Winter Changes + RECIPE: Sweet Potato & Lime Rice Bowl

The last time we talked (I mean really talked, you know about something other than vacations and avocados and Christmas) seems like so long ago.

My Carrot was in the midst of building a greenhouse (our first greenhouse!). I was dreaming of zoning and building codes at night and drawing up dozens of house plans during the day. The farm had been put to sleep and our winter lives were moving slowly. Honestly, the farm was the farthest thing from our minds.

A lot has changed since way back in November. Here’s what’s going on in our lives:

  • Farming is pretty much all we think about. So much happens in January and February as we plan for the season ahead! We’re taking inventory of our seeds, finalizing the seeding chart (which tells us when and how much we plant each week), finalizing the field plan, applying for organic certification (!!!), updating our website (and all online content everywhere), beginning to accept CSA members, reengaging our supporters, and planning events, plus about a thousand other odds and ends.
  • We are perhaps no longer building a home. Well we definitely are not in 2016. The options are unlimited and the costs are quite high so we’re going to think on things a bit longer. I think we’ll continue living in Little Sugar River paradise for the moment, but who knows maybe we’ll buy a home near the farm soon? I’ll keep you in the loop.
  • Our farm has been endorsed by the FairShare CSA Coalition! This is a truly exciting thing for our business! We are now invited to attend an Open House in Madison for CSA farmers and able to participate in a Partner Shares Program that helps low-income families afford CSA shares! It is an honor to be a part of this coalition, community and network of totally kickass farmers.
  • My non-profit, off-farm gig has evolved from part-time office manager to part-time office manager/ part-time fundraiser and membership coordinator. It’s super fun and I’m learning all kinds of new things every day.
  • I’m in a book! My brilliant friend and mentor Lisa wrote a book about women farmers and I’m quoted in it and there’s a familiar picture of me eating a watermelon.
  • The greenhouse is really coming along! The structure is total built. The floor is laid. The insulation is up. Currently my Carrot is hooking up the electric (all by himself) which has been a major month-long undertaking and then we’ve just got to get the propane heater connected and voila! A beautiful warm space where I hope to spend much of my March and April. Why can’t we just move into the greenhouse?
  • In far less exciting news, I’ve now officially rewatched every episode of Gossip Girl. I thought it would be worse the second time around, but it’s not, it is so much better.

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So, in other words, life is totally back to crazy and I’m far less balanced then I was in December, but Rachel Ray says “there is no such thing as balance” and she built an empire so I guess I’ll just do my best to not worry about it.

Nevertheless, our cooking has been very uneven. Sometimes elaborate, sometimes real fancy, sometimes non-existent and sometimes just a rice bowl. May I just proclaim my love of rice bowls? Well, and grain bowls, and really any dish that you can easily make in 45 minutes (less if you convince your significant other to pre-chop all your veggies before you get home), transform with yummy toppings and happily nibble up day after day as leftovers.

This particular rice bowl features all my favorite things: slowly roasted sweet potatoes loaded up with all kinds of chili spices, a variation on this mango salsa (which might be the most tasty and bright thing you will encounter all winter long), creamy, perfectly salted feta cheese, so much lime juice and zest, just a touch of ginger, and avocados (you already know how I feel about them). This rice bowl is destined to become a busy week staple. Especially if you get smart and start always keeping a giant container of mango salsa in your fridge. Add black beans or sour cream if you crave more protein. Spruce it up with hot sauce. Go wild! It’s a rice bowl. You cannot mess it up.

Lots of love, light and warmth,
Leek

SWEET POTATO & LIME RICE BOWL

Takes 45 minutes
Makes 4 hefty servings + very easy to double (or half)

1-1/4 cups water
1 cup brown rice
1/2 lime, zested and squeezed
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
SWEET POTATOES:
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
SALSA:
2 mangoes, roughly chopped– was cutting up a mango a mystery to you too? Here’s a cute little tutorial I used that was super duper helpful! Ah ha! I get it now!
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
TOPPINGS:
Feta cheese, crumbled
Avocado, sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Pour water into a wide deep skillet. Add a pinch or two of salt along with rice. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, immediately reduce to low once boiling and cover. Cook covered on low heat for 30 minutes. Then turn off burner and let rice soak up the moisture for 10 additional minutes. Remove from burner and add lime zest, lime juice, salt, ground coriander and ground ginger. Stir to combine.
While the rice cooks, toss cubed sweet potatoes with olive oil, spices and salt, spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 30 minutes.
Prepare salsa by combining mango, peppers, onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Toss to combine and set aside until ready to use. P.S. If you eat this mango salsa on it’s own it is going to be pretty limey. Don’t worry! When balanced with the rest of the rice bowl, it will be the fantastically perfect amount of lime!
Build your spectacular rice bowl! If you are me you will use 1 part rice: 2 parts sweet potato for the base! Pile feta cheese, avocado slices and mango salsa on top! Enjoy!

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