We booked the tickets in April. I got an alert that round-trip flights to Hawaii had dipped below $400 for the exact week that our friends happened to have a trip to Maui planned. A trip they had already asked us to join them on several months prior.
The list of reasons not to go was long: we already took a big trip this year, the flight left less than 48 hours after our last CSA box of the regular season, the timing was awful (falling several weeks before the close of our season during one of the most “dangerous” times of year for quick and unexpected frosts, plus our employees weren’t even done working for us until the following week), we had four (now five) animals to take care of, and we had just bought a new car. And these were just the obvious reasons we probably shouldn’t go.
There are always a lot of reasons NOT to do things, especially when it comes to travel. Life is busy and finding the time to get away can be so hard. Sometimes the prep work of a vacation is so draining that you wonder if the vacation is even worth it.
So why did we go anyway?
Well, first of all, life is short and I will always say yes if I can. With our seasonal farming life, there are a lot of times we really cannot say yes. So even if it seems a little irresponsible or a little frivolous or a little hard to pull together, I will say yes when I can because it is always worth it.
But also, and much more importantly, my Carrot and I made a vow to each other in January that we would travel more with friends. We were 12 days into a two-week road-trip adventure in the Pacific Northwest. We were enjoying ourselves immensely (as we always do), exploring the Oregon coast staying in a farm-to-table home and paradise outside Nehalem. The house was perfect, but large, and it felt lonely with just the two of us which led to conversations about how blessed we feel to get to spend so much of our lives with one another, but also how much we miss spending quality time with all the other people we love.
My Carrot and I do so much together. We work together, we cook together, we watch sports and movies, we go on hikes and dates and try out new restaurants. We spend so much time one on one and it’s fabulous. We’re obviously lovers and best friends and both feel so fortunate for that. But we also have deep love for our friends and our families, our coworkers and our CSA members. And our life is crazy many months out of the year and we just never feel like there is enough time for everyone. A handful of annual parties and quick double dates rarely allow us to get below the surface. It’s not enough. We need more of the people we love, and so as we sat in front of the wood stove of an enormous house, we decided travel would be the best way to achieve that. So we looked at each other and said matter of factly that the next trip needed to be with our friends.
A few weeks later, things manifested as they do and the lovely Kyle and Ashley invited us to join them in Maui.
So that’s how we find ourselves heading to Hawaii for 8 beautiful days on the heels of our sixth CSA season. We’re a bit stressed minding all of the end of season details. We’re worried there’s going to be some freak blizzard that our employees will be panicked trying to handle on their own. We’re still trying to get our pack shed construction completed because who knows what the weather looks like when we get back.
It’s a totally crazy time of year to try and get away. But honestly, we’re overjoyed. We never could have guessed when we booked our tickets in April what this season would have in store for us. We never imagined that things could be so hard or go so wrong. We never would have thought we’d have seriously earned this one more vacation in 2018. But we sure did. We earned beaches and rain forests, banana bread and meandering roads. We earned every minute of Hawaii beauty and sunshine.
I have so much more to tell you about our 2018 season. The lessons I learned. The strength I found. The changes I can’t wait to make. The new projects I’m launching. The peace I’ve found in still not being pregnant. But for now, I’m just going to get to packing. And eating more salads. Because I’ve got a bikini to squeeze into in four short days!
In gratitude of all life’s adventures,
RAW BROCCOLI SALAD WITH FRIED ONIONS & PEANUTS
Inspired by Dining In
Lately, this salad seems to be the only one for me. I love the nutrition of raw kale and broccoli, It just feels so healthy and rich and packed full of nutrients (even when topped with a bunch of delicious fried junk). Here, I massage the broccoli and kale gently with a mixture of vinegar, oil, sugar and fish sauce to break it down slightly before topping it off with a pile of peanuts and fried onions. The combination of salt, sweet, rich and nourishing is absolute perfection. And that really does not surprise me one bit since it’s inspired by a fabulous Alison Roman recipe!
Takes 25 minutes
Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side dish
1 large onion, halved and sliced
1/2 cup flour
1-1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 head broccoli
1 bunch (8-10 leaves) lacinato kale, stems removed and chopped small
1/4 cup peanut oil (don’t have peanut oil? use 1/4 cup of the oil you fried your onions in instead)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
3/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes, to taste
- In a large skillet heat 2 inches of vegetable oil over medium high heat.
- While the oil warms, prepare your onions. In a small bowl, toss onion with flour and salt until well coated.
- Once oil is just starting to glisten, it is at the right temperature. Add half the onions and use a fork to make sure all the onions are submerged. Fry until golden brown, about 4-6 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Fry second half of onions and drain as before. Leave onions while you prepare your salad.
- Cut your broccoli by removing most of the stem and then cutting the head in half. Slice the head thinly so you end up with long, elegant pieces of broccoli. Place in large bowl with the kale.
- In a small bowl, combine peanut oil, vinegar, brown sugar and fish sauce. Whisk until smooth. Pour over vegetables and massage until uniform and well-coated.
- Serve salads with fried onions, peanuts and red pepper flakes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. If eating part of the salad letter, store greens separate from peanuts and fried onions so they don’t lose their crunch.