Belated Earth Day
Apr 30th, 2022 by Alex Koster

As I’m sure you know, Earth Day was last Friday, April 22, so in honor of Earth Day, I wanted to make a quick post about the importance of food and climate change. We all know that the production of food takes a toll on the environment, but what exactly does that mean? Are some foods worse than others? If so, what’s the worst type of food? Do I have to go vegan to save the world? Well… let’s find out!

It’s meat (particularly red meat) and dairy production that create the most greenhouse gas emissions each year, accounting for about the same amount as the emissions from all the cars, trucks, airplanes, and ships combined. Meanwhile, plant-based foods have the smallest impact on the environment, soooo does that mean you should swear off meat and cheese? Well, not necessarily.

While limiting your meat and dairy intake is a great way to work to reduce your carbon “foodprint”, there’s definitely a middle ground. Cows are a key component in the agricultural cycle, not just for their meat, but because they are used to dispose of massive amounts of waste like corn husk or leave. Additionally, they produce manure that can be used as fertilizer and are also pretty cute (especially the Swiss cows pictured below lounging in the Alps). So while going vegan is great, keep in mind the importance of moderation.

Aside from changing your diet, there are other ways you can work to reduce your carbon “foodprint”, namely by reducing your food waste. Food waste is a HUGE contributor to climate change and is often overlooked. Americans throw out about 20% of the food they buy. Luckily, there are some small steps you can take to address it. First, you can try to compost organic materials. Even in NYC, there are lots of places to drop compost off. Here’s our compost pail, which we will empty at our local Farmer’s Market tomorrow.

Second, there are other ways to reduce food waste: when grocery shopping: plan your meals, make a shopping list and buy what you actually need (and then follow that meal plan!). I realized that our family was wasting fruit like cantaloupe and strawberries because no one wanted to cut them and they went bad before we could eat them. So one of my small changes is chopping that fruit up as soon as we buy it.

Certain items also don’t go bad as quickly as you might think: “Sell by” labels are usually manufacturer’s suggestions for peak quality. Almost all foods can still be safely consumed after that date, so don’t throw out your food just because it’s a few days past its peak quality.

We all have a “carbon foodprint” but with diet changes and limiting our food waste, our gradual changes can add up. A crucial part of battling climate change is recognizing that there’s only so much an individual can do when it comes to making mass changes policy changes are the most effective. Support politicians who are advocating for sensible climate change policies: whether it’s encouraging electric vehicles, restoring public lands and waters or encouraging more environmentally friendly farming practices.

Want to know how your diet contributes to climate change? Take this quiz to find out!

Sunday, April 9, 2022: Cold Noodle Salad with Nutty Dressing
Apr 24th, 2022 by Alex Koster

Tonight I wanted to try out a vegan noodle salad recipe from The recipe called for rice noodles, veggies, and a nut-based dressing. I also steamed some asparagus as a side because the asparagus looked so good at the Farmers’ Market. My interpretation of the recipe is listed below (their original recipe is available here):


Two Nut Dressing:

  • 3/8 cup peanuts soaked in water for 2 hours*
  • 3/8 cup pecans soaked in water for 2 hours*
  • Juice/segments from 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup of water from the soaked nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce

*’s recipe called for walnuts as well, but I decided to try just a peanut/pecan mix


  • 8 oz rice noodles
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot ribboned
  • 2 green onions diced
  • 1 cup red or green cabbage, diced (red looks prettier)
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 cup chopped parsley (optional)

*’s recipe called for parsley but I am not a fan, so I left it out.

The first step is to soak the nuts in water for at least 3 hours.

The next step is to prepare the noodles: I used Thai Brown Rice Noodles so I soaked them in hot water for about 10 minutes (until tender), drained them, and then refrigerated them until they were cool.

Once the 3 hours soaking is up, drain the nuts, reserving 1/4 cup water, and chop your veggies, including the garlic.

Make sure you have all the ingredients for the nut dressing ready to go (drained nuts, orange, garlic, nut water, and soy sauce. If the nuts you use are salted, only add 2 Tbs soy sauce to start so your dressing isn’t too salty.

Then combine the nuts and the other dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until only slightly chunky (or add a bit more water if you want a smoother dressing).

Finally, put it all together: prepare your salad–add the noodles and veggies and top with the dressing. Feel free to substitute or add vegetables (the more colors the better)!

Here’s the final beauty shot! Healthy and pretty!

And don’t forget the asparagus (I just steamed these on the stovetop and then sprinkled them with grated parmesan cheese and a little truffle salt).

Saturday, April 2, 2022: Spring Salad
Apr 2nd, 2022 by Alex Koster

Today I wanted to try something new but also stick with my goal of eating more healthy, plant-based foods. At the farmers’ market, there were beautiful pea shoots and fresh scallions I wanted to use, and I saw a “Herby Rice Salad with Peas and Proscuitto” recipe in The New York Times that looked interesting. The recipe (by Emily Nunn who has a newsletter called The Department of Salad) didn’t actually include pea shoots or scallions so my version isn’t exactly the same as Ms. Nunn’s but it’s still pretty good.

Spring Salad Ingredients (recipe based on Emily Nunn’s recipe mentioned above)

  • 2 cups white rice
  • 3 cups shelled peas (blanched if fresh, raw if frozen)
  • 2 cups fresh pea shoots (optional)
  • 4-5 scallions*, chopped (should be about 5 tablespoons), plus clean green stems from 2 scallions (rough chopped)
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • 1 cup slivered basil *
  • 12-16 slices proscuitto (optional if truly committed to plant-based foods)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt to taste

* Nunn’s recipe had red onions and chives instead of scallions. Cook’s choice. Also, her recipe called for 1/2 cup mint and 1/2 cup parsley: neither of which my family loves so I just doubled the basil.

The first step, if you don’t have leftover rice, is to cook the rice: we have a rice cooker so I used that and then thoroughly rinsed it so it wouldn’t stick together and put it in the fridge. It needs to cool completely.

Then, since I had fresh peas, I blanched them briefly (I boiled a large pot of water, poured the peas in, let them cook for one minute, then drained and put them in an ice bath.)

Next, I zested and juiced the lemons and chopped my scallions, reserving a few of the long green stems (and rough chopping them).

Then I combined 1/2 of the chopped scallions, the scallion stems, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, red pepper flakes and a little salt to make a marinade for the peas.

I mixed in the peas and put the bowl, covered, in the fridge–it should marinate (refrigerated) for at least 20 minutes or up to 2 days.

When you are ready to make the salad, remove the longer scallion stems from the pea marinade. Then add the peas and the marinade to the cooled, cooked rice. (Note, some of the peas changed color, maybe because of the lemon juice, but they tasted fine.) Add the slivered basil and remaining chopped scallions and toss gently to combine. Taste and add salt and lemon juice if necessary.

If you are including fresh pea shoots, quickly saute them (1-2 minutes) in a nonstick pan

Then drape the cooked shoots (and prosciutto if using) on top of the salad. The result is a lemony and bright salad that is surprisingly filling. Great for lunch or a light supper. Enjoy!

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa