Do you have a favorite season? Mine is Spring. I think. From the first foraged salad of the early days to the summer solstice, watching the plant world come alive after a long winter of hibernation is magical. I forgot just how magical it was after spending 4 years in the 2 seasons that are Northern California, rainy one and not rainy one.
Then, of course, there is Summer with tomatoes, peppers, melons and an endless list of summer crops. Or Fall with the changing leaves, bountiful harvests and the most ultimate food holiday of the year, Thanksgiving (which even trumps Halloween, my birthday). Even Winter, when all your pipes are broken and you’re sleeping with your face 2 inches away from a wood stove has it’s own attributes. While green everywhere is undeniably lush and gorgeous there is a stark beauty in bare trees covered with freshly fallen snow. Winter offers a natural break for farmers. It’s time to hunker down and get the crock pot going.
I have to admit, I am pretty picky when it comes to eating out. Having lived in New York City for so many years I had discovered my favorite Thai, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Peruvian, Brazilian, Spanish and Mexican restaurants throughout the five boroughs. It’s hard to top the quality and authenticity of global cuisine elsewhere. Living in the country for the past 5 years has taught me that if I want Thai food now, I’m making it myself. And yesterday, I wanted Thai.
Spring Coconut Curry with Zucchini and Peas
2 bulbs fennel (small, or 1 large one), sliced thin
3 small green onions, sliced thin
1 garlic scape, minced
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tsp. each, curry powder, ground cumin, cayenne powder, paprika and turmeric
1 can coconut milk
1 cup fresh shelled peas (or frozen peas)
2 small (or 1 medium to large) zucchini sliced into 1/2 in. to 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon green onion tops, sliced thin
2 large leaves fresh basil, chiffonade
noodles or rice of your choice (I like ramen or brown basmati)
In a hot medium skillet combine fennel, garlic, green oil and coconut oil. Saute until the vegetables have softened and add the spices. Cook until very fragrant and vegetables are slightly browned on medium heat.
Add can of coconut milk and heat til just below boiling. Turn the heat down to low on the burner and add peas and zucchini. Cover and cook til the peas and zucchini and just cooked (about 5 to 7 minutes). Adding salt to taste.
Serve over your favorite rice or noodle and add fresh basil leaves, scallions and chili oil to garnish.