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Savannah Soap Co. – A Green Laundromat

3 May

by Green Gourmet K

I am departing from our usual food-based blog theme today to share a great “green” business I came across in Savannah.

Recently I found myself in the predicament of no clean sheets and no dryer and a serious amount of pollen outside that prevented my sheets from being line-dried. As you all may know, the husband and I have been living apart while he finishes school. So he kept the washer and dryer and I bought a dinky washer on craigslist. I have been line-drying or hanging my clothes on a rack.

Drying your clothes this way is a great way to make them last longer but you do have to iron them usually and if you need a few things to shrink from the heat of the dryer then you are out of luck. I’d like to say I am just being eco-conscious and not using the dryer because of the energy suck that it is, but alas, that is not true. I miss the dryer and line drying is not so fantastic when the occasional scent of pulp mill flows into your backyard.

That is how I found myself with no clean sheets and no way to dry them, without giving myself pollen hives. I asked my co-worker where a safe laundromat was so that I could do a load of bedding. She said she’d heard of a new “green” laundromat and it looked nice. I decided to check it out.

I was dreading the laundromat, being able to wash clothes in the privacy of your own home is such a luxury. I no longer take it for granted. The laundromat is always full of potent smelling detergents, it’s usually very hot, and you have to sit and wait while your clothes do their thing. And sometimes you have to sit and wait with some unsavory characters. But this is no ordinary laundromat. In fact, it made me re-think the laundromat and how it can actually be a place where you go to save time. I washed a set of sheets, two blankets and a mattress pad in one load and the whole wash and drying cycle together took less than 45 minutes. I kid you not, their washing machines are so efficient and remove most of the water so the drying cycle literally took 14 minutes.

The Savannah Soap Co. is located off of Abercorn at 12324 Largo Drive, Savannah, Georgia. This laundromat has a drop off service or you can do your clothes yourself and choose the right size washer and dryer for your laundry. They also have washers, called “Perfect Wash,” that will add the soap and softener for you. The soaps they use are all earth-friendly, and they have a board up front to tell you which soap they have loaded up that day. You are, of course, welcome to bring your own soap and softener.

The Savannah Soap Co. also sells great green laundry and cleaning products, like the Mrs. Meyer’s line (one of my favorites!). They also carry a lot of products that are safe for babies.

Check out this organic stain pen – I had no idea this was an option but this is the kind of unusual and practical “green” products the Savannah Soap Co. carries.

You can sip on an iced tea while waiting for your clothes to do their thing.

I mean who wouldn’t feel calm and relaxed while sitting this laundromat?

Now that my husband has moved down to Savannah, and we have our washer and dryer, I still plan to return to Savannah Soap Co. to do the occasional large load of bedding or slip covers. It would be well worth the money in my book and save me the hassle of doing multiple loads of laundry when I can be in and out in under and hour.

***Soap Co. did not pay me to write any of this – in fact, they have no clue who I am. I just enjoyed their establishment and thought others might like to know.

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Mushroom/Spinach Quesadillas

9 Feb

by Green Gourmet L

One of my ideas when we moved to DC was to take a year to “eat around the world”. Since DC has so many different ethnic restaurants, I wanted to see how many different cuisines I could try. So far we’ve had Moroccan, Malaysian, Lebanese, Greek, Italian, French, Belgian, Ethiopian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Spanish, Vietnamese, Thai, and Ghanian. If you have traveled with me (driving, walking, etc.) you know that I have a horrendous sense of direction. I am also terrible at reading a map. Fortunately, adventurous eating helps me with geography since I have to color in the countries on a map once I’ve eaten there. Using food to teach basic skills, brilliant!

As much as  I love ethnic food, sometimes I have to fall back on my old standby- greasy Mexican. The fact is, among all the ethnic restaurants we’ve heard about and been to, we haven’t tried a Mexican restaurant here. So I decided to whip up an old standby… the quesadilla.

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 2 Portobello mushroom caps, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 1 cup part-skim shredded mozzerella cheese
  • olive oil
  • 4 tortillas (I usually like to use sprouted grain tortillas)
  • 1 tp cilantro, chopped

Directions

Heat 1 tp oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until carmelized, about 5-7 minutes.

Turn the heat to medium, add mushrooms, and cook for about 3 minutes. Important note: Do not salt the mushrooms, or they will be soggy. Add the spinach and stir frequently until spinach has reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and place cooked veggies to the side.

Using the same pan, layer one tortilla, 1/4 cup of cheese, 1/2 the veggies and  1/2 tp cilantro, an additional 1/4 cup of cheese, and another tortilla.

Cook over medium low heat until tortilla begins to brown and cheese begins to melt (about 2 minutes). Flip to the other side and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Remove from pan and cut into 4 pieces.

Enjoy your non-greasy home-cooked Mexican comfort food and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

What’s the Deal with Quinoa?

3 Feb

by Green Gourmet L

Photo from Wikipedia

I think most of us have heard about quinoa (keen- wah) at some point. About 5 (or more) years ago it became a hit at many top restaurants for it’s gluten free-ness and it’s high protein and fiber content.  Now that I eat mostly vegetarian, I was a bit concerned about getting enough protein, so I was glad to come across this super grain. Not to mention, it’s cheap! You cook it like rice, although the portion is 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups liquid. I use veggie stock to give it a little more flavor, but water is fine too.  When it’s cooked, it looks like this:

Did you know that quinoa is a seed that comes from a flowering plant that looks like this:

 

Although not commercially available, you can also eat the greens from this plant. That just blew my mind!

I tried to make quinoa for my family once, and it was an epic failure.  Gummy and crunchy at the same time, a textural nightmare. But over the years, I’ve built up my cooking confidence and decided to try again. And wow, what yummy results.

Quick Quinoa Lunch

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt

Bring all ingredients to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and cook covered for 10-15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.  It should have a slight crunch when it’s done due to the germ ring around the grain. If REALLY pressed for time, you can also cook your quinoa in the microwave. Add the same ratio of liquid to quinoa in a microwave safe bowl. Cover and heat on high for 4 minutes, then stir. Cover and heat again for 2 minutes, stir. Let stand for 1-2 minutes before serving. Easy enough!

For a super quick lunch, I like to add whatever I have on hand. Today I had:

  • 1/4 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1/8 cup red onions, finely minced
  • 1 TB cilantro, chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

You will also notice frozen peas in this photo. No need to add these (I was getting rid of the end of a bag!). Literally, mix all of your veggies into a tupperware and top with the quinoa.

Add the herbs, lime zest and juice, and olive oil on top. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Pop the top on, and you are all set for a lunch that is satisfying, filling, and cheap. You won’t even need to snack, because this will hold you over until dinner. Hope you have success if this is your first time cooking quinoa, and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

Tofu Banh Mi (Vietnamese for Delicious Sandwich)

2 Feb

by Green Gourmet L

I’m not sure that my translation is accurate, but one thing I know is, dang y’all, this is one good sandwich. The first time I tried Banh Mi, I made it with pulled pork (without sauce) from a BBQ place in Columbia, SC. I have been hooked ever since, but I was hoping to make a knock out vegetarian version too. This is a perfect dish to make now, since it requires both carrots and daikon (a Japanese radish) that can both be found at your farmers market. Maybe make some sweet potato fries on the side and you’ve got yourself a sustainable meal you can be proud to serve for lunch or dinner. Speaking of sweet potatoes, have you seen these?

Fingerling sweet potatoes! I love them!

Yet I  digress…Banh Mi. This is a traditional Vietnamese baguette that is transformed into a cheap, street food when you add meat, vegetables, spicy mayo, and cilantro. The Green Gourmets came up with our own version using leftover French baguette. Get all of these ingredients ready, because you are going to want seconds!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium carrot shredded
  • 1 small daikon shredded
  • Splash of rice wine vinegar
  • Small jalapeno, sliced
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 egg
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 baguette
  • Mayo (I use vegenaise)
  • Sriracha
  • Salt, pepper to taste

Directions

Using a grater or food processor, shred your daikon and carrot into a bowl.

Splash a bit of rice wine vinegar on top, stir, and let sit while you prepare the other ingredients.

Drain your tofu for at least one hour. To drain, I make a layer of  paper towels, tofu, paper towels, and a heavy plate or bowl resting on top to press the water out. Check at 30 minutes and add new paper towels. Cut your tofu into 1/2 inch thick slices.

Set up a breading station with a bowl of seasoned flour (1 c flour with salt and pepper), a bowl of 1 egg whisked, and a bowl of 1 Panko bread crumbs.

Heat about 2 TB vegetable oil over medium heat in a frying pan. Dredge each tofu slice in the flour, egg, and breadcrumb mixture and add to the pan. Note: This recipe will make 8-10 pieces of pan fried tofu , which you can also just dip straight into your favorite sauce (hmmm…honey mustard). Good vegetarian substitute for chicken fingers!

Cook in batches over medium heat until tofu becomes brown on the outside and completely heated through, about 1-2 minutes per side. You may need to add more oil so that the bottom of the pan does not become try (this will cause the tofu to burn).

Make your spicy sauce by combining vegenaise (or mayonnaise) with sriracha to taste in a small bowl.

Slice your baguette in half along the side, but not all the way through.

Smear your bread with your spicy sauce and add your pan fried tofu.

Add a good scoop of your carrot/daikon slaw and more than a few sprigs of cilantro. At the point, you also may want to add sliced jalapenos (if you like heat). I also put some roasted red peppers and lettuce on mine, because…why not? Drizzle the whole sandwich with soy sauce. Demolish.

Hope you enjoy this vegetarian street food, and don’t forget you read it on Green Gourmets! To print this recipe, click here.