Summer has officially kicked off and we are b-u-s-y in every possible way; all of them good! The only downside to being busy goes back to "what's for dinner?" It can't always be a lazily prepared meal or have a thousand moving parts or pieces. We need to ensure our sustainability metrics by eating at home but also keeping it nutritious and delicious.
Okay, ready to hear what we do besides grill or mix up a cooling salad? When it's not Hades hot / muggy outside, I roast. Yes, I roast. It usually gives me ample down time to clean up the kitchen, hang-out with my family outside and gets me away from being a slave to the stove or mercy of the grill (uh, flare ups happen to me too often...)
Sustainability Spotlight: Sometimes sustainability metrics are just not that straightforward. Is grilling the "better" way to cook food with the use of propane (natural resources)? Is roasting a "good" way to use non-renewable resources (gas) or electric (depends on where you source your electricity)? Is not using any heating source at all the "best" way to cook? Maybe not, if all those resources stayed chilled in your fridge using both electricity and coolant (chemicals that can lead to pollution).
I think what often gets lost in all the discussions about sustainability is that there is not one "right" answer to any question you put forth. All answers you come up with will have a component that may not be sustainable. What what is sustainable anyways? Doing without? NOPE.
Sustainable means that you can continue to behave / act a certain way well into the future and not have dire consequences on the longevity of available resources. Period. Anyone that wants to have a higher purpose toward sustainability than that, well hey, I applaud you. I do. There are environmental warriors in the war for our planet's sustainability, and for those of you who are in that elite rank, you are amazing.
My goal, for anyone not playing at that level, is to help you all realize that there even IS a war, and what efforts you might have in contributing to the long lasting effects of that war. Like it or not, humans are "against" the planet in overwhelming numbers. There are no right routes or sure fire ways to stop that mentality. It's just small advances into the breaches, small victories that can make this world a much better place for future generations.
And, that, people of planet Earth, is the only "right" way to think about being sustainable. What can I do, today that might feel / look / taste / result in that better tomorrow. Make that decision and refine as you go!
1 lb red potatoes (cut into chunks)
3 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp smoked salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
~4 cups oyster mushrooms; pulled into large "florett" pieces
1 plant-based sausage roll (crumbled) - I used Impossible Foods for this recipe
1 tsp ground fennel
1 lb fresh green beans (trimmed)
4-5 garlic cloves (sliced level 1 on mandoline)
1 cup non-alcoholic beer - Note, regular beer will work, but we prefer to be alcohol free.
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp aleppo pepper
2 bell peppers (sliced thin) - I used 1 full green and then 1/2 each of an orange and yellow
1 large handful of basil (chopped)
1 large handful parsley (chopped)
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small medium roasting pan, combine potatoes, salt, pepper & oil. Spread in an even layer and bake for ~25 minutes till lightly browned.
Pull pan from oven (Carefully! It's hot), and crumble sausage with your hands, add ground fennel, green beans, garlic and mushrooms. Mix to stir together and slide pan into oven for another ~10 minutes to bake.
Pull pan again from oven (Carefully! It's hot) and deglaze the pan with your non-alcoholic beer. Now, stir in your paprika, aleppo pepper and bell peppers. Slide pan into oven one last time for ~15 minutes till all veggies are done.
Once the veggies are cooked, pull the pan one last time from the oven (Carefully! It's hot) and stir in your fresh herbs.
Serve right away in pasta bowls being sure to get some extra of that spiced sauce into each bowl.
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie