Friday, March 5, 2010

Vietnamese Pork and Noodle Soup

Two weeks ago, after our blizzard, I went to the Home Farm Store to get some meat for the month. I couldn't believe that they had absolutely no chicken when I went. Being the born-and- bred city girl that I am, my first emotion was annoyance at this enormous inconvenience. The more I thought about it the more it made sense - they were affected by the snow storm just like the Giants and Wegmans of NOVA. However for them it was even worse... supplying their store takes more than having a truck drop off some chickens that were butchered who knows where and who knows when! The snow affected every aspect of their supply chain beginning with the egg and ending with the nice, packaged boneless chicken breast I was there to purchase. It reminded me that being committed to eating local means not everything is available all the time... a luxury I know I have grown used to.

So on that note, I stocked up on some pork tenderloin because it was all they had at the time. The cilantro, scallions, tomatoes and jalapenos in this recipe are ALL things that grow in the summer and if I was really awesome, I wouldn't use them at all because I know that to thrive they had to have been grown in some warmer climate meaning they were shipped from quite far away...losing nutrients and wasting fossil fuels in the process.

This is just further proof that everything is easier in the summertime if you ask me. Anyone can say they support local food in the summer... its easy! Everything grows! Just like anyone can call themselves a runner in the summer. It takes a lot more dedication to wake up in the freezing, dark, cold of winter and force yourself outdoors than a nice, warm, sunny morning. I wonder if I could ever be as dedicated to eating seasonally as I am to running through the seasons.

This recipe is pretty easy and is the kind of thing you want to have when you're sick. The ginger and jalapenos would clear up your sinuses in a heartbeat! Kid friendly... not so much. But I used the linguine noodles in the soup to make them their own kid friendly pasta, so I didn't feel like I was making two totally separate meals.

Vietnamese Pork and Noodle Soup
(from Food and Wine magazine, with changes of my own)

1 handful of linguine
1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 scallions, chopped
1 pork tenderloin cut into strips (mine was about 1/2 pound)
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tbl fish sauce (it really doesn't taste fishy in the soup)
1 tbl soy sauce
1 qt of chicken broth
bean sprouts
half a bag of spinach
juice from 1 lime
cilantro leaves chopped (or basil or mint)
chopped fresh jalapenos (optional of course, necessary if you ask me!)

Cook linguine separately. Heat olive oil in a soup pan. Add pork tenderloin (lightly salted), ginger, garlic, and scallions

Add tomatoes and jalapenos. Let cook down for a bit.

Add chicken broth, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Let it come to a boil, add spinach and reduce to a simmer.

Add bean sprouts, lime juice and chopped cilantro.

Before serving stir in the linguine noodles. A little goes a long way.

Yum Yum

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