Sunday, April 6, 2008

SATAN and Various Updates

Holy crap, it's been a whole month since my last entry! Where have I been? Well, I finally got a job. Anyway, here's an update on my various crazy projects and progress on omy goal to eliminate waste and my carbon footprint.

My New Year's resolution was to stop using plastic, especially avoiding plastic packaging at the grocery store. I am not 100% there, but I'd say I've eliminated at least 75% of the plastic that used to end up in my trash.

Successes:

- Switching exclusively to reusable grocery bags (thanks partly to my Aunt and Uncle for the birthday present)
- Buying everything in bulk or in glass containers

Still need to work on:

- Eliminating the need for plastic bags in the bulk and produce sections. I have been making my own tulle produce bags, and as long as I bring enough I don't need to use plastic. I mostly reuse bags for the bulk section, but again sometimes I don't have enough. Ideally, I'd like to use cloth bags for bulk goods that are too fine for the tulle bags. ANYONE WANT A REUSABLE TULLE PRODUCE BAG? I'd be happy to send you one.

The garden is coming along nicely. We have tons of seedlings, some in the ground and some in containers, and now it's just a matter of keeping them alive until they're big enough to eat. Pictures later.

My new area of particular obsession is eating locally. It was hard to do this without giving in to temptation in the winter, but now that it's warming up it's easier to find locally produced things to eat. Probably the most significant recent discovery along these lines is finding a local flour source. The wheat is locally grown and milled, which means less fossil fuels used in transportation. This wheat source is helping me cut tofu out of my diet. Tofu is rarely sustainably grown and is imported from all over the place. A lot of people are also mildly allergic to soy. So I'm switching to seitan--homemade seitan.

If you haven't heard of seitan, it's a high-protein food made from wheat flour. It's pretty easy to make at home for pennies, but most people don't know how to make it and it's rather pricey to buy. How to make:

- Make a firm dough of whole wheat flour and water (You need 3x the flour to get 1 part of seitan). Let rest for 30-60 minutes.
- Knead the dough for about 15 minutes.
- Run the dough under running water. This rinses out the starch and the bran from the dough, leaving you only with the proteins you developed in the kneading process. It takes a while to rinse out all the starch and bran. Pull the dough apart and smoosh it in your hands to work all of the non-protein out.
- Boil the seitan. If you want a more flavorful finished product, boil it in soup stock.
- Refrigerate or freeze. Use as you would tofu or meat.