This is my perfect cooking scenario: I walk into the farmers market with an open mind and no preconceived recipe idea. I take a quick scan and an idea instantly pops into my mind. I grab zucchini, tomatoes, cilantro, basil, these gorgeous amaranth greens, and we head home. (Ok, we stop at the doughnut stand, and then head home).
Later that night, I start chopping, mincing and simmering. Jack works on the computer upstairs and instead of being mad that he’s working yet another weekend, I go to my zen place of carefully balancing flavors over the stove. Lemongrass, coconut and lime zest perfume the kitchen. He comes down, we pour wine. I continue simmering and we taste… it’s nearly perfect. Maybe a pinch of salt. I layer in diced tomatoes, barely wilted amaranth greens, herbs, and pour it over my zucchini noodles. Everything comes together exactly how I had envisioned and then it even sits well for the camera. Click, click, click, and then we lovingly sit down and enjoy sunday dinner.
I promise, this never happens. At least not from start to finish.
But it’s the times like this that keep me going… they reset the score and make me forget about the recipes that have been labored over, the food that wilted before the camera, the dishes that piled up in the sink. And of course the snarky comments that Jack and I have exchanged throughout this process. It’s moments like this that remind me to think less, intuit more, have more patience, and to be more open. Good things happen when you’re open to them happening. A Love & Lemons life lesson and a recipe…
zucchini coconut noodles
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2-3 scallions, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 approx. 4-inch piece of lemongrass
- splash of fish sauce (or tamari)
- juice of 1 juicy lime & some zest
- pinch of coconut sugar
- salt & pepper
- 1 bunch aramanth greens (or spinach)
- 2 roma tomatos, diced
- 3 zucchinis, sliced thin (ideally with a julienne peeler), or rice noodles
- small handful of basil leaves
- small handful of cilantro leaves
- crushed, toasted peanuts
- chile-garlic sauce, or sriracha
- tofu or other cooked protein (optional)
- Heat coconut oil over low heat. Add most of the scallions, grated ginger and the lemongrass piece (whole, you'll remove it later). Add the coconut milk and fish sauce and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, while you prep everything else. (about 20 mins). Add lime juice and a pinch of sugar. Taste and adjust. If it becomes too thick as it reduces, add a few tablespoons of water.
- Dice & deseed your tomatoes and add those to the pan.
- Prep zucchini noodles and set those aside.
- Chop amaranth leaves and add those to the pan. Stir them in until just wilted.
- Add basil and stir until wilted.
- Turn heat off, remove the lemongrass piece, add zucchini noodles and serve into bowls immediately (you don't want the zucchini noodles to cook).
- Top bowls with cilantro, crushed peanuts, and serve with chili-garlic sauce.
sidenote: even if you’re not a gadgety person, I highly recommend getting a julienne peeler. I’ve all but quit using my vegetable spiraler because it’s a huge contraption to drag out. You can get a julienne peeler for as cheap as $9, and it takes up no space in your drawer.