Chocolate Chip Brownie

Introduction

Everyone has that one dish that they love to make the most and if possible you’ll probably cook it every day. We as people have remarkably selfish needs when it comes to something we crave. If you believe it or not, every time you make a food selection, you’re having an impact on the environment. It is not what comes into the kitchen, it is about how it got there and how it leaves. The meal for me is my signature chocolate chip brownies because this is the first dessert that I cook up and my family enjoys. Nearly every occasion that my parents host, I am expected to create this dessert. I remember that my first time making this dessert was when I was basically forced to help in the kitchen if I wanted to turn on the television. Hastily, I chose to make the brownies because it was easy to make. Everyone was telling me that if the brownies were bad I would eat every single one. At that time I did not realize how great my brownies are, but when everyone tasted I was happy with my accomplishment.

Like everyone else I never thought about how much energy I wasted and how could I fix it. In the original brownie recipe, the ingredients are unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, sugar, and eggs. The problem with my original recipe is that it is not as sustainable as I thought it was. Some can say that a brownie could never be sustainable because it is a filled with sugar and chocolate. Then those people really don’t know what it means to be sustainable. My definition of sustainability is focusing on meeting the needs of the present without affecting the future. If we are sourcing Caradonna sustainability beliefs, then the environmental concept is not satisfied. Eggs and butter are the is the most environmentally detrimental ingredient in this recipe. According to the CNN article, These are the most climate-damaging foods, butter is the “third most damaging food”. They state the twelve kilos of carbon dioxide is equivalent to one kilo of butter. That is huge. That is like turning on a 42 inch LCD TV continuously for eight years and two months. “Butter is the most climate-damaging of all dairy products because there are several steps involved in producing it that are energy-intensive: “For example, butter production requires separating raw milk into low-fat milk and cream, pasteurizing the cream, cooling the cream, ripening and churning,” Sujatha Bergen told CNN.” Another ingredient that is also environmentally detrimental is an egg. Egg production has increased in the recent years. It can be basically used for the type of meal. One problem that the environment face when we produce eggs is that it promotes negative consequences on the environment, involving the emission of greenhouse gases and/or the pollution of soil and water. Just to name a few environmental categories that the eggs effect are: ozone depletion, climate change, terrestrial acidification, human toxicity and land occupation. Both ingredients will definitely make this brownie great; however is it really the best option?

Even though it seems to be impossible to make something this sweet to a more sustainable meal, it’s really not that hard. In order to make this brownie more sustainable, some substitution will need to include. We will substitute eggs with pure vanilla extract and water. The vanilla extract could help protect a person’s body from cancer making it more sustainable. It can be found in any grocery store and it is cheap. You don’t have to worry if it is GMO because it is pure. Everyone already knows that water is very healthy, so I really should not get into detail what water could do for you. Not forgetting the butter, we will trade it for vegetable oil. They are both cooking ingredients that could to be used to make the other ingredients easier to mix. Butter is the third is the worse production in the world so anything that is behind it is more sustainable. Vegetable oil is also that not expensive; when the class went to Publix, the price of the oil was $2.98. Vegetable oil and vanilla extract can be bought and would last a long time. With quick changes, my brownies could be easier to make and economically.

According to Michael Pollan,“how and what we eat determines to a great extent what we make of the world—and what is to become of it” (11). We have the ability to choose sustainable eating habits to protect the environment. By selecting a more sustainable alternative, the environment avoids abundant carbon emission, people spend less money and is a more healthy connection. We don’t have to give up our whole lifestyle completely; by taking fewer trips to the grocery store or choosing healthier options, a positive correlation between humans and the environment is always possible. For those who care about the taste than health, creating this dish is more sustainable because it’s healthier without jumbling too much substitution that will mess with the final result of the dish.

Recipe One

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brush a 9-inch square baking pan with butter. Line bottom and two sides with a strip of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the two sides.
  3. Butter paper, and set pan aside. In a small bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  4. Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of gently simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes; remove bowl from pan. Add sugar; mix to combine. Add eggs, and mix to combine. Add flour mixture; mix just until moistened (do not overmix). Add chocolate chips. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top.
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes.
  6. Cool in pan for 30 minutes.
  7. Using paper overhang, lift brownies out of pan; transfer to a rack to cool completely (still on paper). On a cutting board, using a dampened serrated knife, cut into 16 squares.
  8. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days.

Sustainable Recipe

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups pure cane granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup organic semi-sweet morsels
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Pour in water, vegetable oil, and vanilla; mix until well blended. Spread evenly in a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top, is no longer shiny. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares.
  4. Enjoy!!

Work Cited

Duckball, et al. “Vegan Brownies Recipe.” Allrecipes, 18 Dec. 2008, www.allrecipes.com/recipe/68436/vegan-brownies/.

“Chocolate-Chip Brownies.” Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart, 12 June 2018, www.marthastewart.com/332865/chocolate-chip-brownies.

“These Are the Most Climate-Damaging Foods.” CNN, Cable News Network, 15 May 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/05/15/world/climate-damaging-foods/index.html.

“The Environmental Footprint of the Egg Industry.” Phys.org – News and Articles on Science and Technology, Phys.org, phys.org/news/2018-04-environmental-footprint-egg-industry.html.

“How Much CO2 Is That?” YouSustain, www.yousustain.com/footprint/howmuchco2?co2=12,000 kg.

Chocolate Chip Cake

 Introduction

This recipe for chocolate cake holds a special place in my heart. My mother has made this cake every year for my birthday for as long as I can remember. This is especially important because my mother cannot cook any food. Every time she tries to cook for the family it ends up being a disaster. The only exception to this rule is the cake. A couple years ago, as my mother was taking the cake out of the pan the cake fell apart, so she baked another one. Every year since, I have begged my mother to bake two cakes instead of one. Unfortunately, it only works some of the time. As for sustainability, this recipe is already pretty good, but it can be improved. Some ingredients can be swapped out and the overall recipe can be made cheaper and therefore more accessible.

Ingredient Substitutions

This cake uses standard ingredients except for the sour cream and Jell-o mix. The biggest environmental impacts in the recipe are the eggs and the sour cream. Both these ingredients come from animals and require refrigeration. This means that they have all the impact from keeping the animals alive, which is huge. Sour cream alone produces 78 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram (CO2e/kg). This means the green house gases produced from manufacturing sour cream had an equivalent environmental impact of 78 kilograms of carbon dioxide which is massive. Substituting out sour cream is easy because other dairy products produce far fewer emissions. Milk has a carbon footprint of about 1.2 CO2e/Liter which is far less than sour cream making it an excellent choice. The other top polluting ingredient is eggs which produce 4.8 kilograms of CO2e/kg. Interestingly enough, applesauce can be substituted in for eggs. Applesauce is a great option not only because it produces fewer emissions, but it also does not involve animals in any way. Substituting these two ingredients brings the cake’s carbon footprint down by almost 20 kilograms of CO2e which is roughly equivalent to driving forty miles in a car.

Sustainability of Mass Production

Cakes use a lot of dry ingredients like flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. All of these ingredients have to be bought separately and their cost can add up. Thekitchn.com estimates the cost of a similar cake to this one at 32 cents per serving made from scratch versus 19 cents per serving when using a cake mix. This is a 40% cost reduction in the dry ingredients for the cake which can be huge for some families. Using a cake mix also brings unseen environmental benefits because it is mass produced. This mass production means a lot more can be produced for a lower cost. Michael Pollan argues in The Omnivores Dilemma for “alternatives to industrial food and farming, (8)” because he disagrees with the monoculture of the industrial process. Pollan tells us the supermarket is not a cornucopia of choice. Instead it is “dominated by a single species … Americans know as corn. (18)” Although Pollan is right in saying most processed foods originate from corn the principles of “industrial food chains” that he rejects can actually bring benefits. For example, industrial production can be good for the environment especially if you live in a region far away from where the ingredients originate. The reason why is industrial agriculture has evolved to increase efficiency. Buying ingredients separately means that they were all shipped to your local grocery store from different places which produces a lot of emissions and costs a lot of money. Using cake mix means all the ingredients are shipped to a factory then shipped to stores as one combined unit, lowering shipping costs and emissions because factories often strategically place themselves near where raw materials are produced. This means cake mix costs far less to transport both economically and environmentally.

Conclusion

The new cake recipe I have created is far more environmentally sustainable. Not including the emissions created by transportation, swapping out only the sour cream and eggs means the cake produces almost 20 fewer kilograms of CO2 than it would otherwise. Including transportation emissions, the cake is even more sustainable because of the efficiency of mass production. Mass production also means the cake costs significantly less, making it more economical. If you are willing to sacrifice taste only a little,

Recipe

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs

2 ¼ cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ cup warm water

½ cup vegetable oil

½ pint sour cream

12 oz semi sweet choc chips

1 box Jell-o instant choc. Pudding

Revised Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 box yellow cake mix (Duncan Hines)

1 box Jell-o instant pudding

½ cup warm water

½ cup vegetable oil

1 cup milk

12 oz semi sweet choc chips

Directions:

Combine dry and wet ingredients in two separate bowls

Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing thoroughly

Add the chocolate chips last

Spray a pan generously with cooking spray

Bake @350 for 55 minutes

Cool for 5-10 minutes

 

 

 

Sources

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022030213004797

http://www.greeneatz.com/foods-carbon-footprint.html

https://www.thekitchn.com/make-or-buy-cake-mix-vs-homema-145426

 

 

Vegan Tiramisu

https://pixabay.com/photo-2157246/

Tiramisu became a birthday staple in my household ever since my older sister became bored of traditional homemade birthday cakes. We would usually pick her up a box of tiramisu from Olive Garden, however, the price for it was a bit ridiculous. It was around forty-five dollars for a large box. While it was delicious it was not economically reasonable, and it might be more sustainable to make it by hand or buy generic smaller portions from stores such as Walmart or Publix. A traditional homemade recipe of Tiramisu mainly calls for sugar, mascarpone, milk, eggs, espresso, an alcohol, and Ladyfingers, a type of sponge biscuit. However, once someone delves into the production of these ingredients it becomes clear that Tiramisu is not sustainable.

Custard is a main component of Tiramisu. The custard is created by heating egg yolks, milk, and sugar in a bowl. A Food Network Tiramisu recipe requires six large eggs. However, only the yolks of the eggs are used. Besides this waste of ingredients, many mass scale egg production methods are not environmental friendly. The main impact of egg production is caused by the chicken feed. While it might sound better to buy cage free, free range, or organic eggs, these chickens need to be fed a greater amount of feed than caged chickens. Non-cage egg production also makes it harder to regulate chicken feces, therefore, contributing to more ammonia emissions. However, caged egg production is also not sustainable and usually means GMOs. Another major ingredient of Tiramisu’s custard is milk. In terms of sustainability, the dairy industry also tends to not be ecologically friendly. The amount of methane produced by a dairy cow has a twenty-five times higher global warming impact than carbon.

Another dairy ingredient in Tiramisu is Mascarpone, an Italian cream cheese. Cheese has a high carbon footprint, perhaps even higher than that of milk because it takes around ten pounds of milk to create only one pound of hard cheese. Mascarpone, since it has a high-fat content, has an especially large ecological footprint. Other ingredients in Tiramisu that are not fully sustainable are alcohol, espresso, and sugar. Many Tiramisu recipes use alcohol in their coffee mixture to enhance flavor, however, alcohol production is also harmful. Brandy, a typical alcohol element in Tiramisu, is harmful to the environment due to its distillation process. Alcohol distillation is a destructive and energy consuming process that leaves behind wastewater and byproducts. In addition to alcohol’s impact on the environment, this ingredient is personally not accessible to me due to my age. Coffee and sugar production are also environmentally detrimental due to common monoculture practices.

While I was able to find all these ingredients at Publix I could not locate Ladyfingers, the main component of Tiramisu. This sponge biscuit is usually found in the international section of stores; however, I know from past experiences it can be particularly hard to find. While cocoa powder and chocolate are also included in Tiramisu, I do not believe they have a heavy bearing on the carbon footprint of this recipe due to only being used as toppings. Therefore, taking in account the accessibility of certain Tiramisu ingredients, as well as their environmental impact I have decided to construct a homemade vegan version of Tiramisu that is more ecologically and economically friendly.

My revised Tiramisu recipe will eliminate all animal-based products, so heavy carbon footprint ingredients such as eggs, milk, and mascarpone are out of the equation. I will also eliminate an alcohol from my recipe, due to economic and accessibility reasons, however, I am still using espresso because I believe that is a crucial element of Tiramisu. Sugar is also in my recipe, while not explicitly, but implicitly within the vanilla cake mix that will replace ladyfingers. I decided to use a cake mix because it is economically better than making a cake from scratch and because most cake mixes are naturally vegan. I recommended in my revised recipe to use cake mixes that do not require an egg or just substitute the egg with applesauce. My revised recipe does not have custard; hopefully, vegan mascarpone will be enough to contribute the same texture element of custard. The vegan “mascarpone” is basically a crème made from raw cashews, soy milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and coconut milk. The goal of my vegan tiramisu was to be ecologically friendly, but I also wanted this recipe to be a better economic option than the forty-five-dollar box of Tiramisu from Olive Garden. The price of the ingredients in my revised recipe was around twenty-five dollars so I met my personal economic goal. Meeting my ecological goal was more complicated, however. Michael Pollan states in his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma that “We’ve discovered that an abundance of food does not render the omnivore’s dilemma obsolete…only to deepen it, giving us all sorts of new problems and things to worry about.” (Pollan 7). Pollan makes the argument that because we are faced with complex choices and labels, such as organic, cage-free, vegan etc, it becomes complicated to decide what is best to eat. In making my revised recipe this concept was highly apparent. Just because my recipe is vegan does not automatically make it sustainable. Nearly every ingredient has a negative impact on the environment. However, despite that many of the ingredients in my revised recipe, such as the plant-based milks, have their own carbon footprint due to processing, overall these ingredients have a smaller footprint, and therefore are more sustainable, than the animal-based products in traditional Tiramisu.

*Inspiration for “vegan mascarpone” from https://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/vegan-tiramisu/

Tiramisu Recipe from https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/tiramisu-recipe-2131631 

Featured Image from https://www.maxpixel.net/Tiramisu-Desserts-Dessert-Sweet-Food-Restaurant-3331009

Work Cited

Hymas, Lisa. “Is Your Cheese Killing the Planet?” Grist, Grist, 9 Oct. 2012, https://grist.org/sustainable-food/2011-08-08-is-your-cheese-killing-the-planet/

Leibenluft, Jacob. “Is It Better for the Environment to Drink Cow’s Milk or Soy Milk?” Slate Magazine, Slate, 22 July 2008, www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2008/07/cows_or_beans.html

Moore, Victoria. “What’s Your Coffee Costing the Planet? – Environmental Impact of the Coffee Trade.” Land Pollution in China Facts That Will Scare Even the Optimist, 31 Jan. 2013, www.sustainablebusinesstoolkit.com/environmental-impact-coffee-trade/.

Rastogi, Nina. “The Environmental Impact of Eggs.” Slate Magazine, Slate, 1 June 2010, www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2010/06/green_eggs_vs_ham.html.

“Sugar and the Environment – Encouraging Better Management Practices in Sugar Production and Pro.” WWF,http://wwf.panda.org/?22255/Sugar-and-the-Environment-Encouraging-Better-Management-Practices-in-Sugar-Production-and-Processing

Shanker, Deena. “That’s the Spirit: A Guide to Sustainable Liquor.” Grist, Grist, 22 July 2013, https://grist.org/food/thats-the-spirit-a-guide-to-sustainable-liquor/

Lemon Bars

featured image taken from Flickr user uits

Lemon Bars

Introduction

sourced from https://pixabay.com/en/lemon-fruit-health-2409365/

Lemons

I chose to do a recipe for lemon bars because it represents a simpler ti

me in my childhood. I would mainly receive these as a gift from my Great Aunt Sally, who I only got to see on special holidays when we all gathered at my grandparents’ house for dinner. Aunt Sally was the only person in our family who made them, so they were a special treat that I did not get to enjoy often. In the past years, many of the elders of my family have passed and we do not have many family gatherings, so this stage in my life has passed as well. Enjoying lemon bars evokes a sense of nostalgia that I do not receive from many other experiences.

While I enjoyed these tart treats countless times throughout my childhood, I never stopped mid-bite to think of how sustainable they were. The recipe itself is fairly simple, only calling for varying amounts of flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and lemon juice. Each one of these ingredients has its own attributes which make it less sustainable than it could be. Both all-purpose flour and white sugar undergo several processes including milling and bleaching so they look pristine for the end consumer. Eggs and butter are generally harvested in an agricultural setting where the animals are not treated ideally, and the end product often travels hundreds of miles before being placed on a store shelf. Lemons, along with many other grove fruits, are grown in extremely large batches which promote monoculture and strip the land of key nutrients. If one stopped to think about the environmental impact of every food they put in their mouth, they might just stop eating altogether.

An obstacle that I encountered when trying to reshape the recipe to be more sustainable was the fact that there is not a lot of ingredients to swap out. Because baking is a very chemistry-intensive cooking style, there was not many viable alternatives to switch to. The two factors that I knew that I had some control over were the distance the ingredients traveled and the amount that they were processed.  For the flour and sugar, I could control the amount of processes by opting for whole wheat flour and raw sugar. Although neither is as aesthetically pleasing as their original counterparts, both undergo less processes, thus having a lower carbon footprint. Alternatively, for the sugar, I also had the option to use a sugar substitute such as Stevia. While it does not promote monoculture as much as cane sugar, I ultimately opted for the raw sugar because it was one of the only options commonly grown domestically. Finally, for the butter, eggs, and lemons, my best option was to purchase them at a local farmer’s market. Most farmer’s markets locally source their produce, so there would be less of a carbon footprint due to travel for these ingredients. None of these are required in vast quantities, meaning that the dry ingredients can be bought in bulk with the perishables being repurchased each time I make the recipe again.

While I was working on this project, one of the readings that I particularly resonated with was the passage from Wendell Barry’s A Continuous Harmony. To quote Barry: “If we are to hope to correct our abuses of each other and of other races and of our land…we are going to have to put those fragments back together again in our own minds and in our families and households and neighborhoods”. What I drew from Barry’s assertion was that it is important to have aspirations to correct our past faults, but it is more important to make efforts in our daily lives to make corrections. It is essentially pointless to point out our mistakes if we aren’t going to do anything about them. What I found most interesting of all in the reading was Barry’s suggestion that we can incorporate these efforts into our daily lives. This is where the Lemon Bars come in. If someone has a craving for Lemon Bars but is also aware of the decades of damage that mankind has done to the environment, they don’t have to not make the Lemon Bars to avoid hurting Nature even more. They can adapt a traditional recipe to use less harmful ingredients, meaning that they can also feel less guilty while getting the same pleasure from eating the dessert.

 

Recipe

Ingredients

Sourced from Pixabay user hewq https://pixabay.com/en/egg-flour-sugar-baking-ingredients-2142064/

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 lemons, juiced

Sustainable Ingredients (Lemon Bars 2.0) *Optional*

The best way to remain sustainable is to find a local

source, like a farmer’s market

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups raw cane sugar
  • 2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

    Sourced from Flickr user Allen Sheffield https://www.flickr.com/photos/awsheffield/5932294914

    Dallas Farmer’s Market

  • 4 farm eggs
  • 2 local lemons, juiced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 inch pan.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust.
  4. Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven. The bars will firm up as they cool.

Tiramisu

Featured Image: Alexis Fam and Tiramisu with Blueberries and Raspberries 

Tiramisu Made Sustainable

Baking follows everywhere I go, even to a French camp in the middle of the woods in the winter with no wifi and no signal.

 

 

Whether it was cookies, cakes, or pastries, I love to bake; and to me, baking is a way to relax and create smiles on people’s faces. When I was seven years old, I can greatly recall making my first dish: tiramisu. Coming from a caffeine-dependent family, there was always coffee and tea in the house; I knew this would be the perfect dish that everyone will love, and it was a simple recipe that required no cooking. However, every time I tried making tiramisu, the ingredients were difficult to find. A traditional tiramisu is made with sugar, eggs, mascarpone cheese, cocoa powder, espresso, and ladyfingers. What in the world is mascarpone cheese or ladyfingers? With a growing increase in culture and cuisine diversity, tiramisu is a dish served all over the world that can leave an unsustainable footprint behind with its over-processed, monoculture, transported ingredients.

Baking is in the air! During the holidays, I volunteered with HOSA and NHS to bake and decorate cookies and treats for nursing homes and the elementary schools.

 

 

To begin with, to keep up with the high demands of the market, humans have resorted to the “industrialization of the food chain,” resulting in the “rise of health and environmental problems” (Pollan 7, 9). For example, sugar is a globally important crop with a large unsustainable footprint. Sugar, like many other monoculture crops, depletes the soil of its nutrients, lowers biodiversity, and increases the use of fertilizer and pesticides. However, with sugar cane’s low adaptability to change, humans have started genetically modifying sugar cane that is resistant to climate change to improve crop yield, raising more questions on the impact of sugar on the environment. Also, sugar is a labor-intensive field that requires high labor demands from farming, production, and processing. Local maple syrup or coconut sugar are great alternatives to sugarcane. Maple syrup is boiled sap from maple trees. If properly tapped, a single maple tree can produce maple syrup for over a hundred years, and the dead and diseased trees can be used as lumber or as fuel.

Harvesting maple syrup is an ecological incentive to plant maple trees while producing a sustainable product. Another alternative to sugar is coconut sugar, which is obtained by palm trees. Palm sugar can be obtained sustainably and harmlessly without the need to cut down the palm tree. Palm sugar requires minimal processing and resources, and palm trees can produce sap for at least twenty years.

 

 

A major component of tiramisu is the light and creamy mascarpone cheese. In addition to sugar, cheese is an unsustainable source of protein that produces tons of greenhouse emissions, contributing to global warming. According to the National Resource Defense Council, cheese large a high carbon footprint that is both energy and resource consuming due to its manufacturing and maintenance. About ten pounds of milk are used to make a pound of cheese. Since beef and dairy have the same source, raising cattle requires intensive labor and large amounts of feed, resulting in little yield and potent carbon emissions. Cheeses with higher fat content, such as mascarpone cheese, require a longer processing and thus produces a larger environmental detriment. Since mascarpone cheese is known for its creamy and thick texture, a great alternative to mascarpone cheese would be a mixture of silken tofu and a milk alternative. For example, silken tofu is a soy product that is less energy consuming and emits fewer carbon emissions compared to meat. For every kilogram of cheese, 13.5kg of carbon is produced, compared to two kg of carbon tofu produces. By substituting mascarpone cheese with tofu, there are fewer environmental impacts without compromising the texture and taste.

 

Another unsustainable ingredient in tiramisu is coffee. As the second most tradable commodity after oil, coffee is a highly demanded product that poses ethical and environmental issues to keep up with the demands of the market. Traditionally, coffee is grown under a canopy of trees that provides for the wildlife surrounding it. However, farmers have abandoned the traditional method and resorted to “the use of destructive chemicals and on the wasteful methods of haste and anxiety,” such as by clearing forests and planting coffee in ways of monoculture (Berry 78). In addition to the diminishing of rainforests due to the lumber industry, coffee has contributed to the clearing of at least 2.5 million acres of forest. Along with the chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the process of separating coffee beans from the cherries produces tons of waste, which pollutes the water supply and environment. Much of the coffee beans on the market are cheap quality and shipped abroad from South America, which contributes to coffee’s greenhouse emissions. Instead of a traditional espresso tiramisu, an alternative would be to use Japanese matcha green tea. Unlike coffee, tea leaves can be grown all over the world and offer health and environmental benefits. Packed with antioxidants, matcha is powdered whole green tea leaves that produce no waste. Usually, tea plants can live up to half a century, cultivate in different climates, and perform little damage to the environment. Since many consumers are switching to tea due to its rising popularity, matcha found in many markets across the globe.

 

Bell Hooks believes that there exists an “intimate connection with the land… empathetic relationships with animals, self-restraint, [and] custodial conservation” (13). However, with the “industrialization of the food chain,” it is difficult to maintain these principles of environmentalism. By replacing some ingredients like cheese, sugar, and coffee, for more sustainable, locally sourced, and vegan options, we can reduce our carbon footprint and promote healthy eating in America. “How and what we eat determines to a great extent what we make of the world—and what is to become of it” (Pollan 11). As omnivores, we have the options and choices to make sustainable and healthy eating habits to combat global warming.

 

Original Recipe:

Courtesy of SortedFood

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups espresso
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
  • 4 tbsp dark rum
  • 1 packet ladyfinger cookies
  • 4 tbsp 60% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 7 eggs

Directions:

  1. Make the espresso. Prepare two cups of espresso, or make two cups of strong coffee. Then add rum to the espresso. Cool the espresso.
  2. Mascarpone MixWith the eggs, separate the whites from the yolks. Whisk sugar and yolks until smooth. Then add mascarpone cheese and combine thoroughly. Refrigerate.
  3. Meringue. Whisk the egg whites slowly adding half sugar and salt until stiff peaks. Add meringue mixture to mascarpone mix. Fold carefully making sure to incorporate air and not overmixing.
  4. Ladyfingers. Dip the ladyfingers in the espresso. They should be completely coated, but not mushy.
  5. Assemble. The ladyfingers should be on the bottom. Add the egg and mascarpone mixture to cover the ladyfingers. Sprinkle cocoa powder and chocolate shavings. Create a second level in the same order.

Vegan Matcha Tiramisu

Courtesy of Loving it Vegan and community

Ingredients:

Vegan Vanilla Sheet Cake (Ladyfingers substitute)
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (312g) + 2 Tbsp All PurposeFlour
  • 1 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) Soy Milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 3 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp White Vinegar
Tofu Mascarpone Mixture
  • 1 pkg (12oz) of Silken Tofu
  • 4 oz Almond milk and 2 oz Cashew milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Maple Syrup
Coconut Cream Meringue Mixture
  • 2 – 14oz (400ml) Cans Coconut Cream (chilled at least overnight in the fridge)
  • 1/4 cup (30g) Powdered Sugar
Matcha (Espresso Substitute)
  • 5 tsp (10 g) Matcha Powder (additional 1/2 cup for dusting)
  • 100 mL of water
  • Maple Syrup (optional, as needed for taste)

Directions:

  1. Baking the cake. 
    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
    2. Dry ingredients: Sift flour. Then add sugar, baking soda, and salt.
    3. Wet ingredients: Mix soy milk, vanilla extract, oil, and vinegar.
    4. Add wet ingredients into dry. Mix thoroughly.
    5. Pour batter on baking sheet. Make sure it is evenly distributed.
    6. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
    7. Cool the cake
  2. Tofu Mascarpone Mixture. Mix together tofu, almond milk, cashew milk, and maple syrup until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Coconut Cream Meringue Mixture. Open the chilled cans of coconut cream. Scoop only the creamy, thick mixture on the top and leave the water behind. (The water can be used for smoothies or other dishes). Whisk coconut cream to soft peaks and add powdered sugar until stiff peaks. Fold coconut cream into tofu mascarpone mixture. Fold carefully making sure to incorporate air and not overmixing.
  4. Matcha. In a bowl, combine hot water and matcha powder while adding maple syrup as needed. Stir until dissolved. Allow matcha to cool.
  5. Assembling. Cut the cake into two halves. Place the first half on the bottom of the tray. Add half the matcha syrup. Add tofu mascarpone cream mix. Sprinkle matcha powder. Create a second layer in the same order.

 

Works Cited

Berry, Wendell. A Continuous Harmony: Essays Cultural and Agricultural. Counterpoint, 2012.

“How Sustainable Are Sugar Alternatives?” GRACE Communications Foundation, www.gracelinks.org/blog/6218/how-sustainable-are-sugar-alternatives.

Hymas, Lisa. “Is Your Cheese Killing the Planet?” Grist, Grist, 9 Aug. 2011, grist.org/sustainable-food/2011-08-08-is-your-cheese-killing-the-planet/.

Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore’s Dilemma a Natural History of Four Meals. Penguin Books, 2016.

Richards, Jane. “Food’s Carbon Footprint.” Green Eatz, www.greeneatz.com/foods-carbon-footprint.html.

Shalant, Jenny. “To Shrink Your Carbon Footprint, Ease Up on the Dairy.” NRDC, 2 June 2017, www.nrdc.org/stories/shrink-your-carbon-footprint-ease-dairy.

“The Challenge of Sustainable Tea.” Matcha Tea, 6 Jan. 2016, matcha-tea.com/matcha/the-challenge-of-sustainable-tea.

T.M. Hess, J. Sumberg, T. Biggs, M. Georgescu, D. Haro-Monteagudo, G. Jewitt, M.Ozdogan,

Marshall, P. Thenkabail, A. Daccache, F. Marin, J.W. Knox, A sweet deal?Sugarcane,  water and agricultural transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa, Global Environmental Change, Volume 39, 2016, Pages 181-194, ISSN 0959-3780, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2016.05.003.

Banana Fritters

    Better than pancakes, fritters have hardly any nutritional value, not sustainable for our bodies. But great for our souls. I’ve loved making fritters for my family, usually on weekends for my sisters who woke slightly after me knowing I would begin to prepare the batter before they’d even brush their teeth or wipe their groggy eyes. I was fascinated with cooking for myself because I learned little by little how my parents took the initiative to immigrate from the US Virgin Islands and attend college by themselves with hardly any help and make a modest living. I felt a push from to educate myself on handling my own needs which my parents endorsed fully (to get me to do work intrinsically and free them of some responsibilities). In a coat closet, I dug up an old and pristine cookbook from St. Croix and in it I picked, arguably, the greatest dish on the planet, banana fritters, which smell I can recall at any moment, because my Grandmother always cooks a large batch for us during her visits. In my pursuit of finding an infrastructure or system outside of the automotive industry that could use new innovation that solves the issues outlined by sustainability in its accepted definition, the recipe I chose had a bit of room to maneuver the ingredients and find more sustainable alternatives. Nearly immediately upon using Marta, public transit, walking, and biking I discovered that travelling the city to purchase food, local and fresh almost impossible, was extremely inconvenient and/or difficult in the round trip taken to gather the groceries if such a market existed nearby. Our visit to Publix highlighted how unsustainable the options at Publix based on price, transportation, and healthwise. To get access one would have to reach a farmers’ market one certain days in order to buy local produce, which may take a very roundabout journey plagued with troubles and hurdles to clear for the simple necessity of procuring healthy foods.

    

     My fritter recipe calls for nothing sustainably sourced or healthy, I mean they’re fritters, come on! But, with a little research, I was able to find alternatives, some unconventional, that improve the health aspect of the dish and lessened the processes in the production of ingredients in the dish. By replacing the regular bleached enriched flour, I could substitute it for buckwheat, spelt, almond, whole wheat flour, or even finely grinded oats. Choose cane sugar as the healthy option and goes through less processes to get to the shelf though it is imported from outside of the state. Replace the egg with applesauce as it is a popular oil/coagulate substitute, though I’ve never (or ever will) tried the switch. No replacement for baking powder as therecommneded change the taste of the dish overall. I would use sea salt as it has takes less processes to produce than the iodizing of sea salt. There is no sane alternative to bananas without changing on of the main appeals of the dish that is not some artificial concoction. Sadly, Georgia does not grow its bananas, it only imports the prettiest for American consumption as I have seen in a VICE special in South America where waste is extreme as nature does not always meet first world beauty standards. Lastly, replacing the vanilla extract with the maple syrup used for enjoying the fritters themselves in the end could be used to flavor the batter beforehand as well, knocking off a whole ingredient and the carbon footprint behind it off the list..

    This list has dropped a lot of carbon emission weight, but it will backtrack if I attempted to buy these alternatives from various stores and markets which are not within the area. This is not feasible for most living anywhere in the South without a car. I am enjoying life without the need for driving a car, it’s different and feels natural to me, much like social activist author bell hooks, who wrote Belonging: A Culture of Place. In the book, hooks describes an idea and desire I chased (and still do) since I was young: “What we had learned in the hills was how to be self-reliant” (hooks 8). Knowing that I badly wanted this for myself and had an intrinsic need to help others, though unbeknownst to me at the time, I became knowledgeable in sustaining myself to then help other, because I knew now one other than myself was going to fulfill these dreams for me in the same sense that I see now as hooks explained the government did not care for the well being of the black population. This fact took time to accept I tried many sources and rhetoric to disprove, but I ultimately failed. However, there are certainly great characters with pure intentions for the equity of unempowered groups in America doing important work outside an office. While hooks calls people to follow their souls, my souls sends me here to the city where people need help and are here for opportunity because not everyone found success in the rural South hence early gentrification in the sixties. My appended recipe tells the story of individuals trapped in a system designed to benefit off the non-wealthy, for it takes effort and time I couldn’t take unless I dedicated a day to the endeavor and it went off without a hitch, an impossible proposition for those who work day in day out and still require services and assistance in the end. Growing up in Kentucky allowed hooks to feel welcomed by the her home to live within her desired means economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable; whereas I left the city and returned for school to see it is even less sustainable in every right. What am I do? I aim to continue this journey and discover a method for helping people in need. Food has put a great strain on humanity since our origins. It connects all folks, especially myself, to our past and sense of belonging. Therefore, nourishment requires a sustainable solution and this recipe challenge has proved finding an answer is not impossible, but it will be extremely difficult to agree on and implement. And that is what makes banana fritters the greatest dish ever conceived.

Banana Fritter Batter

Original Ingredients

  • 6 bananas
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup water

Revised Ingredients

  • 6 bananas

    Applesauce: Egg Substitute

  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons organic maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup water

 

 

hooks, bell. Belonging: A Culture of Place. 1990, Routledge, New York.

Unknown administrator, “Ripe Banana Fritters.” Taste the Islands. Blondie Ras Productions, Inc, 2016. https://tastetheislandstv.com/ripe-banana-fritters/.

Cruzan Contessa. “Banana Fritters Frying.” St. Croix U.S. Virgin Islands: Frying Banana Fritters With The Crucian Contessa. Uncommon Caribbean, 2015. https://www.uncommoncaribbean.com/st-croix/frying-banana-fritters-with-the-crucian-contessa/.

Kirchner, Audrey. “DSC_0018 measure applesauce.” Pictorial how to make cinnamon scones. Read more about it and get the recipe. Flickr, 2012. https://www.flickr.com/photos/audreykirchner/8006844875/in/photostream/.

 

Friendly, Very Friendly Brownies ;)

Intro

 

I know you’re probably reading this and you’re wondering “Oh my goodness, why is this student making slutty brownies. Where could he have possibly gotten this idea from?” Just are with me, there’s a story behind it. I decided to go with slutty brownies because it’s technically my successful pastry dish that I’ve done on my own. I have done different cakes in the past, but I always needed assistance from others (usually females). I picked this because the first time I had one, it was improvised. My friends and I had a dinner together and we cooked the food. For dessert my friend Kamyra decided to have slutty brownies. It had brownie dough,  oreo cookies, and cookie dough in it. At first I didn’t want that much chocolate in a brownie because I don’t really eat a lot of sweets. I wanted to throw snickers on top of it to make it more appealing to me. In high school, there’s this girl we called “chef lex” who was the best at making snicker brownies so that was the only way I’d eat it the dessert. We ended up having a whole argument about it but we decided to compromise on putting the snicker on one side of the pan for however wanted to eat it. The funny thing is she ended liking the snicker side better. All of our friends did but no one wanted to give me credit expect for my boy Chandler. Afterwards I made it myself for a separate potluck occasion and it was a big hit by everyone. Between those two experiences, I’ve since made it my signature dessert.

Funny story right? However even with such a heartwarming background, what does this have to do with sustainability? Better question, are my friendly, very friendly brownies sustainable? Well, shall we define sustainability again. Sustainability is focusing on meeting the needs of the present without affecting the future. When I really think about this definition, I can not truthfully say that my dish is sustainable, but the way you make it does contribute to how sustainable it is. In the Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan talks about health problems that plague America today. He says, According to the surgeon general, obesity today is officially an epidemic; it is arguably the most pressing public health problem we face, costing the healthcare system an estimated $90 billion a year. Three of every five Americans are overweight; one of every five is obese. The disease formerly known as adult-onset diabetes has had to be renamed Type II diabetes since it now occurs so frequently in children. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association predicts that a child born in 2000 has a one-in-three chance of developing diabetes. (An African American child’s chances are two in five. ) Because of diabetes and all the other health problems that accompany obesity, today’s children may turn out to be the first generation of Americans whose life expectancy will actually be shorter than that of their parents. The problem is not limited to America: The United Nations reported that in 2000 the number of people suffering from overnutrition — a billion — had officially surpassed the number suffering from malnutrition — 800 million.” Because of this citing and the fact that my dish is a contributing factor towards diabetes, it can’t be sustainable. It affects the social part of the sustainable atmosphere hurting it and because it contributes to health problems that could be fatal, it fails to meet the needs while simultaneously affecting the future. You have to remind yourself however that this is a brownie and it’s not like you’re forced to eat it. For most people, brownies are more so wants anyways. Just because my dish isn’t over all sustainable, does that mean there aren’t aspects of sustainability? Being able to make my brownies with premade cookie dough and brownie mix is personally more sustainable for me because I can save money without compromising the meal. Also, making the dish from scratch is more sustainable because it’s healthier without messing too much with the taste and final outcome of the dish. When trying to make it completely sustainable with substitutes such as vegan eggs, stevia in place of sugar and himalayan salt, unsweetened chocolate chips, this is were it because expensive and probably messes with the dynamics of the dish as a whole.

The enjoyment you get from this special brownies is unmatched to any that you’ve had prior

 

Not revising the recipe would keep it economically and equitable but you could argue the brownie mix and pre done cookie dough isn’t very ecological since it may not use 100% organic or natural ingredients. At the end of the day, it’s about what you want. It’s important to know coming in that this brownie isn’t the most healthy or sustainable food to eat. However, if you remember that it’s better in small increments and shouldn’t be consumes on a regular basis you’ll be fine. It’s okay to treat yourself every once in a while, go enjoy yourselves.

Original Recipe

  • 1 pound chocolate chip cookie dough

    http://justalittleorganic.com/2012/02/parkers-version-of-slutty-brownies/

  • 16 Oreo cookies
  • 1 box brownie mix (plus whatever extra ingredients the mix calls for)
  • 1 bag of fun size snickers

Sustainable Recipe

If you would like to attempt to make the recipe healthier and more sustainable, you could argue that making it from scratch would be better, but you run into the issue of spending more money on a dish that may have a different taste. Also since buying prepared ingredients such as brownies and cookie dough, you save time on your dish. Making everything from scratch with different substitutes might be more harmful on a broader scale because you might have to drive to different stores to find specific ingredients. However, by using substitutes and making your dessert from scratch, you cut out preservatives that can be harmful and calories brought on by the sugars and the dairy that both have so harmful unsustainable history. Regardless, fill free to try this more sustainable option (depending on your views)

  • 16 Oreo cookies
  • 1 bag of fun size snickers

FOR THE BROWNIE BATTER

  •  2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 vegan egg substitutes
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup Valrhona cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Fair Trade semisweet chocolate chips (or sugar-free chocolate chips)

Cookie Dough from scratch

  • ¾ cup Stevia
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 vegan egg substitutes
  • 2 ¼ cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt 
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)

Directions

Original recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease a 9×9-inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. Spread cookie dough in an even layer on the bottom. Top with Oreos in an even layer.
  3. Mix brownie batter according to package instructions; spread on top.
  4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes before cutting into 16 even squares.

Sustainability (Making the dough and batter from scratch)

  1. In a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, melt butter. Add chocolate and stir until melted.
  2. Remove bowl from heat and set aside. In a large bowl, lightly beat together sugar substitutes, vegan eggs, vanilla, and salt until combined.
  3. Stir in reserved chocolate mixture. Add flour and cocoa and stir until just combined. Use this batter to make one of the variations listed above

Cookie dough

  • Mix sugar substitutes, butter, vanilla and vegan eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt (dough will be stiff). Stir in chocolate chips.