Lunch and Dinner, Week 8 (Food, Ethics and Sustainability Class)

Perogies and Portabellas

perogiesI wanted to focus on eating fresh this week, but that’s always a challenge when it comes to a busy schedule and not much kitchen time to put meals together. I’ve found frozen perogies at Trader Joe’s that are good for convenience food, so I boiled some of those and sautéed a portabella mushroom, also from Trader Joe’s with Tamari to top it, The Russion-style dumplings were made for Trader Joe’s who distributes from California, but both the sourcing of ingredients and the actually making/processing could have happened anywhere. They have relatively simple ingredients: flour, water, potatoes, cheddar, onion, corn oil and salt/pepper. The mushroom was probably grown and packaged in California for TJ as well. Tamari is a better flavored soy sauce, made by a Japanese-owned company in a factory in Richmond, Virginia. The ingredients are water, soybeans, salt, alcohol (to preserve freshness), organic wheat. There is a statement on the bottle: We add only enough corn-based alcohol to prevent the growth of yeast or mold.

I had some homemade caramelized onion dip left over from a potluck, so I added a spoonful of that and it transformed the dish into a takeoff on Mushroom Stroganoff. The dip had local yellow onions in it, sour cream [Sunshine brand: probably cream, milk, lactic acid], mayonnaise [Smart Balance Omega Plus: water, blend of natural oils (canola, soy and flaxseed), vinegar, sugar, food starch modified, egg yolks, natural plant sterols, egg whites, tapioca maltodextrin, xanthan gum, salt, inactivated yeast, lemon juice, mustard, calcium disodium EDTA, sodium benzoate, sodium acid sulfate, TBHQ and potassium sorbate to protect flavor, Vitamin E acetate, oleoresin paprika and beta-carotene color] and cream cheese [Philly: milk and cream, cheese culture, salt, stabilizers (carbo bean & guar gum)]. I ate this with French Breakfast radishes from the Farmer’s Market. Also, served on a bed of baby spinach grown in Oregon and purchased at New Seasons.

How strange that the homemade piece of this meal was the craziest as far as ingredients!! I expected the frozen food (perogies) to be full of chemicals, but it was the “healthy” low-fat may instead. The meal was still super satisfying, lots of good textures and very filling, also the leftovers were easy to carry around and reheat on-the-go, a new criteria of mine due to my schedule.

Lunch, Roast Beast roll-ups with Strawberries

Mmmmm, this was a delicious snacklunch – light but filling. I’d
just picked the lettuce after working for four hours out at JEANs farm, a working educational farm, doing lots of dirty chores including mowing in the hot sun and hauling wood around. My treat at the end of the work day was to pick some braising greens and lettuces right from the field, so the first thing I did upon coming home after washing my hands was to eat some of it. I had some nice roast beef from New Seasons, raised sustainably according to Niman’s web site. The strawberries were a splurge from the previous weekend, grown in California organically, hopefully not in a traffic circle! I have strawberry plants starting to develop fruit in my front yard and the wait has been painful, so this purchase helps to tide me over.

The wraps are lefse, a lovely Norwegian flatbread that I discovered when I married my husband – his sister is married to a man from a large Minnesota clan with solid Norwegian roots, and every Christmas his 80+ year-old parents make lefse for all their 8 kids and their extended families. The homemade version is delightful, super-thin and soft with an instant mashed potato base. They are the kind of food that is incredibly hard to stop eating. I like them plain but several of my family members like to butter and sugar the lefse before rolling and eating. We also employ them for turkey leftover lunch roll-ups. I was surprised and pleased to find that New Seasons carries a version of these <;, and while I’d originally purchased them to be a treat for my husband and didn’t expect the store-bought brand to hold up to the real thing with regards to taste and texture, I’ve found that they actually make great low-calorie/carb wraps for quick lunches. They are made in Minnesota (no surprise), and I’m guessing that there was a transplant working for New Seasons who got this item stocked originally. Highly recommended, they are vegetarian but not vegan (contains milk). The website for this brand also sells Hockey Stick Ice Scoops for ice fishing and has a list of the top ten ways to get your kids to eat Lutefisk, but doesn’t talk much about the company (or where they source their instant mashed potatoes). I also used Wasabi mayonnaise from Trader Joes, my favorite sandwich condiment at the moment.


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