Happy, Happy Earth Day! Sitting down this morning, I was reminded of a story that made me laugh out loud at my 12-year-old self. To celebrate Earth Day 1991 (could’ve been ’92, it’s all a bit fuzzy), my friend Michelle and I crafted for hours, making “Save A Tree, Save a Life”, “The Earth Loves You, Love it Back” and “Earth Day is Everyday” signs. We then proceeded to walk up to the main street and nail them on every tree we could find. We walked home beaming, thinking of how we would educate millions of drivers today with our beautiful signs. But upon arriving home, my mom had a different idea, “Let me get this straight, for EARTH DAY you wasted 100s of sheets of paper and then NAILED them to TREES where a swift wind will blow them into the street leaving trash?” Huh. Pretty sure we skipped Earth Day next year (she made us go back and take all the signs down by the way).
These days I don’t think of Earth Day so much as a "day" but as something I contribute to all year round (see, “Earth Day IS Everyday”!). One of the main reason I eat vegetarian and seasonal is environmental. Eating seasonal doesn’t mean I am only going to be eating asparagus during the month of April. Although you may think that is my intention here, here and here. What it means is that I pay attention to what produce is new and what is on sale at the market. New England has a short growing season, so our “seasonal” products might be strawberries from Florida in March. To me that is seasonal and much more local that the strawberries that come from Timbuktu in December. Seriously, I have no idea where they come from in December, but at $6.99/pint it’s got to be FAR.
Currently aplenty at the market, besides asparagus that is, are pineapples. And this salad seems like a great way to celebrate Earth Day with its colorful fruits and vegis. But, I would love to hear how you help the Earth—we can all benefit from new ideas, large or small. Please share.
Pineapple and Red Pepper Salad with Black-Eyed Peas
adapted from Bon Appétit . serves 6
4 c black-eyed peas, rinsed well and soaked overnight
4 c fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and diced (1 large pineapple)
2 roasted red peppers, chopped (or 1 12-oz jar)
1 c celery, chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/3 c fresh cilantro, chopped
3 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 c Dijon mustard
2 T cider vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
2 t salt
In a large pot, place black-eyed peas and fill with water 3" over the peas. Bring to a boil and cook on high 25-30 minutes, until softened.
In large serving bowl, combine cooked peas, pineapple, roasted red peppers, celery, red onion, cilantro and jalapeños. In a small bowl, whisk Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, olive oil and salt. Add to salad and toss to coat. Season to taste with black pepper.