The Wonderful World of Local Cooking
Hi everyone! My name is Maria, I’m lucky enough to be one of the interns on Bertrand Farms this summer. One of my favorite things about this internship is the opportunity to learn more about the local food movement. Eating local is a great way for us consumers to combat environmental degradation. While traveling to far-off places might seem fun for us, the transportation involved in moving all those exotic or processed foods to your local grocery store isn’t doing great things for the earth. While eating local might seem like a limitation on what foods you can use, I try to think of it as the opposite. How fun to explore the new foods I’m finding right here in our neighborhood, to meet the wonderful people growing this food, to experiment with new recipes and ways of cooking these nutritious, delicious foods!
As a part of the intern program, Theri has us rotate making lunches for the crew working on the farm that day. The goal is to not only get us more comfortable in the kitchen, but also to encourage us to think seriously about our local food system. We are only allowed to use ingredients grown locally (a loose term, but we try to stick to things that are grown or could be grown in the Midwest) in our meals. We have been given two exceptions, deemed necessary for life according to Theri: olive oil and coffee. I kicked this summer’s intern lunches off on Wednesday with a recipe I adapted from Martha Stewart (link here!), who adapted the recipe from one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks, “Feast.” I had to make some changes, however, to abide by the local-only rule (lemons are a no!!). Despite its origin, this recipe is not vegetarian due to its use of chicken broth. Theri had just finished some homemade broth the day I was cooking, and it made this dish. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
(makes 4 side servings) (total cook time: 1hr) Ingredients:
-6 cups chicken broth (for best results, make your own!)
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-1 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
-10 to 12 small radishes
-1 bunch (6 cups) swiss chard, de-stemmed and torn into large pieces
-10 large lemon mint leaves, torn
- Bring broth to a simmer in a saucepan. Remove from heat, but cover to keep warm.
- Heat oil in medium pot over medium heat. Add barley and stir to coat until toasty, about 2 mins.
- Add 2 cups broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Stir frequently and simmer until broth is mostly absorbed, about 5 mins.
- Add radishes. Add remaining 3 cups of broth, ½ cup at a time, letting each addition to absorb before adding more. Keep the pot simmering, stirring frequently, until barley is tender and creamy. This whole step should take about 30 mins.
- Add chard and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 5 mins.
- Optional: add salt (I used about ½ tsp) (we decided this wasn’t reallllly local, whoops!)
- Remove from heat. Stir in lemon mint.
- Serve warm. Enjoy!