April 19, 2010
The World on Your Plate
Interview with Sean Miller of the Earth Day Network and a recipe for Romesco Soup
by Julie Falconer
Sean Miller spends his days helping public schools and individuals infuse their approach to food with “acts of green eating”—by consuming more organic produce, choosing fewer processed foods, and buying items with minimal packaging.
Also on the menu: eating fewer animals. As director of education for the Earth Day Network, Miller finds that the less-meat-is-better message meshes well with his organization’s goals. A growing body of evidence shows that industrial animal agriculture is a leading cause of air and water pollution, global warming, and deforestation.
Miller’s advocacy is yet another example of the convergence of animal protection and environmental causes in the green food movement. His group also recently endorsed an HSUS-led ballot initiative to phase out certain extreme confinement practices on Ohio’s factory farms. And the two organizations are partnering to promote green eating in celebration of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary on April 22.
The following recipe is one “act of green” that will be easy to swallow; it features vegetables you can find at your local farmer’s market or food co-op, or perhaps even grow in your own backyard. For additional humane, planet-friendly recipes for your Earth Day celebration, visit humanesociety.org/recipes.
This soup is adapted from recipes for Romesco sauce, a bright, sweet, and slightly spicy condiment from the Catalonia region of Spain. You can use canned roasted red peppers, but the soup will be more vibrant if you roast fresh ones yourself—easily done under the broiler. Serves 4.
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Small white onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes; adjust to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 slices white bread, crust removed
3 roasted red peppers
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 ancho chili, softened for half hour in hot water
1/4 cup golden raisins, soaked for half hour in hot water with chili
Salt and pepper (preferably a smoked salt)
1. Sauté onion, red pepper flakes, paprika, and 2 cloves of the garlic in the olive oil over low heat until softened.
2. Add bread and fry over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
3. Put mixture in blender. Add roasted red peppers, tomatoes, nuts, brown sugar, and vinegar.
4. Add softened ancho chili (stemmed and seeded) and raisins, reserving the water.
5. Add several tablespoons of reserved pepper/raisin water. Blend until very smooth. Add remaining 2 cloves of raw garlic; blend again.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. At this point, you should have a lovely thick red sauce, which can be eaten as is with pieces of toasted bread or grilled vegetables. To continue to soup stage, put the mixture in a pan over low heat, and add water by the ½ cup, stirring as you go, until you reach the desired consistency.
8. Serve with slices of toasted, garlic-rubbed bread for dipping.
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