Malcolm McDowell Woods
The Efficient Kitchen

Spring for sustainable food

By - Apr 9th, 2010 04:00 am
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Leslie Wininger

This month’s Exchange magazine theme, “the state of the earth,” is especially important as it relates to the future availability and accessibility of food.

The earth’s population continues to swell, productive farmland is disappearing and climate change will have a profound impact on the type of food we will eat, as well as where and how it will be produced. The good news is that the amount of food that is sustainably produced is growing each year. This, combined with the increasing popularity of urban agriculture, is a positive step toward addressing current and future food security issues.

The simple recipes in this month’s column celebrate the earth’s resilience and annual renewal by using plenty of fresh spring vegetables and herbs. Remember to select local, sustainably grown produce whenever possible. The fish recipes call for mahi-mahi and tilapia, which are sustainable seafood choices. Enjoy!

Sunday
Chicken with mustard sauce
Steamed asparagus
Rhubarb crisp

Monday
Curried pea soup
Cheese toasts

Tuesday
Chicken Niçoise salad

Wednesday
Mahi-mahi with grape tomatoes and leeks
Brown rice

Thursday
Flank steak sandwiches with glazed onions
Veggie chips

Friday
Pecan-crusted tilapia
Spicy slaw

Saturday
Lamb burgers with cucumber sauce
Tabouleh

Chicken with mustard sauce

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves*
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup dry white wine or chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
2 tbsp coarse-grain mustard
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 ½ tsp dried tarragon

  1. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the chicken until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
  2. Add the wine or broth to the skillet and cook until reduced by half. Stir in the cream, mustard and tarragon. Cook until slightly thickened. When ready to serve, place the chicken on serving plates and spoon the sauce over the top.
  3. *Save two chicken breasts for Tuesday.

Curried pea soup

6 new potatoes, scrubbed*
1 cup shelled fresh or frozen peas
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp curry powder
Salt to taste
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream

  1. In a large pot, bring ½ inch of water to a boil. Add potatoes and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook 14 to 16 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally. Remove the potatoes from the pot, setting 4 aside for use on Tuesday. Remove skins from the two remaining potatoes and cut into cubes.
  2. While the potatoes cook, place the peas, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, curry powder, salt and one cup of chicken broth in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the cubed potatoes. Using either a hand-held or electric blender, blend until smooth. Return mixture to the warm saucepan and stir in the remaining broth and cream. May be warmed, but do not boil.
  3. *Save four potatoes for Tuesday

Chicken Niçoise salad

½ pound whole green beans, trimmed
2 heads Boston lettuce
4 new potatoes, boiled (leftover from Monday)
3 large eggs, hard-boiled
½ cup grape tomatoes
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked (leftover from Sunday)
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted
Anchovy filets, if desired
Dijon vinaigrette

  1. In a 4-quart pot, bring one inch of water to a boil. Add the green beans; cover and cook until tender, approximately four to six minutes. Remove and rinse under cool water; set aside.
  2. Tear washed and dried lettuce into pieces, quarter the potatoes and eggs, and cut the grape tomatoes in half. Chop the chicken into one-inch pieces. Arrange the lettuce, potatoes, eggs, tomatoes, chicken and olives on a large serving platter or individual serving plates. Serve with Dijon vinaigrette.

Dijon vinaigrette

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp shallot, minced
¾ cup olive oil
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Combine first six ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until well blended. Season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar, if desired.

Mahi-mahi with grape tomatoes & leeks

2 medium leeks, well washed and sliced into half moons
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pint grape tomatoes
4 8-oz mahi-mahi filets

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Stir together the first six ingredients (leeks through salt and pepper), and pour into a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish. Cover and bake eight minutes.
  2. Remove from the oven and add the tomatoes, stirring to combine. Sprinkle the fish filets with salt and pepper and place on top of the leek and tomato mixture. Cover and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.

Flank steak sandwiches w/ glazed onions

4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 large onion, thinly sliced
½ cup hot pepper or apple jelly
1 1-lb flank steak
salt and pepper to taste
4 leaves romaine or leaf lettuce
(4) 1” thick slices crusty, whole-grain bread

  1. Heat oven to broil. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add the jelly, stirring to coat the onions. Reduce heat and gently simmer until the mixture thickens slightly and onions are glazed.
  2. While onions are simmering, coat the flank steak with the remaining olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and place on a lightly greased broiling pan. Place steak on oven rack approximately six inches under the broiler. Broil four to five minutes per side for medium rare. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let rest for five minutes before cutting into very thin slices.
  3. Place lettuce leaves on bread slices, top with sliced steak and glazed onions.

Pecan-crusted tilapia

4 8-oz tilapia filets
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup pecans
½ tsp salt
½ tsp lemon pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil

  1. Process the cornmeal, pecans, salt and lemon pepper in a food processor until finely ground. Pour cornmeal mixture into a shallow dish and dredge the filets, coating completely.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Place the filets in the skillet and cook four to five minutes on each side until golden brown.

Lamb burgers with cucumber sauce

1 ½ pounds ground lamb
1 medium onion, minced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp ground allspice
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Heat grill to high. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Shape into small, four to five-inch patties. Grill until cooked through, about two to three minutes per side. Serve stuffed inside whole-wheat pitas with sliced tomatoes and cucumber sauce.

Cucumber sauce
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
8 ounces light sour cream
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp dill
½ tsp salt

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0 thoughts on “The Efficient Kitchen: Spring for sustainable food”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Mmm-mmm! We’ve *definitely* got to try the curried-pea soup recipe!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I used this article and we thoroughly enjoyed the meals. Do you plan more integrated menus like this, or is there a cookbook you can direct me to that uses this approach? I like cooking, but especially enjoy saving time by cooking items for the next recipe (or two) so I can cook more often instead of longer.

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