Friday, June 19, 2009

Cooking Local!

Not to be outdone by Elspeth, I figured I better post something right away. I must start by saying that it is about 90 degrees out (really), and torrential rain just started. I am warm (very warm) and dry inside, enjoying this Angelique Kidjo album (Oyaya! - that's the name of it, punctuation and all). But, to get back to the point: my CSA began this week, and I have already made two meals with the fresh veggies that I obtained approximately 24 hours ago. I fear that I will not keep up this prompt veggies into meals turn around for the remaining 18 weeks of the CSA, but we shall see. Might as well document this effort to keep me motivated come August.

So, the CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture, for those of you not in the know) is from Driftless Organics, in southwestern Wisconsin (their blog is in our "highly recommended" list on the bottom right corner of this site). Yesterday, splitting my half-share with a friend, I came home with: arugula, mint, Butterhead lettuce, spinach, purple kohlrabi, green garlic, green onions, and broccoli. Please note that nearly all of these vegetables fall into "best when eaten straight out of the field, must be eaten within 3 days" category. That's a whole lotta salad.

Last night at 10pm I found myself on the phone with Elspeth, getting directions for the arugula pasta that she posted about earlier today - I did her clever "get it ready at work" lunch version, and it was all she promised it would be and more. This evening, faced with what is still a very full vegetable drawer of fresh things, I sat down with my "How to Cook Everything" cookbook by Mark Bittman, and hoped for the best. Lo and behold, a stir fry recipe surfaced that called for a couple of CSA ingredients, some standard stuff I've got in the fridge, and an "uncured fresh ham steak" - which I just happen (oddly enough) to have in my freezer from a recent trip to the Seward Co-op. So... I gathered up the ingredients, arranged them artfully, took a photo, and then proceeded to cook my dinner. Please note the inclusion of green garlic (on the cutting board), green onion (in the small dish) and spinach (in the colander)... three more CSA veggies, down for the count!

It turned out to be delicious, and believe it or not, this was my first time cooking rice, ever. It is really easy to do - who would've guessed? If you would like to make the whole production, here is the recipe as I interpret it:

*Slice thinly one pound of pork (tenderloin, fresh ham, loin, or shoulder). Cut the slices into inch-long pieces that might be considered bite-size.

*Prepare the following: one pound of spinach, coursely chopped; 1.5 Tbsp of minced garlic (or 3 Tbsp of chopped green garlic); 1/2 cup chopped scallions.

*Heat a big, serious-looking pan. I used a cast iron skillet. Put in 1 Tbsp of vegetable or peanut oil, and the pork. Push it around for a few minutes until it looks cooked. Take out the pork.

*Add another Tbsp of oil to the pan, stir the garlic in for 15 seconds, dump the spinach in, stir it around for a minute.

*Return the pork to the pan, and dump in 1 Tbsp soy sauce and the juice of 1/2 a lime.

*Shut off the heat, put it in a bowl, top it with the scallions, and eat it with rice.

1 comment:

  1. Hey sweetie,

    I take it you are feeling better. I just happen to have all those ingredients, so I'll give this recipe a try. Sounds good!

    And, yeah for pork and being able to enjoy it now.