Posts Tagged 'sustainable food'

Thoughtful Thursdays: Be A Mean, Green Grilling Machine This Father’s Day!

national aquarium families expert

In appreciation of all that our dads and other special role models do, join the National Aquarium this Father’s Day by celebrating together and “greening the grill”! Father’s Day is a great way to spend quality time with the family outdoors, whether it’s grilling by the pool, taking a hike or exploring a local shore!

If you have grilling or barbecuing plans for this Father’s Day, check out these three ways to make your grill healthier for your family (and the planet):

  1. Gas or Charcoal?
    We all love that smoky, outdoorsy flavor we get from charcoal, but did you know that charcoal smoke contains three times the level of carbon dioxide compared to gas grills? In addition, the high levels of carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by charcoal contribute to smog. Charcoal (both lump and briquettes) also take a great deal of energy to produce. Plus, the only place to put the chemically treated charcoal ashes is the trash can. At least with propane or natural gas, you can recycle and refill the containers over and over.
  2. Sun and Done
    Making your own solar-powered oven is the ultimate green choice because even natural gas and propane require less-than-ideal processes to extract or produce the fuel. Solar ovens can reach over 250 degrees, allowing you to cook almost anything, including meats, vegetables, baked beans and chili.If you’re looking for a great do-it-yourself project for the family this Father’s Day, try your hand at making a solar oven. All you need is a few supplies, less than $50 and a plan. The folks at Solar Cookers International can help you get started!
  3. Local Eats
    Did you know the average fresh food item travels 1,500 miles to get to your grill? That’s a lot of fuel used for transportation, processing, packaging and refrigeration. Getting your grillin’ groceries at a farmer’s market, summer roadside stand or store with local food tastes fresher, supports the local economy and uses far less energy. To locate your nearest farmer’s market or locally sourced grocery store, click here.

Got plans to go out and enjoy nature with Dad this weekend? Share them with me in the comments section! 

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Fresh Thoughts: Sustainable Seafood Q&A with Chef Chris Becker

About next week’s featured Fresh Thoughts chef, Chris Becker of Fleet Street Kitchen

A Baltimore native and veteran of several of the city’s most highly regarded restaurants, Chef Chris maintains deep

chef-chris-becker

relationships with local farmers, foragers, and fishermen. His contemporary American cuisine at Fleet Street Kitchen is defined in conjunction with the seasonal produce of Cunningham Farms, the restaurant owner’s farm in Cockeysville.

A graduate of the Baltimore Culinary Institute, Chef Chris spent time in the kitchens at The Brass Elephant, Linwoods, and The Wine Market in Locust Point. He was noted as one of the top “Chefs to Watch” by Baltimore Magazine and identified as one of “Ten Professionals Under 30 to Watch” by the b newspaper.

At Fleet Street Kitchen, Chef Chris combines both traditional and modern techniques, creating elegant dishes that reflect his intense devotion to his craft.

Can’t wait for next week’s dinner? We chatted with Chris about how sustainable seafood is changing the culinary scene throughout the mid-Atlantic region: 

What’s your favorite sustainable seafood ingredient to prepare?

Because I’m new to Maryland seafood, I’m really excited to start using soft-shell crab, which is one of Maryland’s local sustainable seafood products. It’s a really interesting ingredient and very versatile in the way it can be presented, so I’m sure you’ll see it on the menu at Fleet Street Kitchen soon.

How is sustainable seafood playing a role in Baltimore’s dining scene?

I think more and more chefs are becoming conscientious about sustainable seafood and this in change is influencing our guests to think about it as well. Because we’re by the Chesapeake Bay, I think it’s easier for people to make the connection between how we fish and the seafood we serve. People are definitely appreciating it more. At Fleet Street Kitchen, we make sure all of our seafood choices are based off the Seafood Watch list and only select the seafood listed as “Good” or “Good Alternative.”

What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to cooking sustainably?

All the great product that’s not sustainable makes it difficult. There’s some great tasting seafood that is overfished. We recently had to stop using monkfish, because it is now in the red on the Seafood Watch List. It’s unfortunate, but it it makes me more creative and exposes people to different types of fish that perhaps they wouldn’t necessarily try.

What is one sustainable seafood ingredient you hope to see more of in restaurants (including your own) this year?

Lionfish & Snakehead. Both are invasive species that are threatening key ecosystems. Lionfish are damaging coral reef ecosystems across the oceans and are actually a great tasting fish. It’d be great to see more of it on Baltimore menus. Snakehead are doing the same here in the Chesapeake Bay. There has been a lot of great press about using snakehead in restaurants. I’m definitely hoping to use both at Fleet Street Kitchen.

If everyone could walk away from our Fresh Thoughts dinner knowing one thing, it would be …

My hope is to pass along Fleet Street Kitchen’s passion for sustainable seafood and for people to make the connection between the way seafood is harvested and what is on their plate. It’s also important for people to know that they can ask if a fish is sustainable in a restaurant. This lets a restaurant’s chef and staff know that there’s a demand for conscientious ingredients. Most restaurants will appreciate this, even if they aren’t currently serving sustainable products.

To learn more about our sustainable seafood program and other conservation initiatives, click here

Rock the Boat and Support the Chesapeake Bay TONIGHT!

Join our staff and volunteers on the USS Constellation tonight from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM for our 8th annual “Rock the Boat” fundraiser, supporting our Chesapeake Bay Initiative (CBI)!

the USS Constellation

With a $10 donation, guests are welcome on board to enjoy free tours, live music from local band Wolve, and great, sustainable food from local restaurants. Beer, wine, and soda will be available for purchase. Guests will also receive a glow in the dark mug with their donation. All proceeds support preservation and restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Tonight’s donations will help our CBI team purchase much-needed field equipment for upcoming habitat restoration projects! This event will be a great kick-off for our team who will be doing a week long tree planting  at Indian Head next week. Every year, our staff and volunteers plant a variety of Chesapeake Bay native wetland grasses, trees, and shrubs along the water’s edge to help stabilize the area, reduce the potential for erosion, and protect existing land while providing habitat for many animal species.

These funds will also help support a second habitat restoration project in March, stay tuned for details on how you can get involved!

This is a family-friendly event and all are welcome! No RSVP required; just make your $10 donation at the entrance to the ship. Come out and rock the boat for conservation!


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