Late Summer Food for Thought
Summer has come and before we knew it, it was almost over! There are so many reasons to love summertime and especially summer in Steamboat Springs! The clients have been able to enjoy; some of the best hikes in and around Steamboat, watching the garden flourish as Kim Brooks walks them through harvesting, and eating some of the best tasting vegetables that you could ever ask for.
Sometimes summer offers so many exciting activities that we gloss over things that can sometimes give us the most joy in life, and that is food! What better season is there for food? So many fresh foods that were literally hand selected only seconds ago are now sitting in front of us on a plate. A lot of times there will be so many fresh things from our garden that Cord and I get overwhelmed (these are good problems!!).
It is in these times of overwhelming fresh harvests that I am reminded of a phrase by my favorite author, Michael Pollen, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”. If you were to mention this phrase to most of the clients that come through Foundry, you will probably get a response that has something to do with how much Chef Henry uses vegetables. Then that same client will also hopefully go on to say something about how a lot of those veggies Henry was feeding him “actually weren’t bad”.
Probably the only way to cook and eat all of the veggies that we get from our garden/greenhouse is to cook with mostly plants. When I say “mostly plants” I’m not talking about never eating meat again, but I am talking about reducing the amount of meat consumed in a given meal. Imagine that you are going to make taco. How can you reduce the amount of meat consumed in a taco? Well instead of using only ground beef as a taco filling, consider cutting the amount of ground beef in half and then adding in some taco seasoned and roasted cauliflower. Hopefully you will find that you can still enjoy the beef flavor but only be eating half of the meat.
Why would I want to even cut back on meat? There are many reasons to cut back on meat consumption, one of the reasons that clients hear me talking about all the time is that meat has a large impact on our earth. Meat (especially red meat) requires a lot of resources to grow due to such high demands by consumers, so by reducing meat consumption your carbon footprint will be reduced. Also maybe the most important reason is to reduce your food budget. Whole vegetables and plants in general are much cheaper than buying meat for every single meal. If you supplement your meat with a lot of plants it could stretch your meat for multiple days instead of just one meal's worth.
This way of cooking and eating might be hard at first, but give it a try. Try the half beef half cauliflower tacos, try having a smaller portion of steak and then upping the amount of roasted veggies on the side, or try cutting up any leftover meat and putting it on a salad with some grains (quinoa, rice, farro…).
Wow! We have been talking so much about our veggies from the garden, let's just enjoy looking at them for a minute.
Earlier we were talking about ways to reduce meat in our meals, so let’s take a look at some more ideas!
- What a lot of people don’t realize about eating vegetarian meals is that they are really just looking for a meal that has a good texture. So try adding in some chopped nuts, raw diced cauliflower, or chewy grains like farro to your next vegetarian salad.
- Start thinking of your meals as more than just the meat, for example; “I’m going to eat steak tonight” vs “I am going to be eating a steak salad with roasted brussel sprouts served over some creamy farro”. If you are only thinking of the steak, you will eat more meat and hardly anything else. If you are thinking of all the sides along with your steak sometimes there are such amazing side that you hardly need any steak.
- Start eating your meals mixed together as opposed to separated. When you separate your meat from your veggies as well as other components of the meal you are more likely to not only eat more meat, but also eat more food in general. Some people do not like their food touching, so when cooking for yourself try to only use things you enjoy!
- Last of all! Remember what types of foods are classified as plants! It sounds easier than you would think, but a lot of people will associate the word plants with only vegetables, but there are so many more plants to eat than just veggies (more edible plants exist than animals we eat). Below is a list of plants for you to just remember how delicious they actually are.
- Grains (farro, rice, quinoa, barley…)
- Pastas (try to stick to whole grains)
- Fruits!! (berries, peaches, plums, apricots, apples, bananas…)
- Fruits are a great way to add some sweetness in your life.
- Baked goods! (we all love a little bit of carbs but let's make sure that it stays only a little bit)
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**As always have a safe and clean month - Chef Henry
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