This season is a beast. Everything that’s happened so far is just a blur in the rear view mirror. I’ve almost forgotten that this season started with a freak blizzard, a hail storm on our baby brassicas, construction of a second greenhouse, a rhubarb patch, and our first asparagus field.
I’ve almost forgotten that we purchased a brand new tractor only four months ago. Almost forgotten that it’s only July and we’ve got at least two more months of significant harvests and four more months of hard work. We knew it was going to be a big year for us and boy, were we right.
I’m fully immersed in the day to day, singularly focused on making sure both my fields and my husband survive. Really nothing else matters right now. And luckily, I no longer believe I can take on mountains without first taking care about myself. And so in order to have the strength to carry my farm and my marriage on my back, I’m developing some pretty solid strategies for thriving in chaos.
My current tactics include:
- Taking breaks anyway. Even when it seems like the last thing you could possibly do or find time for.
- Canceling pretty much all social plans that aren’t significant life events.
- Spending 10-15 minutes reading each morning. Only fiction, and allowing myself fall into the story.
- Lighting candles.
- Drinking plenty of water.
- Spritzing myself with lemon balm on the regular.
- Taking a couple hours to cook as much food as humanly possible while simultaneously cleaning out my fridge and doing the dishes then not thinking about cooking again for at least a week.
- Enjoying late night TV sessions with my hubby. Bonus if the show is something we can truly get lost in.
- Dog cuddles.
- Cat cuddles.
- Riding my bike home from the farm.
- Heading out on short, spontaneous trail runs with the pups whenever I have a spare 45 minutes.
- Writing out my sorrows and my frustrations and my emotions as they come colliding in. Trying not to judge them but instead just understand them.
- Leaning hard on my people and asking for help.
I’m not sure all of these strategies are healthy, but they’re what I need in these early years of our business when investment is high, work is constant and burn out seems inevitable. How do you all deal when life is just a little too crazy? Is cooking one of your coping mechanisms? Or is it the thing you run from?
For me it definitely can be a little of both. Sometimes my time in the kitchen relaxes me and sometimes it feels like the last thing on Earth I want to do. That’s when I gravitate towards comforting classics like burgers and pizza that I know won’t take long to make. I play with these foundations that are easy, adding elements that feel gourmet but don’t take much time.
This Bahn Mi Burger feels fancy. It really is fit for a party or a special occasion but takes only about 30 minutes to throw together (especially if your hubby and you tag team like we do in our household). My Carrot grills the burgers while I slice and dice the veggies, get the mayo mixed and the buns toasted.
Enjoying simple meals that feel decadent and indulgent would have to be my number 15 strategy for happiness and health in the midst of a completely manic phase of life. Food has such a way of comforting and nourishing every part of my being. I hope you find joy and calm in preparing this meal for your family too. And I hope that your summer is a little less crazy than mine.
BAHN MI BURGERS
I know it looks like a long ingredient list on this one but I promise it will come together in a cinch. The hardest thing you have to do is cut daikon into matchsticks and pickle them. Also note that a technically traditional bahn mi uses a Vietnamese baguette, some sort of delicious slow-roasted pork product (usually pork belly), pork pate, pickled daikon & carrots, cucumber slices, pickled jalapeno, and cilantro so calling this a bahn mi is a bit of a stretch. But it’s darn tasty so we’re going there anywhere.
Makes 6-8 burgers
Takes 30 minutes
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
2 cups daikon, white or purple or a mix, cut into matchsticks (no need to peel)
2 pounds ground pork
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons sriracha depending on your preference for heat
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon sugar
6-8 of your favorite burger buns, toasted
1 large cucumber, very thinly sliced
1-2 jalapenos, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup roughly packed basil leaves
- Make pickled daikon. Combine rice wine vinegar, water, sugar and soy sauce together in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add daikon and leave at room temperature to rest while you prepare the rest of the burger. Let pickle for at least thirty minutes. Feel free to do this step the morning or night before preparing the burgers.
- Make your burgers. Combine pork, garlic, and curry powder in a large bowl along with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Form into 6-8 patties depending on the number of mouths you are feeding. Grill the burgers or cook them in a small amount of vegetable oil on the stovetop until cooked through or about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Prepare spicy mayo. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.
- Assemble burgers. Spread a generous about of spicy mayo on the base of your toasted buns. Top with a 6-10 slices of cucumber followed by burger patty. Add a few basil leaves, some jalapenos and a generous pile of pickled daikon followed by the top of your bun. Press down slightly to try and make your burger a manageable, bite-able size and enjoy!