The Buzz About Healthy Foods

Today we are hearing from Chef Larry Washington, and how he uses his incredible talent as a chef to teach about the importance of healthy foods and the pollinators that make it all possible!

In 2008, when the economy was on the financial downturn I was forced to close my family restaurant. In a state of depression, my family discovered the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. The wildlife refuge became our sanctuary. It represented an escape from my daily tasks. We ran here every chance we could.  We were often greeted by the wild turkeys, the sweet call of the frogs and the nonchalant ease of the turtles. It became a place that we talked about our plans for the future and created family memories.  It was our place right in the middle of the city that was magical, raw and a living laboratory of what was and what should remain.

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The view of the Philadelphia skyline from John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.

Fast forward to October 1, 2016 also known as the Philly Fall Nature Fest at Tinicum. It was a great honor to be invited back for the second year to do a cooking demonstration as my alter ego the Grill Sergeant Tabasco.  Grill Sergeant Tabasco is who I dreamed about during those long walks at the wildlife refuge. He represents a series of workshops and a healthy cooking demonstration that uses a disciplined approach to attack the problem of childhood obesity.

Philadelphia has the second-highest rate of obesity among the 10 counties containing the nation’s largest cities, according to a 2009 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 68 percent of adults — and 41 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 17 — are overweight or obese. Read more at this Philly Magazine article.

For the Philly Fall Nature Fest, I did a cooking demonstration which discussed the importance of and connection between pollinators and healthy foods.

chef-larry-demo

Grill Sergeant Tabasco and his team prepare wild rice!

Pollinators are small animals or insects that are necessary in the production of many fruits, vegetables, and nuts! Hummingbirds, bees, bats, butterflies, flies, beetles, and moths can all help pollinate different plants. About 75 percent of the healthy foods we cook up every day require pollination!

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Monarch butterflies were also displayed at the Philly Fall Nature Fest!

Now for the fun part. If you missed it, I’m sharing the wild rice recipe we cooked below. Items with an asterisk require pollination!  Serves 4-6 people. Enjoy!
1/3 cup sweet peas *
1/3 cup zucchini *
1/3 cup yellow squash *
1/3 cup red onion *
1/3 cup red peppers *
1/3 cup green peppers *
1/3 cup carrots  *
2 cups cooked diced chicken, optional
4 cups pre-cooked wild rice
2 tablespoons canola oil *
1/2 cup Grill Sergeant Pad Sauce

Grill Sergeant Pad Thai sauce
1 cup soy oil
1/2 cup sesame oil *
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh chopped garlic
1/4 cup fresh chopped ginger
1/2 cup honey *
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes *
1/2 cup scallions
Mix all ingredients together
Store in refrigerator
P.S.- Don’t use all of this tasty sauce in one sitting! A small amount will do and the remainder should last about a month.

Place canola oil in pan and heat oil
Add all veggies and quick cook
Add chicken
Add rice
Slowly add Pad Thai sauce and Chicken.
Enjoy!

Click here to learn more about how you can protect pollinators like the monarch butterfly!

What foods do you cook that require pollination? Sound off in the comments!

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