Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Eating with SOLE

Are you familiar with SOLE? This ain't ya mama's soul food, this is SOLE food: sustainable, organic, local and ethical.

Ironically, yesterday my cousin and I thought of the same dinner - only she prepared it last night and I was saving mine for tonight: chicken caesar salad. The recipe is very simple, and I made my own adaptations to it.

The concept of SOLE food can also tie into the 100 mile diet, which is eating foods that are grown and shipped from no more than 100 miles away. Believe it or not, this does wonders for lightening the burden on our environmental resources (fossil fuels for shipping, freshness of the goods, etc.). While I didn't have a 100 mile meal tonight (although I certainly could have...the chicken and sprouts were from PA and by the summertime I'll either be growing my own tomatoes and greens or buying them from the co-op, grown at their farm a mere mile from my house).

For the chicken:
I used two chicken finger sized pieces of antibiotic free/vegetarian diet local chicken, sprinkled them with a bit of salt, rolled in garlic powder and dropped then into a frying pan. The pan had been on the hot gas burner for about a minute before I put just enough EVOO in to thinly cover the surface. I cooked the chicken on high, allowing it to brown on both sides, and then turned to low so it wouldn't burn, but I could be sure it was cooked through. As the chicken cooled, I prepared the salad.

For the salad:
Rather than use the traditional romaine lettuce, I opted for spring mix. A neighbor went out of town for the week and gifted me a large box of organic spring mix. Free veggies? Yes, please! I filled a dinner plate with the washed spring mix, grape tomatoes (cut in long slices), sliced chicken, organic caesar dressing and local/organic bean and lentil sprouts. I was munching on sourdough pretzels all day at work, so I decided to skip the croutons for tonight.

So how was this SOLE food?
The spring mix, while not local, was organic. The tomatoes were local. The chicken was local and raised with concern for the environment and human health, the bean sprouts were organic and local and the dressing was organic. See how easy that is?

I picked the bean sprouts up while shopping at my co-op over the weekend. In case you were unaware, there have been some salmonella issues with alfalfa sprouts, and it is still not advisable to eat them. The mix of lentils, peas and azuki beans in this particular sprout mix are great for adding a little extra healthiness and heartiness to any salad or other type of meal.