Eating sustainably means more than making conscientious choices when purchasing seafood*, meat and dairy—it also means reducing waste and making the most of what you have on hand, which is especially important as we all stay home and reduce shopping trips to curb the spread of COVID-19 through our community.
And this week, we’re excited to share a recipe from the Aquarium café’s Executive Chef Molly DeMers, who got creative and flexible with some staples in her home kitchen to create a simple, delicious, meatless meal. Check out the video (and watch for a cat cameo, so cute!); recipe can be found at the end of the video and bottom of this post.
*Learn more about our efforts to advance sustainable seafood efforts and get familiar with recommendations from Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch program, in which we’ve been a partner since 2006!
RECIPE: CHEF MOLLY’S CREAMY POLENTA WITH SAUTEED GREENS, CANNELLINI BEANS AND CHILI FLAKES (Serves 4)
1 cup cornmeal (polenta); can also be made with grits
4 cups heavy cream (can also be made with half & half, chicken stock, water, etc.)
2 tablespoons oil
2 cups chopped kale (or any greens)
1 8-oz. can cannellini beans (or any beans)
Salt, pepper, chili flakes to taste
Optional: shredded Parmesan, squeeze of lemon
- Rinse and chop kale; set aside.
- Drain and rinse beans; set aside.
- Shred Parmesan if using; set aside.
- In a sauté pan, add oil, set to high heat, add kale and cannellini beans and sauté 3–5 minutes. Once sautéed, add salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste.
- In a separate saucepan, bring liquids to a simmer. Once simmer is reached, slowly pour in cornmeal—constantly whisking as you add. Once all cornmeal is added, you can add Parmesan cheese if using. Whisk again.
- To serve, place polenta on bottom of plate and top with cannellini bean and greens. Squeeze lemon over the top if using.
Note from Chef Molly: A great way to save leftovers is to mix all contents of the dish together (polenta, greens and beans, plus Parmesan if using). Form into patties like you would hamburgers. Place on a lined sheet pan/cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen, patties can be removed from sheet pan, stacked together and wrapped for long-term storage in the freezer. Pull out frozen patties as needed and grill, or bake to serve again.
HUNGRY FOR MORE WAYS TO INCREASE SUSTAINABILITY?
Take a moment to explore these five great suggestions from our staff members and volunteers!
- "I buy used clothes as much as possible—several sellers are web-based so I can still shop while stores are closed!”
—Kelli, animal care technician
- “I air-dry my clothes at home instead of using a dryer to help save energy.”
—Aiyana, exhibit interpretation volunteer
- “I love eating fresh vegetables and I like to support local growers whenever possible. Any veggie scraps can be put into compost. Composting reduces the amount of waste that goes to landfills and helps return nutrients to the soil that grows our food. A huge thanks to our waste, recycling and compost workers!”
—Kim, marine science interpreter and diver
- “I repurposed magazines and made a little easy origami pot, then shredded wine corks and placed them in the bottom for drainage. I planted some seeds in a box destined for recycling; after they sprout, they can be replanted in the origami pot!”
—Carolyn, exhibit interpretation volunteer
- “If I have to purchase a packaged item, I choose alternatives to single-use packaging, such as jars and bottles. I remove the labels, then reuse them for a huge variety of tasks, including storing cleaning supplies, and as hydroponic starters for growing house plants!”
—Suzannah, youth engagement mentor