THE BLOG

Meatless Monday: Earth Day Friday Extra -- Keep it Cool

04/22/2011 12:40 am ET | Updated Jun 21, 2011
  • Ellen Kanner Author and syndicated columnist, the Edgy Veggie

It's Earth Day, how cool is that? Plenty cool, if you do it right.

Good thing, too. It's been a year since the Gulf oil spill, a month since the tsunami hit Japan, two distinctly uncool events. We're going to feel the fallout -- nuclear and otherwise -- for generations. The planet needs our help more than ever. So what can we do?

Eat plant-based. It's cool. Not just cool because Oprah and Bill Clinton are doing it, it's also cool in terms of carbon output. Raising animals for consumption taps a full third of our fossil fuel, and produces 10 times more carbon than growing produce does.

Growing your own food is cool. And green in every sense of the word. Whether you're growing sweet spring carrots outside or a pot of parsley inside, you appreciate what you eat more when you know what goes into growing it, you value the earth that nourishes it, you get just what being seasonal and local really means -- and how great it tastes.

So once you harvest your carrots and parsley, what do you do with them? Cooking is cool. And getting cooler. Cookware like Xtrema and 360 is designed for superior conductivity and insulation. The exterior stays cool during cooking while the heat stays inside, instead of releasing into the carbon-overloaded atmosphere. It locks in flavor (without oil, so it's got a great fat-free side benefit) and cooks quick and green and at lower heat than standard cookware.

Living and eating green, growing and cooking green are little actions offering big results on Earth Day and every day. So eat, drink, party, but be cool about it and keep the Earth Day spirit going all year long.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Celebrate Earth Day with carrots, not carbon. This Moroccan carrot salad is seasonal, bright on the plate and bright in the mouth. Absurdly easy to make, it's a no-cook wonder.

1 pound carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika (smoked is particularly nice)
generous pinch cayenne pepper or, if you have it, Aleppo pepper
2 teaspoons agave or honey
juice of 2 lemons (about 4 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
a good handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Coarsely shred carrots in a food processor or chop into 1/4-inch matchsticks, your call.
Dump into a good-sized bowl and set aside.

Add oil and spice mixture to carrots and toss to coat. Add honey or agave, lemon juice, and sea salt.

May be made a day ahead and chilled in an airtight container.

Before serving, gently mix in parsley and enjoy slightly chilled -- not cold, but cool.

Serves 6 to 8.