Feasting in Falls Church

August 21, 2009
As challenge #1 comes to an end I find myself a changed eater. I am proud to say that despite the reduction of red meat in my diet these days I am not feeling deprived because of the abundance of fresh seasonal produce available. Dare I say I have become a bit of a Grill Master this summer, preparing squash, zucchini, sweet corn, eggplant and peaches all on the grill.  Pair these tantalizing treats with sea bass, wild salmon or chicken breast and you have yourself a feast!
At the Falls Church Farmers Market

At the Falls Church Farmers Market

I have enjoyed my many visits to local farmers markets and have created some mouth watering and eco-friendly meals with these tasty locally grown foods. Enjoy!

Farm Fresh Eggplant

Farm Fresh Eggplant

Delicious Yellow Squash

Delicious Yellow Squash

Fresh Vine Ripe Tomatoes

Fresh Vine Ripe Tomatoes

LUNCH IDEAS

 FGCT Sandwich
(Focaccia, Goat Cheese, Cucumber and Tomato Sandwich)

FGCT Sandwich

FGCT Sandwich

 Slice the focaccia bread in half and drizzle with olive oil.
Thinly slice the goat cheese, cucumber and tomatoes (3 slices of each per sandwich).
Layer the sandwich (helpful tip: place the cucumbers in the middle for easier handling!).
Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
Close up the sandwich and bite in!

Pair with fresh diced cantaloupe and you have a healthy & nutricious lunch!

Trying to stay away from carbohydrates? Then try this refreshingly delicious salad for lunch instead.

 Mozzarella Tomato Basil Salad 
Slice 1 large red tomato into chunky wedges.
Slice 1/2 large ball of fresh mozzarella into thin pieces.
Layer tomato, mozzarella and basil alternating 1 piece at a time.
Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Bon Appétit!

Mozzarella Tomato Basil Salad

Mozzarella Tomato Basil Salad

DINNER IDEAS

Entertaining for 2 or more? Try out these recopies for an easily impressive meal your family & friends won’t forget.

Grilled Veggies on the Grill
(Sweet corn, eggplant, zucchini & squash)

Husk On Sweet Corn

Grilled Sweet Corn

Grilled Sweet Corn
Peel off the first few layers of the corn husk (leaving the inner layers on).
Then peel back the husks gently (keeping them attached to the husk) and remove the silk from the ear of the corn.
Cover the ears of corn with the husks and soak in a large pan of water for 10-15min.
Place onto the grill (medium heat) for 20-25min.
Remove from the grill, peel back the husk and enjoy!

 Eggplant
(The darker purple skinned eggplants are best for grilling – they hold up better to the heat).
 Slice the eggplant into ½ inch rounds
– Helpful Hint: slice just before you are ready to place them on the grill so they do not turn brown
Place in a resealeable plastic bag.
Drizzle in olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a dash of garlic powder (if desired).
Place on grill (medium heat) for 4-5min. each side.
-Helpful Hint:  try flipping only once to retain the beautiful grill marks
Remove and enjoy! (Add an extra drizzle of olive oil for taste)

Grilled Eggplant, Zucchini & Squash

Grilled Eggplant, Zucchini & Squash

 Zucchini & Squash
Slice in half lengthwise (so you are left with 2 equal pieces)
– Helpful Hint: the smaller the zucchini and squash the better the taste
Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Place on grill (flesh side down first) on medium heat for 5-7min.
Flip and cook for another 3-5min.
Remove from the grill and slice  into 1 inch bites.
Enjoy!

Tomato & Basil Salad 
Slice 1 large red and 1 large yellow tomato.
Layer tomatoes in a dish alternating colors and adding in basil leaves in between.
Drizzle with olive oil and a dash of salt & pepper.
Top with thinly sliced green onions.
Voila!

Tomato Basil Salad

Tomato Basil Salad

Boiled Dill Potatoes
(A Swedish dish I learned thanks to my new found friends)

Place potatoes in a large pot of cold water.
Add a handful of fresh dill to the pot.
– Helpful Hint: The more  you add the more intense the dill flavor.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for 15min.
Remove potatoes from water and discard dill.
Garnish with fresh dill if desired.

Boiled Dill Potatoes

Boiled Dill Potatoes

DESSERT IDEAS

 Fresh Berry Cobbler a la Mode
(recipe revised by Misty Proctor)

Ingredients:

1 stick butter
1 cup flour
1 cup milk (you can substitute skim for a low fat version)
1 cup sugar (or less depending on the sweetness of the berries)
2 tsp. baking powder
5 cups mixed berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries – feel free to mix and match or use 1 kind)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt stick of butter in 9×13 pan.
Mix together flour, milk, ½ cup sugar and baking powder in bowl.
Pour mixture over melted butter into pan.
Put fruit of your choice over mixture.
Sprinkle ½ cup sugar over top.
Bake in 350 degree oven until golden brown – about 30-35min.
Serve piping hot (you can reheat in a low temperature oven) and top with vanilla bean ice cream.
So good you’ll wish you had doubled the recipe!

Mixed Berry Cobbler

Mixed Berry Cobbler

 Looking for a more figure friendly dessert that is still delicious? Try this one out:

Poached Peach & Cantaloupe Fruit Salad
Poach 4 peaches in boiling hot water for 30seconds.
Remove and place immediately into an ice water bath.
Once cool enough to handle remove the skin by gently pulling off.
Dice up peaches into bite size pieces.
ALTERNATIVE: After you skin the peaches slice in half and pit the peaches. Coat with a light spray of non-stick spray (both sides).
Place on a medium/low grill 1-2min. on each side.
Remove from grill and cut into bite size pieces.
Mix together with cantaloupe melon (also diced into bite size pieces).
Eat up!

Poached Peach & Cantaloupe Salad

Poached Peach & Cantaloupe Salad

 Invite a few friends over for any one of these dishes and you’ll have yourself a climate friendly FEAST for all of the senses!

Sven-Arne Nilsson, Jack Ulsh, Ines Ulsh & Misty Proctor

Sven-Arne Nilsson, Jack Ulsh, Ines Ulsh & Misty Proctor enjoying a climate friendly dinner.

Friends for Dinner! With Sven-Arne & Misty

Friends for Dinner! With Sven-Arne & Misty

I was lucky to have Sven-Arne, the same Swedish friend who I stayed with during my time in Ranarp, Sweden over for dinner while he was in the DC area for work. We had a great time catching up and enjoying our meal together. Lucky for us Misty was able to join us too and brought along a wonderful dessert! 

This Climate Pilot Project  has been a wonderful experience and I am looking forward to Challenge #2!

Stay tuned for more to come…

Seasonal Cocktails

August 21, 2009

Whether dinning out or staying in I am more conscious about the choices I make regarding not only food but drinks as well. After some research I have discovered that many of my favorite cocktails (mojitos, fresh strawberry daiquiris & watermelon martinis) are at times environmentally unfriendly when the ingredients used to prepare them are not in season. So begins my quest for creating seasonally friendly cocktails to accompany my eco-friendly meals. As the dog days of summer quicklydraw to an end I have begun my quest for fall and winter beverages that I can enjoy guilt free. First on my list is a melon martini for the fall months followed by kiwi martinis in winter!

  

Cantaloupe Martini

Cantaloupe Martini

 

Melon Martini Recipe

 Ingredients:

  • 3 oz vodka
  • 1 cantaloupe or honey dew melon (or add both! 1/2 of each)
  • melon slice for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Cut up melon(s) and add to blender.
  2. Blend well and strain when done.
  3. Add ice & vodka to shaker (melon vodka adds a punch)
  4. Top off with 4oz. of  blended melon juice to shaker.
  5. Shake well.
  6. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  7. Garnish with a slice of melon.  

Kiwi Martini

Kiwi Martini

 

Kiwi Martini Recipe 

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz vodka  (citrus vodka adds a kick) 
  • 1/2 skinned kiwi
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • kiwi slice for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Muddle the skinned kiwi with sugar in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add ice and vodka.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with a slice of kiwi.

Check out this link for a guide to seasonal fruits of Virginia:

http://articles.directorym.com/Selecting_and_Storing_Fruit_Virginia-r1072013-Virginia.html

Everything’s Sweeter in Sweden!

August 3, 2009

Swedes are known for a lot of things: Swedish meatballs, clogs, and windmills just to name a few. After having spent 4 days and 3 nights there myself I have to add friendliest people, greatest food and an impressive recycling program to the top of that list.

During my 10 day road trip in Europe with co-workers and friends Mya and Misty we had the unique experience of living the life (if even just for a brief time) of local Swedish residents. Thanks to the kind nature of the Nilsson family, Rolf Moller’s family, Tove, and other Climate Coaches we enjoyed the fun, food and recycling practices of these newfound friends.

Arriving in Ranarp, Sweden!

Arriving in Ranarp, Sweden!

While in Ranarp we stayed with Sven-Arne  (a relative of Mya’s) and had the chance to visit his family’s potato farm which his sister operates with her husband.  It was an amazing experience to see the land, pick my very own potato and to learn about all the hard work it takes to make it in this farming industry. Nestled along the east coast of Sweden this small farming town has the kind of charm that makes you stop and say, “I could stay here for forever”. It’s picturesque landscape takes your breath away while the sunsets literally soothe your soul.

The beautiful east coast landscape of Sweden

The beautiful east coast landscape of Sweden

 
Picking potatoes on the Nilsson farm!

Picking potatoes on the Nilsson farm!

 

A beautiful Swedish sunset!

A stunning Swedish sunset!

Amongst all this beauty is also a bountiful array of farm fresh food! I had the pleasure of enjoying a traditional Swedish meal with the Nilsson family and even learned some new recipes! The wild salmon garnished with creme fresh and roe was out of this world. Accompanied by field to table boiled dill potatoes and elderflower juice it was a meal fit for a queen!

A Swedish feast of salmon, potatoes and elderflower juice!

A Swedish feast of salmon, potatoes and elderflower juice!

 

Enjoying a traditional Swedish meal

Enjoying a traditional Swedish meal with the Nilsson family

 During our stay in Sweden we had the opportunity to taste some tasty local fare as well!

Steamed and smoked prawns served with saffron aioli and fresh baked baguette. A seafood lovers dream!

Steamed and smoked prawns served with saffron aioli and fresh baked baguette. A seafood lovers dream!

 
A wonderful Swedish lunch! A baked potato sliced in half smothered with shrimps in a creme fresh and roe sauce topped with a thin slice of smoked salmon and dill. It was served with a baby spinach, tomato and cucumber salad served with a light vinaigrette. Heaven on a plate!

A wonderful Swedish lunch! A baked potato sliced in half smothered with shrimps in a creme fresh and roe sauce topped with a thin slice of smoked salmon and dill. It was served with a baby spinach, tomato and cucumber salad in a light vinaigrette. Heaven on a plate!

While in Sweden we made a visit to Rolf Muller’s home in Kalmar, located on the west coast of Sweden to meet with his family and a few of the other Climate Coaches. Rolf and his wife had prepared a spread of  delicious ‘climate friendly’ food for our visit complete with organic Free Trade wine. We had a wonderful time dining together and discussng the Climate Pilot Project while sharing tips for this first food challenge.

With our Climate Coaches at Rolf Muller's home in Kalmar, Sweden.

With our Climate Coaches at Rolf Muller's home in Kalmar, Sweden.

A climate friendly spread fit for a queen!

A climate friendly spread!

Homemade focaccia bread, juicy grilled chicken, cool tzatziki sauce, homemade hummus, garden fresh potato salad, a refreshing arugula and sundried tomato salad with a piece of decadent grilled white cheese garnished with a lemon slice. AMAZING!

Homemade focaccia bread, juicy grilled chicken, cool tzatziki sauce, homemade hummus, garden fresh potato salad, a refreshing arugula and sundried tomato salad with a piece of decadent grilled white cheese garnished with a lemon slice. AMAZING!

With our Climate Coaches: Rolf, Adam and Jorgen

With Climate Coaches: Rolf, Adam and Jorgen

And the meal didn’t stop there! After dinner we enjoyed a delicious dessert of strawberries doused in milk with a sprinkle of sugar and gingerbread cookies as well as freshly picked cherries from Rolf’s cherry tree located just outside of his house.
A delicious dessert of strawberries and milk with a sprinkle of sugar and gingerbread cookies! Perfection!

A delicious dessert of strawberries and milk with a sprinkle of sugar and gingerbread cookies! Perfection!

Fresh cherries picked straight from Rolf's cherry tree!

Fresh cherries picked straight from Rolf's cherry tree!

After dinner we had the opportunity to visit one of the many recycling depots that Sweden has available to the neighborhoods. In order to “pay for our meal” Mya and I helped Rolf and his family sort the recycling and deposit them into the correct containers.
Visiting the recycling center in Kalmar

Visiting the recycling center in Kalmar with Mya and two of the Climate Kids.

Sorting out recycling with members of the Climate Pilot Project

Sorting out recycling with members of the Climate Pilot Project

 As you can tell my trip to Sweden was an unbelieveable adventure full of fabulous people and fantastic food. I would like to thank the Nilsson family, Rolf & Birgitta, Adam, Jorgen & Karin and Tove for making this an incredible trip, one I will remember fondly forever!

Downtown Kalmar with Adam, Mya, Misty and Tove

Downtown Kalmar with Adam, Mya, Misty and Tove

 

Eating Locally In Europe

August 3, 2009

After having spent 3 weeks in Europe I have become spoiled in the ways of eating fresher, healthier and most importantly locally grown foods.

Visiting my brother and his family in Belgium was a treat not only for the mind but for the senses as well. My sister-in-law and I enjoyed several a morning stroll to the local farmers market and had a blast creating  fresh feasts from our bounty of locally grown goods. I noticed that the prices for items such as produce, poultry, baked goods and cheeses were much lower than the prices for our farmers markets in the states which was nice on the wallet and even nicer on the taste buds. The farm fresh chicken was a delight when paired with a salad of plump tomatoes, cool cucumbers and crisp lettuce leaves. The freshly baked baguette was the perfect partner for the array of luscious cheeses which we purchased from the locally famous Cheese Man.

Visiting a local farmers market in Belgium

A trip to a local farmers market in Belgium while visiting my brother and his family.

  

While in Belgium I learned that it is mandatory to not only recycle but to composte as well. I was inspired by this way of life and have begun to take steps towards creating a composting pile of my own with the help of my father, a landscape designer, which I hope to use for fertilizer on my soon to be outdoor vegetable and herb garden. I will let you know how this project turns out in the weeks to come.

My sister-in-law Natasha, composting!

My sister-in-law Natasha, composting and recycling. You go girl!

During my stay in Europe I had the pleasure of meeting up with fellow Climate Pilot and co-worker, Mya Akin as well as Misty Proctor, another co-worker of ours. While traveling together we made a point of stopping by local markets to enjoy the fresh produce and baked goods. We also enjoyed the local fare that each city had to offer, marveling in the delicious freshness of each bite. From the finer dining establishments which we visited to the local food vendors on the streets we couldn’t find a bad meal. Even the mayonnaise was better in Europe, concluding that in my opinion everything is better in Europe.

Mya & Angela at a local market in Copenhagen, Denmark

An afternoon stroll to a local market in Copenhagen, Denmark with Mya.

So, if you have the time, go for a visit and see for yourself  just how good the life and most importantly the food is in Europe!

Enjoying a curry dog in Denmark!

Enjoying a curry dog along our journey to Denmark. This pork dog was lightly breaded and fried then topped with ketchup and a generous sprinkle of curry powder. The coleslaw and fries were the perfect accompaniment for this tasty roadside treat!

 

Fried fish filet topped with shrimp, cream fresh, tomato, asparagus and caviar atop of a slice of toasted rye bread and garnished with lemon and lime slices - need I say more!

I loved this dish in Copenhagen! A traditional open face sandwich of fried fish filet topped with small shrimps, creme fresh, tomato, asparagus and caviar atop of a slice of toasted rye bread, garnished with lemon and lime slices - need I say more!

  

Enjoying a hotdog from a street Vendor "Copenhagen Style".

Enjoying a hotdog from a street vendor "Copenhagen Style" (an all beef dog topped with chopped onions, bacon bits, and pickels with a special spicy sauce all tucked inside of a freshly steamed bun!)

 

Swedish meatballs in Sweden...yummy!

Hands down the BEST Swedish meatballs...simply delicious! The light breading made the meatballs crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside with a light gravy which was a match made in heaven with the perfectly boiled potatoes and tart lingam berry jelly.

 

Schnitzel in Germany!

Enjoying schnitzel in Germany! Schnitzel is a thin pork cuttlet lightly breaded and then fried to perfection. This traditional version was served without the mushroom gravy that some recipies call for and it was fantastic along side the fried potatoes.

 

Enjoying the BEST falafel I have ever had, in Amsterdam! The lightly toasted pita pocket made the perfect vessile for holding in the tasting toppings: shredded lettuce, diced tomotoes, sliced onions, and the special house sauce that served up a kick of heat!

Enjoying the BEST falafel I have ever had, in Amsterdam! The lightly toasted pita pocket made the perfect vessile for holding in the tasting toppings: shredded lettuce, diced tomotoes, sliced onions, and the special house sauce that served up a kick of heat!

 

Loving the mussels in Brussels! These fat juicy mussels from Zeeland were dressed to perfection in a light white wine sauce, topped with freshly chopped celery and onions. A perfect dish!

Loving the mussels in Brussels! These fat juicy mussels from Zeeland were dressed to perfection in a light white wine sauce and topped with freshly chopped celery and onions. A perfect dish!

USA Climate Pilots make it in Sweden

July 27, 2009

Mya and I were interviewed by a Swedish news reporter while we were visiting one of our coaches, Rolf Moller in Kalmar, Sweden. Click on the link below to see the article:

http://www.ostran.se/nyheter/kalmar/klimatpiloter_moettes

Here is the translated article:

Mya Akin and Angela Ulsh, climate pilots from Washington, was received by their Kalmari political colleagues. PHOTO: Mattias Rubin

KALMAR
Published 090720 03:05.

The U.S. Climate pilots are now half way through his first challenge, to buy and eat the climate-smart. Last Saturday went to two of them kalmar to meet and exchange experiences with his Swedish predecessor.

– I read many articles on this by “going green”. But where it is just “you should do si, you should do so”. Such a challenge creating a structure. It has made me more motivated, “says Mya Akin, 36.

Together with Angela Ulsh, 29, she is visiting two of Kalmar in this climate pilots, Rolf and Birgitta Möller.

On vacation
American Orna is on holiday in Europe and in Sweden, they visited relatives of Mya in Förslöv in Båstad municipality.

– We knew that Kalmar is situated on the east coast, and thought it can not be so far between the coasts. When we looked it up on a map, we thought it was very close. We Americans are used to run a car lot, “says Angela Ulsch.

Said and did. On Saturday the two came up at the home of the couple Möller in Kalmar and received by several of the Swedish climate pilots.

Shop more frequently
Both tell the food challenge has gone well and they have experienced the changes they made in their lifestyles as positive.

Angela Ulsch discovered that she can eat both healthier and cheaper by acting more impulsively.

– Pre-planned I always have my purchases, and every Sunday I was food for the whole week. Now I go to the shop every day. Instead of planning and looking in a cookbook and think ‘I need this and this and this “I go to the shop and watch what is available.In this way, I eat more fresh food and I almost never throw food anymore, “she says.

Mya Akin has since before a special system for klimatsmart system for their purchases.

– We are in a farming program. Every week, we närproducerade raw materials are delivered to us. A change that I made is that when I buy meat, I always ask after närproducerat meat. This is usually the estimate in the shop and they always think it’s fun to get help with just that, “she says.

Small steps
Angela and Mya is working on the same school in Washington, where they teach in class. There have long worked on environmental issues.

– We try to teach children that we only have one earth and make them more environment conscious, “says Angela.

When they heard about Climate piloted by a family who have children in their school, they were immediately interested.

– I jumped right on, “says Angela.

– I did not hesitate a second, “says Mya.

Take small steps
What is the best tip you received from the Swedish climate pilots?

– Not try to change everything at once. You should take it in small steps and not, for example, say “OK, now I cycle to work every day.” It is not certain that you can keep it. It is more about awareness, “says Mya Akin.

– To buy food with high quality. If you buy good products, you do not buy as much as if you buy lågkvalitetsprodukter. It will take up the nutrition you need anyway, “says Angela Ulsch.

More challenges
Mat-challenge will continue through August for the U.S. Climate pilots. Then follows three further challenges in the transport, energy and leisure.

– Exactly what the next challenge will mean they have not told us yet. But I look forward to it, concludes Angela.

Pontus Roos

Climate Pilots Day 2

July 2, 2009

Having spent the last three days with the fabulous creators, contributors, and coaches of the Climate Pilot project I have come to the conclusion that the Swedish are by far the most fun and friendly group of people I have ever had the pleasure to meet!

I am excited to be visiting some of the Climate Coaches this July in Kalmar, Sweden and hope to learn a few cooking tips from the masters of this project.

 I am eager to begin my quest to a healthier more eco-friendly life style and with Day 2 coming to a close I am more excited than ever for this challenge.

Hello world!

July 2, 2009

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