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Here is something we discovered early in our quest to become GMO-Free. When we stopped eating GMOs, we discovered that we had to dispose of almost all of our oils and sauces, since the majority of them were made with soybean or canola oil. Losing the spicy stuff was one of our biggest disappointments. It was in Hawaii that we found a replacement. While on vacation in Kona, we avoided eating out. We had a plan that we were going to make all of our own meals while we were there. This would let us save money and avoid GMOs. The hotel we were staying at was supposed to be equipped with a full kitchen. This “full kitchen” turned out to be just a small microwave and a coffee maker! However, there was a community barbeque next to the pool. So we hit the local farmers market for veggies and a couple of local grocery stores for fresh meat and seafood. We then proceeded to grill all of our meals.  That’s right! Fresh, homemade, poolside, barbeque, every night! It was at Island Naturals in Kona that we discovered Pele’s Fire, a chili-infused Macadamia nut oil, from Oils of Aloha. Our first meal with this wonderful oil is the dish you see here. We grilled up a couple of chicken breasts, diced them up and put them on a plate of noodles. We then topped this off with the mac-oil.  Accompanying the chicken & noodles is asparagus, also cooked on the grill, and fresh, organic mango. We brought a couple bottles of this oil home with us, and have since ordered more. This has become one of our favorite meals. Sometimes we use a chicken breast, other times it will be a thigh or leg. Most of the time it will be cooked on the outdoor (gas) grill, but pan-frying is an option if the weather is uncooperative. Cooking time will be about 25 minutes on high with the outdoor grill. If you choose to pan-fry, I would suggest dicing up the chicken and cook over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. The noodles will vary a little as well. Sometimes it will be a fettuccine style like in the photo. Other times it will be angel hair pasta or a Japanese Soba noodle. In any case, the noodles will always be organic. Bring the water to a boil, add about a tablespoon of oil and add the noodles. Cooking time for the noodles will be about 8-10 minutes for Italian style pastas, but only about 4-5 minutes for Asian style noodles. If you are one of our local friends, contact us and we will have you over for a meal. We hope you will enjoy this little taste of the islands.

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Open Tortilla, toppings left to right: salsa, chopped onion, jalapeno, and tomato, breaded cod, shredded cabbage, and El Tapatio hot sauce.
3 person version below has leftovers. Add 1/2 pound cod and this feeds 5.

1 fillet of cod, 1 lb, $3.99
2 eggs $ 0.60
2 cup bread crumbs (crumble crackers) $2
½ of a $2 cabbage
2 roma tomatoes $0.42
1/3 of a $ 0.60 onion
6 of a 10 ct. package of $5 large tortillas
1 jalepeno $0.09
1 lime $ 0.25
½ cup of a $3.49 pint of salsa
small amount of hot sauce

Total if you have none of this on hand $ 18.22 (Please redo the math subtracting what you already have and see what it actually costs you!)
Leftovers: ½ cabbage, 2/3 onion, 4 large tortillas and ~pint of salsa...
But with $2 more (1/2 lb more) of cod, this would have fed 5 adults for ~$20!

Directions

Cut fish fillet(s) into 1” strips.
Separate and keep 2 egg yolks & beat lightly in bowl
Spread bread crumbs on pan
Heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil on medium heat in large nonstick skillet.
Dip fillets in yolks, wiping away excess with fingers for a thin coat
Roll fillets in bread crumbs
Cook on medium heat until fish turns opaque white (15-20 minutes?)
Coat each tortilla, both sides, with water and shake excess away.
Stack tortillas on a plate, put another upside down over them and microwave 2 minutes- its is ok if they are bigger than the plate.
Slice cabbage thinly for shreds.
Dice tomato, onion and jalapeno. Cut up a lime and get out salsa & hot sauce
Assemble!
Note: If you want them all hot at once since it takes time to prepare each one, assemble all and place in a baking dish or two- and heat at 350 for 5 minutes.
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Fish before and after 15-20 minutes over medium heat in 1 tbsp olive oil
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This is the final soft taco- it was never plated. It was immediately eaten- stopping to take pictures was bad enough. But a little salsa, maybe a sour cream and guacamole mixture drizzled zig-zag across on a bed of cabbage with a lime slice? The best laid plans.

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Sometimes, it really isn’t about individual recipes. Instead, the focus is on the whole meal. Even then however, preparation can be quick and easy, with minimal clean up afterwards. Total cooking time is under an hour, while the actual prep time is just a few minutes.

We will start with the chicken. Organic, free-range chicken is the one meat that we can consistently find in a number of stores in the Portland area.  Fred Meyer, Safeway and New Seasons all carry organic chicken, either whole or in parts. We prefer to purchase a whole fryer and separate it. One fryer provides enough meat for three meals for Mary and I. Typically, we spend under $15 for a 4.5-5 pound bird at $2.99 per pound. We got good instructions on cutting up the chicken on cooking for engineers.

I removeed the thighs and drumsticks, leaving them whole. I then placed the thighs in a glass baking dish. I drizzled olive oil over the thighs and coated both sides with freshly ground exotic pepper (black, white, green & red peppercorns), kosher salt and oregano. I placed the dish in the oven and baked it at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, turning the thighs over after 25 minutes.

While the chicken was baking, it was time to make the salad. The salad shown here is organic butter lettuce. Wash and shred the lettuce, then top with Field Day’s Organic Lemon Tahini dressing.

The rice is also easy. In a microwave-safe glass container, add one cup of rice and 1½ cups of water and stir. To make clean up easy, simply put a paper towel under the dish before you start cooking. Any rice that spills out will land on the paper towel, instead of the bottom of the microwave. When the chicken has ten minutes left to bake, place the rice in the microwave and cook for five minutes. Stir and cook for another five minutes. Top with fresh organic butter.

Place the chicken, rice and salad on a plate and serve. After dinner, the glass dishes can be quickly rinsed out with soap and water. No need for heavy scrubbing if you start cleaning while the dishes are still slightly warm.


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Cranberry Oatmeal

09/04/2010

 
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Here is a quick and easy breakfast idea. Make up some instant oatmeal. Just pour boiling water over the oats, stir and let sit for a minute or two. (I recommend the Organic Quick Cooking Rolled Oats from Bob’s Red Mill). Add a little bit of Aunt Patty's Organic Agave syrup and dried cranberries!

The egg is free-range organic from New Season’s. This was fried over-easy in olive oil, topped with a fresh-ground pepper blend (black, white, green & red peppercorns).  Sometimes we add some fresh dill or freshly grated organic Parmesan. Total cooking time for both of these items should be under ten minutes. A great start for the day!

(Added: To Ernie, from Mary.... your addition of organic cranberries is brilliant. mmm! If y'all haven't had that before you won't believe how yummy.)

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    Why recipes & tips?

    Disorientation is what we felt when we suddenly felt compelled to shop, cook and dine differently. It happens at that point you know too much to eat GMO’s. It’s probably like being an exchange student. You know a lot of the language perhaps, but there’s layers of knowledge to gain by speaking it all the time.

    Since you’re not a native speaker, you may find out after several years that a word you’ve always used isn’t quite the right one. Plus, sometimes you really need a word and you don’t know what it is- you can’t wait so you put together some phrase that pretty much means the same thing. Every day it gets easier, and by necessity you learn quickly.

    What makes it harder is our assumptions and preconceptions- even half-truths (at best) we’ve been sold. I assumed citric acid came from citrus. I assumed natural flavors would not contain GMO’s. I assumed cage-free meant chickens lived outside of cages. I assumed things like GMO fish and meat and dairy from cloned cows would be labeled and I’d know when they were on the shelves. I thought genes worked the way I learned more than a decade ago and safety tests conducted by scientists proved GMO’s were safe. The reason we have to discuss and link to all the stuff coming from regulatory agencies and scientists is that by not knowing we accidentally ate GMO’s.

    We have only our perspective to write from, and challenges we hear about others facing. By going non-GMO, you are eliminating many prepared foods or switching brands to be non-GMO or organic. When we knew too much to eat any ever again once we spotted them, we suddenly had problems eating because we had some knowledge gaps, it cost too much, we couldn’t find food, and it was taking a lot more time. For some of you, time or money added will keep you from doing it- and you might shut the door on the truth because you think you are helpless until you have more time or money. That isn’t true. It may not all be on the website yet but since we do it, we will write about it and you could always call us (email us so we know what number is yours first and pick up) and we’ll bend over backwards to give you whatever you need to make it work. We’ll go shopping with you or answer your call, text message or email in real time if you have a question at a store or restaurant or whatever you need. Until we have a lot of this up as we think of it, we’ll use a blog so the newest is easily found and you can use key words (“categories”) below. Later we’ll change this page from a random tips and recipes blog to an organized guide page.

    You will see that we didn’t know the basics, so basics are often going to be here- like our fastest best way to cook rice. Anything we know how to do or that folks suggest we pass on will be here and some will be new because they are recipes we made up. Some things only apply to going no-GMO so they might be new too. And some people live on fast food and prepared dishes and will be lost in a kitchen (we know people like that) or think they have to buy Organics because it would be awful to make non-GMO food themselves. Its not- its delightful, easy and cheap. You feel better and eat better food and food becomes an experience that brings very good feelings. I’m not a cook. I throw things together and I’m becoming good at that- so much that some of what I do might now be called cooking. Anything that is really cooking will have come from you all and we’ll post it here too so we help other cooks too. Thank you for reading.

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