Thursday, October 09, 2008

Back on the Local Wagon

Cranky's Cousin Steve came over for dinner. He's visiting California on business, but it's always great to put in some good family time together.
I don't know if Steve realized it, but we served him a dinner of entirely local — Bay Area local — food. Backyard tomatoes, onions from the garden, beans from Tracy, chicken from Marin County, cheese from Northern California.
We made a pot of white chili. Mild, sure, but flavorful and rich.
I'm not going to yammer on about the food. I just want to say that we topped the chili with ultra-thin slices of fresh jalapeños from the yard. Not very not, but crisp and green. A really nice garnish.
I think I can quit pickling all the jalapeños as they grow large now. I'll spend the rest of the season eating them raw.


Dagny said...

Chili. Yummm. But I like my peppers with a little kick. Like you should have to have dairy with the stuff.

The Spiteful Chef said...

I've never had white chili. I've heard of it, but never had it. You've just inspired me with your delicious picture and description. The greatest news of all is that my creation will likely be totally local to Marin county as well, since, well, you know the complaining drill re: San Antonio by now.

Heather said...

Save some of those jalapeƱos for pickles!

Lannae said...

Yeah, I love offering the locally grown and made dinner too. Mmmmm home made!

Anna Haight said...

Looks good, and local is fun! Thanks for your encouragement!

Choosy Beggar Tina said...

WHITE CHILI. YES. I had a big debate with my beau about chili when I said that I was making a white chili - he maintained that a chili was not chili unless it had the core elements of tomato sauce and kidney beans. I had made it with navy beans, ground turkey, tons of veggies and some chicken stock for juice. He refused to call it chili, and I'm still bitter about that. Because I'm nosy, what did you have in yours, Cookie?

cookiecrumb said...

Dagny: I would have liked it hotter too, but you never know when you're having guests what they can tolerate.

Spitey: God I wish I could spend half a day with you in SA, trying to find the good stores. Maybe a Latino store? Good place to find beans and chiles. Cheese, too.

Heather: We have jars 'n' jars of pickled peppers. Enough to get us through the winter.

Lannae: That's nice. Thanks.

Anna: Local gets easier, too, doesn't it?

Tina: Tell your lout of a beau that kidney beans don't belong in chili. Unless you're from Cincinnatti. I can see his point, from a narrow linguistic perspective, but lighten up dude! (In Texas, beans aren't allowed at all.)
Our chili was made with Great Northern beans. We cooked them with herbs from the garden, and they came out so fragrant, we used the bean water as the liquid for the chili.
Also: Onions, some mild green and some hot chiles (not bell pepper; gack), some pretty fresh stewed chicken chunks... Seasonings to ratchet things up: habanero powder, salt, a shake of cumin (not local).
Grated cheese on top.

Choosy Beggar Tina said...

PS: I emailed him that response. HA. I love lording these small victories over him and will likely bring it up for weeks to come.

Him: "Hey Tina, I notice that your laundry pile has spread so far that it's now carpeting the bedroom."

Michelle said...

That sounds fabulous! I've never had a white chili before, but this is the second time I've seen the dish in the last two or three days (personally, I'd take it at your place over any other!). Hmmm...Beans and family are two things I'm sorely missing this month. Welcome back on the wagon, bovril lover ;)

(ps. I had a few olives yesterday, green olives. And they were SO NOT local! But they were SO delicious! And I didn't even feel the least bit guilty about it! Shh...)

peter said...

Frost permitting I'm going to smoke all our jalapeƱos & serranos next week because I CAN'T DEAL WITH ANY MORE HOT PEPPERS.

cookiecrumb said...

Tina: Just don't tell him where I live. I bet he hates me now.

Michelle: I couldn't do without olives. Fortunately, they are local to Northern California. I'm trying to decide if I should ask my neighbor whether I can give her olive tree a good shake.
(I have also made a totally BLACK chili, with boudin noir! Fun.)

Peter: Sorry if you've already done this and I didn't notice, but have you pickled peppers? A simple hot brine (water, salt and vinegar) poured over sliced jalapenos (and leave the seeds in). Add a teensy pinch of cinnamon for something special.)

Sweet Bird said...

I should so try doing a local diet while I'm living in this area. I imagine it's easier here than most anywhere. Hell, half the food is grown here, eh?

What do you do for flour and oil though?

altadenahiker said...

Well, we can only hope your friend didn't see this post. If he knew you were so lazy you just picked some grassy stuff from the backyard rather than shopping the 10 for 10 at Von's, I don't know what he'd think. Did you at least pretend the onions were from Guatemala?

cookiecrumb said...

Sweet Bird: Oil is easy. We have loads of local olive oil producers. Paso Robles. Marin. Modesto. Foothills. Those might work for you.
Flour is harder, but if you're open to whole-wheat, then there is flour (and wheat berries) from Full Belly Farms in the Capay Valley and also from Eatwell Farm (both Sacramento Valley-ish; perhaps outside of a strict 100-mile limit, but who cares?).
One more thing: You are living in the delivery zone of the best CSA in the world, Mariquita Farms. Check it out. I am jealous. (Though their subscription list is full; waiting list only.)

Hiker: You love to razz me! Isn't it absurd that I grow food I can eat? Heh. Good thing it's not owned by Lehman Bros.

altadenahiker said...

Ok, if you cook, I'll stake my tent in your back yard.

Jon said...

I've never heard of white chili... but if the word chili is involved I'll eat it.

cookiecrumb said...

Jon: Guess what. There's a recipe for white chili in today's SF Chronicle (10/15/08). The point is, white beans, white meat and no tomatoes. You can use green chiles for heat, and it's pretty. Just make it up!