Cooking Clean: A reliable energy source can make cooking nutritious meals quick and easy
(Family Features) With many people focused on achieving a cleaner and healthier lifestyle, taking actionable steps such as recycling, using less hot water and eating nutritious foods can help lower your carbon footprint. Another step for a clean lifestyle: cooking with an environmentally friendly, clean energy source like propane.
Propane is already powering more than 12 million homes with reliable energy people can count on. Plus, gas-powered cooktops are preferred by 96% of professional chefs, including nutritionist and chef Dean Sheremet of “My Kitchen Rules,” who partnered with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) to educate homeowners on the benefits of cooking with gas.
“There is a lot of misinformation about cooking with gas in the news,” Sheremet said. “It’s important to remember, the act of cooking itself impacts indoor air quality, regardless of the energy that powers the stove. Having a qualified technician install and perform regular service for the stove, maintaining proper ventilation using a hood or opening doors or windows and following common sense safety measures can ensure the safe use of any stove.”
Because ventilation when cooking is key, it’s important to note that cooking with propane results in lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than electric cooking, on average. That’s because more than 60% of electricity production comes from natural gas or coal generation plants, which release more CO2 emissions as part of the generation process.
Beyond the environmental benefits, propane-powered cooking appliances provide convenience, modern design and performance in kitchens, allowing home chefs to prepare healthy meals for their families in a short amount of time. Sheremet values the efficiency of a propane cooktop when creating nutritious meals like Skirt Steak with Salsa Verde and Spaghetti and Clams, which can be whipped up in minutes using a clean energy source.
“Chefs, and parents like me, prefer gas for a variety of reasons,” Sheremet said. “My son, Atlas, is often in the kitchen when I’m cooking, and we know sometimes kids don’t listen when we tell them to not touch a pan or the stove. Propane cooktops allow for greater control of heat levels and their instant flame turnoff capabilities help them cool faster than traditional electric stoves, which can remain dangerously hot for a period after they have been turned off.”
Learn more about cooking with propane and find recipes from Sheremet at Propane.com/ChefDean.
Do’s and Don’ts of Cooking with Gas
Cooking with a reliable and environmentally clean energy source like propane can take your home chef skills to the next level. However, there are steps to take to ensure safety while maximizing the benefits of cooking with your gas range.
- Follow the manufacturer’s installation and operating instructions.
- Keep pot handles turned inward to protect against accidents like knocking the pot off the stove or little ones reaching for the handles.
- Keep the range surface clean.
- Keep flammable materials away from burner flames.
- Do not cover the oven bottom with foil as it can restrict air circulation.
- Never use gas ranges for space heating.
- Do not allow children to turn burner control knobs.
Do not leave food unattended on the cooktop.
Spaghetti and Clams
Recipe courtesy of chef Dean Sheremet on behalf of PERC
- 8-12 littleneck or other small clams in shell, scrubbed
- 1/4 pound spaghetti noodles
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2-1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 dried red chile pepper
- 1/3 cup vermouth or white wine
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Bring large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Soak clams in cold water.
- Add spaghetti to boiling water and cook until slightly underdone. In large saucepan over medium-low heat, add olive oil, garlic and chile pepper. Saute gently, reducing heat, if necessary, so garlic does not brown.
- Add vermouth and clams; cover. Clams should open in about 2 minutes. Add hot drained pasta, cover and shake pot gently. Simmer 1-2 minutes until spaghetti is cooked to taste.
- Discard unopened clams. Add half the parsley and shake pan to distribute evenly. Transfer to plate or bowl and sprinkle with remaining parsley.
Skirt Steak with Salsa Verde
Recipe courtesy of chef Dean Sheremet on behalf of PERC
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 thinly sliced scallions
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained and roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional, to taste, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus additional, to taste, divided
- 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided
- 1/4 cup pistachios
- 1 romaine heart
- 1 radicchio
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- Whisk olive oil, vinegar, scallions, capers, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pour about 1/3 of dressing (about 1/3cup) over steak and turn to coat.
- Add parsley and 1 tablespoon mint to reserved dressing; stir and set aside until ready to use. Cover and refrigerate steak 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.
- In small saute pan over medium heat, toast pistachios, tossing often, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
- Set grill to medium-high heat or heat grill pan on stovetop over medium-high heat. Grill steak about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and rest 10 minutes.
- Cut romaine hearts lengthwise into quarters. Arrange romaine and radicchio in layers on large platter, leaving room on one side for steak. Sprinkle with goat cheese, pistachios and remaining mint.
- Slice steak into 3-inch pieces then slice against grain to cut steak into wide strips. Add sliced steak to platter. Drizzle reserved dressing on romaine and steak.
Source: Propane Education & Research Council