Category Archives: articles and reviews

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!

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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

A Quick History of GMOs

Continuing our series for non-GMO month, here’s a little GMO history. Without exaggeration, GMOs have altered global evolution in a way that can’t be taken back or undone. In my opinion, not much good has come from this alteration.

First a clarification – non-GMO month is about food. These articles are about food. GMOs, in labs, and a few other settings, have created some great things (like GM bacteria to create insulin). In food….not so much. The first GM food was a tomato that had a greater shelf life and called Flavr Savr, unleashed in 1994 not long after the FDA declares GE foods ‘not inherently dangerous’ without any actual testing or long-term trials. So why isn’t Flavr Savr still around? Cause it tasted like crap. Why? Who knows! That’s the major problem. Every genetic modification has unintended consequences.

So, they withdrew Flavr Savr quickly, but later in the decade started unleashing many more varieties, staying in commodity crops this time so unintended consequences were less obvious. Monsanto exploded on the scene with Grapeseed (Canola), Soy, Corn, and Cotton – all with extra genes to withstand Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide.

And so GM crops have taken over our food, without any requirement of labeling or testing of new varieties for food safety. 94% of conventional soybeans are GM. 0% of Organic soybeans are, BTW, but if you’re eating any non-organic soy, it’s genetically modified. 86% of canola oil and 75% of corn is GM. This has led to the application of an additional 318 million more pounds of the herbicide over the last 13 years than would have happened without the GM crops.

All of these percentages are expected to increase to total GM domination by 2015. With new varieties unleashed every year, many varieties are not commodities but fresh vegetables sold to you at the store (conventionally, again Organic doesn’t allow GM). GM sweet corn, beets, potatoes, even squash are all coming to your plate soon with no labeling. You won’t know. Ok, so everything’s being genetically engineered….so? Next up – dangers of GM foods.

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of posts celebrating non-GMO month by Greenling co-founder Mason Arnold.

GMOs- Blind Experimentation with Your Food

Without exaggeration, GMOs have altered global evolution in a way that can’t be taken back or undone. In my opinion, not much good has come from this alteration.

October is non-GMO month and I’d like to kick off the month by taking a step back and asking – What is GMO? It stands for Genetically Modified Organism, which is any living organism that has had its genome (entire collection of genes, stored in the nucleus of cells) directly manipulated by man to behave in certain ways. Not to be confused with hybridization or cross-breeding, which is selectively breeding plants/animals for specific traits. That’s natural and akin to trying to match up friends you think would be compatible.

Genetic engineering is different and is trying to find and isolate specific genes and attempting to insert those genes into the DNA of another organism. Nothing about the process is natural or precise in any way.

While, from a scientific perspective this could sound exciting, when you learn how it’s actually done it seems more like trying to bake a cake blindfolded….with no measuring tools….and no idea where the oven is. Remember these are the tiniest forms of data around. You can’t see your work, you just have to try stuff and see what happens. They can rarely isolate just the gene they want so they have to take a group of them.

But genes don’t act on their own, they have ‘promoters’ that tell them when to turn on or off. They don’t know what the natural promoter for that gene is, so scientists have to create promoters for these spliced genes- usually using viruses. One problem here is they can’t tell the viruses when to stop. Then they insert these genes into the host organism. But it’s not like a filing cabinet where they can put it next to other like genes. They can’t tell the gene where to go, so they just have to randomly insert them by making the cell absorb the new genes and attaching chemicals to get the genes to stick to the other genes and hope it all works out.

Well…..it usually doesn’t….like, it won’t work thousands and thousands of times before it works once. Next week – a little history on Genetic Engineering.

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of posts celebrating non-GMO month by Greenling co-founder Mason Arnold.