Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dinner's Going Green

"Green" - it's no longer just a color, it's a catchphrase for easy environmental fixes. One thing is for sure, we've abused our planet for a long time, selfishly exploiting its resources, and now it's fighting back. We're entering a period of consequences, and unfortunately we are not yet rising to the challenge in a way that will ensure our future. Green has become the word of the moment, but only for baby steps. As much as every little bit counts, baby steps will not take us the miles we need to go before time runs out.

Hot, Flat and Crowded is a fantastic book about the challenges we are facing and the best ways to rise up and seize the American entrepreneurial spirit to reduce the effects of our dependence on fossil fuels. I highly recommend it to everyone, since this is an issue we will all have to face. I hope President Obama has read it as well. If America leads the world towards higher efficiency standards and cleaner fuels, the world will follow, and probably respect us a little more as well.

As for steps we all can take without the government's help, green baby steps are still better than a lack of forward motion. Energy star appliances, SMALL hybrid cars, reusable grocery bags and compact florescent bulbs are tremendously helpful in cutting CO2 admissions when everyone starts to use them. Reducing electricity use, by using power strips that cut power to appliances and chargers when not in use and driving less are a huge help. We have only used the air conditioner in our house a handful of days this summer. A little sweat has paid off with more money in our pockets.

CSAs are a great way for foodies to be a little more green. Community supported agriculture means food travels only a few miles from farm to table, drastically reducing its carbon footprint. Plus local small farms stay solvent, not caving to sell their valuable land to developers of McMansion complexes. And we get the freshest produce possible, so everyone wins. One Straw Farm gives me so much organic produce that I've only had to go grocery shopping once since school let out. Which has meant way less miles on my car and way more money in my pocket.

So here's a green meal with a green sauce that will rock your taste buds and get you going on a greener path to change.

Grilled Stuffed Patty Pan Squash and Fish with Salsa Verde

Grilled Salsa Verde
4-5 tomatillos, husked and washed then halved
2 tomatoes, washed and halved
1 small red onion, halved
1 jalapeno
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat a grill to high heat. Brush the tomatillos, tomatoes, onion and jalapenos with vegetable oil. Grill them all over high heat until tomatillos and tomatoes are carmelized and onion and jalapeno are charred. Chop up the tomatillos, tomatoes and onion. Seed and stem the jalapeno and mince. Toss them all with lime juice and cilantro. Let sit for 15 minutes for flavors to meld. (Leave the grill on low for the squash.

Stuffed Squash
2 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup white rice
1 Tbsp chile powder
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 cup shredded mexican cheese

6 medium patty pan squash

Bring chicken stock, lime juice and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add rice and spices and reduce to low. Cover and cook until rice has absorbed the water, and is al dente, about 20 minutes. Toss in about a third of the salsa verde and the rest of the cilantro along with the cheese.

While you're waiting for the rice to cook, slice the tops off of the patty pans and hollow out the insides with a spoon. Brush the squash with olive oil and put top side down on the covered grill to cook and char a bit. After the tops are charred, stuff with rice and put back on the grill, but right side up this time. Cook until tender and evenly charred.

Finishing it off...
2 (1/3 lb.) filets of firm white fish, such as halibut or cod

Brush the fish with vegetable oil and season well with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until just cooked - about 2 minutes per side for thick filets. Serve over remaining rice with squash on the side and salsa on top.

1 comment:

Kitchen Butterfly said...

I just saw Patty Pans for the first time at a very nice I have a couple of recipes for it when I'm done with my Fennel craving!

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