Sheep and lambs essential ingredients of local food production
Recipe for quick moussaka is 'mostly veggies'
One of the main focuses of the Ecology Center’s Healthy Food in Health Care program is to support local food production, according to director Hillary Bisnett.
“We also want to shift the conversation toward supporting a healthier, sustainable food system and we're learning local lamb farming may be one part of that system,” Bisnett said. “And we’re lucky to have so many excellent growers in this part of the state. In fact, Washtenaw County leads the state in sheep and goat operations.”
“Pastured raised animals tend to be lower in total fat and cholesterol; they have a better 'good fat' to 'bad fat' ratio,” Bisnett said. “The healthy fats stem mainly from the farming methods used to raise, in this case, lamb: additionally, grass-fed and pasture-raised animal practices are generally considered more environmentally friendly than conventional practices." For example, take a look at Greener Pastures, a report about how pastured beef and dairy contributed to healthy eating.
Examples of sustainable livestock practices include rotating animals through different pastures, eliminating the overuse of antibitics and growth hormones and using multispecies pastures.
Quick Moussaka Recipe (from marthastewart.com)
• Butter, for baking dish
• 1 large eggplant (2 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
• 7 tablespoons olive oil
• Salt and pepper
• 2 onions, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 pound ground beef or lamb
• 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, drained
• 2 teaspoons tomato paste
• 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 2 teaspoons dried oregano
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 cup (9 ounces) ricotta cheese, room temperature
• 3/4 cup (4 ounces) feta cheese, room temperature
• 1 large egg, room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter a 4-quart ovenproof dish. On a baking sheet, toss eggplant with 6 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer, and roast in the oven until soft and golden, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer eggplant to prepared dish, spreading in an even layer.
2. In a large saucepan, warm remaining tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and ground meat; cook, stirring to prevent sticking, until meat is browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in drained tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, oregano, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Simmer, crushing tomatoes with the edge of a spoon, 15 minutes. Spread the mixture evenly over the eggplant.
3. Heat broiler. In a small bowl, mix ricotta, feta, egg, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and a pinch of salt. Pour mixture over the casserole, and spread evenly to the edges. Broil until topping is browned in spots, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot.
EcoLink — January 2013 Ecolink An online publication of the Ecology Center