Well it’s here. Spring has finally officially arrived in full force and I’ve dove straight into my spring routine.
I’m averaging six podcasts a day (thanks Conde Nast Traveler and Girlboss Radio for the constant stream of amazing information), showering only once or twice a week, and ending most days with a glass of wine. Neither my husband nor I can ever seem to truly get full. (Luckily my thoughtful mother has come to our rescue more than once with a perfectly timed calorie-dense, protein-filled meal). All the skin surrounding my lips is chapped from the sudden intense exposure to a combination of sun, cold and wind. My feet look as if they will never be clean again. My face continues to get rosier despite the layers of sunblock I’m piling it. And I’m bailing on social engagements. It’s business as usual for April.
But that last thing is what concerns me most: the one part of farming that I’m not over the moon for. I don’t mind the intense bouts of hard work or the scabs riddling my hands and fingers. I don’t mind the stress-induced spats with the love of my life or even the fact that my head hits the pillow earlier and earlier every night. In fact, I love every ounce of farm crazy that’s going on right now; the way it takes over every second of my world forcing me to arrive at a zen-like state of meditation through doing where there is no time for self doubt, envy, or vanity. Just action and joy.
But the one thing I wish desperately was that Mother Nature could cooperate with the plans I make with the people I adore. It’s a big ask. Obviously. But I would love it if I never had to cancel on things I committed to due to the weather. I know folks understand but I’ve never wanted to be one of those people who doesn’t show up when it matters.
Every year we get a little better at setting priorities and managing expectations so that we miss less and less of the important stuff, but there are always exceptions– always big projects like putting plastic on a greenhouse during the one calm day in a week of absurdly windy days in a month that is slowly getting back on track but has also been delayed in most every way because of ridiculous April snow storms. Those are pretty much the only days I question this crazy life we’re building.
But we did get the plastic on that second greenhouse and it looks beautiful. It has nice roll-up sides and will be the perfect secondary home for cool loving crops and for slowing things down when they get a little overzealous in their growth. And most importantly, we can get to the seeding and up-potting of plants that it is time for. We worked right through our second weekend straight but the light at the end (of the first of many) tunnel(s) is in sight.
As you can imagine, in all this chaos our meals continue to be a haphazard collection of random concoctions prepared with things from our freezer and pantry as trips to the grocery store are near impossible, but I kind of love it. Unburying forgotten ingredients makes for fun meal times (though often limited in nutritional value– I truly can’t wait for the bounty of our farm to begin when packing our bodies with nutrients is as simple as walking down to the field).
For simplicity reasons and for calorie-dense (yet nutritious) reasons, this simple one pot curry has become an essential part of our spring rotation. Coconut milk, green curry paste, brown sugar, fish sauce and rice are pantry essentials in our household and we seem to always have them on hand. With loads of peppers, green beans and venison steak left in our freezer and crate upon crate of onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes approaching the end of their life in our basement, we can easily throw this meal together without thought or planning. You can also adapt the dish with whatever veggies you have lying around. A hearty green like spinach, kale, collards or chard would be a great addition but alas we won’t have any greens in our household for a few weeks still.
Happy sunshine and spring weather. Try not to blow away in these ridiculously strong winds,
One Pot Green Curry
If green curry paste isn’t currently a staple in your household, it really should be. I love its bright, mellow, herbaceous flavor. I have made my own but honestly generally just keep a jar of the Thai Kitchen green curry paste (available at pretty much any grocery store in the ethnic/international aisle) on hand. It’s super tasty and also happens to taste good with pretty much any vegetable. 101 cookbooks has a Simple Asparagus Soup recipe made with green curry paste (and a handful of other ingredients) and it was the meal that converted me from a red curry to a green curry fanatic.
Takes 55 minutes
3-1/2 cups water, divided
1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 cup white rice
2 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil if vegan)
1 large yellow onion (or 2 medium shallots), diced
1 bell pepper (green or colored– whatever you have on hand), seeded and diced
2 tablespoons green curry paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 16-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk
2 cups potato, sweet potato or winter squash (I usually use potatoes or a combination of sweet potatoes and potatoes but whatever you have on hand will work great)
1 pound steak of your choice, cubed (skip if vegan or substitute a bit more potato/sweet potato)
2 cups green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
1 tablespoon fish sauce, plus more to taste (skip if vegan)
Lime wedges, optional
- In a medium saucepan, bring 1-3/4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Once boiling, add rice. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (about 12 minutes). Remove the pot from the heat but leave the lid on for at least 5 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork just before eating.
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion or shallots along with 1 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant and softened (about 5 minutes). Add peppers and cook 5 minutes more. Add green curry paste and brown sugar, cooking until it just begins to brown and gets fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add coconut milk, remaining water and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the steak and simmer 10 minutes longer. Add the beans and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add fish sauce, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.