It’s been a very cool, wet spring but now the days are longer and hot, and at noon the sun feels too bright and strong. I’ve been waking early again, going out in the cool, misty mornings, enjoying the gentle and almost alpine air to work in, and spending the bright, hot part of the day resting indoors.
It isn’t until the late afternoons, when the light turns honey-like, the sun peeks like a golden treasure through the tree line, and the shadows slant long across the pastures that i come out again.
Then i am working, in the garden now, wheeling heavy loads of mulch, tying up tomatoes, and starting pots of okra. The earth is all fragrant then, after the heat of the day. The plants and animals seem to be exhaling and waiting for the gloaming and the blissful night.
I work until the color fades from the sky behind the black lace silloutes of the dark trees, and the crescent moon is sinking through the clear lavender sky in the West.
Time is of the essence. Summer has already taken ahold, the spring garden has turned to flowers and bitter leaves and woody roots. I am gleaning the last of the winter- planted vegetables before it’s too late.
I always try a new flower or vegetable every season, and this season it was celtuce, and i am finding it easy to eat and grow. It spent most of the winter as little bunches of lettuce, and contributed to salads. Now it has bolted up into tall stalks, and we are eating it while we can.
Once peeled and cooked it has a pleasant, mild flavor and wonderful crunchiness. It makes a wonderful stir-fry, but I have been mostly enjoying adding it to soups, where it is like celery, green and crunchy, but with a different flavor.
Most of the carrots have gone to seed, but there were a few left, the wonderful oxhearts, stumpy-looking but very sweet.
A nice thing about this recipe is that it uses a left over roasted chicken, which can end up dry and bland the next day.
I don’t think there’s any way to really take a flattering picture of a leftover roasted chicken frame. This is what it looked like when it was pulled from the raptor cage (when my family was done with it).
Coconut Chicken Curry
1 leftover chicken frame
Peanut oil, coconut oil, or lard
1 small onion straight from the garden, with green top and everything (you can add a scallion if you are stuck with “boughten” onions)
1 celtuce stalk (you can sub celery, it’s an unusual vegetable not commonly found in stores here anyway)
A bunch of kale
A handful of snow or snap peas
A handful of cutting celery, or celery leaves
Several sprigs of cilantro
1 hot pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 bulb of lemon grass
Salt and pepper
1 quart broth or water, and any drippings from the roasted chicken
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
1-2 fresh limes
- Pick all the remaining meat off the chicken frame and set aside. (Don’t forget to make broth with the bones!)
- In a soup pot heat the oil or lard and sautee the onion and garlic until onions are clear, saving the green top.
- Peel and slice the celtuce and carrots, and add to the pot.
- Pour in the broth and coconut milk, add the kale (chopped up into bite sized pieces), the hot pepper, the lemon grass, and the cutting celery.
- Season with salt and pepper and simmer until vegetables are tender.
- Add the snap or snow peas, and cook 5 more minutes.
- Just before serving add the dry roasted peanuts, sliced green onion top, reserved chicken, and chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.