This is the perfect way to get all the flavours of my all time favourite snack food dolmades without all the fuss of rolling and boiling. In these hot summer months it is nice to stay out of the kitchen as much as possible so thank goodness for a side burner on my gas barbecue!!!!!
Have you heard of the 100-Mile Diet? Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon had a revelation one day when they were stranded in a cabin in the wilderness and forced to live off the land. Once they arrived back in the city, they began to research the origins of everything that stocked the shelves of their local grocery store. A lot of the foods travelled over 1,500 km to reach their local grocers not to mention what is imported across the border and from overseas. Alisa and James were trying to live a more sustainable life and support local farmers and producers. What they discovered was that transporting all these goods to their area grocery stores was producing greenhouse gases and smog at a phenomenal rate. So they decided on an experiment. For one year they would eat only food produced within 100 miles of their Vancouver, British Columbia home. In Canada this should be the 160-Kilometer Diet but they felt the word "miles" just rolls off the tongue better. You can read about their journey in their book The 100-Mile Diet . It is not an easy feat!!!
June 1, 2008 Alisa and James challenged the community of Mission, B.C., to try eating only local food from producers and what is grown within 100 miles from their homes for a total of 100 days. Mission is a town of 35,000 people in the greater Vancouver area that is surrounded by amazing farmland. Dozens of people signed up on the spot.The challenge will be featured and filmed for the Food Network. It will test the idea of eating locally and bring awareness and accountability.
As an example I prepared this salad today. It would NOT...I repeat NOT be part of what I would be able to eat if I were on the 100-Mile Diet. I made it specifically to show you what would be a possibility and what would not.
1) Rice would not be allowed because ir does not grow within 100-miles or 160 km from my home here in the interior of British Columbia. As far as I know rice is not even grown in Canada. Wild rice is but not within 100-Miles of my home.
2) We do have pine nuts (from the white pine, but they would be hard to accumulate or find) Maybe I would have to substitute hazelnuts or pecans from Gellatly Bay Nut Farm.
3) Grape leaves from an abundance of vineyards...yes (would have to find an organic producer)
4) Raisins (we live in wine country but we would have to allow the grapes to dry on the vines and pick our own)
5) The herbs are grown in our local neighbourhoods....yes
6) Feta cheese is local too from Carmelli's Goat Cheese farm.
7) We have local organic chickens so we could make our own chicken stock.
8) No lemons or peppercorns for pepper. Can I live without lemons? What about salt?
9) No olive oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil produced in this area to cook the onions; maybe I could use butter
9) If all else fails once again we do live in wine country. Red or white?
As you can see it is not all that easy to eat only local foods. The purpose of the experiment is to make consumers more aware and attempt to eat locally to support your own economy as well as lobbying for global change.
You can join the challenge too!!!!It’s not too late!! Maybe it's not feasible to take on the challenge for the full 100 days. Perhaps you could custom fit the challenge to your suit your own lifestyle. It is certainly easier to adhere to this lifestyle during the growing season. Start by eating 50 percent local food and bump it up to 75 percent after a while. Start small and try it for a month or a week. Perhaps have just one dinner or have a potluck with friends, and make sure to let Alisa and James know what you plan to do.
You can rise to the challenge no matter what country or region you live in. I challenge you!!!! I will attempt to eat only local foods produced within a hundred mile radius of my home and will let you know of my own successes and failures. I can tell you that this pledge is broken already...do we have cocoa or coffee beans or tea leaves growing any where near here!!!!!!!!!!!! What about wheat for flour? We grow corn, but is there a mill where the flour could be ground? If we brought all of these things into our area then what about the import and export of goods and the economy of other regions worldwide? It certainly is something to think about!!! Plus I need to do a lot more research on local avenues.
In the meantime here is the (50%) 100-Mile Diet recipe for Dolmades Salad. To adhere strictly to the 100-Mile diet is not an easy feat that's for sure. Alisa and James have to be admired for their challenging year. What they did do is raise awareness for some key issues that are important to sustain our planet and start people thinking about consumerism, sustainable diets and global challenges. The challenge would be to perhaps even try one meal with using only local ingredients. I'd be interested to see what people think.
But on to the recipe.... if you love dolmades as much as I do you will love this salad!!!! All the flavours are there!!!
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (white and pale parts only)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 cups long grain rice
2-1/2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/2 cup sliced preserved grape leaves (reserve 1/4 cup brine)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup grated feta cheese
1 lemon, rinsed and quartered
In a 4 - 6 quart pan over medium heat, stir pine nuts and 1/4 cup green onions in oil until nuts brown and onions are limp, about 5 minutes.
Stir in rice, chicken broth, grape leaves and reserved 1/4 cup brine, lemon juice, raisins (if using), and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender to bite, 30 - 35 minutes.
Fluff rice mixture with a fork, stir in parsley, dill, and remaining 1/4 cup green onions. Allow to cool a little, Mix in feta cheese.
Mound salad on a platter and garnish with lemon quarters if desired. Serve at room temperature.
Serves 4 - 6 servings
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