Category Archives: REVIEWS, ARTICLES, & COOL STUFF

Local Sake Now Available!

Texas-made sake is a bit surprising, no?

Texas Sake Co. is not only the first sake producer in Texas; they’re also using organic Texas rice, making this brew the first organic alcohol made in Texas.

Texas Sake Co. produces 2 types of sake:

Nigori Cloud Junmai – Pictured on the left, above. This coarsely filtered sake, also known as “cloudy,”  is creamy and smooth with coconut & cider flavors.

Tokubetsu Junmai – Pictured on the right, above, is clear and pure, with rich apple and pear flavors.

Kampai!

**Please note due to TABC regulations, we can only deliver alcohol to Travis Country residents. Sorry!

Organic Entertaining for under $10 per person, including wine

Image by CJ Martin. Licensed for commercial reuse by Creative Commons.

Serving local and organic food to holiday guests  can sound like an expensive proposition, especially when you factor in the cost of multiple trips to the farmer’s market or grocery store to find everything that you need.

With the convenience and cost-savings of Greenling, you can entertain a holiday party of eight for under $10 per person, including wine. Our menu uses local and organic ingredients that you’ll be proud to serve, without breaking the bank.

Coincidentally, all the recipes in our menu are gluten-free except for the baguette. If your guests are Celiac, consider serving instead this local gluten-free focaccia bread from our friends at Wildwood Bakery.

Menu (serves 8):

Appetizers
Parmesan Crisps
Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Main Course
Mixed Green Salad with Garlic Honey Vinaigrette
Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup
Sweetish Hill Baguette with Garlic Herb Butter

Dessert
Wine Poached Apples with Honey Whipped Cream

The menu costs were calculated using Greenling’s current prices and include all the pantry items you’ll need for the dinner except salt and pepper.

Shopping list:

6 oz. Local Parmesan Cheese
Local Baguette
8 oz. Organic Garlic & Herb Butter
1 Bulb Organic Garlic
1 lb. Local White Mushrooms
1 bunch Local Spinach
1 head Organic Lettuce
1 bunch Organic Arugula
1 Organic Onion
4 lbs. Local or Organic Tomatoes, seconds
6 Organic Apples, seconds
1, 500 ml Bottle Organic Olive Oil
1, 16 oz Bottle Apple Cider Vinegar

1 pint Organic Chicken Stock
1/2 pint Organic Whipping Cream
12 oz bottle Local Honey
2 bottles Natura Merlot Organic Wine

The price per person for the menu above is $9.78, including a glass of wine for each guest. Happy holidays, and thank you for including local and organic food in your family’s celebration!

You Can’t Beat Our Holiday Meats!

We know that the centerpiece of the holiday table isn’t meat for everyone- for all you veggies out there, check out this awesome collection of holiday vegetarian recipes for your table.

For the meat-eaters, here at Greenling we are incredibly passionate about the importance of sourcing quality local and organic meats. The difference between conventionally raised meat and humanely-treated, grass fed and free-range meats is palpable. Non-stressful conditions for the animals, no hormones or antibiotics make such a huge difference when it comes to the quality and taste of your meat.

Check out the special holiday meat cuts we have to deliver to your doorstep this holiday season:

Standing Rib Roast from Richardson Farms

Image by 1RobertM.

We only carry this special cut of local, grass-fed beef during the holidays. Commonly called “prime rib,” standing rib roast is one of the easiest special event foods to prepare at home since all you need is a roasting pan, salt and pepper. Each rib will feed about two people, so a roast with 4-5 ribs is just right for a large, seated dinner party. The pan juices from a standing rib roast are perfect for making Yorkshire pudding, au jus, or beef gravy for mashed potatoes. Richardson Farms beef is grass-fed and free-ranged in Rockdale, Texas.

Whole Organic Turkey from Organic Prairie

Image by Parapathetic.

A succulent roast turkey makes the perfect centerpiece for a holiday feast, and it’s also the most cost-effective way to feed a large party. A 15-pound turkey will easily feed 20 dinner guests, and you can pair it with non-traditional side dishes and desserts to keep the menu fresh. Organic Valley’s plump, juicy turkeys are raised with 100% organic feed and the freedom to range in the out-of-doors, free of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and pesticides.

 

How to Plan Thanksgiving Dinner in Under an Hour

Thanksgiving is one of the biggest food events of the year, and making Thanksgiving dinner can rattle even the most seasoned home cooks. Whether you’re trying to feed two or twenty, this guide to planning dinner will help you get ahead of the stress and ensure Turkey Day success!

My mom first taught me how to plan out our Thanksgiving dinners; she does it every year using recipe cards and a spiral-bound notebook. These days I use my computer and a Google Doc for my family’s plan, but either method is perfectly acceptable. On paper or online, the Thanksgiving plan document will contain six things:

  1. the guest list
  2. menu
  3. “how can I help?” list
  4. recipes
  5. grocery list
  6. schedule for the holiday

Creating your Thanksgiving Day game plan takes less than an hour. I start with the hardest thing first: a quick family meeting to get all of us on the same page.

10 minutes: Family Meeting
Start by talking with your family for a few minutes about the following questions. Your notes from this conversation will serve as the framework for the rest of your plan.

  • What is your budget for the meal?
  • How many people are attending Thanksgiving dinner?
  • When and where will you eat?
  • What does everyone want to eat?
  • Do you want leftovers of each dish?
  • How does each family member want to help?

Congratulations! Getting everyone to agree on these basics is usually the hardest part of planning the meal. From here, it only gets easier!

Now it’s time to assemble the plan.

7 minutes: Guest List & Dinner Menu
First, write out your guest list. Don’t forget to include yourself! Next, write out the Thanksgiving dinner menu. This doesn’t need to be fancy, just organize the notes from your earlier family meeting into appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, condiments, and desserts.

20 minutes: Recipes
Once you have the menu written out on paper, decide how to cook the turkey and each dish. Indicate which Thanksgiving dishes you can buy prepared, which you can make-ahead, and which you will need to cook on Turkey Day.

Gather the recipes for each dish as you go, either by writing them out on recipe cards or by copy-pasting them into a single document on your computer. There are several free resources online to help with this, like AllRecipes.com, Whole Foods’ Holiday Cooking Guide, and Veg Kitchen’s collection of Vegan Holiday Recipes.

3 minutes: “How can I help?” List
Now take a look at your menu, the recipes you’ve gathered, and your guest list. Take five minutes to brainstorm ways your guests and family can help you. Which dishes can you ask guests to bring? Can your children be responsible for setting the table, assembling salads and other simple tasks? Gather all of these thoughts on a “How Can I Help” list.  I find that this step is helps me avoid the dreaded “Turkey Day Martyr Syndrome,” and it gives me graceful answers for when dinner guests ask, “How can I help?”

10 minutes: Grocery List
The next step is to make a grocery list and a list of kitchen equipment that you will need. If you’re a Greenling customer, go ahead and place your grocery order now, so that you don’t have to worry about that later. Don’t forget to reserve your turkey now, too! Plan for 1.5 pounds of bird for every guest, more if you want leftovers. That means if you ‘re planning a meal for 10, you’ll need at least a 15-pound turkey.

10 minutes: Schedule the remaining tasks
You’re almost there! With a complete guest list, menu, recipe collection, delegation list, and grocery list, you have everything you need to jot down a schedule of tasks leading up to Thanksgiving Day. This should include calling guests to ask for help, grocery shopping (if you haven’t already done that online), cleaning the house, thawing the turkey, and cooking or unwrapping each dish on your menu.  If you need a little help, check out this sample schedule online for inspiration.

That’s it for now! The last step for today is to click “save” if you’re working online, or to put your papers away in a safe place. Make sure you know what your next scheduled task is, and quit worrying about Thanksgiving until then.

The Last Word on GMOs

Last rant about GMOs for the month, I promise! So, to review, we’ve talked about what GMOs are (as they relate to food), a little history on how they’ve come to completely infiltrate our food system, and just a few of the potential dangers. I wasn’t even able to get to all the dangers….like how the herbicide Roundup is showing in RAIN in Mississippi. This is toxic stuff and it’s being used so much that it’s getting into clouds and rain. I digress.

The most important part about all of this is what action you can take to avoid GMOs. It’s much easier said than done, but our true power….if any of this has upset you as much as it upsets us….is in our wallets. Vote for the food you want created by buying it and more of the same will be created behind it. Buy GMOs, they’ll make more GMOs. Avoid GMOs and they won’t. The best way to avoid GMOs is to buy Organic. If you ate a 100% Organic diet you will be 100% GMO free. They can’t even feed Organic animals GMO feed.

Now, if you actually want to eat out and not cook completely at home, the next best option long-term is to demand that GMOs be labeled. 93% of Americans agree they should be labeled. If you’re motivated to help, join the movement here If you don’t have time for all of this (many people don’t), but still want to try and avoid them, here’s a good guide for what ingredients to avoid. It’s very complete.

I started to write about debunking the pro-GMO myths, but as I dug into each one it all came back to the same thing – there’s no credible research to support it! I looked for it. The only credible research out there is proving the dangers. Even Monsanto’s research showed it’s dangerous, so Monsanto threw it away. No proof of higher yields, no proof of agriculture in previous inhospitable land, no proof of saving any lives anywhere. It just doesn’t exist.

by Mason Arnold, founder and Cookie Monster

GMO Series cont. – The Dangers of GMO’s in Food

I started to write about the dangers of GMOs in food and quickly got overwhelmed. There is so much happening in the world about which we have no idea. I broke the dangers down to 3 major victims – Environment, Humans, and Economies and one philosophical.

Environment – First, the primary GMO foods were created to withstand herbicide and pesticide applications. Naturally, or rather, completely unnaturally, this has led to the application of 318 million additional pounds of toxic chemicals onto our land than would have been even possible before GMOs. Most of these chemicals are known carcinogens, known persistent environmental pollutants, and known to wreak havoc on ecosystems. These GMO plants are showing up in the wild, eaten by animals, and work their way up the food chain with no idea their effect. Well, some idea of their effect because studies prove them to create ulcers in pigs and hair on hamster tongues. Also, over-application of pesticides has led to super-weeds and super-pests. They have to put down stronger and more toxic chemicals (creating new GMOs to resist them) and some don’t die at all. Last major point is GMOs and the associated chemical applications reduce bio-diversity in all eco-systems.

Humans – The obvious danger is the increased exposure to herbicides/pesticides – both the workers with acute exposure, and to everyone else who eats the foods. It’s indisputable that these herbicides/pesticides end up in the food. Environmental Working Group tests produce every year and publishes how many/which pesticides/herbicides show up in our food. Beyond that, studies are piling up showing that our bodies don’t recognize these GMOs as food and try to reject them. Evidence is mounting that this plays some role in the explosion of food allergies. There are also studies showing direct damage to organs (including studies done by Monsanto, the maker of the GMOs).

Economies – Monsanto won’t let you save seeds from GMO crops. You have to buy them every year. For rural farmers this is a huge burden. But that’s just the beginning. They can’t stop GMOs from spreading naturally in the wild. But if they find it on your land they sue you. The Future of Food is a great movie about this and how it has decimated farming communities.

Lastly, Humanity – The ultimate victim. Monsanto was the first company to OWN LIFE. They can’t control it or stop it from evolving on its own, but they OWN it. If life is not sacred, the implications are quite profound. How long before they own you? Next week I will address the false propaganda about the benefits of GMOs in food. We have received negative feedback to these articles citing supposed world-saving benefits, but nobody has responded to my challenge to produce evidence of the benefits. We’ll also chat about how to avoid GMOs.

By Mason Arnold, founder and Cookie Monster

Meet Jim & Kay Richardson, Farmer Hero and Local Turkey Extraordinaires

Jim and Kay Richardson of Richardson Farms know how to treat turkeys right (and cows, pigs, and chickens, and even a few ducks). The animals pursue happiness on the range, in mobile pens, and in as happy a circumstance as nature can provide on their 200-acre farm near Rockdale. That’s western Milam County about four miles west of the Williamson County line.

Richardson provides all of Greenling’s local turkeys for the holidays – and they are a hot item: they sell out by early November, and the difference between serving a happy, local, free-range bird opposed to a processed, shipped, frozen gobbler cannot be described until you have tasted the difference.

But Jim, a veterinarian that practiced in Bowie, Texas for 25 years, says the real difference is the quality of life the turkey enjoys. They’re raised in mobile pens, moved just about every day, fed alfalfa and other homegrown grasses, and they’re a perky bunch.

“These can fly about six feet off the ground and then they come back,” Jim says of the broad-breasted white turkeys that gather at the edge of one of their mobile pens, curious about a new visitor. Jim described the challenges of keeping the poultry safe in a free-range environment – challenges including skunks, hawks, coyotes, and the weather.

Richardson Farms also has free range chickens, many very large, what Jim calls “a big chicken.” In quality and size and taste, the chickens rival his turkeys.

“We grow the feed and grind it here,” Jim says as his grandson Logan shows off the eggmobile and his chicken coop. Logan has a serious dislike for the skunks and particularly likes the blue eggs from the Americana chickens.

“Blue is my favorite color,” Logan adds.

The turkeys live together in pens with both females and males. The males have distinctive markings, including snoods angling over their beaks and a mottled skin over their face and neck that changes color according to their mood.

The mobile turkey pens are arranged all across the farm, which is ringed by a line of trees – one of the elements that led Jim and Kay to buy the property in 2001. They planted row upon row of Live Oak, Red Oak, and Mexican White Oak back then, and he says he hasn’t lost a tree, despite the longest Texas drought on record. And it’s a straight-up, dry land farm – no irrigation. Richardson raises wheat for flour, zucchini, popcorn, corn, and other vegetables, but his main focus is the quality of life of his livestock.

As Jim peeled off some his own homegrown hay for his baby pigs to keep warm despite a coming cold front, he explained his philosophy about raising animals.

“They really want to be friends with you. They’re kind of like the turkey. The turkey wants to be your friend, too,” he says. “The dang chickens don’t have enough sense to be friends… You know, we never are ugly to them, and we try to just make them have the best day of their life every day.”

That kind of loving care is what makes Richardson Farms turkeys the best of the best.

by Cody Garrett, Ham Hustler