Not your typical trashy party

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Some people run to chocolate for comfort—others crave chicken noodle soup or that dish their mother always made when they were growing up. Unlike these people, I want salsa. And guacamole. And fresh corn tortillas. As summer kicks off and the heat attempts to melt us all, I thought what better way to raise spirits and appease palates than with a taco night. So I invited some friends over and spent a day cooking up some Mexican favorites: refried beans, Mexican rice, and tacos of three varieties (mojo chicken, garlic chili tilapia, and beef). I made the event eco-friendly by:

  • Cooking with local produce and using ingredients I already had in my pantry
  • Using the oven as sparingly as possible—I put the food in while it was preheating and cooked the yams, squash, and chicken simultaneously
  • Buying compostable plates, recycled paper napkins, and Preserve plastic cups, which are reusable and ultimately recyclable; forks weren’t really necessary but my daintier guests used silverware
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The spread turned out really well, thanks to help from some great friends, but by the end of the evening I was more impressed with my guests than my own culinary endeavors. What did they do to impress me? Compost!

  • I labeled three collection bags—Recycling, Compost, and Trash and noted what should go into each receptacle (I wrote this on scrap paper, of course).
  • I only put one small bag out for trash and had much larger receptacles for recycling and compost; the bin for compost was the largest.
  • At the end of the night, there were 10 pounds of compost (!), three overflowing bags of recycling, and one small not-quite-full brown bag of trash (this includes the trash all the party preparations!)
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The story doesn’t stop with the end of the party. In order for the eco-friendly trend to continue I had to reuse and recycle the leftover food. I gave the meat to a coworker, made a frittata with leftover jalapeƱos and tomatoes, and I plan to use the tortilla crumbs for tortilla soup or tortilla coated chicken. The food that wasn’t opened I returned to the grocery stores. Here are some recipes in case you have some extras from a south of the border night:

One note about jalapeƱos: be very careful when handling them. I had a terrible experience involving my face feeling like it was one fire that I would wish upon no one. Wear gloves when you cut them! The oil is dangerous and you should NOT get it near your face.

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This page contains a single entry by Christy Perera published on July 27, 2011 9:55 PM.

Avant Garden: An Uncommon Collaboration was the previous entry in this blog.

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