School days are back again and Kate has some great sandwich ideas; tips on a new brand of tuna; an eye-opening discovery for chocolate lovers; and a new source for tea. Plus What to Eat This Month and more news at NewGreenBasics.com.
by Kate Heyhoe
Take away the stigma of bologna on white bread, and the concept of a "sandwich" can be just as fitting for a dedicated gourmet as Beef Wellington, and certainly not as stodgy. Between writing and developing recipes, I often long for the simplicity of a sandwich, though I have admit, in our house, we rarely dumb it down to basics. With farm fresh ingredients, a larder of intense condiments, and maybe even some delectable leftovers, an artfully designed sandwich can be an immensely satisfying dinner.
Did you know that nearly 50% of all sandwiches are consumed at lunch and 28% at dinner? For more trivia to serve with your sandwich, flip back to a previous column: Remembering the Sandwich: Great Moments, Great Sandwiches in History.
Now that you've got sandwiches on the brain, take a few bites from other sandwich gourmets to light up your own ideas:
Whether your personal "back to school" is on the verge or already here, tackle those lifestyle changes with better brown bag lunches, breakfasts on-the-go, and easy meals to sandwich between diverse family schedules. Our Back to School Family Handbook has handy feeding tips for parents and kids alike, including 25 Tips for Better Brown Bags. Check it out!
Among the latest recalls are vinyl baby bibs containing lead, and Mattel's toy recall including Polly Pocket lunchbags, recalled not for containing lead but because of small magnets that can be swallowed. However, Chinese-made vinyl lunchboxes that do contain lead still crop up from other sources. For more on lead-tainted vinyl lunchboxes, see my previous report: Killer Lunches, Inside and Out.
G'Day Gourmet's little tins of tuna and salmon are so deceiving. Don't expect the tuna you grew up with, the kind that required mayonnaise and lemon just to give it flavor. G'Day tunas come perfectly seasoned, without a speck of mayo. Flakey wild tuna and salmon are packed in such intense sauces, they're as suitable for a meal as they are a condiment, dabbed simply on crackers, breads, or spooned onto a salad platter for simple but sophisticated bites. They're Australian-made, but the skipjack tuna hails from South Pacific waters and the salmon from Alaska, both wild and sustainably harvested. Another deception: The 3.5 ounce cans seem small, but they're perfectly sized for one or two, depending on how you serve them. (They also come with peel-off poptops, so you can eat them at work, nibbled on crackers, for those workaholics who never take time out for lunch.)
Our kitchen now keeps several on hand for easy, effortless gourmet meals. And the selection of fresh-tasting flavors never leaves us bored: Tuna comes in six flavors, and our personal favorite (worth buying a case of) is Tomato-Onion. But we also adore their Tomato-Basil, Chili (flavorful but not too spicy, with a real whole red chili in the can), Mild Indian Curry, and Tomato Salsa. Their salmon comes in Lemon-Pepper, Smoked, Mild Indian Curry, and Chili varieties.
NewGreenBasics.com brings practical green solutions to the kitchen-conscious, and is the evolving companion to my upcoming book, New Green Basics: Greener Ways to Cook, Shop, and Clean. At my New Green Basics blog, you'll discover food-related items like...
The Ivory Coast produces 40% of the world's cocoa, and its beans are mixed into almost every brand of mass-produced chocolate. But did you know that much of that cocoa is harvested by children as slave labor, held captive and forced to work against their will?...continue reading at Slavery of the Cocoa Children.
Product: Cherry Matcha Green Tea Bark and Matcha Green Tea Enrobed Cherries, $12.50 each.
Besides the luxurious flavor, this specialty line touts the antioxidant power of green tea (matcha), tart cherries, and dark chocolate (70% cacao). What's not to like?
Maker: developed by Belgium's Saxon Chocolates expressly for Origins skin-care boutiques.
Note: at the time of this writing, this product was so new there was no link available.
Going green with teas and related beverages gets easier every day. The marketplace is opening up. And now it's getting even greener, and even more democratic. If you prefer your beverages good-tasting and guilt-free, sip on these specialty teas:
Fair Trade Certified teas are good green buys, but even so, almost all tea comes from large plantations. Less than one percent of the world's tea is sourced from small farmers. So Equal Exchange is stirring the pot, by supporting small-scale cooperatives and farms in India, Sri Lanka and South Africa, and bringing their teas to the global marketplace. Equal Exchange's bagged teas are as tasty as any premium tea. They stuff five to nine more bags in a box than their organic competitors, making each purchase a sound economic decision for all involved. Start the day with Irish Breakfast, Green Magic or Rooibos organic teas. Or go with their lovely tins of loose teas. (BTW: We brew their Organic Ceylon and Organic Darjeeling teas in the swanky little Zarafina Tea Maker Suite. The Zarafina has settings that automatically adjust for optimal water temperature and brew times, so it's ideal for specialty teas like these, with nuances and fragrances that you don't want to lose.)
Equal Exchange is currently the nation's only line of 100% small farm tea; their Fair Trade mission extends to coffee, cocoa, chocolates, sugar in distant continents. Now, they're building domestic Fair Trade at home, with almond farmers in California, pecan coops in Georgia, and cranberry farmers in Massachusetts. Read more at Equal Exchange: What is Domestic Fair Trade?
Right now, as the seasons change, we're drinking a mix of iced brews and hot brews. Guayaki makes both, using yerba mate, an energizing herb that hails from South American rainforests and contains more antioxidants than green tea. Guayaki's bottled yerba mate drinks and loose and bagged teas have what some might consider an acquired taste, but flavored cold and hot brews can turn mate into a tasty little number all its own. Guayaki's bottled flavors include a pomegranate clarity blend called Pure Mind, and a citrus stamina blend, Pure Endurance. Plus, the company itself is easy to like and completely guilt-free: it's certified organic, fair-trade produced, shade and sustainably grown in rainforests, and even kosher. They also offset their own CO2 footprint by buying renewable energy credits.
Wild salmon season wraps up in September, tomatoes are staying green on the vine, and together, they make a colorful and sumptuous pair. Weather's still a tad hot in most parts, so round out the meal with a cooling rice salad and rich ice cream cake.
Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created September 2007
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