With Hurricane Florence pounding the east coast, and a week of commitments happening at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, it’s time to remind ourselves of all the ways we as citizens can participate in the reduction of greenhouse gases blanketing and warming the environment. Led by Governor Jerry Brown, the summit is a gathering of world leaders from cities, states and companies in support of the Paris Agreement, signed by all countries in the world except the U.S., which pulled out of the deal after Donald Trump became president. Hail to the Chief! (plus torrential rain, blasting hurricanes, severe drought and uncontrollable wildfire).
At the conference, actor Harrison Ford was cheered while demanding that voters “stop giving power to people who don’t believe in science.”
In our 2008 book, Cool Cuisine, Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming, we wrote about the connection between science, food, and global warming, noting that 20 – 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions are a result of our modern day food system, and the Global Warming Diet. We cheered studies at UC Davis that revealed six main ways our food system effects global warming.
In this spirit, here’s a delicious, soothing vegetarian recipe from the book for your culinary commitment to a better planet.
Citizens - vote with your fork!
Japanese Hot Pot with Carrots and Kudzu
A quick, soothing dish, easy enough for any day, interesting enough for a dinner party.
2 cups cooked grain of choice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 teaspoons kudzu (powdered or chunk style, arrowroot or cornstarch may be substituted)
4 teaspoons water
3 carrots, cut into 1-inch rounds
1 head cauliflower, broken into large florets
3 cups stock, plus extra for deglazing pan
4 ounces smoked packaged tofu, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
Mirin, toasted sesame oil, brown rice vinegar (or lemon juice) to taste (optional)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger and or garlic
Salt to taste
Green onions or nori, sliced thin, for garnish
Soak utoshibuta* in water ½ hour before.
Prepare your favorite recipe for cooked grain, or use the “Grain Cooking Chart” in Cool Cuisine for some new ideas.
While grain is cooking, heat a medium-size, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add oil and onion, stir and top with utoshibuta. Cover pot and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. While onions cook, dissolve kudzu in a small bowl with 4 teaspoons water. Set aside. After 5 minutes, move onions to one side of the pot; add half of the carrots. Spread onions on top of the carrots, and then add the remaining half of the carrots on top of the onions. Add a little stock as needed. Cover with utoshibuta and lid for pot, cook over medium heat about 7 minutes. Add cauliflower florets on top of the carrots. Add a little stock as needed. Cover with both lids again and cook an additional 7 minutes or so, until vegetables are tender. Add tofu and stir. Combine stock with soy sauce, mirin, toasted sesame oil, vinegar/juice and ginger/garlic. Bring to a low boil. By now the kudzu/water mixture will have hardened. Stir it well and add to the pot, bring to a boil, stirring until sauce thickens. Check consistency; add more kudzu (diluted in water) or stock if needed. Garnish with green onions, sliced nori, and Condiment Plate (see page 183 – Cool Cuisine).
* Utoshibuta is a Japanese wooden cooking lid with a handle that fits inside your pot. Buy at Asian grocers, or substitute a dinner plate.