What is ecology cooking?

Joyfully creating dishes
that are healthy, tasty
& conserve or preserve
energy, resources and/or time.

bob-funghi

Dear Universe: Someday I’d like to have a whole new website called Ecology Cooking so AdventureBuddies can explore how to create healthy & environmentally friendly recipes. Until then, here are some ideas. smiley

This page is dedicated to my husband who is the lucky? recipient of my experiments.

That's Bob standing on Mt. Tam next to Sulphur Shelf, an edible FungusAmongus (we do NOT eat fungus in the wild) when it grows on conifers (so we're told by the experts at the Oakland Museum)

Ecology Cooking Tip:

FoodSaver - Home Vacuum Packaging Systems

Home Vacuum Packaging Systems from America's #1 Selling Brand - FoodSaver.

Buying in bulk usually saves packaging and money. Throwing stuff away is bad for the planet and your pocketbook. Proper storage is the key to buying in bulk.

We use a Foodsaver with roll bags. Make soup, lasagna, etc and store extra in your freezer. A Foodsaver will pay for itself very quickly in saving food from spoilage. We can keep brie for months.

Freeze bulk grains to prevent bugs, then store in glass jars.

 

Hiking Food Tips:

  • Keep it light
  • Eat small quantities
  • Plan to get some fuel well before your next UP
  • Bring a treat for your hike leader
  • Do not plan your lunch or snack just before a big UP. The physiological reason for this is Blood Shunt. For climbing, you need blood in your legs, not your tummy.

Hiking food we like:

  • Dates or almost any dried fruit
  • Fresh pineapple
  • Fresh nuts (assorted) or Agave Almonds
  • Really dark chocolate (if it’s not too hot)
  • A banana (in a plastic bag)
  • Fresh fruit like Fuji apples - pre-cut your apples by cutting 4 times almost all the way thru, (angle tip of knife downward and stop just before it touches cutting board). This makes 8 nice pre-cut pieces. Wrap in a small piece of plastic wrap and you're really to hike! Nutrition, fiber, hydration & energy.

Ecology Cooking Tip:

Favorite Utensil: Silicone Spatulas – Scrape every piece of that yummy dish – no waste with your selection of colorful, handy, flexible spatulas. Store them hanging or on your counter in your favorite colorful jar. Use often.

Agave Almonds

This recipe is one I've perfected after about 40 iterations. When done just right, they do not stick together when cool. They are lightly sweet and extremely flavorful.

Excellent Holiday Gift for your hiking buddies, great trail snack.

Agave syrup is like watery honey and is available at many health food stores. From the label: a low glycemic sweetener more slowly absorbed into the body preventing spikes in blood sugar. 25% sweeter than sugar, so use less.

  • 6lbs Raw Almonds
  • 1/4-1/3 Cup Agave Syrup (less syrup = more stirring)
  • 2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Cloves (for a spicier flavor, esp during the holidays)
  • 1 Tsp Ground Ginger, optional
  • Dash to 1/8 Tsp Cayenne, optional
  • 2 Tsp Good Quality Sea or Mineral Salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Mix all ingredients (except Almonds) into a muddy paste. The thicker the paste/the less agave, the more stirring and the less the almonds stick together when done.  This will seem like a strangely small amount of coating – it’s the stirring that makes the dish…plus it’s great exercise!

Add all almonds and stir like crazy until completely coated (fold with a large spoon from bottom to top.)

Spread onto 2 large baking sheets (I like Analon).  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes

Stir – folding outside edges in toward center.  Cook another 15 minutes and repeat this until almonds brown and are lightly brown in the middle when cut in half (this is important)

Let cool. While cooling – massage (careful, they’re hot at first) and move almonds around so they don’t stick together & sprinkle with pinches of salt, most of which will not adhere. Use remainder of salt in your next creation.

When completely cool, transfer to air tight container and vacuum seal or store in glass jars in fridge. store your nuts in the fridge or freezer – they stay fresh that way. Part of ecology cooking is not letting things spoil or go rancid.

Ecology Cooking Tip:

Store nuts in the fridge or freezer – they stay fresh that way. We like mason jars or used mayo jars. Part of ecology cooking is not letting things spoil or go rancid.

Wraps

Wraps are easy to make and seem exotic OTT (on the trail) or your picnic or pot luck. Make no mistake - on a hard hike or paddle, PB&J is still the food of choice, but if you have the luxury of not having to hike hard after lunch, wraps are marvelous.

The soft rectangular flat bread (such as those found at Trader Joes) make wonderful, healthy, low cal, high energy sandwiches.

See Spreads below

Base - lay the flat bread out onto your work surface. Silicone spatula your spread (see sample recipe below) out to the very ends, being sure to have spread for adhesion on the final end.

Fill with: avocado, red/yellow pepper, feta & pine nuts. Fresh pear & brie. Smoked Salmon & veggies – Be Creative!  If you use tomato, pat dry first and lay along just one section.  If you use spinach or arugula, you can lay it over all the fillings and roll up, leaving space at the end for the "binder."  If you use pine nuts or anything that can fall out, be sure to put them on a section with a "binder" like avocado or spread.

The secret is in the rolling & wrapping up – Practice!  Roll up either long ways (if you need more sandwiches) or the way you'd get more rolls. Actually, it's like folding, approx 2" folds each.

If you lay your fillings in approx 2" sections, that makes them a bit more interesting.

Wrap tightly in saran wrap and gently press to get the air out and blend ingredients. Pre-cut or bring whole and slice as part of your presentation.  Use sawing motion with serrated knife for best results and practice this.

Ecology Cooking Tip:

Cloth napkins – all the time, not just for special occasions!

Here’s a cookbook that I like - healthy, low fat with FLAVOR.

So often I tell a friend, a pinch of this, a taste of that - I create and improvise. That does not work for everyone. This is a very friendly-to-use, healthy cookbook that I highly recommend. One thing, I would add mint to the Quinoa Tabouli and I would lose the cilantro in other recipes, but that's me.

Ecology Cooking Tip:

I generally cook once a week – an afternoon of creating & experimenting. During the week, we augment with salads and fresh items, but our team eat “prepared” foods that save a TON of money over eating out and are significantly more nutritious. Plus we know that our (mostly organic) meals are made with love, low salt & high nutrition.

Got a lemon tree?
Lemon Syrup for
yummy lemonade

  • 2 cups sugar & 1 cup water
  • Several lemons cut into thin slices
  • Boil for 5 minutes
  • Cool and add: Juice of 6 lemons, Store in mason jar
  • 2-ish TB syrup to 1 glass of sparkling or regular water

Ecology Cooking Tip:

Use your oven wisely. Plan your meals to conserve heat.

Example: Roast beets & root veggies while the free range turkey is cooking.

INSECT REPELLANT

p.248  “Herbs for Health and Healing” by Kathi Keville, Rodale Press, 1998

  • 2 oz. vegetable oil or vodka
  • ¼ tsp each: citronella & eucalyptus essential oils
  • 1/8 tsp each: pennyroyal, cedar & rose geranium essential oils
  • Combine ingredients and apply mixture directly to all exposed skin
  • Keep oil away from eyes and mouth

Ecology Cooking Tip:

Rinse your organic vegetables in a big pot or bucket. Then use the water to water your plants.

Peppered Pecans

Snack to prepare before a trip.

  • 3 TB butter
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) hot sauce
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) salt
  • 3 cups (750 ml) pecan halves.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees,

Melt butter in small skillet, add hot sauce, garlic & salt, sauté for 1 minute

Toss pecans in butter mixture and spread nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet

Bake for about 1 hour or until pecans are crisp, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes

Have you ever seen America's Test Kitchen on PBS? They test & come up with the best way to do every day type recipes.

They rate equipment & food products.

They're a great resource!

These cookbooks are amazing values, well organized and we love them!

SEASONAL
Kabocha Spread

  • 1 small cooked Kabocha squash (I bake it whole, then cut, de-seed and dig out the yummy colorful squash)
  • 2-3 8oz pkg of Neufchatel Cream Cheese
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup of roasted, salted sunflower seeds
  • 1-2 TB Maple Syrup, type B of course

In food processor, grind sunflower seeds, add rest of ingredients and whirl away into a yummy colorful spread that you can put on crackers, morning toast or serve as a side dish. Spread freezes very well!

Kabocha or Sweet Potato Pancakes

To your favorite healthy pancake mix

Add cooked Kabocha Squash or 1 Small Sweet Potato

Adding egg whites and vegetables ups the protein and nutritional quality. Add almond extract, toasted pecans, cinnamon or any spice you like to make a more interesting pancake. The flavor is so yummy, you’ll use less syrup.

Ecology Cooking Tip:

Water is a precious resource. We like Dr. Bonner’s Peppermint Soap for our non-organic vegetables. It rinses quickly and cleanly. It’s versatile. We use a big pot or bucket to wash all, then rinse all so it’s quick and conserves water.

Low Cal Spreads

You'll need a food processor for this one. Process together:

  • Any toasted nut or seed: Pine Nuts, Pistachios, Sunflower, Almonds
  • Add any cheese you like that has a relatively strong flavor: Feta, Blue, Pecorino Romano
  • A whole bunch of fat free cream cheese. I usually use 3 fat free to 1 low fat ratio
  • Add any (small amount) of spice
  • Add almost any herbs: Sage, basil, combo

Enjoy instead of mayo, use on wraps, crackers, toast

Ecology Cooking Tip:

Get superb quality pans and take good care of them. Either hang them or use extra dish towels between them – always. It’s more ecological to take care of good quality gear than to have to frequently replace lower quality equipment.

Healthy-ish Dessert

  • Cut a piece of puff pastry into 9 pieces, I use a pizza roller (3rds both ways)
  • Put into oil spritzed (or analon) muffin tins and stretch them into little cups, crimping the corners a bit
  • Fill with: 1 rounded Tsp of the Kabocha Spread + approx 1/2 tsp Almond Butter
  • Sprinkle with small bittersweet chocolate chips (from Granary Bulk Foods or your favorite healthy store)
  • Bake according to Puff Pastry directions
  • Reheat leftovers in oven - they're just as good reheated

Ecology Cooking Tip:

Good ingredients = good meals!

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