Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Valley Cove Oranges

or, In Praise of Non-local Produce.

I try to eat local whenever I can (though I'm not nearly as obnoxious about it as Stuart is) but it would be miserable to impossible to eat local year round here in the frozen north.

Enter, Valley Cove Oranges. While they are not certified organic, they are "ecologically nurtured" and are grown without any chemicals, and I would be willing to bet that their lack of certification is largely a result of not wanting to fuss with the paperwork. The co-op here has been carrying them every winter for years, and I trust the produce buyer's judgment to only buy good, sustainably grown stuff.

And besides that, they are amazing. Juicy and sweet and just a tiny touch of tart. Good for eating (I like the little ones better, and eat two at a time) or juicing, or you can make this stir-fry, adapted from a recipe in a book called 1000 Vegetarian Recipes From Around the World. (When I made this last night I made up for the non-localness of the oranges by using local carrots and onions.)


oil (canola or walnut or peanut)
2 1/2 cups carrots cut into matchsticks
1 fist-sized red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup peanuts
4-5 oranges, peeled and segmented (do not cut)

1.) Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan. Saute the carrot and onion until vegetables have softened.

2.) While that is cooking, whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, tamari, and ginger in a small bowl. Add to pan and stir to coat thoroughly, allowing the sugar to caramelize just a weensy tiny bit.

3.) Add the orange segments (stir gently so as to not break them up) and peanuts and warm through. Really, don't leave it on the heat for more than twenty seconds or the oranges can start to get bitter. I don't know the biology behind this, but I've had it happen and it's really sad.

4.) Serve over rice and go, "Oh geez this is good."

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