube containers along with some water and freeze. Next time a recipe calls for it, take out a cube or two and voila: fresh herbs!” Check out the comments on this post for more resourceful ideas.
When I went out to California, I already considered myself an adopter of the organic lifestyle. With canvas tote bags a-swinging, I would pluck juicy peaches and sourdough loaves from the farmer’s market and feel pretty pleased with myself. It wasn’t long before I realized how much more there was to learn, as my sweat dripped into the trenches of our campus farm. From decoding an organic product’s label to the balanced formula for a robust compost pile, I realized the key to truly embracing the sustainability movement is humility. A green education is one that grows, adapts, and cultivates complexity. Anna Getty’s Easy Green Organic is a book of delicious and healthy recipes, yes, but also a proactive guide to making the right choices, from the farm to your kitchen. Did you know that conventional pineapple and broccoli tend to be lower in pesticides than bell peppers and potatoes? For the Etsy Blog, Anna shares her personal path to green, along with a savory recipe that utilizes my favorite pantry staple, quinoa.
Comment on this post with your own eco-friendly cooking tip and you could win a copy of Anna Getty’s Easy Green Organic! At 12:00:00 p.m. ET Monday April 19, 2010 we will pick at random one commenter. (We apologize in advance that this sweepstakes is only open to U.S. folks over 18. Void where prohibited. Download a PDF of the full Rules and Regulations.) And you can always pick up a copy for yourself from Amazon or an independent bookseller.
I was born in Germany and raised in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. My mother, Gisela, studied Buddhism in the early 1980s at the Green Gulch Center in Marin County, California. And that is where my food education began. I watched Buddhist monks lovingly farm organic fruits and vegetables, which made their way across the Golden Gate Bridge to the famous vegetarian restaurant, Greens, which we frequented. We were strictly vegetarian at the time — and I mean really vegetarian. I remember going into our small local health food store and slicing chunks of milky-white tofu from large slabs floating in tubs of water. (It sounds really appetizing, right?)
I grew up eating lentil soup, whole-wheat pasta, and nutritional yeast flakes when those ingredients were virtually unheard of in most American households. We had a lovely little garden at our house, and my mother cut fresh herbs, which she added to our soups and salads. Looking back now I realize our meals were simple, fresh, locally harvested, seasonal, and very flavorful — exactly the way food should be.
For the past few years I have been working with and supporting the Organic Center and other organizations, such as Healthy Child Healthy World and the Organic Farming Research Foundation. In the process, I have educated myself about organic and sustainably produced food, and an overall green and sustainable lifestyle.
I believe we can initiate change in myriad ways, including through our purchasing power, which we exercise when choosing the food we eat and the products we use. We can choose to be conscientious and responsible consumers.
I’m reminded of a quote by Carl Jung: “Every person needs to have a piece of garden, however small, to keep them in touch with the earth and therefore with something deeper in themselves.”
Quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”) is one of my favorite grains. It’s high in protein, low in acid, and has a beautiful nutty flavor. It is an ancient Incan grain, which the Incas believed was a grain from the gods. Look for heirloom varieties with the fair trade symbol. Fair trade ensures that farmers are being fairly compensated for their labor.
Before cooking, make sure to rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine-mesh strainer to remove the bitter outer coating. The tartness of the Cilantro Yogurt Sauce, made with Japanese plum vinegar, is the perfect accompaniment to these crispy croquettes. The sauce is so tasty that I increased the recipe a bit so you’ll have extra sauce on hand.
Cilantro Yogurt Sauce:
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ume plum vinegar
1 small white onion, quartered (about 1/2 cup)
2 cups plain yogurt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup quinoa, washed thoroughly
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated on medium holes
1 small zucchini, grated on medium holes
1 scallion, finely chopped (white and green parts)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 sprigs fresh parsley, stemmed and minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Grapeseed oil for cooking
1. To make the sauce, combine the cilantro, soy sauce, vinegar, and onion in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Stop the motor and add the yogurt and olive oil. Blend until creamy. Transfer the sauce to a container with a lid and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. To make the croquettes, combine the rinsed quinoa with 2 cups of water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the water is completely absorbed. Remove from the heat and transfer to a medium bowl to cool.
3. When cool add the carrot, zucchini, scallion, garlic powder, salt, parsley, egg, and flour. Mix well. Using your hands, form the mixture into patties about 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches in diameter.
4. Pour just enough oil into a large skillet to cover the bottom of the pan, and heat the oil over medium heat. Working in batches, lay the quinoa cakes in the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. (You can probably cook 5 to 6 patties at once.) When the cakes are golden, turn them over and cook until the second side is golden. (Check by lifting up a side with a spatula.) Add additional oil as needed, and remove any brown bits that accumulate in the pan as you cook.
5. Remove the cakes from the pan and place them on a plate lined with a recycled brown paper bag. Serve hot, drizzled with the Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Or put the yogurt sauce in a bowl for dipping. Top the cakes with grated carrot and zucchini.
Thanks to Anna Getty and the folks at Chronicle Books for sharing this delicious recipe with us. For more tasty inspiration to care for your body and your planet, check out a copy of Anna Getty’s Easy Green Organic. And remember to leave your eco-friendly cooking tip in the comments for a chance to win!