Labor Day always feels like the end of summer. This is a throwback to when I was still a student – first school starts, then it’s my birthday, and then Labor Day hits. Summer is over, the days get shorter, and suddenly pumpkin spice is in everything (it’s gone too far).
Which means it’s officially fall.
I’m trying to stay positive about this. Fall is nice. The leaves slowly shift from green to orange, yellow, and red. Soup becomes a necessity, not something that you force yourself to eat in 90 degree weather because you love it so much. And you can feel comfortable again while baking. (During the summer, I almost always refuse to bake with the air conditioning on, so I end sweating in my 100+ degree kitchen. And nobody wants sweat in their cookies.)
In Illinois, Labor Day is the beginning of fall (not September 23rd). Seriously. Labor Day weekend was around 90 degrees and humid. This week? Started out in the 70s, heading to the 60s, with lows in the 40s. In other words: fall.
I apologize for the somewhat lengthy rumination on the weather. Since, thus far, my blog has focused on using seasonal produce, with everything either from the farmers market or my garden, I’m going to have to rethink how to develop recipes once the farmers market no longer offers fresh produce.
Creating a recipe with the ingredients already in mind has always been easier for me than coming up with the recipe first and then getting the ingredients. Creativity tends to hit me when I have a full pantry and a few random vegetables.
Yesterday, for example, I had garlic, a bunch of cherry tomatoes (from the garden), two bell peppers (from the garden), a sweet potato, and (super spicy) chilies (also from the garden). What did I do? Baked the sweet potato and topped it with spicy lentil chili.
Earlier this week? I had some San Marzano tomatoes (from the garden), garlic, onion, and some harissa that I had made a month or so ago in the fridge. What did I make? Harissa tomato soup, topped with garlic croutons.
I can picture on-hand ingredients coming together for a recipe, but I have more trouble thinking up a recipe first. Maybe this is because what I have a “taste for” is constantly changing (if I’m being honest, though, the thing I “have a taste for” is almost always Indian food).
Either way, prepare yourself for some warming fall dishes and a lot of soup. Because who doesn’t like throwing a bunch of vegetables in a pot, letting it simmer, and then being warmed from the inside out?
This week, I have for you some Thai green curry paste. I decided to make this because I had most of the ingredients out in my garden. I decided to grow a Thai chili plant this year, and I wanted to make green curry paste before the chilies turned red. I also have a kaffir lime tree, Thai basil, cilantro, and a lemongrass plant, all of which have just been waiting for their time to shine.
I bought the kaffir lime tree online at LemonCitrusTree, and I am very impressed with how well it’s done. The tree was shipped to me in March (I had to wait a couple of weeks after ordering because they wouldn’t ship it when the weather was too cold), and it did pretty well inside for the rest of the winter. It’s been much happier outside, though, so I’ll feel guilty when I need to bring it back inside. Sorry little tree!
This Thai green curry paste is actually the perfect ingredient to have in your refrigerator or freezer for the fall and winter months. Few things are as warming as a big bowl of curry, with fresh flavors reminiscent of the summer.
Next week, I’ll post a new recipe using this Thai green curry paste. For now, however, check out these delicious-looking ideas from around the web:
- This Thai Green Curry Lentil Soup from Lisa’s Kitchen that is perfect for colder weather
- These beautiful Green Curry Dumplings from 101 Cookbooks
- Sarah Rae Smith at The Kitchn offers some unexpected uses of curry paste
- A simple Thai Green Curry with Spring Vegetables from Cookie+Kate
- This roundup at Serious Eats has ideas for using curry paste from different chefs
I know what I’m making these next few weeks…all of the above!
Have any questions or just want to say “hi”? Leave a comment below!