Ask A New York Chef: Ways To Keep Your Meals Lean And Clean

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Haven’s Kitchen is a sustainable café that is so good, some locals don’t want you to know about it. Yet Haven’s Kitchen is more than a cafe. At the heart of the space is a recreational cooking program that teaches New Yorkers of all levels of kitchen expertise how to prepare and enjoy sustainably produced and locally grown food that nourishes the body and soul. With the holidays right around the corner, here are some tips from the Haven’s Kitchen team to help make your festive meals a little brighter, fresher and environmentally friendly this holiday season.

Haven’s Kitchen
109 W. 17th St.
New York, NY 10011
havenskitchen.com

Use Local Ingredients

When founder Alison Cayne started Haven’s Kitchen cooking program, she aimed to teach people how to use locally sourced ingredients in their own cooking and understand how the “big food system” works. By using locally sourced sustainable ingredients, Cayne says, consumers can make “little changes” in a big system and help bring about a positive change for local farmers as well as add fresh, flavorful ingredients to your holiday menu.

Try This: Use Locally Produced Fennel

At Haven’s Kitchen, fennel is a favorite winter ingredient that can be sourced locally. A waste-free food, all parts of the fennel bulb is edible and the delicate, earthy flavor can be used in recipes or eaten raw for a crunchy treat. The Haven’s Kitchen chefs recommend a raw salad using citrus, raw celeriac and a nice bright olive oil. Chef Ashton Keefe also has a simple fennel recipe that is taught as part of Haven’s Kitchen’s cooking workshop that will help make your holidays extra special.

Use as Much as You Can of One Animal

Executive Chef David Mawhinney says at Haven’s Kitchen, the team of chefs and teachers are “big fans of using as much as you can of one animal.” Using as much of the animal as possible helps eliminate waste as well as makes certain you are not “killing the animal for one piece.”

Other ways you can help cut back on waste is finding ways to use parts of the meat and other products that may have otherwise been discarded, helping to stretch your food dollars while lessening your impact on the planet.

Try This: Don’t Brine Your Turkey

Brining a turkey can make the turkey taste moister, but according to the green gurus of Haven’s Kitchen, it can also make the drippings too salty. To get the most of your holiday bird, and avoid waste, Haven’s Kitchen suggests that you, “season your turkey well, and roast it without brining, then use all of the delicious pan juices to create a delicious gravy to soak and moisten the breast meat before serving.”

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Tamar Auber is a freelance writer whose work can be found on Examiner.com.