Tag Archives: sustainable cuisine

Healthy, Vegetarian, Low Impact Dinner

Mexican Gazpacho is the Answer!

When it’s hot you want something to cool you off and keep the kitchen cool, too. Raw recipes are low impact because you can choose organic, seasonal, local produce that did not travel hundreds of miles. You also keep your flavor high and your carbon footprint low by not cooking it. Keeping it raw preserves all of the healthy nutrients for maximum nutrition, not to mention it tastes great! You can’t lose.


2 1/2 pound, about 4 largeripe tomatoes, preferably from your local green market
2 jalapenos, seeds removed (unless you are feeling adventurous)
4 garlic cloves
1 medium (10-ounce) cucumber, peeled
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups croutons (try yesterday’s bread toasted and cubed)
1/4 cup quality vinegar (I like ARLOTTA BALSAMIC)
1 thick slice stale bread (this is optional for a low carb version)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste


Place everything in the blender except for the croutons. Blend, keeping some chunks for texture. Chill the gazpacho and serve in frozen coffee cups or glasses, garnished with the croutons.

Another sustainable green cuisine bonus comes when clean up is just rinsing the blender instead of running the hot water down the drain doing all kinds of dishes.

Join the FIT Sustainability Council for a vegetarian pot luck dinner on September 19, 5PM, Great Hall. Bring your own dish and make some “low impact” friends.

For more information about joining Culinary Arts Club contact michael_cokkinos@fitnyc.edu.

Sustainable Green Cuisine

Green Cuisine encourages a regional food supply and a strong local economy, it maintains a sense of community, encourages earth stewardship, and protects the future of small to medium-size family farms. It is approaching the farm, the ranch, the ocean, the vineyard and the dairy as an ecosystem that thrives through careful management of natural resources. It boils down to three parts: environmental, economic an social sustainability.

Join Culinary Arts for a SUSTAINABLE STIR FRY Demonstration on Thursday, November 15, 1PM, A734

Ecological / Environmental Benefits

  • Organic/Biodynamic agriculture
  • More Nutritious Food and less Packaging and waste
  • Improve Soil Quality
  • Improve Water Quality
  • Promote Biodiversity
  • Energy Conservation / Food does not have to travel hundreds of miles

Economic Benefits

  • Support Local / True Economy

Social / Political Benefits

  • Better Tasting Food / Variety
  • Help Small Farmers
  • Reduce your Bodies Chemical Burden
  • Protect Farm Worker’s Health
  • Food Safety through traceability

Sustainable and seasonal cuisine has many benefits, not the least of which is great taste. It is also great fun to know that you are cooking and eating great food grown or harvested by local artisans. Let the flavors of seasonal produce and raw ingredients speak for themselves and inspire your cooking, the flavor will always be outstanding. One good premise to follow is to focus on locally grown vegetables.

Easy Roasted Asparagus Recipe

Easy to do in a toaster oven. You can even substitute other vegetables like cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts so be creative.

Wash and trim about an inch off the asparagus stalk. Shake dry. Place on the oven dish or cookie sheet. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Roast at 400F for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables show some browning. Serve with some fresh lemon juice.

October is Vegetarian Awareness Month – Meatless Mondays

Hey FIT: Try a Vegetarian Monday for the rest of October. You will be doing yourself and the planet a favor. Why not visit your local green market and get in on some of the Fall Harvest or order up the Vegetarian option at Aramark?


Environmental Benefits

  1. REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.
  2. MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.
  3. HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.

Health Benefits

  1. LIMIT CANCER RISK: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer.
  2. REDUCE HEART DISEASE: Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%
  3. FIGHT DIABETES: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  4. CURB OBESITY: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices. A recent study from Imperial College London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain.
  5. LIVE LONGER: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality.
  6. IMPROVE YOUR DIET. Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.

Sustainable Cuisine

What makes our food choices sustainable? Sustainability is a long-term goal. Modern factory-farm-style American agriculture has produced high crop yields, but at what cost?

Join Chef Michael Cokkinos on Thursday, April 26 at 1PM in Room A734 for answers about Sustainable Cuisine and a delicious tasting and demonstration.

Our choices and those of the retailers and wholesalers we buy from affect the
environment, the economy and everyone’s quality of life. I believe it is important to be aware of and concerned about where our food comes from and the impact it has on all of us.

By eating sustainably we can have a huge impact on the environment. Small farms that produce a wide variety of crops allow for greater biodiversity than do massive monocultures. By buying locally, we lessen the environmental costs associated with the transportation of food — costs such as increased air pollution, the use of fossil fuels, and damage to roadways and the oceans. Refrigeration of food that needs to be transported a long way uses energy and can involve the use of ozone-depleting gases that ultimately affect the whole planet. Excess packaging and processing of our foods also creates a strain on the environment.

Eating a plant based diet has a much lower impact than a high protein, meat diet. When choosing fish and meat know your sources.  If it was farmed, was it raised with an appropriate vegetarian diet and according to environmentally sound methods? If wild, where was it caught? How was it caught? Should it be caught, or protected because the species is threatened? Does it have a high by catch percentage that adversely impacts other marine animals? Similarly, we need to ask questions about where our meat comes from and how the animals were raised and slaughtered. Livestock needs to be humanely treated, fed the purest natural feeds (with no animal by products or waste), never given growth hormones or antibiotics, and raised on land cared for as a sustainable resource.

Principles of Food Source Sustainability:

  • Celebrate the joys of local, seasonal and artisanal ingredients.
  • Understand the source of the ingredients— the way they have been grown, raised or caught.
  • Support sustainable agriculture and aquaculture, humane animal husbandry practices and well-managed fisheries.
  • Purchase from purveyors whose conservation practices lessen our impact on the environment.
  • Choosing sustainable food products is about more than helping the environment. It’s about sustaining the heritage and the economy of whole communities. Respecting local economies, traditions and habitats are important parts of participating in a sustainable food system.
  • Cook seasonally; do not buy fruits and vegetables out of season.
  • Always buy locally whenever possible and buy directly from the grower or from a source as close as possible to where the product is grown.
  • Join a CSA or work with a local farmer who will supply you with seasonal produce of your choosing.
  • Support farmers’ markets and farm stands.
  • The next time you are in your supermarket talk to the produce manager. Tell the manager of your concern about pesticides and let him or her know you would prefer to buy local or regional produce and certified organic food if possible.
  • Ask your grocers and suppliers about the farms where the meat and poultry they sell is raised and how it is raised. If they do not know, ask them to find out. Support grocers and butchers who get their supplies from farmers who do not use factory-farming techniques.
  • Ask how the fish you buy is caught, either by using sustainable practices or by practices damaging to the environment, and whether it is wild or farm raised.
  • Learn which fish species are endangered from over fishing.
  • Read labels; find out what ingredients or additives are in the food you are eating.
  • Complete the cycle by composting and recycling.
  • Educate yourself about food, understand the issues, and let your legislators know how you feel about food management issues.

To learn much more: join the FIT CULINARY ARTS CLUB.