Well, it's official. It finally rained! With the long overdue rain, comes a collective sigh of relief as our dried out yards and gardens soak up the water and our hearts and minds can rest at ease that the long summer drought is over. Don't get me wrong, it's been an amazing summer - the warmth and sun have been giving and actually healing it a lot of ways - but the effects of all this dryness have also been downright alarming - and totally foreign to us west coast rainforest dwellers - to say the very least.
As we settle into this new seasonal shift, the rain brings with it a wind, and with that wind always - inevitably - comes whispers of change. The change that happens when we say goodbye to another carefree summer and settle into routine - a reality complete with rules, and instead of restlessness we embrace responsibilities. Looseness is replaced with structure, and with structure (hopefully) comes security. I love fall, but better yet, I love what it represents.
I spend time pondering the notion of security as something I value deeply - especially during times when I'm on my own with my girls while the husband travels for work. We've been settled for many years, he and I (and them), in a comforting, solid existence that has formed the foundation from which every endeavour I pursue is based on. I'm fully aware that I am a lucky lady, and I am reminded each and every time he leaves for a longer period just how much. Whether he's far, or a little farther - work can take him any where from California, Whistler, Asia, or to Europe - I know the distance isn't easy for him either. Thankfully, we've grown together this way as he's always been here and there, and through almost 18 years together we've developed our process, our ways, and those things we just do, and say, and feel while apart. This trip was longer than most and I'm not too proud to admit I felt this one. I'm ever thankful for these reminders... and I'm especially grateful that I'm still glad everyday that I found him - that we found each other - and that he's as solid and dependable and as patient as he is.
Here's to the changing of the seasons, and a renewed appreciation for the things that make it special. More time inside with our loved ones, doing things that bring us closer and remind us of why we choose everyday to live this life together. Hot meals, cold nights, and pots and pots of hearty home-cooked food and good old-fashioned gratitude. Hey autumn, bring it on. I'm ready.
Lentil Vegetable Curry w/ Tomato & Coconut Milk:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 medium-large onions, chopped
- 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1.5 cups Laird green lentils, or any green lentils
- 2 small yams or sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped into one inch pieces
- 1 796 ML can crushed tomatoes
- 1 can coconut milk
- 3.5 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large handfuls baby spinach
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 bunch cilantro, minced (optional)
First things first with these curries - measure out all of your spices in advance to save stress and time while you are cooking them. This will ensure you can enjoy the cooking process and avoid burning these delicate spices. Measure the black mustard and cumin seeds and set aside together. Next, combine the coriander, garam masala, turmeric, cayenne, and 1 tsp salt and set aside together. Chop the onions & sweet potatoes, and mince the ginger.
In a medium-large pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat until hot, about 1 minute. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and cook, stirring for about 1 minute, or until the mustard seeds are popping. Next, add the chopped onion and ginger and cook, stirring for 5-6 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the remaining spices & minced garlic to the pot and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until fragrant (be sure to stir the whole time to avoid burning).
When the spices are smelling wonderful, add the lentils, tomatoes, chopped yams, coconut milk, water, and the last 1 tsp salt and stir well. Cover with a lid and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Cook at a gentle simmer with the lid on for 40-45 minutes, until the lentils are soft, and the flavours are well incorporated. Just before serving, add the spinach in batches and cook for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and serve with plenty of ground black pepper and freshly chopped cilantro, if desired. This curry (like most curries) will taste even better the next day and in the days following, so make a batch and enjoy it all week with rice, naan bread, or on its own.