|butter lettuce, green beans, corn, eggplant, basil, squash, cucumbers, pears, sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes|
There were two, tiny little worms living in one of the sweet potatoes from my Farmhouse Delivery this time around. Now, before anyone grosses out, I'll just quickly remind you that means the sweet potato had not been doused with chemicals, which makes it a million times better in my book.
But more significantly than that, those two little worms transported me back to the big side porch of the house I grew up in. The sound of the ice-cream maker was humming behind me, a giant brown paper grocery bag (before the plastic ones even existed) sat before me half-filled with husks and silks from a giant batch of fresh corn my mother had picked up from a roadside market. My cat Pebbles (named after The Flinstones) was stalking a squirrel, which was taunting her from the huge oak tree beside the porch. My grandmother and two great aunts were sitting there, in those lawn chairs with the colorful woven plastic seats and backs, yakking away. My mom was bouncing back and forth between the conversation, tending to the ice cream, and mediating arguments between my younger brother and I that started because I was throwing the worms I found in the corn at him (but only because he deserved it!). Soon that corn would be in my little kid belly, and soon after that, my mom's wonderful homemade strawberry ice cream would be there too.
I could feel the silks that fell on my leg tickling me and the squishy worm between my fingers. I heard my great aunt's famous cackle-laugh that I haven't heard in far too many years. I felt the slightly warm air. It was a strong and lovely memory, and all thanks to two little worms. To me, those kinds of memories are part of what is best about food... preparing it, eating it, sharing it with others. There are sense memories that are etched into our brains without us ever even realizing it. Then suddenly a faint smell can trigger a rush of detail about times and people from long ago, often that you no longer have access to in the present day. It's a beautiful thing to be able to go back in time.
My life is still in full whirlwind mode right now, and my cooking is still trending towards simplicity as a result. Here's what I did with this delivery:
- Baba Ghanoush, adapted from this recipe
- roasted sweet potato "fries"
- roasted green beans with homemade citrus-pepper
- tomato sauce used for pizzas and scrambled eggs
- Spicy Pork and Pear Stew (recipe below)
Spicy Pork and Pear Stew
Adapted from this recipe from allrecipes.com
Yield: 2 servings
- grapeseed oil
- 3/4 lb pork stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3/4 C chopped onion
- 1/8 C diced jalapeño pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 T cumin
- 1 T dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dried rubbed sage
- diced pears
- 2 1/4 C chicken broth or stock
- 3/4 C water
- salt to taste
- Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add just enough grapeseed oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Lightly brown the pork on all sides, then add the onion, pepper, and jalapeño and cook until the onion has softened, stirring frequently.
- Add the spices and pears and stir well, then add the chicken stock and water.
- Bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and serve.