Ford Motor Company is presenting their new initiative where vehicles will be made to include various car components that are made of sustainable products. Through a cooking class, Ford shared how these sustainable products will help the environment and create a better way to produce vehicles.
The cooking class, held at Well Done Cooking in The Heights neighborhood, featured nearly all of the sustainable ingredients being used in Ford vehicle components. Over the next five years, Ford is making a $4.5 million investment in sustainable vehicle products in addition to making all of their vehicles to have an electric engine option, and planning to have 13 eco-friendly vehicles on the market by 2020.
Chef Celeste led the cooking class where the main sustainable ingredients of soy, coconut, and dandelion greens were used to create a full course meal. Along with those ingredients, Ford is also using wheat straw to reinforce storage bins in their Ford Flex vehicle, and tomato skins are being developed into plastics for storage bins as well.
First Course: Tuscan Dandelion Greens Salad
- 2 tbsp. dried currants or raisins – Placed in a small ramekin
- 7 tsps. white wine vinegar – Separate out 2 Tbsps. (6 tsp) of vinegar and place in ramekin. Put remaining 1 tsp. in a small container.
- 1 bunch dandelion greens – Center ribs and stems removed, washed and dried (about 1 pound) Lay several leaves of greens on top of each other and cut thinly crosswise. Add to a large bowl.
- 1 tsp. finely grated lemon rind – Place in a small container
- 0.5 fl. oz. fresh lemon juice – Placed in a small bowl to whisk together with next three ingredients
- 1 Tbsp. honey – Place in a small container
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil – Place in a small container
- 1/2 tsp. salt – Place in a small container
- 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds – Place in a small container
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese shavings – Place in a ramekin
- 1 cup garlic parmesan croutons
Soak the raisins/currants in about 2 tbsps of the white wine vinegar and set aside for a while. Clean the greens and cut into moderate pieces, set aside. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the remaining white wine vinegar, honey, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and rind, and salt. Add the vinaigrette, croutons, cheese, sunflower seeds, raisins, and croutons to the greens and toss together to serve.
Dandelion greens are being used to develop synthetic rubbers to be used in floor mats, cup holders, and interior trim. Scientists have found that dandelion roots produce a milky-white substance that can be turned into a sustainable rubber.
Second Course: Thai Green Curry with Lemon Rice
Preparing the curry is quite a process but very well worth it. I never knew I liked curry until now and it’s a lot of fun to make. Here are the ingredients used in Chef Celeste’s Thai Green Curry.
- 2 Thai chilies – Finely chopped and placed in a small container
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger – Grated and placed in a small container
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds – Crushed and placed in a small container
- 1⁄2 tsp black pepper – Ground and placed in a small container
- 6 scallions – Roughly chopped. Place this in a large bowl with next 6 ingredients
- 2 cloves garlic – Peeled and left whole
- 1 large lime leaf torn – Remove the vein and use only the leaves (use Kaffir if you can find it and use twice as many leaves)
- 2 Lemongrass stalks – Peel and chop only the soft parts 2 large handfuls Thai basil – Remove from the stems
1 large handfuls fresh basil – Remove from the stems
3 large handfuls cilantro on the stem – Use stems
- 2 Limes – Zest limes with micro plane and use juice to taste 2 tbsp soy sauce – Placed in a small container
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil – Use squeeze bottles to add to food processor while it’s spinning the rest
- 1 14 oz. can of coconut milk – Will be added to cooked curry to simmer
1 handful pistachio nuts – Chopped for garnish. Placed in a ramekin.
2 cups Basmati rice – Cooked ahead (usually using 1 to 1 ratio rice to water)
- 1 roasted tofu
Combine all ingredients into the food processor, except the lime juice and olive oil. Add your limes juice and olive oil gradually to smooth out the paste. Season to taste by adding more salt or soy sauce. Once the mixture is smooth, strain the mixture. Pour the strained curry into a cast iron skillet with a splash of grapeseed oil to heat, gradually add coconut milk. Let the curry simmer over low heat for five minutes and continue to stir. Add your roasted tofu to the curry. Serve the curry over lemon rice or white basmati rice, top with pistachio for a nice crunchy texture.
Soy beans, used to create tofu in our foods, are being used for foams in seat cushions, seatbacks and head restraints in Ford vehicles. The motor company was the first to introduce soy-based foam as an option in 2007 and has used that method in all vehicles built in North America since 2011. Chef Celeste roasted the tofu using sesame oil but Ford is using other oils in their vehicles as well. Applications are being developed to use locally sourced soy oil, mustard seed oil, castor oil, and palm oil from various regions. Castor oil foam is used in instrument panels in various vehicles while others contain castor oil-based fuel lines or soy oil-based seals and gaskets.
Third Course: Coconut Gelato
This was the one dish that we did not physically make, but it was a nice treat after all of our hard work making the curry.
- 8 oz. milk
- 14 oz. Coco Lopez – (NOT coconut milk)
- 12 oz. heavy cream
Stir all of the ingredients together in a bowl before placing the mixture in an ice cream maker to freeze. Top with coconut flakes for serving. Ford is using renewable materials from coconut coir, fibers from the husks, to reinforce plastics in trunk mats, dashboard features, and cupholders. This is currently being used in the Ford Focus Electric battery powered vehicle.
Throughout the class, not only were we given the opportunity to work with the sustainable ingredients, but also able to see them in action as a 2017 Ford Fusion Energy was on display. The vehicle runs 20 miles on battery power before the gas engine kicks in which is equivalent to 42 miles to the gallon and it also has a park assist feature to help drivers with parallel parking. Saint Arnold’s Beer worked in collaboration with the event to promote their initiative where customers can bring in their empty beer cases to recycle and be rewarded.
I had a great time making new friends and making new meals all while learning of new methods of sustainability. All of these meals are mostly gluten-free and contain no meat. That is something very new for me because I have never created such a delicious full-course meal that doesn’t contain any type of bug protein staple. It’s very nice to know that it can be done and that it can be tasty as well. Ford is taking a stand in the way cars and car components have been traditionally made by beginning to use methods that are very environment-friendly. I’m very happy they provided such a fun way to introduce the world to sustainable products and the way they are taking a stand to create a better Earth.