Sustainable Cooking

Iris Briand takes a holistic approach in her Sustainable Cooking Series of classes for OSU students she started last year.

OSU Food Group

Iris Briand takes a holistic approach in her Sustainable Cooking Series of classes for OSU students she started last year.  They’re about nutrition, cooking, and sustainable practices and are popular with students, faculty, and other community members, with more than 20 showing up for most classes.  “My objectives  are to help the community understand the importance of using whole, nutritious, and sustainable foods (local/organic/minimally processed), buying in bulk and composting to reduce waste, cooking from scratch, the nutritional benefits of the foods we make, and minimizing costs,” explains Iris, a senior in nutrition with a dietetics option.  “Additionally, because of the rise in food allergies and food sensitivities, such as to gluten, dairy, and nuts, many people are unaware of how to cook/prepare meals, snacks, and desserts that are both nutritious and delicious. Since I have a lot of food allergies it is important for me to educate others who want learn how to make substitutions in their favorite recipes. Therefore, all of the recipes are gluten, nut, and dairy free.”

Iris Briand
After graduating in 2011, Iris plans to do a dietetics internship and become a Registered Dietitian. “My goals are to prevent obesity and diseases such as diabetes by working in community nutrition. I want to teach community classes in cooking, nutrition, and physical activity, focusing on supporting low-income populations.”

An added benefit of the classes is that the students get hands on experience in preparing and cooking tasty meals while learning about nutrition and sustainable practices. “I use as many local ingredients as possible and all the ingredients are organic,” says Iris.  “When I use meat it is either sustainably grown meat or wild fish. The OSU Organic Grower’s Club provides some of the produce such zucchini, squash, and pumpkins.

Iris has held eight classes so far featuring:
Blueberry Pancakes
Beans and Rice Extravaganza – homemade tortillas, southwest coleslaw, spiced black & red beans, guacamole, rice
Pasta and pesto with tempeh, seasonal salad with balsamic dressing
Wild Alaskan salmon, baked sweet potato fries/honey mustard dipping sauce, seasonal salad/honey mustard dressing
Tempeh Reuben, acorn squash, seasonal salad/honey mustard dressing
Stuffed acorn squash, seasonal salad/balsamic dressing
Pumpkin pie, black bean quesadillas, seasonal veggies

Hungry yet?  Check out the recipes below or for more information and a schedule of classes that will run through June, contact Iris at Classes in Iris’s Sustainable Cooking Series are held in the Snell Hall kitchen and are sponsored by the Student Sustainability Initiative and the OSU Food Group.  The cooking classes are by donation, but no one will be turned away. The donations go to OSU emergency food pantry to assist food insecure people in the community.

Enjoy Iris’s recipes below for

Stuffed Squash
Seasonal Salad
Gluten Free and Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie
Gluten Free and Dairy Free Black Bean Quesadillas

Stuffed Squash

Makes 4 servings

2 (about 1-pound) butternut or acorn squash
Coconut oil (enough to evenly coat the pan) – about 2 Tablespoons
12 oz uncooked ground turkey (or 15 oz or 1.5 cups of black beans)
1 large zucchini, cut into ¼-inch rounds (about 1 cup)
½ cup chopped celery (optional)
1 small yellow onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
1 cup (6 ounces) sliced mushrooms
1 ½ cups of finely chopped spinach
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
Cream cheese or vegan cream cheese (I use Follow Your Heart vegan cream cheese)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Cut butternut or acorn squash in halves lengthwise and scrape out membranes and seeds.
Place halves cut side down in glass baking dish with 1/3 cup water.
Bake for about 15 to 25 minutes (until tender when poked with a fork).
Remove from the oven, turn squash cut side up in baking dish.

While squash bakes, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the ground turkey.
In a separate oiled pan add zucchini, celery and onion and sauté for about 5 minutes.
Add mushrooms, spinach, oregano, salt, and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Scoop out all but ½ an inch of flesh from the squash and add squash to vegetable mixture and stir well.
Mix the turkey and beans with the mixture for non-vegetarians or mix beans only with the mixture for vegetarians.
Stuff each squash half until mounded and top each squash with the cream cheese substitute.
Bake about 10 more minutes.

Seasonal Salad

Mixed greens (1 head romaine plus 1 bunch of spinach, washed well)
1 small red cabbage
2 or 3 carrots (grated)
2 or 3 beets (grated)
1 small head broccoli and/or cauliflower

Recipe for Vinaigrette:
1 cup olive oil
2/3 to 1 cup balsamic vinegar (depending on how strong you want it)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 Tablespoon fresh
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 teaspoon fresh garlic
Large pinch of kosher RealSalt (unrefined/unbleached salt) and a little ground pepper

Iris’ Gluten Free and Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie

First: Bake or steam the pumpkin or squash
Second: Make ice water for the crust
Third: Make and roll out the crust
Fourth: Blend the ingredients for the filling, and then bake at 375 degrees

Crust for 1 pie:
1 cup flour (3/4 cup brown rice flour and 1/4 cup buckwheat flour or just all rice flour)
1/4 cup plus one tablespoon virgin coconut oil
1/3 teaspoon RealSalt
3-4 Tablespoons of ice water add one at a time

In medium bowl, stir flour and salt with a fork.
Cut oil into flour with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles course crumbs.
Add ice water one tablespoon at a time until pastry dough is just wet enough to hold together.
Roll the dough into one ball to make one 9-inch pie. Roll the dough out on wax paper and put into the pie plate, or you can press the dough into the plate with your fingers without rolling it out.
Once in the pie plate, puncture some holes into the crust with a fork and bake for 5 minutes before adding the filling

Filling for 1 pie:
Pre Step: Steam or bake pumpkin or squash.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Place in blender or food processor:
2 heaping cups of pumpkin, or squash, such as sugar pumpkin or kabocha squash
1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of soft tofu (Surata brand – not silken tofu). You can decide how much tofu, it really doesn’t need much, so you can experiment
3 eggs
3/4 cup unbleached sugar
2 T blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/3 t RealSalt (not bleached or refined like typical table salt)
1 to 2 t cinnamon, ½ t each of nutmeg, clove, allspice, ginger

Blend all ingredients in a blender or a food processor and pour into the crust in a 9 or 10 inch pie plate
Check the oven at about 45 minutes, but it will likely be done in 55 minutes
Let set before serving (pumpkin pie is the best when it has set for about 8 hours or more and then either served room temperature or warm)
*Serve with vanilla coconut bliss or vanilla ice cream

Iris’ Gluten Free and Dairy Free Black Bean Quesadillas

Makes 3 whole quesadillas which serves 6 people

1 package of brown rice tortillas (Food for Life brand has 6 tortillas per package)
2 to 2 1/2 cups of cooked and spiced black beans.  Mash them with a potato masher or a fork and add salt, cumin, garlic and onion powder, parsley, cilantro, and of your favorite spices and herbs.
8 oz package of Follow Your Heart or other cream cheese substitute
6 Tablespoons finely chopped onions (optional)
Virgin coconut oil

Chop onions finely.
Coat one side of all six tortillas and place three oiled side down on a pan over medium heat.
Spread a few tablespoons of cream cheese, about 3/4 cup of beans, and a few tablespoons of onions on the tortilla.
Place the remaining tortillas with the oiled side up on top of the other ones.
Flip when golden brown, and cook on the other side for a few minutes .

6 replies on “Sustainable Cooking”

Why do you use coconut oil? Saturated fat! You could use a lot of other plant oils that are good for you and don’t need to travel the ocean.

Actually the saturated fat is a different form than the saturated fats which been concluded to be harmful in research (Long chain vs. medium chain). The kind of saturated fat in coconut oil is almost completely from medium chain triglycerides (MCT), which have a variety of health benefits. There are many peer-reviewed studies backing up the health advantageous of MCT, demonstrating its positive effects in athletes and for weight loss in overweight individuals, among other benefits. Additionally, many cultures consume coconuts regularly, and on the islands of Pukapuka and Tokelau in the South Pacific, researchers discovered that up to 60% of the islander’s total calories came from fat, and up to 63% from saturated fat, primarily from coconuts, yet the researchers declared that the people were physically fit, cardiovascular disease was rare, and there was no evidence that the high saturated fat consumption had negative health effects on either population.

As a former teacher of Foods classes, I was bothered by unrestrained hair on the teacher and students. I find that hair in food is unappetizing.

Hi Betty,
I appreciate your concern, and as a student I am always learning and open to any feedback, yet it would be nice to hear both constructive feedback along with negative feedback. I actually keep my hair back during the classes, but I take it down for photos. These classes are not very formal, therefore I did not think about ensuring that everyone have their hair restrained. I will implement this in the future classes, as I understand the importance.
Thank you,

Iris: We all know that genetic factors are more influential in cardiovascular health, weight gain, etc than diet. You take data from a small isolated population in the South Pacific, who have lived on coconuts for centuries, and are undoubtedly genetically tolerant to the saturated fats contained in coconut oil. You then conclude that their health is the result of diet, ignoring the obvious genetic influences. Even here in our white European/American population, there are many who consume huge quantities of saturated fats without harm to their health. That doesn’t make saturated fat healthful for everyone, not does it diminish the harmful effects on the majority.

Iris, way to go on the coconut oil. I’ve been consuming almost 100% coconut oil in my diet (some olive oil too) and I absolutely love it. If people would do some research they would learn what you and I already know. It is the best oil for you.

Thanks also for your gluten free recipes.


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