Archive for the ‘Food for Thought’ Category
Little Herds Celebrates Eating Insects and a Sustainable Future of Food at the 9th Annual Bug Eating Festival Part II on Wednesday, July 13th
For the second year in a row, in.gredients is hosting the Bug (Eating) Festival – a celebration of entomophagy and the future of food organized by Little Herds, an Austin non-profit working to promote the use of insects for food and feed as an environmentally sound and economically viable source of nutrition.
A large crowd of local bug-enthusiasts gathered at in.gredients for Part I of the 9th Annual Bug (Eating) Festival on Saturday, June 4 to sample insect-infused treats, listen to live music by Josh Buckley and learn more about the role of bugs in our food system.
“It went great; we probably had 200 people there,” Little Herds President Robert Nathan Allen said. “We had booths for PEAS, Delysia Chocolatier, Slow Food Austin, Aketta, and Crickers Crackers. There was a kids’ activities table and a bunch of different treats like cricket rice krispie treats and cricket oatmeal cookies. Chef Rick Lopez from La Condesa did a cooking demonstration of how to make chapulines salsa.”
Due to the severe weather conditions during Part I of the 9th Annual Bug Eating Festival, Little Herds is holding a second Bug Eating Festival this year on Wednesday, July 13 from 5-9PM at in.gredients. The 9th Annual Bug Eating Festival Part II is an opportunity for insect-novices to taste bugs for the first time and for entomophagy enthusiasts like RNA to gather and share what they love about insects as a food of the future.
RNA’s initial interest in insect eating was sparked by a video on entomophagy that was sent to him as a joke, “I took it way too seriously,” he said. A year later RNA had gathered together a group of friends who were interested in eating bugs and raising awareness of the environmental and nutritional benefits of insects as an alternative protein source. Within six months, by December 2013, Little Herds had become a 501c3 non-profit committed to edible insect education.
“We should be thinking about our food before it hits our plate,” RNA said. “Little Herds’ mission is to educate our community about the benefits of eating insects – it addresses the broader questions of how we fix our broken food system. We are interested in insects as food and as livestock feed, and we are focused on our local community and global community. Austin was the perfect birthplace for Little Herds; there are a lot of cultural influences on our food scene. Austin already has a big paleo community, a big gluten-free community – there are a lot of people who want to keep it weird when it comes to what we eat here.”
Raising insects requires significantly less resources – water, space and feed – than the production of other forms of livestock. When RNA learned of the environmental sustainability and nutrient content of edible insects, he began experimenting with cricket flour. He brought one of his first batches of cricket cookies to the 5th Annual Bug Eating Festival.
“The festival was founded by Marjory Wildcraft. She started nine years ago with some friends and families who wanted to try bugs for the first time. They had such a blast they did it again, and more people showed up the next year, and it grew,” RNA said. “I got involved with this idea at the 5th Annual Bug Eating Festival; I brought some cricket flour cookies I baked and just fell in love with the idea. Since then I’ve helped organize the festival. Originally it was a way to get people together to try bugs, and now it’s grown as a way to see insects as a resource and to celebrate all the good work that’s happening in Austin around food and sustainability.”
Little Herds has gathered together a group of local bakers and chefs – Chef Rick Lopez from La Condesa, Aketta Cricket Flour, Crickers and Delysia Chocolatier – to bring insect-enriched treats to Part II of the 9th Annual Bug Eating Festival on Wednesday, July 13 for curious eaters to try. Taste the future of food and sustainable protein in the form of gourmet cricket cookies and chocolates, spiced mealworms and cricket salsa.
“One of the great things about edible insects is that if you don’t want to see them, you don’t have to – you can grind them up into flours,” RNA said. “It’s not a one-to-one replacement of regular flour, but you can sub in a portion of the flour in recipes, and you’ll still get that additional protein, iron and calcium that weren’t there before. Crickets have really good omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; they have fiber. It’s just mind-blowing how healthy they are, and we’ve just been missing out on it.”
Since Little Herd’s inception in June 2013, they have focused on educating children about entomophagy and getting kids excited to eat bugs. “We have educator kits designed to be taught at schools around Austin that can be catered to any age group,” RNA said. “If we get 1% of kids in Austin to eat insects, we can show how much water is saved and how much greenhouse gas is saved from just a small number people.” Part II of the 9th Annual Bug (Eating) Festival will feature even more activities for kids to learn about the benefits of bugs and how to eat them.
“Parents know it’s nutritious and environmentally beneficial, and kids don’t have built-in taboos,” RNA said. “Trends change throughout history. We’re trying to change the mentality that insects are gross food.”
Little Herds is part of a larger movement to repopularize eating insects as a sustainable protein alternative. Although entomophagy is practiced throughout the world in countries like Mexico, the idea is relatively new in the United States.
“It’s a cultural taboo that’s built up over time for a variety of reasons. As our ancestors moved up north from the equator and bugs got smaller, people stopped eating insects. Due to agriculture, bugs weren’t needed as a food supply,” RNA said. “There are a lot of places where eating insects is traditional, but for younger generations it’s starting to be seen as something your grandmother did. If we make eating insects part of our modern food culture it won’t have that effect. In Mexico, eating insects is still celebrated as a traditional food. There are restaurants throughout the country that serve traditional Oaxacan chapulines.”
Little Herds has three “core principles” it recommends to anyone interested in trying insects for the first time: be safe, be kind (to other eaters, insects and the planet) and be curious.
“It’s fun to surprise people but we want to make sure people are safe; if you have a shellfish allergy you may be allergic to insects,” RNA said. “If someone doesn’t want to try, that’s okay. Everyone has a food they don’t like, and they don’t need someone bullying them about it.”
Little Herds works to promote ethical insect farming that does not disturb local ecosystems. Insects can be safely and humanely harvested through freezing, “lowering their temperature like they would hibernate in the wild.”
“Be kind to the animals; insects are living creatures and sentient beings,” RNA said. “We are not saying go in your backyard and try bugs; you don’t know where those are from. If you harvest bugs from the wild they may have parasites or your neighbor may spray pesticides. Part of being safe is knowing where your food comes from – you should want to know where your food is grown and the way it’s processed. You want to know that it’s safe for animals.”
This summer, Little Herds launched a crowdfunding campaign through Barnraiser to expand their programs in Austin and abroad. Rewards for donating include a jar of Cricket Bolognese Pasta Sauce, a grow-your-own mealworms kit (that comes equipped with a mealworm cookbook and farm) and a cricket-chocolate making class with Delysia Chocolatier – make sure to donate and claim your reward before their crowdfunding deadline of midnight Friday, July 15.
“The first day we received an anonymous matching donation for up to $4000 if we reached our first goal by the following Saturday. The community rallied, and we hit our goal by Friday,” RNA said. “We have some really great stretch goals that are going to be impactful for the local Austin community.”
Little Herds is still working to meet their third fundraising goal of reaching $25,000, which will allow them to host the second ever “Eating Insects” conference in the U.S. next year in Austin. RNA attended “Eating Insects Detroit,” the first conference in the U.S. devoted to insects for food and feed, and came back inspired to do the same in Austin.
“The conference gave me a huge injection of energy and ideas,” RNA said. “Over 150 international business founders joined the conference along with insect farmers and experts leading research looking at the psychology and marketing of eating insects. There were film screenings, a pop-up insect dinner and a food truck-serving insects. The conference was a snapshot of what people are doing all around the world, and how this can apply to Austin. We were just blown away by how this conference went for its first year; bringing it to Austin next year just makes so much sense. We can make it coincide with the 10th Annual Bug Eating Festival.”
Similar to Part I of the 9th Annual Bug (Eating) Festival, Part II will have an Ento Raffle benefitting Little Herds Barnraiser campaign with insect cookbooks, edible insect t-shirts and tote bags, and baking ingredients like cricket flour and Delysia chocolate. The event is open to the public and entrance costs a suggested donation of $10 to Little Herds (kids are free!) – purchase tickets in advance online or at the door.
First time trying insects? Little Herds encourages people to check out their website for resources on how to eat insects safely.
A Plant-Based Diet
We agree with food writer Michael Pollan when he said, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” While most folks think of summer as the time for grilling meat, we’re pretty jazzed on the abundance of warm-weather veggies currently coming out of our farmers’ fields. To highlight these seasonal offerings, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite recipes from Austin-based food blogger, Jeanine Donofrio of Love and Lemons.
- 1 small head romaine lettuce, chopped
- ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 medium zucchini, spiralized or peeled into ribbons
- 1 ear of corn, grilled, kernels sliced off cobb
- 1 avocado, pitted and diced
- 12 to 14 ounces extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cubed
- ½ cup coconut “bacon” (recipe below)
- 1½ cups unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1½ tablespoons tamari
- scant 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 3 to 4 hours, preferably overnight, drained and rinsed
- ½ to ¾ cups fresh water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon sea salt
- In a blender, combine the cashews, ½ cup water, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt. Blend until creamy, adding more water if necessary. Taste and season with additional salt as needed. Chill until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the coconut flakes along with the tamari, maple syrup and smoked paprika on the pan and toss gently to coat. Spread in a thin layer on the pan and bake until dark golden brown and slightly crispy, about 10 minutes.
- Increase the oven temperature to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tofu cubes on the pan and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and generous pinches of salt. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
- In a serving bowl, assemble the salad with the romaine, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, corn, avocado and tofu. Top with the coconut “bacon” and serve with the dressing on the side. Store any extra dressing in a sealed container in the fridge.
- 1 small Japanese eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup chopped summer squash (yellow, pattypan, or zucchini)
- 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
- drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 corn or flour tortillas
- 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ avocado, diced
- handful of cilantro
- 1 serrano pepper, sliced (optional)
- crumbled cotija cheese (optional)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup store-bought or homemade tomatillo salsa
- ¼ cup pepitas
- ½ avocado
- handful of spinach
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- squeezes of lime, to taste
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chopped eggplant, squash, red pepper and tomatoes onto the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and pinches of salt and pepper and roast until golden brown around the edges 25-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make your sauce. In a food processor, blend together the tomatillo salsa, pepitas, avocado, spinach, olive oil, lime juice and pinches of salt and pepper, to taste. Chill until ready to use.
- Assemble the tacos with the black beans, roasted vegetables, diced avocado, cilantro, serrano, cotija (if using), and a generous scoop of the avocado tomatillo sauce. Serve with extra sauce on the side.
- Store extra sauce in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- salt & pepper
- 2 large portobello mushrooms, sliced into 4 long slices each
- ½ cup red onion
- ½ cup chopped tomatoes
- squeeze of lime
- 1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced
- salt & pepper
- yellow mustard
- 4-5 hot dog buns
- optional: ketchup on the side
- optional: 1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced
- In a small bowl, mix together the chopped red onion and sliced tomatoes. Add a squeeze of lime, salt and pepper. Stir and set aside.
- Preheat your grill or grill pan. In another small bowl, mix the marinade ingredients together (olive oil, balsamic, mustard, salt & pepper), and brush onto the portobello slices until they’re coated.
- (Note: If you’re making the macaroni salad, make it now and grill your mushrooms last).
- Grill mushroom strips on each side until grill marks form and mushrooms are tender and juicy (about 3-4 minutes per side). Place 2 mushroom slices into each hot dog bun. Top liberally with onion & tomatoes, some serrano slices, and a swirl of mustard.
- ½ cup walnuts
- 3-4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- tiny pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons cold butter (I use vegan earth balance)
- a few teaspoons flour*, if necessary for the crumble
- 4-6 peaches
- ice cream (I used coconut, use what you like)
- Make the crumble by crushing the walnuts together with the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. I did this in a plastic bag using a wooden kitchen mallet, a rolling pin would also work. Add the butter and, using your hands, crumble it into the mix until just combined. If it’s too moist and not crumbly, add a bit of flour.
- Slice your peaches and grill for a few minutes on each side.
- Serve the peaches with some of the crumble and a scoop if ice cream.
Stephanie Ciancio lives in San Fransisco but insists on taking a trip to in.gredients every time she visits her best friend in Austin. Stephanie’s commitment to living a zero waste lifestyle and changing how she shops has led her to start Nesting So Hard, a service that helps people reorganize their kitchens and commit to zero waste habits.
in: How did you hear about in.gredients?
SC: I think maybe Pinterest or Facebook, it was something that friends of mine shared. My best friend Suzanne lives in Austin, when I came here I asked her, “Please take me to this place!” That was a couple years ago, and when I’m back in town I’m like, “Let’s go to in.gredients again!”
in: So you always come to in.gredients when you’re in Austin?
in: What do you like about in.gredients?
SC: I love that it’s a cute little shop that helps people buy exactly what they need and not what they don’t – which is the food that you eat and not necessarily a bunch of extra packaging.
in: Do you try to live a zero-waste lifestyle?
SC: I’m a little obsessive about it. My husband is very understanding. I won’t actually throw away clear plastic. I collect it and take it to the one place it can be recycled; so I try not to get it in the first place. We live in San Francisco, and we compost. And I miss composting when I travel. I had to go on a restricted diet for my digestive health, and I started cooking a lot. And that’s when I got into shopping for bulk foods like quinoa and millet. I get a farm subscription for the produce. It’s a fun thing to play at, to get to the zero waste lifestyle. I like to approach it like a game, like how do we get more of what we want and less of what we don’t want rather than demonizing anything. I grew up shopping at Publix, but it’s so much more fun to shop at a pretty place that approaches food from a different angle and has farm relationships and local sourcing.
in: What is your advice for people looking to live a zero waste lifestyle?
SC: That’s a great question because that’s what I’ve just started doing as a service. I help people makeover their kitchens. And the starting point is, what do you like to cook? What do you like to eat – can you cook that? What ingredients do you use a lot of? And how can you streamline getting ahold of those ingredients, whether it’s a CSA delivery or having a system of containers that you always have. It’s so great to know that we can eat most of our meals at home and that most of what we need can be purchased in bulk. I had a commitment to my health that had me cook and eat in a different way. I no longer went to the grocery store when I remembered, it was part of my lifestyle to procure the food that I prepare and eat. You can create a system where you have containers in your car trunk. Or you can create a system where you have a bag of containers ready to go and you create a shopping list, and when you realize there are a lot of things on your list you grab the bag and you go. For me it was a progression. I still buy things I wasn’t planning on buying. But if you look back 5 or 10 years ago, no one every brought their bags, and now it’s like “Oh I forgot my bags this time.” So there’s been a shift already.
in: What’s the name of your business?
SC: Nesting So Hard. I do one-day kitchen makeovers, and I focus on using Mason jars and getting people really acquainted and familiarized and falling in love with their local bulk grocer.
Read more about Nesting So Hard on Stephanie’s blog.
Photo by Suzanne Pressman, Pressman Studio
Interested in getting your hands dirty and learning how to garden? Join us for our Garden Volunteer day this Saturday, 6/18 from 9-11:30AM! Email Josh at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Like us, you are probably looking for a tasty way to utilize the mustard greens (or other hearty greens) abounding on our shelves or in your garden these days. This Weekly Recipe showcases the late winter/early spring vegetable in a tofu curry featuring all of our favorite spices. This recipe for Tofu Curry with Mustard Greens is one of many soulful dishes in the James Beard award-winning eco-chef and food activist Bryant Terry‘s cookbook Afro Vegan.
Terry is a vegan chef dedicated to making “flavorful, plant-strong, vegetable-forward food” popular. In an interview with Flavorwire, where we found this recipe, Terry said, “most people are driven by flavor, and I wanted to show them that we can have food that’s healthful and beautifully presented. That’s really in line with my ethics and the ethics around people eating.” From the spices to the tofu – in.gredients has everything you need to make this tasty vegan feast at home.
- 14 to 16 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 cup finely diced white onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
- 6 cardamom pods, toasted, seeds removed and ground
- 1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes with juices
- 1 heaping tablespoon chunky peanut butter
- 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
- 3 cups vegetable stock, homemade (page 42) or store-bought
- 12 ounces mustard greens (or green of your choice), stemmed and cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put the tofu in a bowl, drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Gently toss the tofu with clean hands until evenly coated. Transfer to the lined baking sheet, spreading the tofu in a single layer. Bake, turning once after 15 minutes, for 30 minutes, until firm.
- Meanwhile, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add the mustard seeds and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until they pop, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the onion and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sauté until soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the garlic, fresh ginger, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, chili powder, black pepper, garlic powder, and ground ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, peanut butter, and jalapeño and stir until well combined.
- Stir in the stock, mustard greens, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Decrease the heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
- Gently stir in the tofu and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Taste and season with more salt and black pepper if desired. Serve garnished with the cilantro.
Last night we were lucky enough to play host to a crowd of intelligent, motivated, and committed environmentalists with one thing in common: a dedication to the human consumption of bugs. Recently we published a blog post explaining why we are jumping into the world of entomophagy (pun intended). Last night’s inspired and informed guests, curious (and pleasantly surprised!) first-time bug-eaters, and general spirit of collaboration and optimism, affirmed our commitment to this growing movement.
In the buzz of last night’s event preparation, Harman from World Ento turned to in.gredients for a simple teriyaki sauce to use in his cricket cooking demo. Erica, a veteran team member and the creative force behind our weekly salads (among other things), sprang into action and pulled together this impromptu “bug sauce.” To say the crowd was impressed and pleased with the results is an understatement.
Well, here’s the recipe, by popular demand!
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup tamari
- 2 tsp ground giner
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp dried cilantro
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 2 tsp turbinado sugar
- 1/2 cup sesame oil
- Combine all the ingredients except the oil
- Drizzle the sesame oil into the mixture while whisking to emulsify.
- Enjoy! On crickets, a salad, chicken, or stir-fry!