A recent conference call with about 75 Kaiser Permanente farmers' market organizers and supporters from 22 markets in five states was the forum for an update on the creativity of our colleagues. The markets are being used as a focal point for change. Santa Teresa's mobile cooking demonstrations have gone to 25 sites and more are planned for 2006. L.A.'s South Bay facility is continuing the cooking classes for kids at the YMCA and is helping to create community gardens. Denver's short seasonal market (they're not open now and are jealous) hosted different educational booths at each market during the summer. While the "Ask a Nutritionist" booth was appreciated, Free Chair Massage Day got the most business. Portland's market has 1,200 shoppers per week and the hospital's cafeteria buys from the market for the salad bar.
Of more than 1,200 shoppers at 17 of our markets, 71% of repeat shoppers reported eating more fruits and vegetables because of the existence of the Kaiser Permanente markets. It seems putting fresh, tasty food right in front of people entices them to try new foods. There were many more stories and exciting future possibilities reported on the conference call, however, these stories will stop if the markets don't survive long-term. Some of the focus of next year's work will be to create new ways to help support the small and mid-size family farms who direct market at Kaiser Permanente. Hopefully, you can support your local farmers' market, whether or not it is at Kaiser Permanente.
This week's recipe uses some market ingredients and some grocery store ingredients. It uses one pot and one bowl. I don't have a clue how long it takes because I was listening to music while cooking. Pick a really cold night and make this. This recipe is rich, spicy and liberates you from the usual all-red chili.
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1-1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2" pieces
3-1/2 Tbsp chili powder (There are actually measuring spoons with a 1/2 tablespoon in the set. Find one and you won't regret it.)
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes in juice (I like Muir Glen organic)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper
In a large soup pot, sauté the onion, pepper, garlic and jalapeño in a little olive oil until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, scrape the visible fat off the chicken thighs before cutting them up. Drain the beans in a colander, reserving the liquid. Set the cooked vegetables aside in the colander with the beans.
Salt and pepper the chicken. Sauté it in a little more olive oil until the outside is no longer pink (or whatever color it was to start with.) Mix in the chili powder, tomato paste, cumin and oregano. Add the beans, the cooked vegetables, tomatoes with juice and one cup of the reserved bean juice.
Simmer about 25 minutes. If it's too thick, add more bean juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the cilantro and serve. I can't even begin to tell you how tasty this is.