Alexa Now Gives You Tips on What to Do With Food Scraps

Chef Dan Barber and Amazon team up to help reduce food waste.

Editor’s note: We kicked off our first annual Food Loves Tech event last summer in Chelsea—here’s a recap. We’re bringing a taste of the food and farming future back this year, but just across the East River at Industry City. Interested in food waste? We’ll be discussing it with food and ag industry experts on Saturday, November 4 at 11:30 a.m. More info and tickets here.

This story is part of an ongoing series about technology’s effects on our food supply. 

Instead of staring guiltily at those browning bananas sitting on your kitchen countertop you can now ask Amazon’s Alexa for a recipe. Amazon’s voice-controlled virtual personal assistant recently began giving tips on how to stop wasting food, such as how to tell if your yogurt is still still safe to eat, the best way to store asparagus and recipes through the new Save The Food Skill (“Skills,” are what the voice-powered apps that on Echo are called.)

Love the skill,” and “Something that is actually helpful,” are a few of the positive responses from Alexa users already using the Skill. While others said there were some ingredients that Alexa didn’t seem familiar with, Save The Food is continuing to add recipes and more information to the that you have to download to be able to use.

For those without Alexa, the tips and recipes, are also available on the Save The Food website. The recipes—including breakfast items like “Sour Milk Pancakes,” desserts like “Buried Avocado Chocolate Mousse” and mains like “Zucchini Carbonara”—were developed in partnership with the James Beard Foundation, The Waste Free Kitchen Handbook and chefs including Blue Hill and Blue Hill Stone Barns Dan Barber who also stars in a Save the Food ad campaign.

“The hope is that [Barber] will inspire home chefs to challenge themselves to get creative and do the same,” says Natural Resource Defense Counsel (NRDC) communications assistant Kim Morasse.

Barber created several recipes, one of which you can try out below, focused on using food scraps such as zucchini odds and ends turned into zucchini carbonara.

The recipes and Skill from Alexa are the second part of the Save the Food campaign created to help not only raise consumer awareness of the problem of food waste, which has become a popular topic in recent years, but to people them to take action.

“If we all start making small changes in our daily lives, together we can make a big difference,” Morasse said.

And now you have a little more help to do that.

Dan Barber’s Zucchini Carbonara Recipe

Ingredients
3 lbs medium to large zucchini
1 1⁄4 cups heavy cream
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 thick cut slices of bacon (about 5 oz)
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoons Sherry or Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for grating over the finished plate.
Salt and pepper

Directions

Cut about 1/2-3/4 inch off the zucchini ends and reserve. Using a mandolin, carefully slice the zucchini lengthwise into “noodles,” slicing all the way down the core until you reach the seeds. You should end up with approximately 7-8 cups of zucchini “noodles”. Reserve the cores.

In a small pot, cook the heavy cream and small garlic clove over low heat until reduced by half. Reserve the cream and set aside.

Cut the 2 slices of bacon into 6 equal-size pieces each.

In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium flame. Add the 12 small pieces of bacon and render until crispy, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from the heat, drain the crispy bacon on a plate lined with a paper towel, and reserve the rendered bacon fat.

Heat a small pot of water very gently to 100˚F. Remove from the heat and gently add the egg yolks to the water. Allow to sit and poach in the warm water until ready to use.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chopped shallot and sauté for 1 minute.

Add the julienned zucchini and increase the heat to high. Saute for 3 minutes, seasoning very well with salt and pepper.

Add the reduced heavy cream and vinegar and stir to combine. Stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a generous grinding of fresh pepper.

Divide the zucchini equally among 4 bowls. Using a slotted spoon, gently place 1 egg yolk (learn how to properly store the leftover egg whites for future use here) on top of each mound of zucchini and arrange 3 pieces of crispy bacon per bowl. Top with a generous grating of cheese.

Recipe created by Dan Barber, chef and co-owner Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns and featured on savethefood.com.

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Bridget is the digital strategy editor for Edible Manhattan, Edible Brooklyn, Edible Long Island and Edible East End.