When Local Isn't Local

goodies in the cuisinart

A couple of weeks ago, a very good, very old* friend of mine emailed to ask if she could swing by the Berkshires for some rest and relaxation after a long few months traveling through Asia. I told her she could stay with us for as long as she wanted, on one condition: that she cook us some food.

As you might imagine, the Asian food selections in this neck of the woods leave something to be desired — for respectable ingredients, you must travel over to Albany, NY, not a trip I want to make on a regular basis. And despite my fondness for cooking at home, most of my experimentations in this vein taste the same — like soy sauce. It would help if I had a cook book, but why bother when a veritable expert house guest is town?

For several days in a row, Lina cooked up the kind of food you can only get streetside in Thailand and Japan, or in unexplored enclaves of Queens, probably. The growing season here is just trickling to a start, so we made good use of a fantastically flavorful chicken from Misty Knoll, and stuffed more than a few spring rolls with pea shoots from Sidehill Farm and bright yellow egg from fresh, farm-raised chickens.

If that wasn’t enough, later in the week we did an about-face and made carnitas with pork from Cricket Creek Farm, and topped our tacos with freshly-dug radishes. But I’ll save the photos of that adventure for another day.

All this is to say that local doesn’t have to be local. Our ingredients usually come from close to home, but our recipes can travel.

grinding spices with a mortar and pestle

sprouts, cilantro, egg

spring roll

thai chicken curry

* Is it possible that I now have “very old” friends of 10+ years? I guess so. Frightening!

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