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It is Easy Eating Green
by Jane Kline Kabler
Editor's Note: Jane shares some great info about organic eating and cooking here. I personally can't wait to try her cake frosting recipe...mmmmmm.
The buzz word in markets is all about organic foods and as we shop in our favorite markets, they are becoming more available in a great variety. The prices are somewhat higher, but it's all about eating what we know is pure and healthy for us and not contaminated with large amounts of pesticides and chemicals. Organic foods are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents or chemical food additives.
The organic farm movement began in the 1940s and was known as the "Green Revolution." The organic food production is now heavily regulated and requires producers to obtain special certification before marketing and labeling.
If livestock are considered organic, they must be reared with regular access to pasture and without any regular use of antibiotics or growth hormones. In most countries, organic produce cannot be genetically modified. Organic farming should be ecologically balanced in contrast to chemical farming.
Food claiming to be organic must be free of artificial food additives and not chemically ripened, nor had use of genetically, modified ingredients. Pesticides are allowable as long as they are not synthetic.
The USDA does routine inspections of farms that label "organic." The Department of Agriculture enforces the rules. To be certified as an organic farmer, products must be grown and manufactured in a way that is acceptable to the rules and standards of each participating country.
Organic farming is becoming more popular, there are more regulations, and more varieties of foods than ever before. Organic farms are great for the environment. They don't consume or release synthetic pesticides into the environment, nor harm the soil, water or animal or aquatic wildlife.
Organic food when tested do have higher levels of nutrients. Some also feel the taste and texture of organic foods is noticeable, especially in fruits such as apples.
Organic food sales have grown 20 percent per year in recent years. In the United States alone there are over 20,000 food stores and 73 percent of the conventional markets sell organic items.
Recipes today are using some organic ingredients. Try a few and see if you notice the difference.
1 cup of organic nonfat dry milk
1 stick of organic butter
1/4 cup of honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 tablespoon of water
Mix ingredients together with an electric mixer and spread on the cake. Adjust ingredients as desired for a stiffer or sweeter frosting. Add juice concentrates, preserves, or cocoa for other flavors.
1 cup of quick cooking oatmeal, do not use instant
1 cup of water
2/3 cup of organic half and half or soy creamer
1/4 cup of dried fruit, cut into pieces
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or regular yogurt
2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons of nuts, toasted in a 375 degree oven for 5 minutes
Combine oatmeal, water, half and half, and dried fruit in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium high flame. Reduce heat to medium low, give the mixture a stir, cover it and let it cook until the liquid is absorbed, 4-5 minutes. Turn off heat and let oatmeal stand for 1-2 minutes longer.
Serve oatmeal topped with maple syrup and toasted nuts.
Gingerbread Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of organic butter
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
16 oz. of organic cream cheese
1 cup of hot water
3/4 cup of canola oil
1/2 cup of sugar
3 cups of gluten free flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons of ginger
1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon of cloves
1 organic egg
3/4 cup of molasses
Combine the oil, sugar, molasses, egg and hot water. Combine dry ingredients and mix with wet. If you are using a gluten free flour that already has xanthan gum, baking soda and baking powder in it, you don't need to use those ingredients but if you are not, add about one teaspoon of each. Bake at 375 degrees F. for about 30 minutes. Cool and ice with cream cheese icing.
Icing: Mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and butter and spread on the cake.
Cheddar Thyme Biscuits
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of frozen organic butter
1 cup of organic sharp Cheddar cheese, grated and chilled
1 cup of organic lowfat plain yogurt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk flour, thyme, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Grate frozen butter using the largest holes on grater. Place grated butter in the flour mixture. Whisk lightly and add chilled grated Cheddar and whisk again.
Add yogurt and stir until sticky dough forms. Flour hands and place dough on a floured surface. Roll out and cut with cutter. Place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake 15 -17 minutes. Makes 12.
Marinated Grilled Pork Chops
1/4 cup of red cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of finely chopped onions
6 organic center cut boneless pork chops
Oil for grill
Mix vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings in a bowl or shallow dish that is just large enough to hold the chops. Whisk in the olive oil a little at time. Stir in the onions. Add the chops to the marinade and turn to coat them thoroughly. Cover, refrigerate and let the meat marinate 4-8 hours. If possible, turn the chops several times during the time they marinate. Prepare an outdoor grill, heat briquettes until glowing. Remove the chops from the marinade and dry them well on a paper towel. Brush the grill rack with a little oil, and place meat on it. Grill four inches over the heat until the chops are just cooked through, about 5-7 minutes per side. Baste them with some of the marinade during the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
Let the pork chops stand for five minutes before serving, to let the juices settle throughout the meat.
Vegetable Pot Pie
(organic meat may also be added if desired)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large portabello mushrooms, chopped
1 head of garlic, 6-8 cloves, chopped
Organic butter for sauteing
1/4 cup of low-sodium soy sauce
8 medium new potatoes, cubed
4 medium carrots, cleaned and cubed
1 medium zucchini squash, cubed, peeling on
1 medium summer squash, cubed, peeling on
3 tablespoons of organic butter
1/2 cup of flour
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
2 1/2 cups of organic whole milk
Saute the onions, mushrooms and garlic in the butter. While simmering, wash, peel and dice the potatoes and carrots.
Wash squash and cube. When the onions are clear, add the soy sauce and stir for a minutes.
Add the salt, potatoes and carrots; cover with water, simmer until they are beginning to get tender. Add the zucchini and summer squash. Simmer until all the veggies are almost done, but not too tender.
While the vegetables are cooking heat the oven to 375 degrees. Also, make a roux; Melt the three tablespoons of butter in a medium sauce pan and add the flour and pepper and stir with a wooden spoon until the flour forms a ball. Immediately add the milk and break down the flour with the back of your spoon and stir constantly with a whisk until the roux thickens. When the vegetables are ready, add the roux and continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until the entire mixture thickens.
Roll out the pie dough to make two round pieces. Fill the pie shell and place the other crust on top. Crimp the edges and cuts vents in the top. Bake for 45 minutes or longer. Crust should be golden brown.
Serve hot with a salad.
Italian Open Face Sandwich
Italian bread, cut diagonally into large oval slices
Thinly sliced red onion
Diced, cooked egg plant or roasted red peppers, diced
Diced zucchini or thinly sliced mushrooms
Chopped fresh tomatoes
Organic Provolone or Mozzarella cheese
Heat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. For each serving, spread a thin layer of mayonnaise over each piece of bread. Place the bread on a baking sheet. Layer the veggies on the slices of bread. Bake until the veggies are heated, 10-15 minutes.
Top with cheese and bake until cheese is melted and sandwich is hot, another 4-6 minutes. Serve immediately.
Pimento Cheese With A Twist
1/2 cup of chopped canned pimentos with liquid
3/4 cup of good mayonnaise
1 teaspoon of sweet pickle juice
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
6 cups of grated sharp organic Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup of shredded organic Parmesan cheese
Combine the pimentos, mayonnaise, pickle juice and seasonings in a large mixing bowl. Work the grated cheese into the mix until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate until time to make sandwiches. This is also very good stuffed in celery stalks.
Bowtie Pasta with Roasted Peppers and Provolone Cheese
2 large red bell peppers
2 large green bell peppers
12 ounces of bowtie pasta
1 1/2 cups of organic Provolone cheese, diced
1/3 cup of chopped green onions
2 tablespoons of capers
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of fresh basil if desired
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Roast peppers over an open flame or on a charcoal grill, turning frequently until they are evenly blackened. Scrape off blackened skins with a sharp knife or pull the skin off with your fingers. Cut peppers open and scrape out seeds and veins. Cut peppers into 1/4 inch slices. TIP: You may used canned roasted peppers for a quick meal.
Boil pasta in salted water, drain, rinse under cold water. Let stand for a few moments. Toss pasta with peppers and remaining ingredients. Serve at room temperature.
13 ounces of marinated canned artichoke hearts
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
Fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup of fine bread crumbs
1/3 cup of organic Parmesan cheese
1 organic large egg
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a baking pan or line it with parchment paper. Drain the artichokes and cut the larger ones in half lengthwise. Mash the garlic and pepper with a fork until a paste forms; place paste in a bowl, add the bread crumbs and cheese, and mix well. Mix the egg and one teaspoon of water in another bowl.
Dip each artichoke piece into the egg mixture, roll it in the bread crumb-cheese mixture and then place it on the baking pan.
Bake 15 minutes. Serve immediately, offering toothpicks to handle the hot artichokes.
Organic Green Bean Casserole
30 oz. of organic grown green beans, cooked to tender
3 tablespoons of organic butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 medium organic grown onion, chopped
1 organic clove of garlic, minced
3 cups of organic milk
1 lb. of bacon, fried crispy, crumbled
2 cups of canned French fried onions
1 cup of shredded organic Mozzarella cheese
1 cup of shredded organic Cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cook butter, onion and garlic in a sauce pan over medium heat for a minute or two to let the onion soften. Add flour and cook for another minute. Then whisk in the milk slowly and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss together the cooked green beans and the white sauce, one cup of the French fried onions, bacon, and cheese. Pour the mixture into a baking dish, over it with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Take it out of the oven and remove the foil. Top it with the rest of the French fried onion rings and place back in the oven for a couple of minutes uncovered.
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About the Author
Jane Kline Kabler is a retired educator with 34 years as a teacher, counselor, principal and central office administrator in supervision and curriculum. Since retirement she has been at The Ledger Independent, for almost five years as the social news clerk and the food writer.