The Norcross Patch.

I got to try new recipes, make some amazing food with local ingredients and hang out with some really, really cool people today. Not only that, but the recipes and food we produced will be published with beautiful pictures on the Norcross Patch website!

Geoffrey Graybeal (Graybs!), my former professor whose class is responsible for this blog, had the great idea of gathering his foodie friends to cook a summer meal with ingredients from the local farmer’s market to be featured in the Patch.

On Tuesday, Graybs and Laura (the Norcross Patch Editor) went to the Whistle Stop Farmer’s Market to buy seasonal fare for our collaborative summer meal. Today, we, along with Remy (another of Graybs’ students), got together to cook, photograph and eat our picnic-themed dishes. I had a great time getting to know everyone over delicious food and I can’t wait for you to see it all.

Check out the Norcross Patch website over the next four days to see our recipes featured (mine will be tomorrow!) They will be posted just in time for you to run to Whistle Stop (or a farmer’s market near you) to buy the ingredients and cook up a storm for the fourth of July.

In the meantime, check out the pictures below (taken on my iPhone, so not the best!) for a little preview.

Mario Batali’s Restaurant: Going Green.

With Earth Day coming up on Thursday, April 22, (that’s a week from today my Birkenstocks wearing, reusable bag toting, Earth Fare loving friends!) I thought I would relate the big trend of going “green” to a topic all us foodies can relate to. The green movement is all about sustainability, environmentalism, recycling, protecting our natural resources, and just taking care of the earth we have in general. So how can we bring this concept into the kitchen?

In her article, “What it Means to be Green at a Mario Batali Restaurant,” Elizabeth Meltz first describes exactly how much of our food budget we spend eating out, and how much waste restaurants produce. With incredible facts like how “the average restaurant produces 50,000 pounds of garbage per year, typically close to 95% of which could be recycled or composted,” she puts into perspective just how much restaurants need to get on the green train.

The story then outlines the ways that Mario Batali’s restaurants are going against the norm and addressing these waste issues. From banning bottled water to having restaurants in LEED-certified buildings,  Batali is pushing the limits to protect the environment while remaining on top of the trend.

The icing on the cake, if you will, is the set of seven photos with descriptive captions of Batali’s restaurant’s innovative features. Some of my favorites are:

  • The “living wall:” a 12-foot vertical garden that provides herbs, greens and root vegetables for the restaurants Osteria and Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles.
  • Water aerators installed on all of the faucets to reduce water usage by half, as well as low-flow spray valves at all the dish stations.
  • Composting programs to dispose of all organic matter–local farmers in dry places like Las Vegas use the scraps to make nutrient-rich soil for their crops!

The article is really great and is a reminder that we can all do our part to be a little more green and little less wasteful!