Every day I am pleasantly surprised by how many people are as concerned, interested and active in the search for better food and healthier eating as I am. And its always in the form of a surprising advocate. All those stories about hormone-injected meat and poultry has become part of our collective consciousness. I don’t recall food recalls as a child; but over the past few years; some of our most basic foods have been tainted–peanut butter, salads, cantaloupe, beef, and poultry. Is that just about every food group? That is frightening!
I have no delusions of being able to grow everything I eat. But I do believe in making the effort in order to understand the process. Ethan and I eat and use the food we grow. We think it makes our meals more delicious–probably because it was grown with our sweat equity. Composting, planting, watering and harvesting. Its been a year of saving vegetable peels, seeds and coffee grinds. Finally after a year, our bin filled to the top has yielded enough beautiful dark rich organic soil to plant our spring plants–cucumbers, peas, tomatoes, cilantro, a few lettuce varieties, and a lime and lemon tree. Ethan has a chance to see where our food comes from and to appreciate his work of nurturing his plants from seedlings to dinner. After watching a 60 Minutes profile of Alice Waters, I learned more about school gardens and what a great experience it is for kids. Learning about Alice Waters’ flagship edible garden made me want to start one at Ethan’s school.
I’ve been trying to eat locally grown food in season and available at my farmer’s market. Living in Santa Monica makes it easier for me to eat and cook more sustainably. The farmers whose booths I frequent talk (with pride) about sustainability. From these conversations, I’ve learned that sustainable farming is a way of raising food that is healthy for consumers and animals (no synthetic hormones or pesticides), does not harm the environment, is humane for workers and animals animals, and provides a fair wage to the farmer, and supports these farm communities. What’s not to like? And I doubt there will be a recall of your beets and broccoli.
I interviewed Alicia Silverstone for her movie, ‘Excess Baggage’ before she became the poster child for PETA and Macrobiotics. I saw her recently at an event for her bestseller, ‘The Kind Diet’ (The Kind Diet Book) While I’m not ready to give up meats (including some seafood) and dairy (I love my cheese); we do make an effort to eliminate white and wheat flour, sugar and processed foods from our diet. Macrobiotic eaters believe that eating locally grown in season produce maximizes the nutritional value of the food and that cooking in a microwave reduces the nutritional value of foods. That makes sense to me and we follow that theory for the most part. Alicia makes it easy for those of us dabbling in macrobiotics, providing carnivores (referred to as Flirts in her book) with some plant-based substitutes. But you don’t have to become a vegan to become a more conscious consumer, and still be as chic as Alicia. She provides tips for a more conscious lifestyle on her blog: The Kind Life
But to take all of this sustainability from macro to a micro level. My friend and co-executive producer of a TV show I am working on surprised me the other day by bringing me a dozen eggs. Hatched by his chickens. That live in his backyard. I mention this because it just goes to show that this idea of a conscious lifestyle is the zeitgeist of modern living today. He keeps 4 chickens as household pets. One of them is an Auraucana hen that lays green eggs. It is unbelievably beautiful–the bird and her eggs. In addition, these eggs have the thickest and most orange-yellow yolks you’ve ever seen–they stand up like 3 inches high!
And talk about free range–they certainly live the life; eating chicken feed, vegetable scraps, bugs and grass in his backyard. Clearly they are the happiest hens, producing an average of 6 eggs a week each! My friend Tony says he bought the hens as baby chicks from a local feed store. They started producing eggs after about 6 months–no word on the house training. Though I personally think he reads bedtime stories to them and lets them watch TV (only educational programming of course).
While I plan to make many dishes (including a breakfast of eggs over easy); I used one of these green eggs as a special treat in Ethan’s all time favorite comfort food. On a wintry day, Americans cuddle up to a warm bowl of oatmeal. For Asian families, the rice porridge is a hearty breakfast staple:
Brown Rice Porridge (Khao Tom in Thai)
- 1 cup of cooked Jasmine brown rice
- 2 oz ground organic turkey
- 2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
- 1 Egg
- Boil 2 cups of water on the stove top and add crumbled ground turkey for 7 minutes or until turkey is cooked.
Add rice and fish sauce.
- When the rice boils, crack the egg into the porridge and boil the egg to the desired softness/hardness
If desired, top with chopped green onion, cilantro and black pepper.
So simple…So satisfying.