Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Build the Ultimate Sustainable Kitchen by Abby Quillen

I really like this article by Abby Quillen

Build the Ultimate Sustainable Kitchen


Build the Ultimate Sustainable Kitchen
The kitchen is a bustling place in most homes: Meals are made, conversations happen, and days are planned. That’s probably why it’s one of the most popular rooms to renovate according to The National Association of Home Builders. And with the improving economy, both remodeling and newhome building and are surging.
Choosing to build or remodel with sustainably in mind can help families reduce their carbon footprint and create a healthier home. Home energy accounts for 19 percent of a family’s total environmental impact, and the kitchen uses a large portion of energy in most homes, as well as a sizable amount of water. By selecting the right eco-friendly materials, low-flow faucets, and efficient appliances, a family can reduce energy use and utility costs. As an added bonus, avoiding the use of toxic chemicals in the construction process can improve indoor air quality.
A new kitchen also offers an opportunity to design a more sustainable lifestyle. The choices we make in our kitchens—whether it’s ordering takeout or tossing together a salad with veggies from the farmers’ market—make a huge impact on the health of agricultural systems and wider ecosystems. Food actually accounts for a bigger portion of our ecological impact than home energy. The ultimate sustainable kitchen is one that encourages green living beyond just counter materials and appliances, and it all starts during the design phase.

Design for Sustainability

  • Remember, size matters.

Bigger is not always better, especially when it comes to sustainability. Smaller spaces require fewer building materials and less energy to heat and cool. A smart layout with wise use of cabinets and countertops can make the most of a smaller kitchen.
  • Think timeless.

The key to a sustainable building project is to create something durable because most construction projects require resources and energy for execution. Careful planning before breaking ground can prevent the need for a move or later renovations. Consider your home’s future. What will the family need in five to ten years? Will an aging family member require special accommodations? Assess the durability of every material. It doesn’t matter how green something is if it has to be ripped out in a couple of years. And try to keep decor as fresh as possible by choosing classic styles. Don’t get stuck with the avocado green appliances and paisley wallpaper of tomorrow.
  • Plan for natural lighting and ventilation.

Windows and skylights can minimize the need for artificial lighting, passively heat a room, provide ventilation, and improve air quality. But plan wisely, or they’ll drain heat and energy in the winter and make a room scorching hot in the summer. South-facing skylights provide the greatest potential for passive heating, but often allow unwanted heat gain in the summer. To prevent excessive summer heat, install skylights iundern the shade of deciduous trees or add movable coverings or a special glaze, and carefully consider the placement of windows and awnings. Another way to create more natural light in a kitchen is to create an open floor plan.
  • Construct a lifestyle.

Even the greenest architecture and appliances won’t counteract a wasteful lifestyle. Incorporate aspects of green living right into the plans to make a sustainable lifestyle even easier.
  • Design a kitchen garden.

During the Renaissance, the French built potagers, or kitchen gardens, which provided food and herbs for households year-round. Kitchen gardens were designed to be low maintenance and aesthetically beautiful, with lots of edible perennials. Even small vegetable gardens or herb patches help a family connect with nature and eat healthier—the closer to the kitchen, the better.
  • Create an indoor growing station.

No outdoor growing area to admire from the kitchen window? Create an indoor herb or vegetablegrowing station in a sunny window. Most edible plants require six hours of light daily, either from sunlight or a grow light. Many plants, such as lettuce, celery, ginger, potatoes, bean sprouts, garlic, and onions, can be grown from kitchen scraps. Bonus: Indoor plants help improve air quality.
  • Build a composting system.

Each person can prevent 140 pounds of waste from going into landfills each year by composting. That’s important for many reasons, but mainly because food waste breaks down in landfills and produces methane, a greenhouse gas. Composting turns kitchen scraps into compost, further reducing the need for fertilizer, pesticides, and water. Build a compost bin outside and keep a container next to the sink to collect scraps, or tuck a homemade compost or worm bin under the sink.
  • Plan for food preservation.

Local food is most sustainable, but many of us don’t have the space or tools to store 20 pounds of pears when they’re ripe at the farmer’s market, or a season’s worth of homemade tomato sauce. By incorporating a pantrydehydrator, efficient freezer, or other food preservation tools into new kitchen plans, a family can take advantage of local and sustainable food options.
The Environmental Impact

Choose eco-friendly materials

Once a design is in place, it’s time to choose the most sustainable building materials, which will vary depending on location and project. Life Cycle Assessment software can help consumers assess how materials are processed, how far they must be shipped, how long they’ll last, and whether they can be recycled. The results may be surprising. For instance, bamboo grows quickly, and is considered more renewable than slow-growing hardwood. However, using sustainably harvested, locally milled wood from domestic trees is more sustainable than shipping in bamboo from China.
Reclaiming or salvaging existing materials is the most sustainable and often the most economical option. Check local salvage yards and building materials exchanges first for desired materials.
When choosing manufactured materials, consider how they will effect indoor air quality. Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) used in building materials, furniture, adhesives, paints, and varnishes off-gas for years and can cause adverse health effects. The World Health Organization warns that 30 percent of new or recently renovated buildings give inhabitants “sick building syndrome” or “building-related illness.” To keep indoor air healthy, avoid products with formaldehyde and other carcinogenic substances, and look for materials labelled low- or zero-VOC.
It’s a good idea to check out resources naturally abundant in the region first. Beyond that, some materials tend to be more eco-friendly than others.


Granite countertops are trendy, but most are made from rock mined in ecologically devastating ways and shipped across the world. They also tend to have cracks and fissures that are prone to contamination from bacteria. Instead consider:


Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) certification helps consumers find cabinet manufacturersthat use recycled materials and limit formaldehyde emissions. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) stamp of approval for wood harvested in a sustainable way.


Kitchen floors get lots of wear and tear, so durability is of primary importance. Options to consider:
  • Linoleum
  • Tile made from recycled materials
  • Salvaged or reclaimed wood
  • Domestic hardwood (Domestic trees are often milled in Asia; look for products grown and milled in the U.S.)
  • Bamboo (Many products are FSC-certified and low-VOC. Research thoroughly; depending on how it’s manufactured, bamboo can be prone to dents and scratches. Also, bamboo is imported from China, so it often has a higher carbon footprint than other options.)


Natural daylight should be optimized in the design. For evening lighting, install task lighting in key work areas to prevent the need for lighting an entire space all the time. Consider occupancy sensors, timers, and dimmers to make energy saving automatic. And look for Energy Star-rated, shatter-resistant, compact fluorescent light bulbs or LEDs.


Conventional latex and oil-based paints are known to cause nausea, dizziness, and headaches, and becarcinogenic. Moreover, conventional paint is a hazardous waste product that must be disposed of properly. Low- and zero- VOC paints are readily available and a better alternative than conventional paint. Biodegradable natural paints free of chemical ingredients are best.

Go Efficient with Appliances

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates homeowners can save more than $100 a year in energy costs by simply replacing a refrigerator made before 1992 with an energy efficient model. All new appliances now have an EnergyGuide label to help consumers compare the typical annual energy consumption and operating cost of different models. Look for the Energy Star® rating to find the most efficient models. (Smaller models tend to be most efficient.) Be sure to think long term when shopping. Major appliances usually last between 10 and 20 years, and lower utility bills over their lifetime can offset a higher purchase price. Resell old appliances, or donate them to a thrift store orrecycling center.
Simple Ways to Green Your Kitchen
Simple Recipes for Green Cleaners

Start Planning

The ultimate sustainable kitchen is one that a family loves, because it’s the one they’ll be happy with for years to come.
If this article has you considering a more sustainable lifestyle, check out these kitchen pantry ideas —
Build the Ultimate Sustainable Kitchen
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Abby Quillen

Abby Quillen

Abby Quillen is the author of the novel The Garden of Dead Dreams and the editor of two anthologies. Her articles and essays have appeared in YES! Magazine and The Christian Science Monitor and on Common DreamsNation of ChangeReader Supported NewsThe Daily Good,Truthout, and Shareable. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her family. When she’s not writing, she grows vegetables and weeds, bikes and walks as much as she can, and jots down cute things her kids say.

Friday, April 10, 2015

More Sous Vide By PolyScience

After making the best darned smoked chicken, it was time for the pork.

Boneless pork cutlets are notoriously dry and hard to cook perfect. The Sous Vide does the best best job (

My first boneless chop I wrapped in bacon and tucked onions under the bacon. This was vacuum sealed and put in the bath at 144.F. After 1 hour to 1 hour 30 min, the pork was cooked. I removed it from the bag and pan seared it for a perfect pork chop. The meat was so tender and the bacon browned up. It tasted really good. This was my WORST recipe, but it was pretty darn good.

I took another boneless chop and rubbed it with my own Memphis BBQ Rub and smoked it with my Smoking Gun, and then sealed into the Sous Vide. This gave an almost instant flavor of a slow cooked BBQ - so popular here in Memphis. I pan seared the meat just to give it some brown color.  My Dad loved it and he really hates this kind of meat as it is too dry. He enjoyed the pork with a simple slaw and some pickle beets. If you follow my Blog, you know my Dad is no foodie and he hates dry meat. If you do too, then the Sous Vide should be in your line up.

My last creation with the pork was to take the chop add 1/2 cup of apple butter, salt pepper, and an extra 1/2 Teaspoon of sugar to the bag,   I vacuumed sealed it and cooked it in the same round in my Sous Vide.

 This was the best. I removed it and pan seared it for a bit of color, and served with an easy potato pancake and some red cabbage. It is so good! The apple flavor goes through the meat and it is just sweet enough to be good. This chop was all mine, no sharing. 

I can tell you that it is an amazing tool for things you that usually cook dry. The perfect temperature is so great and watching it in the bath is fun too.

I am glad I have one. And I hope to share more of my Sous vide successes with you in the the future.

Love the Cabbage Leaf,

PS  Cous Cous cooks like a dream in the Sous Vide.

I Love Love Love it!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Nashville + Max + Amazing = Pine Wood Social Club

PineWood Social Club

One of my favorite things about Masterchef Jr, was that they sent me on press tour.

I went to Nashville and Atlanta and my favorite restaurant on that tour was the PineWood Social Club ( The Pine Wood Social Club is owned by Max Goldberg.

Now, Max has created this awesome restaurant with fun games and great food. Normally when you think of food and fun you get Chuck E. Cheese. But this is totally the opposite! I could spend days in there,it has bowling allies, boccie ball, even a pool, and I'm positive there's an Xbox in the back. If I don't find it on my next visit I will see if Max can put one in that air-stream for us!

Now on to the food; I ordered a fabulous coffee, a catfish sandwich, a hummus appetizer, and Mama got a burger.  

Let's start with the fabulous coffee- well, it was fabulous nice and dark and creamy, and JUST fabulous.

Next the appetizer, the hummus was nice and fresh and the chips were interesting, overall I liked it.

When you live in the south you have to eat at least one fried catfish po-boy or sandwich.

The catfish sandwich was delicious, to say the least, it had lettuce and tomato and a light creamy tarter, very simple. But still great!

Mama's burger was fantastic !!! It was so good I had to steal some of the burger!

It had a wonderful flavorful beefy taste.


The Cabbage Leaf

Pinewood Social on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sous Vide By PolySCi Creative by Logan

Sous Vide

If you want to be a true Gastronomist then you need to learn how to Sous Vide ( . I will be honest it has taken me a bit more time than I thought to get consistent good food- but once you understand it, the results will surprise you.

A Sous Vide is a water circular that heats water to a precise temperature- the food needs to be vacuum sealed and the better that seal the better the finished product so make sure you have both before you put the Sous Vide to the back of the kitchen shelf.

Here is what I have learned- fish cooks like a dream, but I can usually nail fish so that really presented no challenge. Poached fruit is by far the best- you can't imagine how good when the Sous Vide tenderly cooks it. AMAZING! 

The problem foods, I wanted to nail- a skinless boneless chicken breast- the blandest, hardest to cook protein and the boneless pork chop. Both of these are death to a so-so home cook and even tougher for a beginner. 

Here is what I did-

BBQ Chicken Breast -

First I coated the breast in some good olive oil generously then I smoked it in the vacuum seal bag in another zip-lock bag with my smoking gun. I went with mesquite wood and coffee grounds for added depth of flavor. I seasoned with salt and pepper and waited for the smoke to do its job to mainly the oil and chicken.

I then sealed the bag and into the Sous Vide at 149 degrees Fahrenheit. for about 1 hour. 
This results in a super tender white chicken breast.
My goal:

BBQ Chicken- Almost no one can make this without the chicken coming out too dry- I mean it is really hard to slow smoke the breast to be moist and that is exactly what the Sous Vide can NAIL.

I then shredded the chicken, topped with a bit of hardy slaw, BBQ sauce (my own recipe) and put it on mini biscuits for a chicken smoked slider.

I had a little of the smokey chicken left added some celery, onions, and mayo for a smoked chicken salad- I don't have a picture - I am afraid the tasters finished it before I could snap one.

Don't be afraid to use this chicken on salad, or bun or whatever, it won't disappoint you! If you want more smoke, I found that another 3 minutes in the bag with the gun knocked up the taste but my tasters were happy either way!

Next UP the boneless Pork Chop !!!

Love the Cabbage Leaf,

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I was invited to do a Food and Wine show in Tenafly, NJ last weekend, it took a lot of emailing and calling and working to get all the details, but I finally made it and did my first live Demo.Now, I know you might have seen my Posts for the Giants of Generosity but what you might not know is the story of this one woman charity. 

Ms. Jane is a force for good and for the those without a voice.

She started Giants of Generosity 8 years ago, inspired by Oprah, she decided to help those in need. She said she felt God called her to do this work, and I guess I believe her. Ms Jane laughs easy and cries easy. She wears her heart on her sleeve and like my Mom is fearless with an email list and will ask for anything. She asked for me and of course I said yes.

I know that this charity is small but that means you really see the results of all the work she does just like that. She helps accident victims, fire victims, people hurt, down on their luck or just with no place left to turn. She installed an elevator, redid a house, and just helps those who need help.

 Ms Jane does not ask for much in return- her joy for helping shows on her face and I was honored to be at her event.

I was really nervous to do the demo, I usually can knock out TV spots, radio spots and interviews like that! But 20 minutes with some food sounded tough. I think I did pretty good! She was laughing and the audience loved it. I signed autographs and took pictures and I have to say I think this was my first meet and greet. All the people were just so nice too! Thanks Ms. Jane for letting me share in your mission! Now, if you cant start your own charity and want to just help some nice people who have know where to turn here is a link. I promise every dollar you give will help Ms. Jane help others.


Love the Cabbage Leaf,

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Shihan Chef Nobu

On my latest trip to Los Angeles I got a reservation, thanks to my Uncle Isreal to the famous Matsuhisa it normally takes a year to get a reservation, so this is a HUGE deal. 

Matsuhisa is Chef Nobu's very first restaurant, it is arguably the best sushi place in the USA!

The restaurant is very, very tiny the sushi bar is very narrow not even two people can fit through! The dinning room is also very small but there is still room for lots of famous people. I sat at a table and Kenny G was eating behind me, how cool!

But now on to the yummy part, for an appetizer I got the toro tartare with caviar in a dashi broth. The toro tartare was intricately flavored yet keeping the fish's natural flavor and the caviar nicely complemented the fish, The toro tartare had  a very bold dashi broth that was very strong in that great mouthwatering umumi flavor.

Overall,it was an awesome way to start a meal.

Next, I ordered some tuna sushi and it was interesting how the tuna had a vinegary sauce and Chef Nobu's dry miso seasoning. It was very good and a new experience for me and a very interesting way to make sushi.

My Aunt ordered the tempura plate and I got to try the shrimp tempura, which was very light with a
dipping sauce, always a classic.

Dad ordered the fish and chips it was very simple but it was the best fish and chips I have ever had.
I also got some normal tuna sushi it was absolutely perfect the rice was sticky and absorbed the soy sauce perfectly the tuna was rich, tender, umaumi, and every thing you could want one bite of sushi to be, no other sushi will ever top it.

Except another order of sushi from Matsuhisa!

We got desert from Chef Nobu and it had shaved ice and great mochi and some banana tubes they were all very good.

Chef Nobu made an unexpected stop at Matsuhisa and came around meeting the dinners and I talked to him and he was very happy! I got to tour the very, very ,very tiny kitchen, I saw the dish washers and how the restaurant can't function with out them and I saw the little grill area and the tiny sushi bar and how each plate is like a canvas and they put the seasoning and oils on it like art. Art that is why I love sushi so much- simple, elegant, purposeful food.

I will forever remember the advice Shihan Chef Nobu gave me.

Love the tuna, Leaf

Matsuhisa on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Smoking Gun, a who done it?

The Smoking Gun is made by Polyscience.

Well, let's start with Polyscience ( They are one of the best modernist food tool providers around. They are true innovators, and they help us cook interesting "out of the box" type of food.

One of Polyscience's many tools is the Smoking Gun.
There are many reasons why I use it is, but the biggest is because I'm from Memphis - home of the slow smoked BBQ. Smokey food rules the city and it is a huge part of our local food culture. 

The Smoking Gun ( shoots smoke out a tube and you put the tube in a bag with whatever you want to smoke, and leave it in there for a few minutes. It is that easy, and the solid smokey taste is real. It has no artificial tones of fake smoke. 

Logan Guleff Memphis Master Chef

They offer several kinds of woods. Hickory is the strongest and boldest flavor, It will make you go WOW. While Cherry and Apple are more subtle and sweeter.

If you use your smoking gun a lot, the smoke may start to taste bitter- either get some new tube or soak your tube in bleach and water. 

Smoking Gun PolySci Logan MasterChefJunior

Now, I have experimented quite a bit with the smoking gun and I have over 40 recipes so this is not just a one shot gun!

Love the Cabbage Leaf,