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    Entries in food (6)


    Tribulations and Local Food

    It has been a long long time. Sometimes in life, you get bogged down in unexpected events of sorrow and joy, and projects and pledges take a back seat. I have just went through one of the periods. Loss of a father, supporting my wife finishing grad school, and a multi-state move, brings us to this moment now. It has been a long year, and life has thrown us lemons, oranges, grapes, and whatever other fruit life can throw at you, and we made a lot of "lemonade". Now after everything was said and done, it is time, and there is time to pick-up with conservation and getting Slay Energy Vampires! Moving in the right direction. With all of that said...

    ...welcome back, I am glad you are still following me. Now, on to some brief information.

    A few days ago, the city of Tempe in Arizona, added to their city web page a page dedicated to all of their locally crafted food. Everything from Pasta, to Beer, to Popcorn. It is a long and informative list with direct links and locations to where you can purchase this local food. Local food is still the best and most effective way to cut down on your food's carbon footprint. So, if you are in the Tempe, Arizona area, check out this list. They proudly advertised this list on their Facebook page as well.

    Right here for great local food!





    In.gredients a new way to shop, and new way to think

    There is a new grocery store that is opening up soon in Austin, Texas, it is called in.gredients. It has already started getting plenty of buzz in the mainstream media so I thought it would state a few words about it. In.gredients is offering all local, all organic food to the customers. That is nothing new at all, right? Not really, but it is what else they aren't offering that is new. In.gredients is striving to be the first non-waste food store in America right now. Non-waste? What do you mean? Well, there will be no packaging for their food. You will have to bring in your own containers, weigh your food, and then pay for your food. Only buying what you really need, with no packaging to deal with. According to their video:

    Americans throw away 1.4 billion pounds of waste every day, and 40% of it comes from one-time packaging. But it's hard trying to be a conscious recycler after a while because of the double or triple wrappings for every product.

    Wow! That's a lot of waste! One of the biggest challenges we have in America right now is over-packaging. Unfortunately, where we get our supplies to live on (i.e. food), is one of the worst culprits in this problem (in my mind shipping, especially for big business seems to be the worse, but I have no states, just personal observations). In.gredients is slated to open this year, and is already getting a lot of attention. I am hoping other companies start paying attention to this new delivery method, which almost ensures that we have to start thinking about slow food (something I will talk about soon in a later article).

    Let's see what they have to say for themselves:

    Wow, I will have to check this out when it opens!


    ---Justin J. Stewart


    Meatless Monday 10.4.2010

    So once again, this Meatless Monday started off without myself eating breakfast. I did have breakfast food today though, but it was for lunch. For lunch I had Cheerios. Honey-Nut and Multi-Grain Cheerios to be exactly. Even though it would not have been my premier choice for lunch, it was meatless, and fast for today's busy day.

    Dinner was another story though. Tonight we had a delicious stir fry, all supplied from a local market in Bryan, Texas called The Farm Patch. The stir-fry included: zucchini, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, bok choy, garlic, cayenne pepper, green peppers, yellow peppers, and bean sprouts. We also included Chinese vermicelli in our meal (aka cellophane noodles).

    Our bounty of veggies!Chinese vermicelliThe meal was pretty easy to make, and I will give you a quick recipe on how to do it, but most of it came from the gut and what just felt right. I put the Chinese vermicelli in a pot of water to soak for 20 minutes, while doing that I chopped up all the veggies. In a wok, I added enough Peanut Oil just to coat the wok with a thin layer of oil. I first added the bean sprouts, zucchini, and chopped up garlic cloves to cook. I then added some spices. I used ground black pepper, chili powder, szechuan pepper, crushed red pepper, ginger, onion power, and a dash of curry.

    Now, I can't tell you what amount I used, like I said I was cooking from the gut tonight and just rolling with it. I pretty much added seasoning to taste. I then added in the chopped cayenne pepper, some soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, szechuan sauce, and a dash of Frank's Red Hot. I stirred this up and let it simmer for a few minutes, then added in the rest of the chopped vegetables. Which I tossed around in the wok for about five minutes.

    When the vegetables looks slightly steamed, yet still crips, I added in the Chinese vermicelli to the wok and let that settle to the bottom of the wok to soak up all of the juices and flavors floating around in their. I then stirred around everything a few more times, to get a good mix. Sprinkled some sesame seeds on the meal in the wok. Let it simmer for about two minutes. then pull it out to serve. It was delicious and very quick and easy to make. Also, thinking about all the vegetables that I ate with this meal, kidna blows my mind!!

    What did you have this meatless Monday?! Feel free to share if you tried it out this week!


    ---Justin J. Stewart


    Meatless Monday 09.27.10

    Ok, this is our third installment of Meatless Monday! Today, most of the food is food featured from the local farmers market, or from our own garden. I also promise, after today, there will be other updates besides Meatless Monday, I have a whole bunch of links and ideas coming! Regardless, on to the food!

    For breakfast, as usual, I had nothing. Laura had some Cheerios. So on to the lunch!

    Crazy Cucumber!    For lunch we tried something different, that I have seen in many restaurant, so decided to try it on my own. We picked up a Armenian Cucumber at the Brazos Valley Farmers Market. I must admit that we bought this vegetable due to its strange shape. For lunch it was a simple pita sandwich. We cut up the cucumber, but a few slices inside of the pita (which was cut in half), and added some homemade baba ganoush, which I also made for a previous meatless Monday, and the recipe can be found here. I must say it was a delicious and refreshing pita sandwich, and I do plan on trying it again sometime. Even Laura, who is not a huge fan of Cucumbers, though that this sandwich was tasty.








     For an in between snack, we went to our favorite Frozen Yogurt Bar, Spoons Yogurt. Needless to say, there was not any meat involved in this. But there were nuts, kiwi fruit, and strawberries!

    For dinner we decided on an recipe that we tried a few weeks ago for the first time. Now yesterday, we harvested from our garden over forty banana peppers, so we had to do something with them. We pickled two jars worth, but then with twenty-two of them, we decided to make stuffed Banana Peppers. We make two variates. One is stuffed with a rice mixture, and one is just stuffed with cream cheese and shredded parmesan cheese.

    RICE!First to make the rice mixture, I make one cup of white rice. I cut one large lime in half and squeeze both sides worth of juice into the rice, add about 1 tablespoon of butter, some chopped up cilantro, and some salt and pepper. I mix it up together, and there ya have it. I usually also put in some sour cream for flavor, but this time, alas, our sour cream was bad, and we went with out it. It was equally delicious and better for us anyways.



    Sliced peppers...








    I then cut the top off of the banana peppers, and slice them down the middle. For the cream cheese cheese and parmesan peppers. I add just enough cream cheese in each pepper to fill it, and then take a pinch of parmesan and press it into the cream cheese. (With both the cream cheese and the rice, I use my hands to handle the filling and to stuff the peppers. Way easier than trying to use a spoon, but more messy).

    Ready to put in the ovenFor the rice stuffed peppers, I fill as much rice as possible into the pepper. Then when all the peppers are stuffed, I sprinkle some cheddar cheese and chili powder on top of the peppers. I then put all of the peppers into the oven set at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Pull them out, serve the rest of the rice stuffing with them, and your done. Quick and easy, and also delicious!

    Finished peppers!!!

    Look out this week for some mad posting! I have link and suggestions from everyone out there! Thank you! Plus I will finally look at my electric and gas bills and tell you how I've been doing. Remember, if you have any suggestions or ideas, send them my way! Thank you!


    ---Justin J. Stewart



    Meatless Monday 9.20.10

    2 for 2! We stuck with it! No meat! I hope you guys did too! Today was a pretty easy day, since yesterday we went to our favorite place to get vegetables (besides our own garden), the Farm Patch, in Bryan, Texas. It was easy to create meals today from veggies only! Let me tell you, I am excited to share today's adventure with you, because they were delicious!

    Once again there was no breakfast, so we are going to go straight to lunch.

     For lunch I steamed a whole cauliflower head for about 15 minutes in a closed steamer. Once it was near tender, I pulled it out. I mixed 2 tablespoons of honey mustard (I guess I was supposed to use regular mustard, but we are out of that) 2 tablespoons of tahini. I then spread the whole mixture over the cauliflower head and sprinkled cheddar cheese on it. Put it in the over for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, and it was done! Let me tell you! It was delicious. Next time for sure we will be using regular mustard, but besides that it was a perfect lunch, with plenty of left overs.

     YUM!Out of the Oven!








    Chopped Eggplant

    That was my contribution to the day. The big star ofthe day was Eggplant Parmesan. We bought 8 Chinese Eggplants for a killer deal yesterday and decided today would be the day they would be eaten. Laura used this recipe, but did not use the breadcrumbs, used real tomatoes and simmered them down into sauce instead of using a food processor. She also substituted shredded mozzarella for real mozzarella. Laura also added a lot of fresh oregano (picked from the garden fresh) to the sauce, and is telling me that she did not use ground pepper. Now, you have to remember all of the adjustments, but here is the receipe:

    Eggplant Parmesan Recipe


    • 2 lbs (about 2 large) eggplants
    • Kosher salt
    • 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
    • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
    • Olive oil
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
    • 4 large eggs, beaten
    • 1 1/2 lbs of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
    • 1 cup grated high quality Parmesan cheese
    • 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves


    1 Cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange one layer in the bottom of a large colander and sprinkle evenly with salt. Repeat with remaining eggplant, salting, until all eggplant is in the colander. Weigh down the slices with a couple of plates and let drain for 2 hours. The purpose of this step is to have the eggplant release some of its moisture before cooking.

    2 While the eggplant is draining, prepare tomato sauce. Combine tomatoes, garlic and 1/3 cup olive oil in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to tasted and set aside.

    3 When eggplant has drained, press down on it to remove excess water, wipe off the excess salt, and lay the slices out on paper towels to remove all the moisture. In a wide, shallow bowl, combine flour and breadcrumbs. Mix well. Pour beaten eggs into another wide shallow bowl. Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat, and pour in a a half inch of olive oil. When oil is shimmering, dredge the eggplant slices first in the flour mixture, then in the beaten egg. Working in batches, slide coated eggplant into hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

    4 Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the bottom of a 10x15 inch glass baking dish, spread 1 cup of tomato sauce. Top with one third of the eggplant slices. Top eggplant with half of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with one third of the Parmesan and half of the basil leaves.

    5 Make a second layer of eggplant slices, topped by 1 cup of sauce, remaining mozzarella, half the remaining Parmesan, and all of the remaining basil. Add remaining eggplant, and top with the remaining tomato sauce and Parmesan.

    6 Bake until cheese has melted and the top is slightly brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.

    I also made a side salad that included romaine lettuce, feta cheese, red peppers, and crutons. We also had a delicious freshly juiced juice made from pears, oranges and grapes.

    ---Justin J. Stewart