It’s only mid-April, but Northampton experienced an inconceivable heat wave last weekend. Highs of 90 Fahrenheit, which is absolutely unacceptable, imo. But it inspired me to remind myself (and others) to prepare for warmer weather.
If you have a dermatologist, they will agree with me—wear sunscreen when going outside. And if you can, avoid being outside during the height of the day when UV levels are highest. My weather app frequently tells me to wear sunscreen until 5pm. If you care about your skin, it’s important. Hats are also a good choice. +3 constitution!
As we move toward summer, I’ve been thinking about how I need to water my plants more often. You’re probably going to want to drink more water, too. Hydrate or die-drate!
✨Be Aware of Hot Cars✨
Every time I get into my car I’m like “ooh, yikes, this is dog-killing weather,” which might not be exactly true, but it’s hot in there. Remember to think of your furry friends and children when you park your cars. And try not to burn your hands on seat belt metal.
✨Check out Farmers Markets✨
Summer farmers markets are coming soon! It might be too late for you to grab a farm share from your local farm (still worth checking), but you can definitely buy local produce from farmers markets and other venues. If you’re on SNAP (or food stamps), don’t forget to utilize your HIP, which gives you an extra $40 per month to spend on fresh, local produce.
✨Check in with yourself✨
A third of the year has already gone by, wowzers! Take a quiet moment to think about whether you’re achieving what you set out to do this year. There might be things you’ve fallen behind on that you still want to do or tasks that just won’t get done unless you make time for them. I had “get a new passport” on my to-do list for three years, and I finally finished filing the paperwork! Good job, Chelsea!
A third of the year has gone by, and if you haven’t taken any time off since before New Years, you should. If you can afford to take a personal day (if your job provides them) this is me giving you full permission to call in sick and rest for a day. Burnout is rampant and capitalism kills. Nothing is worth your health, be it physical or mental. You will be doing everyone a favor, including yourself, by taking a day off to recuperate.
And, because that was a lot of PSAs, here is something in return—a delectable, one-pan recipe that I’m pretty sure nobody has ever tried:
“Peruvian Japanese Curry”
(Trust me, it’s good)
Multicultural grocery store staples align in this nontraditional curry, which sports a robust savory heartiness with just a hint of sweetness.
1 at-least 12” pan with lid
1 Onion (baseball sized)
2-3 cup tomatoes, Pureed or Crushed
1 bag small potatoes (spring potatoes, fingerlings, or otherwise)
½ Red Pepper
1 Bag Fillos Peruvian Lentils (if you don’t have this, standard lentils with cumin and cilantro will do)
1 Cube Golden Curry Japanese Curry Mix, Mild (or spiced to your liking)
Acquire a large pan, 12 or 14 inches across. Bigger also works.
Put a tbsp or two of olive oil into the pan. I don’t measure because I’m ✨a goddamned artist.✨ Turn stove on… medium. If your stove goes straight to Volcano, maybe put it a little lower than that.
De-skin onion. Dice. Put diced onion in pan. Crinkle salt over onion.
Cover onion to steam. I usually go for something between a steam and a saute.
Quarter potatoes. Toss them in the pan as well.
(I know my lid doesn’t fit… you may also notice that my pan is literally bent out of shape because I dropped it once.)
You want the onions to golden. If they char at all, add ¼ cup water to the pan.
Keep an eye on the onions and potatoes. Once the onions are golden, add 1 or 2 tbsp soy sauce. Stir.
Dice the red pepper and add to pan.
Add garlic and paprika. I don’t measure because I’m ✨a beautiful culinary princess who can’t be held down by unit measurements✨ but idk, maybe like a tbsp of garlic and a full tsp of paprika.
So now you should have all your stuff in the pan except the lentils and the curry mix. Most of the time in this recipe is the duration that the potatoes take to cook. Turn the stove down to low (idk, a 3?), and walk away if you want, but set a timer for 15-20 mins so you don’t forget to come back.
If the potatoes are done, they will dent if you tap them with a wooden spoon. That’s what you want. At that point, add the lentils on top of the rest of the food. Stir in. (If you’re a purist, you can cook the lentils yourself, but I don’t because the packaged kind saves me time and I have a finite lifespan.)
After the lentils are in, you have two choices. One, you can stop. At that point, the dish is kind of a potatoey shakshuka minus the eggs. That’s a perfectly acceptable dish. Two recipes for the price of one!
Or, you can add the curry. To add the curry, I usually add a cube of it to a cup of hot water and stir until the cube is dissolved, then pour the curry broth over the lentils and potatoes. (If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even try putting in a spoonful of miso paste instead of the curry. I haven’t tried this yet, but I bet it’s good.)
((If for whatever reason you can’t find Golden Curry brand curry, you could probably mix together curry (the spice) with sweetened soy sauce and that would work too.))
After the curry broth is added, cook off a bit of the water if you’d like (you’ll need to remove the lid for this), and the dish should be good to go! It’s so hearty and comforting. A really good hot dish if it’s cold out, but honestly I would eat this cold straight out of the fridge if I was hungry. Fantastic meal prep dish for us efficient chefs busy doing ✨art✨.