Kick the Can


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I may need therapy.  I occasionally decide that I need to be more aware of environmental issues.  Maybe it’s because Tacolicious, our kids’ SF restaurant, recently quit using straws in their drinks.  Plastic straws are totally out; paper straws are available only if you ask.

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Plastic straws – no longer an option for your Michelada at Tacolicious

That made me think about whether I should be buying tomatoes in cans or in boxes.  Which is better for our planet?  Admittedly, I didn’t know there were tomatoes packaged in boxes until a few months ago when I spotted them at Whole Foods.

After doing a little Googling of the issue, I’m a mess.  It’s not only the environment I need to worry about, it’s my health.  I know a little bit about the concerns of BPA, but I didn’t know that some cans unload lots of BPA to their unknowing users and some don’t.  I certainly didn’t know that there’s a trend to package vegetables by using vegetable-residue packaging material.  And what about the environmental impact that paper products have?  I’ve barely begun that investigation.

We only use a few canned products – mainly tomatoes, beans, chipotle chiles, evaporated and sweetened condensed milk, and coconut milk.  Do I need to unload them?  Kick them out of my life? Make – or can – my own? (HA!)

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That brings me to Kick the Can.

I remember as a child playing rowdy versions of Kick the Can in the corner of our backyard.  But I’ve yet to figure out who played it with me.  Cross off my brother – who is 7 years older.  Cross off my BFF Eileen, who says she only played it with her brothers.  Cross off my BFF Patti, who claims she had other (more fun?) BFFs to play with.  And put a question mark by my BFF Jeanie, who thinks MAYBE she remembers me playing – but in her backyard, not mine.

Did I play alone – maybe with imaginary playmates?

Anyway, those 3 BFF just visited me in Glen Ellen and memories from our childhood in Fort Collins dominated much of the conversation.  We all remember Red Rover Red Rover, Hop Scotch, Jump Rope (with “Teddy Bear” as the cadence), Tether Ball, Jacks, and Square-Dancing.

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We recalled that while my Besties were all learning to swim at City Park, I was learning to ride horses (as Andy points out in today’s “The Cowgirl and the Coach” in Andy’s Corner).  I think knowing how to swim might have served me better in life!

We remember eating bologna sandwiches with mayo and white bread, Sugar Daddy and Big Hunk candy bars, and LOTS of food from cans.

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Did cans have BPA in those days?  Apparently, not.

In case a little more research convinces you to kick out your cans, here are some recipes for you to savor before you make that move.

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Seafood Stew with Tomatoes & Coconut Milk

You can vary the seafood in the stew according to what’s available.  Clams (fresh, not canned) can be substituted for the shrimp or the shrimp omitted.  Just aim for about 1 pound of seafood. If you want to to call this Brazilian, you’d add 1 T of palm oil – dendê – to the mixture; it gives a lovely red color and delicious flavor.

  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 lb white fish (I use cod), cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 lb shelled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced (or a mixture of green and red bell peppers)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 c coconut milk
  • 1/2 c cilantro, chopped, divided
  • green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)

Whisk 2 T of the olive oil with the lime juice and salt.  Add the cut up fish and shrimp, mix well, and allow to sit for no longer than 15 minutes.

Heat the remaining 2 T of oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, pepper flakes, paprika, coriander and cumin and saute until the onion is soft.  Add the tomatoes and coconut milk and 1/2 the cilantro, bring to a simmer, then add the seafood mixture, stir, and cook until the shrimp are cooked through – about 5 minutes.  Season with additional salt, if needed. Sprinkle the remaining cilantro over the top.

Serve over rice.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

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OF COURSE I know that Bone Suckin’ Sauce doesn’t come in a can.  I just wanted you to know what to look for.

Easy Baked Beans

If you’ve got a bunch of friends coming over, this recipe is easily doubled and baked in a 9″x13″ pan

  • 3 slices of bacon, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 3/4 c)
  • 1 c purchased barbecue or chili sauce (we like Bone Suckin’ or Homade brands)
  • 1/3 c dark beer (enjoy the rest of the bottle with dinner – or while cooking!)
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce (optional)
  • salt to taste (if using unsalted beans, you’ll need to add at least 1 tsp)
  • 3 15 oz cans of Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Fry the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until almost crisp.  Add the onion and fry until the onion is slightly softened.

Mix the onion and bacon with the remaining ingredients, blending them well.  Transfer the mixture to 8″x 8″ pan.  Bake uncovered for about 1 hour – or until the mixture is bubbly.  Cool slightly before serving.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

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Cashew Snacking Cake

This recipe is easily doubled – and then baked in a 9″x13″ pan or 2 8″ cake pans.  I recommend our Caramel Dessert Sauce be served with it – if you want to fancy it up.

  • 6 T butter, softened
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 c sweetened condensed milk (about 1/2 a can)
  • 3/4 c unsalted cashews, ground
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease an 8″ round cake pan or 8″ square baking pan.

Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl or food processor and beat or mix until the mixture is smooth.  Add the eggs and beat well again, then add the vanilla, condensed milk and cashews and mix until everything is well combined.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Then add those dry ingredients to the butter egg mixture and stir until it’s all incorporated (but don’t beat).

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

This cake will keep at room temperature for several days and freeze well. Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

 

2 Comments

  1. Rusty McBride says:

    I’m a Gamma Phi from Ann’s CC years, and have so enjoyed your food blog since you started it! I especially enjoyed this recent one about cowgirls, horses, and swim coaches! I often use your recipes, and love the way you both express yourselves in your blog! Reading it, and about you and your family, gives my days a boost!
    Rusty (Burnham) McBride
    CC ’67

    Like

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