Tuesday, November 23, 2010
This magnificent mosque, built between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I, is one of the most striking sites in Istanbul. It has six minarets (not all visible here), while most mosques only have four. Inside, the high ceiling is lined with 20,000 blue tiles, hence the name: Blue Mosque.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
One symptom of my affliction is how far out of my way I’ll go to save plastic. I have become so conscious of the natural resources we use and cavalierly throw away that on my way to the recycling bin, I’ve moved closer to the loony bin. But before I officially lose my mind, I want to share some of the conscious choices I make on a daily basis to illustrate my good intentions—along with proof of my impending insanity. Maybe you’ll start to think about what you can do to save resources too—without veering off to the funny farm. This is my daily 12-step program for saving the planet. I'm pretty sure it's too late to save me.
1. Committed I save any type of plastic bag from bread, rice cakes, tortillas, chips—even scraps of seran wrap—to put my cat’s litter-box jewels or old cat food in. Commit Me I can’t throw any plastic bag away. Pack rat + bag lady = plastic pack-rat lady.
3. Committed I carry my own cloth Eco Bags to the farmers’ market to put my produce in, but if I accidentally forget to bring them, I will refuse to use their plastic bags. Commit Me I didn’t grow up in the circus, so getting three pounds of loose apricots on the scale when you’re not a professional juggler is a bitch.
4. Committed I try to avoid buying produce in plastic containers, and when I’m at the farmer’s market, I take out the cherry tomatoes, strawberries, figs, etc. and give the containers back to the farmers. Commit Me With no formal box-boy training, my precious, pricey produce has arrived home smashed—and it didn’t even stop at a bar.
5. Committed When I see things in my shared trash bin outside that should be in the recycling bin, I get so mad, I rummage through the trash and take them out. Commit Me The neighbors refer to me as “the homeless lady that lives next door.”
6. Committed I don’t want to throw my kitchen scraps in the trash because they emit a lot of carbon, but I don’t have a yard to make a compost. So I’ll put the scraps in a container next to the sink and let them sit there for days. Commit Me A sourdough starter makes a lovely bread, but this type of fermentation? Not so much.
7. Committed I wash Ziplock baggies with dish soap and reuse them when possible. Commit Me See step #2. And if they’re so dirty they require too much water, I feel guilty and revert to step #1.
8. Committed I wash and reuse plastic containers from take-out food or yogurt—even styrofoam ones (since they are technically plastic). Commit Me Is it safe to reuse single-use plastics or do the plastics break down in your food? Will I get cancer from trying to be green? Bonus Neurosis: Is it weird to rent a storage locker for your plastic containers?
9. Committed I put my trash in a brown grocery bag inside of a plastic grocery bag (am still looking for that plastic alternative). When ready to be thrown in the dumpster, I’ll take the plain brown bag out of the plastic outer bag so I can reuse it with the next brown bag. Commit Me Wet garbage falls through the brown bag as I'm walking through my living room, and my carpet curses at me.
10. Committed If I’m eating out and want to take home leftovers, I’ll ask for a piece of foil rather than use a plastic or styrofoam container. Commit Me Waiters find it an odd request, so I confess to them that I’m on a plastic-saving crusade. They think that’s even odder.
11. Committed I save paper towels in my kitchen that have only been used to dry my clean hands, and I’ll use them later to dry produce or wipe up spills. Commit Me If anyone needs proof to commit me, I’ve left a paper trail.
12. Committed Sometimes when I’m at a public function, I’ll sit there dehydrating rather than drink a bottled water or use a hard plastic cup. Commit Me Even my bladder thinks I’m crazy.
Geez. Now I’m feeling T.M.I. remorse. And that was only the tip of the insanity iceberg. What “unusual” things are you doing to save resources?
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
1 ½ lbs tomatillos, husked
1 small onion, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, whole
2 – 3 TBSP olive oil
1 roasted whole green Anaheim chile, skinned and seeded
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1/8 tsp salt (optional)
¼ lime (optional)
Preheat oven to 400º F. On a baking tray, roast tomatillos, onion and garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil for 30 - 40 minutes or until they are soft and caramelized. Roast chile separately on the stovetop or at a higher temperature in the oven (or use a canned whole green chile).
After the roasted vegetables have cooled, put them, along with their juices in a food processor. Add the chile and cilantro. Pulse mixture until well combined but still chunky. Taste for seasonings, and add salt and lime to your liking.