Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Eco Tip of the Week

Look for dairy products sold in reusable containers. It’s simple: you pay a deposit for the container at the time of purchase and you are refunded the amount of your deposit the next time you bring back the empty jar, bottle or crock.

This may sound a little old fashioned, but think of all the containers that we can keep out of landfills or all of the resources that can be conserved if we don’t have to recycle them.

Here are a couple of Northern California companies using reusable containers.

We like to know if you have found any products being packaged in reusable containers. We are always on the lookout.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Green Eggs

We all know today is the day to wear green, but don’t forget to eat your greens! This recipe is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

3/4 cup sliced potatoes, 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup sliced onions
3 eggs
Olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon water
1 cup chopped mustard greens
Parmesan Cheese

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a bit of olive oil in a 10 inch cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Flip the potatoes a few times while they are cooking so they brown on both sides.

When the potatoes begin to get crisp add the onions.

While the potatoes and onions are cooking crack three eggs into a bowl. Add the water and whisk.

When the onions are translucent add the eggs to the skillet.

Sprinkle with chopped thyme and fresh ground pepper. Put in the oven.

The eggs will cook in about 5 minutes so keep an eye on them.

When the eggs have cooked through take them out of the oven and top with mustard greens tossed in vinaigrette. Add a bit of shaved Parmesan if you have any on hand.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Vegetable Pot Pies

It was cold and raining and we had a hankering for some comfort food. These vegetable pot pies hit the spot. Warm, comforting and full of flavor. We topped the pot pies with an olive oil whole wheat crust. The dough is a little harder to work with so be patient with it. The whole wheat crust adds a nutty flavor that compliments the mushroom gravy and it’s so much more nutritious.

1 1/2 cups potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 onion cut into 1 inch pieces
1 leek sliced into 1/4 in pieces and cut in half
1 large shallot finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
1 large portabella mushroom cut into small pieces
2 cups Cremini or button mushrooms sliced
1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas. If you are using fresh, lightly blanch them
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup dark beer or stout
1-2 tablespoons butter
1-2 tablespoon flour

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.

Steam the potatoes, carrots and onion until tender. Don’t over cook. When they are done, set aside.

In a separate pan sauté the leeks, garlic and shallot in olive oil.

When the leeks are soft add the mushrooms, parsley and thyme salt and pepper.

When the mushrooms are soft add the water. Simmer on low for about 15 minutes.

When the water has slightly reduced add the beer and simmer on low for another 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust the salt and pepper as needed.

Make a roux with equal amounts flour and butter. To make the roux heat the butter in a small saucepan, when the butter it melted add the flour and stir four about a minute.

Add a bit of the mushroom broth to the roux and whisk.

Add the roux mixture to the skillet with the mushrooms. Gently combine. At this point the mixture should have the constancy of light gravy. If it is too thin, make a little more roux. It there is not enough liquid or the gravy is too thick add water to thin out. You want to make sure there is enough liquid so the pot pies have plenty of gravy.

Add the potato, carrot and onion mixture to the pan with the mushrooms. Add the peas. Gently mix.

Spoon the mixture into 4 oven proof crocks.

Cover each crock with the whole wheat pie crust and bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the crust is done.

Whole wheat crust:
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup white all purpose flour
½ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
About 3 tablespoons water

Mix the four, oil and salt in a food processor. Slowly add the water until the mixture comes together. Divide the dough into 4 balls and roll each one out separately.