Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Celebrating 100 Episodes Of Earth Eats: Our Favorite Segments

Earth Eats has spent 100 episodes cooking local foods, visiting farms, and interviewing food activists. Here are a few of our listeners' favorite segments.

blue, green, yellow, orange, red balloons and 100th episode

Photo: PinkStock Photos! (flickr)

In addition to spending time in the kitchen cooking with local and seasonal ingredients, we’ve taken Earth Eats on the road, visiting farmers and foodies all over south-central Indiana.

We’re celebrating our 100th episode of Earth Eats today with a “favorites” show. After looking through all the recipes and interviews, we found three segments that our listeners and readers read the most, commented on the most, and forwarded to their friends the most. And, I couldn’t resist including my personal favorite recipe.

Enjoy reminiscing with us today!

What Should I Eat, Michael Pollan?

We’ve spoken to many authors and food activists over the past 100 episodes, including author Michael Pollan. His book “Food Rules,” released in 2009, is a distillation of everything he’s learned about how food is produced and how our bodies make use of it. It’s an attempt to answer the question he is so often asked by readers: “What should I eat?”

Pollan hypothesizes that the reason we eat fast food is because we don’t have to cook it. We are essentially out-sourcing our cooking to corporations, which would be fine if we could trust them to cook well. Unfortunately, they use too much salt, fat, and sugar in their foods. “The longer I’ve looked at these questions, of the American diet and the public health crisis that we face because of that diet,” he says, “the more I’ve come to the conclusion that the collapse of cooking is a big part of the problem.”

As a result, he blames the American diet for the reason we’re spending 2.3 trillion dollars per year on health care, with most of that money going toward treating preventable chronic diseases. “It’s been a mystery and a disappointment to me why the conversation about health care reform hasn’t turned more attention to the subject of food.”

More: Read the entire interview with Michael Pollan here.

Harrison Lake Garden Burger

I’m selfishly starting off the cooking with my most favorite of all recipes. In the interest of conserving stomach space, rarely do I have more than just a few bites of the finished dishes. But the Harrison Lake Garden Burger was different. We first made this in April 2009.

chef daniel orr and garden burger

Photo: Alycin Bektesh/WFIU

And don't forget the Beet Vinaigrette Dipping Sauce! It absolutely makes this dish. Chef Orr picks beets from his garden for the sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans White Beans- drained and rinsed
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 boxes falafel mix
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 jalapeno, diced fine
  • 1 cup cooked wheat berries
  • 1 cup cooked green lentils
  • 1 cup cooked portabello mushrooms-(roasted or sautéed and diced in 1/4 inch cubes)
  • 1 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 5 scallions- chopped fine
  • 2 tomatoes – diced fine
  • 1/2 cup chopped herbs – such as basil, coriander, Italian parsley and oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place the beans, egg whites and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the falafel mix and water and pulse until mixture is bound.
  2. Place the jalapeno, grains, mushrooms, scallions, tomatoes and herbs in a large bowl and fold in the bean mixture. Add additional water or some whole wheat flour to bind or moisten as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  3. Form into patties and chill until ready to grill.
  4. Spray with olive oil non stick spray and grill, saute or broil until cooked through. About 5 minutes a side depending on heat and thickness.
  5. Serve open- faced on grilled garlic toast with cucumber and yogurt sauce, chickpea salad, red onion slices and sliced Hoosier tomatoes

And don’t forget the Beet Vinaigrette Dipping Sauce! It absolutely makes this dish. In addition to serving it with this garden burger, consider using it as dipping sauce for squash tempura or drizzle it over a salad of fresh greens.

Water Buffaloes In The Snow

water buffalo

Photo: January Jones/WFIU

Mease jokes when talking about the water buffalo’s unfriendly nature, “They’re funny with new people."

In addition to spending time in the kitchen cooking with local and seasonal ingredients, we’ve taken Earth Eats on the road, visiting farmers and foodies all over south-central Indiana. One of our most memorable trips came on a snowy day in January 2009. We visited one of the few water buffalo herds in the United States – and they’re located just a few miles outside Bloomington, Indiana.

To the people of India and poorer nations, buffalo are known as the “friend of the peasant” because they survive on such low-grade foods. “Like, I’ve been trying to make the buffalo a bed out of straw, but they keep eating it,” says Jeff Mease, owner of the 69 acre farm these water buffalo call home. “And they seem to prefer the straw to the hay!”

Mease is a restaurateur by trade, owning a number of pizza places in the area. Even though he has worked closely with mozzarella cheese for the past 25 years, he doesn’t pretend to be a expert on the cheese making process. But, he admits to being drawn to the idea of raising water buffalo because of his love of buffalo mozzarella. “I love the artisan nature of it,” he adds.

More: Read more about Jeff Mease and his herd of water buffalo and see more photos of these majestic animals here.

Caribbean Hot Chocolate

Back to the kitchen for a listener favorite from January 2009 that will warm bellies in the early days of 2011: Caribbean Hot Chocolate.

pouring bourbon into hot chocolate in green mugs

Photo: WFIU Staff/WFIU

Add a shot of bourbon or rum to the hot chocolate and top it off with a bit of milk foam or whipped cream.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, melted (top quality)
  • 8 cups milk
  • 4 cups cream
  • 2 vanilla beans – split
  • 1/2 orange Zest, peeled with a vegetable peeler
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon Sweet Seasons Spice Blend (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup rum, optional
  • Whipped cream or steamed milk
  • Sweet spice blend for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat milk and cream with the zest, cinnamon, spices and sugar just to the boiling point.
  2. Allow to sit 10-15 minutes to infuse. Strain.
  3. SLOWLY add to chocolate and finish with immersion blender.
  4. Steam with espresso machine milk steamer.
  5. Add a shot of bourbon or rum to a hot coffee cup and top with the hot chocolate and a bit of milk foam or whipped cream from the coffee machine.
  6. Sprinkle with a little sweet spice just before serving.
Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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