Well, here we go! Local food in our households. Simple and common, yet what a road it has been to get here!
If there is one common thing that sticks out as I travel around our bioregion meeting with wholesale producers and buyers, it is how hard everybody is working and how close the margins are to keeping us all in business. Together with the invisible hands of the market and the mysterious powers of nature, producing food from living organisms is a delicate art form. In fact, I have always reveled that it is the highest art form. To nurture seeds from the planning stages of winter, or even from the season before, then to sprout them in precision, then to get them into the meticulously prepared soils, then to nurture that crop, to weed, water, and protect from herbivores, hail, wind, too much sun, heat, cold. All through the season the men and women tend patiently until that magical moment arrives when the alchemical mix of those elements that could have destroyed the crop just weeks before (water, sun, temperature) make for a ripening, for a harvest. Hats off to the process, the people, and the food!
In last Thursday's box:
CHICO STEW (compliments Ann Lachman)
• 2 cups chicos
• 10 cups cold water
• 2 T. oil
• 1/2 pound pork, cut in ½ inch cubes
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 2 t. salt
• 1/2 t. dried oregano
• 4-5 dried green or red chiles, crumbled
• Soak chicos in cold water overnight, then cook (with the water) in a crockpot all day on low. If you prefer, you can just simmer them on the stove for about 3 hours after soaking.
• Heat the oil on medium flame, and sear the pork.
• Add the onion and garlic, and cook until translucent.
• Add the salt, oregano, chiles, and the chicos with all their water. Cook 20 minutes (or longer, as desired) to blend the flavors and rehydrate the chiles.