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Food Day 2011: It’s Time to Eat Real, America!

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Food Day 2011

In the recent weeks, we have gone on about food that might not exactly constitute a healthy diet. From pizza to chocolate to candy – my mom just might raise her eyebrows if she thought these are the only things I eat on a regular basis!

While we do love our sweets and greasy food, we are also very much aware that we need to eat healthily. In this light, we are taking this opportunity to remind everyone of a very important event, which is going to take place on Monday, October 24: Food Day 2011. Yes, we know how to eat healthily, too!

What is Food Day?

Food Day is an initiative which has a simple goal: to encourage Americans to eat healthy and affordable food. On the part of the producers, the movement aims to push for sustainable and humane production.

This year is not the first time Food Day is being held, although it has been a long time since the “holiday” was last celebrated. In fact, Food Day has its roots way back in April 1975, when a group called the Center for Science in the Public Interest started it. Can you imagine that even as early as then, they were already raising awareness about the decline in healthy eating habits and the safety of the American food supply? They continue their quest today and are sponsors of the upcoming Food Day.

6 Food Day Principles

To give you a better understanding of what the movement is all about, here are the main principles they stand by.1

  1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
  2. Support sustainable farms & limit subsidies to big agribusiness
  3. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
  4. Protect the environment & animals by reforming factory farms
  5. Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids
  6. Support fair conditions for food and farm workers

Food Day Recipes

There are various events being held across the country for Food Day 2011. You can find events near you on the Food Day web site. You can also have your own Food Day celebration at home with family and friends. For that, I have selected some recipes for you to try out on Monday (and whenever you want, actually).

Green Beans with Charred Onions

Mario Batali Recipes

Green Beans

This is an adaptation of celebrity chef Mario Batali’s recipe, and it makes 6 servings.2

Ingredients:

  • 1medium sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla
  • 2tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1½tablespoons orange juice
  • 1½tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2teaspoon Maldon or other flaky sea salt

Preparation:

  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the beans and blanch until crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water; drain well.
  2. Halve the onions lengthwise and trim off the ends. Cut lengthwise into ½-inch-wide slices. Heat a dry 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the onions and sauté until charred in spots but still crunchy, 4 to 6 minutes. During the last minute or so, add the beans, stirring and tossing to warm them through.
  3. Transfer the beans and onions to a large bowl. Whisk the balsamic vinegar, orange juice, and oil together in a small bowl. Pour over the beans and onions, tossing to coat. Let stand for at least 10 minutes, or up to 1 hour, before serving. Sprinkle the beans with salt and serve.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

  • Calories: 80
  • Total Fat: 4.5 g (Sat Fat 0.5 g)
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 10 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 90 mg

It’s very easy to make and is quite affordable as well! If you want something a little on the sweet side and yet just as affordable (maybe even more so), an alternative would be Green Beans with Caramelized Red Onions.

Gumbo with Smoked Turkey and Wild Rice

Emeril Lagasse Recipes

Turkey Gumbo with Wild Rice

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s “From Farm to Fork”, this recipe is definitely not your everyday gumbo.3 And if you look at the ingredients, they are not expensive either.

Ingredients:

  • 2tablespoons olive oil 2small onion, chopped
  • 1tablespoons chopped scallions, white and light green parts, plus more for garnish
  • 3tablespoon chopped garlic
  • ½pound smoked turkey thigh or smoked turkey sausage, diced
  • ½pounds fresh cooking greens – a mix of spinach, collard greens, turnip greens -tough stems removed, leaves rinsed and coarsely chopped1
  • ½pound green cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
  • ½quarts chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3cups wild rice
  • 2 or 3 small bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, more to taste
  • Pinch of ground thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon filé powder, or more to thicken (optional)
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion, scallions, and garlic, and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the turkey and cook for 2 minutes. A handful at a time, add the spinach, collards, turnip greens, and cabbage, stirring them until wilted before adding the next bunch. Then add the stock, wild rice, bay leaves, cayenne, and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.
  2. Taste and add up to ¼ teaspoon salt-the greens should be tender and slightly spicy. The wild rice should be tender and puffed.
  3. If you wish to thicken it, stir 1 tablespoon filé powder into the simmering gumbo. Add more filé, a little at a time, until thickened. Simmer for 3 minutes more. (Do not allow the gumbo to boil once you have added the filé.)
  4. Serve garnished with chopped parsley and scallions.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

  • Calories: 350
  • Total Fat: 7 g (Sat Fat 1 g)
  • Protein: 21 g
  • Carbohydrates: 53 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Cholesterol: 15 mg
  • Sodium: 440 mg

When you make this, expect to feel that “Bam!” Emeril is well known for!

If you are not in the mood for turkey, you can use chicken. Here’s a recipe for Chicken and Sausage Gumbo.

Honey-Crisp Oven-Fried Chicken

Ellie Krieger Recipes

Oven Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is one of the most popular comfort foods, isn’t it? There is nothing like biting into a crispy piece and tasting the juices that run out of it. There is, however, the issue of “bad” fat that comes with fried chicken. And the skin…don’t even get me started about it!

There are ways to get the same satisfaction from fried chicken without the bad part, though, and Ellie Krieger’s recipe is one way to do it.4

Ingredients:

  • 6 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
  • 2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 4 cups whole-grain cereal flakes
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon  garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Preparation:

  1. Place the chicken in a bowl with the buttermilk and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
  2. Place the cereal flakes in a food processor and process until crumbs form (you should have about 1 cup of crumbs).
  3. Transfer to a shallow dish and mix in the paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  5. Remove chicken from buttermilk, shaking off excess buttermilk from the chicken. Discard the remaining buttermilk.
  6. Brush each piece of chicken with honey, then dip in the cereal crumbs, press hard so the crumbs adhere to the chicken. Place the coated chicken on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Lightly spray the top of each chicken thigh with cooking spray.
  8. Bake until the chicken is crisped and cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

  • Calories: 330
  • Total Fat: 7 g (Sat Fat 2g)
  • Protein: 34 g
  • Carbohydrates: 34 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Cholesterol: 125 mg
  • Sodium: 410 mg

Here are two more variations to suit different tastes. The first one is great if you like citrus flavors: Oven Fried Lemonade Chicken. This has even fewer calories! If you like it hot, then this Spicy Oven Fried Chicken is for you. It uses buttermilk so it has a little more calories than the other two.

It’s Time to Eat Real!

When it comes to cooking tasty meals that are cheap and healthy, you can do so many things! Try getting your food products from farmers markets and local sources. Avoid processed food and make fresh dishes at home instead. If everyone plays his part, no matter how small, a huge impact can be made. It’s time to eat real, guys!

Photos via ccharmon, lewong2000, and anearthling

  1. Source: 6 Food Day Principles []
  2. Source []
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