Last summer, when I began to make the first vegetable curries of the season, I was right here in our Colorado house up on the mesa. I needed a quick dinner and had a bunch of vegetables lying around the counter–including lots of tomatoes. A pot of rice was put to boil and I threw a bunch of vegetables and a little curry powder into a big skillet. We ate quite happily very soon thereafter.
DISCLAIMER: I’ll freely admit I’m no authenic Indian cook; check out Just a Girl from Mumbai or The Lady 8 Home (two of my Ina Friday friends’ blogs) for authentic recipes. Or, for a general set of instructions, check out this post.
Last week, we moved permanently from Saint Paul back to Colorado into the house we’ve owned there for eight years by now. To say it was or is a wrench is an understatement, because we love Saint Paul and I so loved my choir job at Prospect Park United Methodist in Minneapolis. Finances dictated a change to owning one house only and here we are. I’m still in the midst of figuring it all out and can’t believe what an emotional upheaval it’s been. After all, it’s just a house–right????
|St. Paul backyard|
|Gab and Tuck were both puppies in CO|
While we are born midwesterners through and through (Dave from Champaign-Urbana, Illinois and me from the south suburbs of Chicago)–and adore the four seasons, as well as the Twin Cities culture, we have always just sunk into the beauty and comfort of our ranch house in Colorado. At night in bed in the middle of a frozen Minnesota winter night, I’d walk through the Colorado house in my mind–poring over each room, looking out each window, nearly crying that no one was there. Come holidays or summers when the choir was off, we’d drive out west with Miss Gab and Tucker, and I often sobbed in relief as I walked into the house. I spent hours on the living room couch, reading and dreaming out over the city of Colorado Springs, which spreads just east of our property. On a clear day, you can see forever. I often watched Dave’s planes take off from the airport which is over 13 miles away. The same distance in the opposite direction brings views of approaching winter storms from the north or, in the case of this last summer, fires from the northeast in Black Forest. Step Inside this House–sung by Lyle Lovett.
And while it appears idyllic (“Oh, Colorado is so beautiful!”), and often is, it can be a harsh environment. Bears, coyotes, bobcats, and the occasional mountain lion make it through our neighborhood. Right now, we have a bear family traveling between our houses, snacking on available garbage, charging people and dogs and simply refusing to hibernate. In other words, sitting outside at night in the summer is best done on the deck with quick access to the house through a strong door! Fires — and recent floods — are often our frightening nearby companions. Sudden winter storms create havoc and, here in the ‘hood, mean walking home up the steep icy hill unless you have a great four-wheel drive vehicle.
|Stollen cooling on the east deck|
|bear photo borrowed from a neighbor|
|Dave with grandson, Rhyan. One of the joys of living in Colorado is our son Sean and family are here–living with us temporarily while their house is being renovated.|
|Sunrise in my backyard|
- 4 cups–give or take– cooked couscous (I used 1 box Near East couscous with olive oil and garlic)
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Large onion, chopped
- Celery stalk, chopped
- Red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 carrots, scrubbed and thinly sliced (don’t peel)
- 2 cups chopped zucchini
- 1 cup chopped cooked butternut or acorn squash
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons curry powder*
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper or a small pinch of cayenne, optional
- 1/4 cup white wine or vegetable or chicken broth
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon grated or finely chopped ginger
- 2 cups chopped cherry or regular tomatoes
- 1/4 cup each chopped fresh basil and fresh parsley
3. Stir in wine or broth and let cook down a few minutes, adding more if the vegetables appear dry.
If you liked this, you might also like my curried peppers and tomatoes on rice with grilled chicken or cooking in a time of grief