If you’ve been following the Dark Days Challenge, you’ll see I skipped out on Week 5. I didn’t skip out on local eating, but I did skip out on writing about it.
To make it up to you, I have a wonderfully clever meal for week 6! Starring the delicious pork from the sadly defunct TLC Ranch (keep up with this family’s new adventures via Honest Meat). Prior to TLC Ranch closing their barn doors, I was able to purchase on of their last pigs, which was then butchered, vacuum-sealed and stored in my freezer (actually, my neighbor’s freezer).
I chose to use a pork loin chop for this meal, a bit strange since you need to then remove the meat from the chop, but I am a big believer of using whatever cuts you have. And I have lots of chops (try saying that three times, fast!). This meal would probably be best with pork tenderloin, a superior cut of meat. But the price of tenderloin reflects that. I wanted to compare the cost of my pig to store-bought to demonstrate that sourcing your own meat locally is not always as expensive as people would assume. What I’ve realized is that the cost varies greatly depending on the cut.
For example: I spent $5.50 a pound for my pig and $1 per pound butchering cost, bringing the cuts of meat to $6.50 per pound. Also note that my pig is organic and pasture-raised, a luxury in my local area given that land is so expensive in the Bay Area and pigs require lots of land. As a result, it’s very difficult to get pasture-raised pigs locally, which is one of the reasons I am so sad that TLC Ranch has closed.
Back to the price comparison, Whole Foods sells pork tenderloin for $13.99 per pound, compared to my $6.50 per pound cost. Additionally, their pork (at least on the several trips I made) was not organic or pastured, reflecting the issues I mentioned above.
So you will see why I wouldn’t want to douse a wonderful cut of meat, such as a pork tenderloin, in sweet and sour sauce. The pork loin chop made a fine substitution.
Local sources for other ingredients: The broccoli was fresh from the Farmer’s Market, I used a lavender bell pepper from my summer garden that had been frozen in strips, as well as snow peas frozen from my garden. Garlic was from Gilroy (of course) and the Olive Oil was from McEvoy Ranch. The sauce was comprised of apricot preserves (a gift from my neighbor, made from her tree), my homemade ketchup, and cranberry orange vinegar.
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP olive oil
1 cup sliced bell pepper
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups trimmed snow peas
4 TBSP ketchup
4 TBSP cranberry orange vinegar (substitute apple cider vinegar)
Make your sweet and sour sauce by mixing apricot preserves with ketchup and vinegar. If the sauce is too watery, you can add a tablespoon of cornstarch. If it’s too thick, add a tablespoon of water. Mix well and set aside.
Heat a large skillet over high heat; add olive oil to coat the skillet. Add the pork strips and stir fry until browned, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and stir fry for an additional minute.
Transfer garlic and pork to a plate and add vegetables to skillet. Stir fry vegetables, over medium-high heat, until they begin to brown, 3-4 minutes.
Add sauce, reduce heat to simmer, and and stir to coat. Add pork and garlic mixture to the skillet and stir to combine. Stir frequently until sauce is bubbly and thickened and vegetables are crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes.
Serve with rice.
This recipe is adapted from Weight Watchers