Isn't the world a funny place? All my California friends are sitting in front of their air conditioners eating ice cream all day and we have been
patiently waiting for something that even resembles heat (there was SNOW last week!) A couple weeks ago we got tired of waiting and decided to make summer happen. I took my very last final on a Thursday afternoon and we loaded the car up and drove south until we hit summer, just as the sun was fading from the sky.
We camped in the desert dust, under one bazillion stars. We explored the cliffs and hills around our campsite, collected rocks and chased lizards. We studied the art on the walls of the valley floor, and climbed high to watch the desert roll out into the horizon.
FUN FACT #1: My husband has four fingers on one hand (surprise!?).
[note: 2 year old + exercise bike is not a good combination].
FUN FACT #2: I am fascinated with the Anasazi Indians, and love to study about their life once upon a time in our deserts. I was pretty excited when we saw this pictograph (see it--right in the center) with four fingers on the left hand......because, seriously, WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!
It's some kind of sign....
Ali and I hiked waaaaay up high to sit in the breezy heat and take in the surroundings.....I mean, look at this view.
and then, we did this......
When you are desperate for sunshine and heat and your winter skin needs to be thawed, it's funny what you will do. You will sprawl out in sand.....that isn't really sand, just to soak up the heat. You will hike and hike and hike down the muddiest desert stream as your kids float and squeal down the "rapids". You will wonder what to do when you get stuck in the mud up to your knees and come thiiiiiiisssssss close to losing your shoes forever in the muck....
You will watch them float every day, alllllllllll day, because it' feels like summer.
And that feels good.
all desert photos taken on my phone
We returned home to the cold and I still was craving the heat. As the snow fell in the mountains we drank tea and made spicy soup for dinner.
Spicy Chicken and Coconut Curry Soup
adjust the heat to your liking by paling around with the amounts of chili flakes, ginger, and curry paste.
2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
5 carrots, sliced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (extra seeds = extra heat)
large pinch of dried chili flakes (I used a few pinches)
1-2 TBS grated fresh ginger* (I used 2 for some extra zing)
4garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
1-2 TBS red curry paste (I used 2 for more heat)
4 cups chicken broth
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
extra chili flakes for garnish
*did you know you can freeze fresh ginger! yes! keep it in the freezer if you can't use it all up fast enough, and you can just grate it frozen when you need it.
1) Heat a few TBS of coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chicken to the oil with a pinch of salt. Sauté until cooked through and golden. Remove chicken and set aside. Sauté the onion, pepper, carrots and jalapeno, adding more oil if necessary, until veggies are tender.
2) Return the chicken to the pot with the vegetables. Add the ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook for a few minutes. Add coconut milk and curry paste, and mix well. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add cilantro, and lemon juice. When soup comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 30 minutes, longer if you have the time--the longer you simmer, the more the flavors will have time to party.
Top with more cilantro, chili flakes, and cashews.
blogged 1 year ago: short stories
blogged 2 years ago: hiking with little legs
blogged 3 years ago: a love letter to my tomatoes