Monday, May 7, 2018

Meatless Monday: Discovering The Beyond Burger


There is something about the smell of meat being cooked… If you have ever in your life enjoyed a burger or a steak, you know what I am talking about. Decades have passed since I have grilled a burger, but a faint whiff of meat wafting from the restaurants up the street still makes my mouth water.

Over the weekend I tried a product that fully satisfies this primal craving while harming no animals in the process. The product is The Beyond Burger,  a product of Beyond Meat, touted on the company’s website as being “the revolutionary plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and satisfies like beef.”

In the package, it looks like two generous, well-formed beef patties. They sizzle and smell like burgers when cooked according to the package directions. And they have the mouth feel and taste of a fine burger. They even bleed (beet juice). If you serve them with a leaf of lettuce and a slice of onion, you will not know the difference — I kid you not (as my dad used to say).

Pea protein isolate is the source of the protein — 20 grams or 32% of your Daily Value. The world has come a long way since the early meat substitute HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein) of the 70s.

I had first heard about this product from relatives in the west who wanted to cut back on meat consumption but loved the taste so much that they had found it impossible—until they discovered Beyond Meat. The vegan cashier at Whole Foods told me that for them the product was a real game-changer, something really satisfying that could be enjoyed without guilt in the company of friends. And there is the mother I met while waiting for a delayed flight at JFK. I do not recall how the conversation started, but she told me her college-age daughter was changing her major to chemical engineering after getting hooked on these burgers, with the hope of working in this growing new field when she graduates.

Drawbacks? There are a few. Beyond Burgers run about $6.00 for two, making this an expensive option for a family with teenagers. They also come with a lot of packaging.

To learn more about the company and its mission to create “mass-market solutions that perfectly replace animal protein with plant protein, listen to CEO Ethan Brown (a vegan) discuss the company’s vision on npr.

You will have to check the company website to see whether these fresh burgers are available in your area; they are gradually making their appearance in supermarkets and restaurants nationwide. If you decide to give them a try, you will find them in the Meat (yikes!) aisle.

Enjoy! “See you” again soon, I promise. My posts have been far between, I know. But I have been busy! Stay tuned to learn some of things I've been up to.


On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Leaves are Not Litter

This weekend is one hour longer for most of us, for today marks the end of Daylight Savings Time for Americans living in all but the states of Arizona and Hawaii.

But just because your weekend is one hour longer, that doesn’t mean you have to spend it raking leaves. Thanks to the CT DEEP Wildlife Highlights for November, I learned of the Xerces Society’s LEAVES ARE NOT LITTER campaign.

The Xerces Society is “an international nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats.” The group takes its name “from the now extinct Xerces Blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche xerces), the first butterfly known to go extinct in North America as a result of human activities.”  

The Society urges you to leave your fall leaves on the ground because the butterflies need leaf litter to survive. Monarchs migrate, but the vast majority of butterflies do not; they overwinter in the landscape and rely on leaf litter for protection. So do bumblebees, spiders, millipedes, mites… You get the idea. As the Xerces site says, “It’s easy to see how important leaves really are to sustaining the natural web of life.”

Looking ahead, the Xerces Society warns, “Don’t spring into garden cleanup too soon.” This page offers easy to remember guidelines for when it is really safe to reach for the rake and also when to start planting.

If you want to stay up to date on what’s happening with the wildlife in Connecticut, click here to read the latest issue of Wildlife Highlights and join the subscription list.

Now, relax a bit and enjoy your weekend. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Meatless, Flourless Monday

There’s nothing like seeing an Al Gore movie to make you feel like you can’t waste another single thing or another second more. 

That was (and still is) my exact situation after having the opportunity to watch “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” last Friday night. Check out the trailer or this video of the film's theme song to see for yourself just how dire the earth’s situation is.

Yet, despite a last minute re-write of the film’s ending after the president pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, the message of “Truth to Power” is a positive one. Vice-President Gore manages to convince viewers that is still possible for the citizens of the world, wherever they live, to make the change planet earth needs (even without their leader’s support). Change starts with us.

As I try to map out what my next bigger steps will be, I am implementing some small ones, starting with being even more careful not to waste or take for granted any of the resources I already have on hand.

During my recent stay in a cottage colony on Cape Cod, I had the opportunity to buy a dozen eggs laid by hens who live on the premises. I brought home the ones I had not used and needed a special way to put them to good use.

A good friend sent me a recipe in the mail (yep, that’s not a typo) thinking I might like to try it it in one of my cast iron skillets. The tiny newspaper clipping contains “A Recipe for Pan Baked Lemon-Almond Tart” from Mark Bittman’s “Here to Help” column in the New York Times. It called for 4 eggs, just what I had on hand. 

I ran out for some cream and a lemon (sadly no lemon tree in my CT back yard). I used Trader Joe’s almond meal for the ground almonds. The greatest work was juicing the lemon and grating its peel.

I melted the butter on the stovetop in my number 8 cast iron pan, poured in the batter, and cooked it on low until the edges set. After 20 minutes in the oven, the cake tester showed it was done. I skipped the broiler step, content to dust with powdered sugar and sprinkle with more almonds. 


It made for two decadent and delicious breakfasts, perfect fuel to power us on for the hard work ahead.




On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”