Help Improve Your Outdoor Air Quality this Summer!

Help Improve Your Outdoor Air Quality this Summer!

It’s summer and temperatures are on the rise, negatively impacting outdoor air quality. According to Earth Talk, during times of hot temperatures, the heat and sunlight essentially cook the air along with all the chemical compounds lingering within it. This chemical soup combines with the nitrogen oxide emissions present in the air, and creates a “smog” of ground-level ozone gas. You can help save enery and the release of emissions by participating in one of America’s favorite outdoor activities, GRILLING! Grilling saves energy by not heating up your kitchen, which then helps to minimize air conditioning needs, and as a result,  less carbon is released into the air.  Here are some additional useful tips:

Use Summer Produce

Save cooking energy by taking advantage of all the great summer produce that’s available for the season! Make a fresh salad or other side dish that doesn’t require cooking. It can make a great accompaniment to any grilled main dish.

Vegetables in Season Now:

  • Radishes
  • Arugula
  • Cucumber
  • Beets
  • Bell Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Garlic
  • Corn
  • Rhubarb

Fruits in Season Now:

  • Apricots
  • Plums
  • Cherries
  • Blackberries
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Tomatoes
  • Passion Fruit
  • Melon
  • Lemon
  • Limes

Here’s an fresh, easy recipe with no cooking required:

Greek Salad Skewers 

Ingredients:

  • 1 big block of feta (about 12-oz.), cut into cubes
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 tbsp. Chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 pitted kalamata olives
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, cut into 12 large cubes

Directions:

  1. Marinate feta: In a small bowl, combine feta, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, dill and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, then toss until cheese is fully coated in the marinade. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Assemble skewers by layering feta, olives, cherry tomatoes and cucumber onto medium skewers.

Opt for an Electric Grill

Most of us think that in order to become a BBQ aficionado and get the full grilling experience, we need to use a propane gas or charcoal grill. These kind of grills emit air pollutants, so why not get a grill that’s friendlier to the air we breathe?  An electric grill won’t emit large amounts of carbon monoxide or harmful fumes. They also don’t have open flames, which can lead to burn accidents or overheating. All these features make electric grills safer, better for the environment and your health! Many electric grills have manual controls that can help cook meats and veggies more precisely, giving you more control than an open flame. They also cost less to operate than gas and charcoal grills — just plug the unit in and you’re ready to go. No more worrying about running out of gas or charcoal while grilling those steaks! And electric grills are also a breeze to clean up. All you need to do is wipe down with water and a sponge or cloth. Try out this recipe which works great with an electric grill:

Pork Saltimbocca

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless pork chops, each 3/4 to 1 inch thick and 6 to 7 oz.
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 8 fresh sage leaves
  • 8 thin prosciutto slices
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • Balsamic vinegar for drizzling

 

Directions:

Preheat an electric indoor grill to 400°F.

Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Top each chop with 2 sage leaves and wrap with 2 prosciutto slices. Lightly brush the chops on both sides with olive oil.

Arrange the chops on the grill and cook, turning once, until nicely grill-marked and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 140°F, 6 to 7 minutes per side.

Transfer the chops to a warmed platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Lightly drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serves 4.

 

 

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