I was doing a bit of optimistic almost-spring cleaning the other day when I came across this envelope, crammed full of hand-written recipes on bits and pieces of paper in various states of disrepair.
It was like finding buried treasure or reading a diary, all of these food-related memories linking me instantly to the moments when they were created; and, as is so often the case with this kind of thing, reading them left me in a bittersweet mood, nostalgic for some aspects of my old life, and fiercely grateful for who I am and where I am now.
I am not the only one in my circle of friends who has a move planned in the not-too-distant future, so I know I am not alone in my looking backwards with mixed emotions while contemplating a leap forward into the unknown.
We're all trepidatious, optimistic, and sad. We all want to embrace what's coming wholeheartedly, but are reluctant to leave behind the joy of the here and now.
We've all done it before, and we will all do it again.
The good news is that with every move, with every shift, comes the chance to lighten our load a little, and to distill the current chapter of our lives down to its essence before starting anew.
This recipe is one of the treasures that I carry with me move after move.
It was a go-to dinner during a phase in my life when several dear friends and I were utterly heartbroken yet managed to eat incredibly well. It isn't much to look at, but it's the kind of dish that you have to serve and get out of the way so as not to be trampled by people scrapping for seconds; and, although I am not a savoury breakfast person, I have been known on a certain kind of morning to eat this by the spoonful, straight from the pan.
"Pork and Beans"
adapted from Nathalie Senecal
5 tbsp vegetable oil
10 cloves garlic, minced
500 g lean ground pork
1 tsp Thai green curry paste, or to taste
350 g green beans, chopped
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp brown sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
1c water or coconut milk
Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until golden.
Add pork and curry paste and cook, stirring, until pork is no longer pink.
Add beans, paprika, sugar, fish sauce and water or coconut milk. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until beans are cooked and much of water is absorbed, 8-10 minutes or so.
Serve with steamed jasmine rice.