In about 36 hours, my life is going to dramatically change. Husband, who has spent the vast majority of the past three years traveling for months at a time will finally rest his roots back in our home. The long gaps between visits home will no longer be the norm, and rather, the long gaps between travel will dramatically change the face of how the daily life of this family runs.
I'm so grateful to God that finally Husband's work settles him back more with our family and our home, but I also have a lot of trepidation. I'm not sure how I will adjust to a new roommate. I'm not sure how he will adjust to having four needy, loud, dependent, boisterous, rambunctious people smack in the middle of his daily life. I know there will be lots of change and I'm preparing to adjust many things in order to accommodate this dramatic and exciting change. I'm praying daily that God makes me a better wife, a more patient one, a more accommodating one, and one who isn't going to be ready to make like a bandit for the hills should things get too hectic.
There are going to have to be changes in the physical space (I've been working on a man cave/office for the husband) but more importantly, I see massive change in...the kitchen.
For the better part of the past 36 months, the kitchen has been about ME. It's what I want to cook, what I want to eat, what I want the kids to eat, what I feel like doing (or not doing) and it's really been my domain. I answer to no one, think about few, and really only consider my own personal needs. With Husband back in the picture - things change. Husband doesn't like to eat certain things, and lest I want to make two meals (I HATE THIS), I'll have to adjust to his wants and desires, which mostly boils down to a lot of Korean, with short forays into Italy. We'll not have potatoes, or beans, or too much fish sauce.
Too much fish sauce you say? Yes. Too. Much. Fish. Sauce is not Husband's favorite. He'll smell it and he'll walk in the other direction. He's also not a huge fan of cilantro, which happens to be almost my favorite herb of ALL time. (Children enjoy too.) And so suddenly, my fish sauce, cilantro laden curries don't become things that are easy to cook with Husband at home, because these are not food he enjoys.
That's why, before he returns to rest in his roost, I decided to go all out and bang out this Thai inspired yellow curry noodle soup. I made it really for me, not expecting Children to go for it at all, but it turns out, noodles always win them over. They appreciated the flavors, slurping down the rich broth, and overall giving it high marks. Daughter #2, who has become one of the finicky eaters in recent days (meat and rice only please, thank you) ate two bowls, as long as I didn't put in the red onions.
It's simple to execute, really just making the curry paste, which comes together quickly in the food processor. The rest is simply boiling and then assembly, which makes it a great week night meal. You could certainly make the curry paste the night before and then the next day you could bang out this meal quickly. The other not so great part is that you do need to boil noodles separately, but the end result is so delicious, you won't regret it.
I used these fresh rice noodles, which basically can be flash boiled in boiling water, and then they come out lovely. Feel free to substitute any noodles you like; the original recipe called for egg noodles (Son's egg allergies made it a no-no) but I think I prefer my rice noodle version regardless.
Lemongrass Coconut Curry Noodle Soup
(adapted from Bon Appetit March 2013)
Serves 6 to 8
3 medium shallots, halved
1 stalk lemon grass, bottom 3 inches only, outer husk removed, roughly chopped
8 garlic cloves
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro stems
1 tablespoon (or 2 tablespoons if you like some serious heat) sambal oelek (ground chili pepper paste)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
Purée shallots, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, cilantro stems, coriander, turmeric, curry powder, and 2 tablespoons of water in a food processor, adding more water by tablespoonfuls, if needed, until smooth.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, halved lengthwise
1 pound rice noodles (I found some fresh ones that just need to be briefly rehydrated in hot water)
3 tablespoons (or more) fish sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
Sliced red onion, bean sprouts, cilantro sprigs, and lime wedges (for serving)
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add curry paste; cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, 4-6 minutes. Add coconut milk and broth. Bring to a boil; add chicken. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is fork-tender, 20-25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Let cool slightly; shred meat.
Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.
Add chicken, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, and sugar to soup. Season with salt or more fish sauce, if needed. Divide soup and noodles among bowls and serve with toppings.
Perhaps I can convince him to at least taste it. With the squeeze of lime, it's just pure deliciousness.