WWF Switzerland was encouraging us all to have a vegetarian lunch today, and while they didn’t catch some of us on time, their reminder that meat should be the exception, not the rule for meals, will come with me to the supermarket as I buy tonight’s dinner supplies.
If you eat meat in moderation six times a week you’ll reduce by 10 percent on your global environmental footprint, because meat consumption is linked to one-third of our food imprint, says the WWF. Better yet, cut down to three times a week, if you don’t fancy being a vegetarian, and you’ll reduce your food footprint by 20 percent.
A couple suggestions from WWF: avoid breaded veal and buy plain bio veal for a better impact on soil, water and climate use. Pork chops: buy bio pork, just for special occasions.
20 sensible environmental food tips from WWF
- Select vegetarian recipes and use in-season products
- Choose fruits and vegetables grown in fields, not hot houses
- Grow your own vegetables, on your balcony or in your garden
- Reduce your consumption of meal, poultry, fish, seafood and milk products
- To reduce your environmental footprint by 20 percent, cut back meat products to three times a week.
- Buy field fruits and vegetables
- Go for local products
- Opt for bio meats
- Buy only fish labelled MSC or bio fish
- Buy fair trade products
- Don’t buy frozen foods
- Give up convenience foods
- Avoid produts that use too much packaging
- Do your shopping by bicycle or on foot
- Shop close to home and avoid driving to distant shopping centres
- Re-use your shopping bags
- Only buy the quantity you need
- Cook using covers as often as possible
- Heat cooking water in a kettle and use a pressure cooker as much as possible
- Use tap rather than bottled water.
Recipe: Lacquered pork tenderloin, roast potatoes and wild garlic leaves
Serves 4800-gram / 1 3/4-lb pork tenderloin roast (“filet mignon de porc”)
5 T. honey 30 grams / 2 T. butter 2 t. Colman’s mustard powder or 2 T. whole-grain mustard 2 T. coriander seeds Beans of one vanilla pod Olive oil Salt and pepper to taste 12 small raclette or new potatoes, unpeeled 237 ml / 1 cup thick veal or chicken stock (“fond de veau” or “fond de volaille”) 2 bunches wild garlic leaves (“ail des ours”)
Breaking news: we have local strawberries and rhubarb!
Whoof, spring is here, even if the mercury can’t seem to rise quite to the heights we would like.
I was worried last week at this time. Be patient, the Mara des Bois will come in time.
For local vegetables, green is the word. There are salads of every type, especially pourprier, rosette, arugula, baby spinach, chervil, and numerous other mixed wild greens.
Lots of sorrel to make your salmon sauce or soup. Jump on the dandelion greens while they’re plentiful. Nettles arrived on the scene this week.
Root vegetables are still in: celery root (celeriac), baby beets and carrots.
There are plenty of fat red radishes and spring onions. Jerusalem artichokes are still on the scene, as are parsnips and new potatoes, especially the raclette types. Oodles of varieties of potatoes.
There are plenty of baby leeks, broccoli and cabbages. Nice tender kohlrabi is available as well, along with Swiss chard and delicious fennel.
For other fruit, you’ll have to buy French or Italian products. Italian and Spanish oranges are excellent this year.
There are actually Florida grapefruit available, despite all the catastrophic predictions.
French strawberries are in abundance, as are, of course, the Spanish ones.
Yellow kiwis from New Zealand are excellent this year, and Alphonso, well, I still have my love affair with Alphonso mangoes. I bought a dozen today for CHF2 a piece. They may be ugly, but they have a special place in my little heart. French rhubarb is available, although not in vast quantity.
Quite a variety of herbs, considering the fact that winter still hasn’t decided to really leave.
I’m not a flower specialist, so I don’t know the names. I’ll just show you the photos; they speak for themselves. There are however tulips and forsythia galore.
This is another low-fat, high-fiber meal that fits perfectly in to any weight loss plan. All these ingredients are available in April.4 to 6 scallops per person 6 to 8 spears of green asparagus per person Balsamic vinegar 500 grams / 1 lb. strawberries (for 3 or 4 servings)
Szechwan pepper to taste
Preheat broiler or grill.
Wash, top and slice strawberries. Put into a medium-size saucepan. Cover with Balsamic vinegar, until vinegar is about 2.54 cm / 1 inch above strawberries. Add Szechwan pepper to taste.
Bring strawberries and Balsamic vinegar mixture to a boil, then turn heat down to medium, stirring from time to time. Cook until it forms a sauce of a syrupy consistency, with bits of strawberry in the “syrup”. This usually takes 15 to 20 minutes.
Ingredients1 large fennel 3 medium-size raclette or new potatoes Juice of one blood orange Olive oil Salt and pepper to taste 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons Country Potato spice* OR aniseed/fennel seeds
Preheat grill or broiler.
Cut stalk end of fennel out, then slice thinly in the lengthwise direction.
Scrub potatoes, but do not skin. Slice thinly.
Spring is here, technically speaking, but it’s still cold, so many local products that would normally be available now simply are not. It snowed in the Alps Easter weekend, and the skiing is great, so we can’t have the best of both worlds.
Root vegetables are still in: celery root (celeriac), baby beets and carrots. There are plenty of fat red radishes and spring onions. Jerusalem artichokes are still on the scene, as are parsnips and new potatoes, especially the raclette types.
Recipes using seasonal ingredients found in Switzerland in February
Papet vaudois, a Swiss sausage and leek specialty from canton Vaud.
Worry no more mushroom barley soup with crusty garlic toast at Spirit of Pistoulet.
Easy duck confit recipe at The Rambling Epicure.
Fat-free Swiss carrot cake at Swiss Foodies.
Moroccan-style chicken pie at Epicurious.
Cabbage, collard greens, red onion, and blood orange coleslaw at The Rambling Epicure.
Double-chocolate walnut biscotti at The Rambling Epicure.
Curried squash or pumpkin soup at Swiss Foodies and Simply Recipes.
This week’s foodie overview
I spend a lot of time reading, researching and tweeting about food and restaurants these days, so I thought I’d jot down my tweets from the last few days. These are from both The Rambling Epicure and Swiss Foodies and should give you an overview of what’s going on in the foodie world this week, in Switzerland and around the world.
Sometimes I couldn’t resist writing about the snow and skiing conditions, because that determines how a lot of us in Switzerland plan our weekends, and therefore what restaurants we go to or what recipes we cook up. And of course occasionally, watches and wine . . . and this week, the Vancouver Winter Olympics and those cute wooly pigs you see in the photo.
Creative ways to use vinegar in cooking, in place of fats
I’m a vinegar collector. I have orange vinegar, walnut vinegar, grapefruit vinegar, a long list of Balsamic vinegars of various origins and ages, and lots of other more common ones.
In Switzerland and France, there is such an impressive variety of artisanal vinegars (a well as oils) that it is easy to build up quite a collection and use it in creative ways to liven up winter vegetables, bland grilled meats, or salads. The beauty of it is that you can often use vinegar to add flavor, and thereby avoid the more traditional use of butter or meat bases, which contain fat. It is a good way to reduce fat in your general cooking habits.
A tasty, good quality vinegar is an easy way to add flavor to an otherwise unappetizing vegetable or meat. After cooking meat or fish, I often deglaze the frying pan with a nice vinegar, then pour the glaze over the beast in question, along with a drizzle of good quality olive oil. It makes for a much healthier sauce than cream or butter and adds flare to the dish.
With magret de canard, or duck breast, which can have quite a fatty taste, I pour off most of the fat, and then deglaze the drippings with Balsamic or sherry vinegar. Raspberry also works well with duck, and you can add a few crushed raspberries to the sauce as well. The vinegar helps cut the fatty film you often feel in your mouth after eating. Raspberry vinegar is also a perfect compliment to calves’ liver.
by Ellen Wallace
You come to the Alps in winter with expectations of glorious blue skies and pristine white slopes, accompanied by the warming tones of cheese fondue, raclette and gluh wine or laced coffee taken in the brisk outdoor air.
And then it rains. It is not supposed to do that between Christmas and New Year’s, but in 2009 it did. Tuesday night and Wednesday brought downpours and fog. thursday wasn’t much better. Many people went shopping. Some of us stayed home and felt sorry for ourselves – until we were inspired to try something new and different in the kitchen.
There were no children in the house, so I could serve up odd vegetables. This time of year I get tired of the limited fresh vegetables in the markets, cabbage and cauliflower, which remind me of over-boiled vegetables of my childhood. I am not a big fan of cauliflower, but I’d read a recipe on the NPR (National Public Radio) web site that intrigued me, for cauliflower and leek soup with roasted walnut garnish. I’d bought the cauliflower, but forgot to buy leeks. I happened to have some excellent sausage and brown bread in the house. So here is the original NPR recipe by Carla Hall, which I’ll have to try sometime, and my rainy day Swiss Alpine lunch variation, which cheered up two adults, a sign of success with any food. It has the added advantage of being kinder to those who want to keep down their cream and butter intake.
The snow returned, after we ate this.
Swiss Alps winter rainy day cauliflower soup4 servings
1 small head cauliflower
1 onion, preferably white
2-5 garlic cloves, to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 litre turkey stock (part of the treat of a Christmas bird)
75-100 gr = 1/2 packet of Chevroux goat cheese spread: fromage frais, to taste
150 cl / 1.6 qts. milk
1 egg yolk
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Fresh nutmeg to taste
8 toasted walnut halves
Chopped fresh parsley
1-2 tablespoons browned butter
- Wash and core the cauliflower. Reserve 8 tiny florets. Roughly chop the remaining cauliflower, onion and garlic.
- Roast the walnut halves in the oven, low heat (130-150° C / 266-302° F), 15 minutes, until lightly browned; take care not to burn them.
- In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until soft, but not taking on any color, about 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onions and garlic and stir to combine. Gradually whisk in the stock. Bring slowly to a simmer, stirring as the mixture thickens. Add the chopped cauliflower and return to a slow simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to keep the bottom from sticking or burning until the cauliflower is fork-tender, 10-12 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup in a blender until smooth. The original “creamed” recipe calls for straining the soup at this point, but as the daughter of a US Great Depression mother, I find it hard to throw away the vegetable bits. Our mixture was not strained and as a result had a slight grittiness, which we enjoyed.
- In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolk with the milk. Whisk a bit of the hot soup into the egg/milk mixture. Then whisk the mix into the soup.
- Place the pot over very low heat and stir continually, gently, to warm through. Add the goat cheese and continue to stir, always over low heat so you don’t scramble the egg yolk, until the cheese melts, 3-5 minutes; do not let it reach the simmering point.
- Blanch the cauliflower florets set aside at the start, while the cheese is melting.
- Adjust the soup seasoning with salt and pepper. Grate in fresh nutmeg to taste.
- In a small skillet or pot, melt the 1 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Keep the butter on heat until it turns a nutty brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Mix the tiny cauliflower florets and the toasted walnuts in a small bowl. Portion the soup into shallow bowls and top with the garnish. Drizzle with the brown butter, then chopped parsley.
We served this with Vaud sausage (saucisse de Vaud) and an excellent brown bread from Migros. The sausage is made by Reichenbach butchers in Aigle, canton Vaud, whose owner is president of the Vaudois butchers association. The group has applied for AOC status for the product. It is a naturally smoked sausage that is cooked whole.
A Vaud sausage should be simmered in nearly boiling water not more than 75° C / 167° F for an hour. The bread is an organic, sustainable-development product that has good flavour and keeps its moisture well, a nice complement to the soup and sausage.