Cooking Ideas For Health and the Environment

See also the page about Salads and the page about Sweet Foods and Deserts

General Contents for Cooked and Baked Foods

Contents in This Page

  1. General Principles and Organization
  2. Example of Whole Cereal: Rice With Herbs
  3. Examples With Pumpkin Likes (Winter Vegetables)
  4. Example of Dried Beans with Tomato (Legumes and Pulse)
  5. Carrots "Façon Vichy"
  6. Cooking Fresh Spinach
  7. Chicken with Blue Cheese, Carrots and Spinach
  8. Tomatoes, Fonio and Lentils

Contents in Page 2

  1. Asian Style Vegetables with Whole Cereals Noodles and Mung Bean Glass Noodles
  2. Salmon Filets with Wine and Dill
  3. Chicken Curry With Dried Fruits

General Principles and Organization

Raw Foods Cooking

I will not attempt here to provide comprehensive cooking ideas for a balanced diet, as those will generally depend on the location and condition of the people who cook. For instance, it is probable that, by using only the recipes I give here, you would lack calcium intakes. Moreover, I never do exactly the same twice, so I will not give any specific quantities. No ingredient is mandatory in the recipes, and anyone could remove or add ingredients to match convenience and taste. I often cook large pans on week-ends and store it in the fridge for the week.

The idea is to give general notions about how to proceed to practically follow the diet principles of the mediterranean diet using mainly raw foods, both for health reasons, for body fat control, and for environmental reasons. One of the advantage of using raw foods is, beyond the lower environmental impact of the food itself and its packaging, the possibility of recycling conveniently the waste products.

a) Trash Cans for Recycling
b) Example of Culinary Herbs
growing naturally around my house

Figure 1. (a) Trash Cans Organization for recycling. (b) Growing culinary herbs.

Starchy Foods and Pulses

Among the staple I use are Starchy Vegetables and Legumes (Pulses). I can use them either raw or in the form of pasta or Semolina. Things to remember in the Mediterranean diet:

  1. The starchy foods come mostly from whole cereals (including rice) or whole grain such as Buckwheat (which is not a cereal). Very little potato (if any).
  2. The starchy foods do not constitute the bulk of the diet, and they regulate the calories intakes. The bulk of the diet comes from vegetables.
  3. Beans and lentils combined with whole cereals can help bring the complete profile of proteins acids when having no meat/eggs in the diet.

Figure 2. Examples of Foods Made From Starchy Vegetables and Legumes (Pulses) Which I Use.

Figure 3. Some dried beans and peas must be soaked before use or cooked for a long time with enough water.

Example of Whole Cereal: Rice With Herbs

The whole rice is cooked with just enough water for it to absorb. In my case it was 3 times as much water as rice (in volume). The recipe is near-east style with cardamon. I put just a little salt. In case I use Bouillon cube, which is ready made, I use organic, salt-free, vegetables-only Bouillon cube. In the example below, I use some herbs and no Bouillon cube. I use some salt with added iodine because it can prevent some health problems.

Figure 4. The whole rice is cooked with just enough water for it to absorb.

Examples With Pumpkin Likes (Winter Vegetables)

Basic Version with Fried Eggs

I used a pressure cooker about 15 min. I added grated parmeggiano, in which case, I don't add any salt, because it's already in the cheese.

Figure 4. Put some cooked rice, steamed cooked butternut.

More Complex and Expensive Cheese-topped with Chicken

Figure 5. Cut and fry the chicken separately.

Figure 6. Mix everything, put grated cheese, and bake.

Example of Dried Beans with Tomato (Legumes and Pulse)

Figure 7. Soak the Beans (at least one night). Mince some onions

Figure 7. Overview of the core preparation.

Note about cooking tomatoes:
The raw tomatoes will make water when they are cooked. There are two ways to solve this problem:

  • Cook long enough (here 90 minutes) on moderate heat without cover for the water to evaporate;
  • Add a water absorbing ingredient such as lentils, pasta, semolina or rice.

Note about using wine for cooking:
You don't have to drink the rest of the wine: you can keep it with the cork for weeks in the fridge. If someone in your home is trying to withdraw from alcohol, you don't need to use wine.

Figure 7. Overview of the core preparation.

Carrots "Façon Vichy"

Carots "Façon Vichy" are fried and slightly caramelized using the natural sugars which are naturally contained in raw fresh carrots. After peeling and cutting, the frying comes in two phases: the active phase (about 15 min) and the passive phase (about 45 min):

  1. Active phase: Get the pieces of carrots roasted on all sides by letting them on high heat and turning them. In between turning the slices of carrots, the ones on the bottom must have the time to caramelize (about 90 seconds to 2 min).
  2. Passive phase: Leave the carrots covered on very low heat until you're satisfied with the consistance

Figure 8. Overview of the core preparation of carrots "Façon Vichy".

Note that there is an easy way to cook carrots to make mashed carrots in the pressure cooker (about 15 min).

Cooking Fresh Spinach

Spinach can be harvested for a good part of the year in my neighbourhood. Rinse the spinach with plain water, carefully removing earth traces, and boil them for 10 minutes. Note the re-usable plastic food container which is left to dry off for re-use after swift rinsing.

Figure 9. Rinsing and cooking fresh spinach".

Tip: The spinach will shrink a lot as they are in boiling water, resulting in a small volume. If you appear to have too much spinach or want to use less water, put the spinach in the water already boiling, and they will shrink as soon as dipped so you can put more spinach.

Chicken with Blue Cheese, Carrots and Spinach

I make fried chicken, I add some blue cheese which melts. Add a little bit of water or milk if necessary for consistence. Here I used some Roquefort, which made not very far from where I live. The cheese ought to bring enough salt for the whole dish.

Figure 10. Chicken with Blue Cheese, carrots, spinach,
and pasta from mixed cereals.

Tomatoes, Fonio and Lentils

In this recipe, I use the trick to have the water from the tomatoes absorbed by some red lentils (lentilles corail) and whole Fonio (which have more or less the same cooking time). This can allow to undertake the whole process in the evening before dinner.

Let the onions, and then the zucchini turn brown in the pan, add the tomatoes, herbs and some salt. After 5 minutes further cooking with cover, the tomatoes let some water out. Add the lentils and fonio. Let cook on low heat for 10 minutes with cover, turning a couple of times in between.

Figure 11.Tomatos, Fresh Onions, Zucchini, Lentils and Fonio.

Note on when to add salt:
When you add some salt, the foods (be they meat, fresh vegetables...) will let out some water through osmosis (a process known in biology as Plasmolysis).

For that reason, I generally add the salt at the end of the cooking process, except some special cases (such as the rice which is a dry food and cooked in water anyway). Here, I add the salt when I want to speed up the process of the tomatoes giving the water necessary to cook the lentils and fonio.