Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Next Chapter

On October 2, 2015, Z and I arrived in Portland, Oregon. A week before, we had left our home and families to drive cross-country to this city we had already fallen in love with.

Driving cross-country | A Hoppy Medium

When we came out here, we committed to a year, knowing we'd eventually want to return to our house, our loved ones, and our cubicles. (We both work remotely for Boston-based companies).

And here we are: even though we extended our time here a teeny bit, it's almost time for us to pack up the car again and make the trek home. I'm very excited for our cross-country trip - we're taking a different route this time, and double the days to see everything we can - and I am so excited to be home with our families. But I never could have guessed how hard it would be to leave our home here in Oregon.

Tumalo Falls in Bend, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium
Tumalo Falls in Bend.

Yes, the scenery, the food, the beer - it's all amazing here. Hell, even the coffee is incredible! All of these things make leaving hard, but the people - the lifelong friends we've made - make it the hardest.

And as I drench my keyboard in bittersweet tears, I am comforted to know we'll be back here. Many, many times. Portland, Oregon has officially become our second home - even if we're not rich enough [yet] to make that officially true. It's our second home in our souls, as cheesy as that sounds. We made some lasting memories and friendships in our year+ here; we have our favorite restaurants, bars, and bartenders; and our favorite day trips, such as to the Coast and hiking through the Gorge.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium
Multnomah Falls.

If there's one thing I learned from this crazy thing we did - you know, dropping our lives to do something totally different for a year - is that, if you can do something like this: DO IT. We almost didn't. But we were able to make it work, no matter how crazy it sounded in our minds initially. And if you really want to do something like this, you just have to do it. Life's too short not to. I would have totally regretted not doing this, but the worst part would have been not knowing just how life-changing, in the best way possible, this move actually was going to be.

Portland: Thanks for everything. We're sure going to miss you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Curried Rice Noodles with Jackfruit

Ah, fall. The time of year for crisp, gloriously chilly temperatures; vibrant foliage; pumpkin everything; and an excuse to have curry incorporated into every meal.

Curried Rice Noodles with Jackfruit | A Hoppy Medium

Curry is so warming, so comforting, so delightfully spicy and flavorful that I find myself using it all the time once the temperatures begin to drop. Whether I'm using a spice blend, a paste, or concocting some sort of curry sauce - I just love the aromas, flavors, and fingernail-staining of it all. 

Curried Rice Noodles with Jackfruit | A Hoppy Medium

So, it's no surprise that one of my first recipes this fall is filled with curry flavor. (Side note: I used Upton's Naturals Thai Curry Jackfruit here because I had some in the fridge, but feel free to use your favorite jackfruit, or even tofu, chicken, etc. This dish is very versatile!).

Curried Rice Noodles with Jackfruit
Yields: 4 servings
Adapted from Upton's Naturals
-2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
-3 cloves garlic, minced and divided
-3 tablespoons Thai chile paste 
-Salt and black pepper
-1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
-1 15-ounce can lite coconut milk
-1 medium onion, chopped
-2 green onions, sliced
-2 small red bell peppers, chopped
-1 tablespoon of chopped pickled jalapenos (optional)
-1 10.6-ounce package Upton’s Naturals Thai Curry Jackfruit
 -16 ounces udon or rice noodles, cooked
Lime wedges, extra chopped scallions, and chopped cilantro for garnish

1.) In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over low heat. Add 1 clove of the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the red curry paste along with the spices and grated fresh ginger. Add the coconut milk, and stir until thoroughly mixed. Turn heat to simmer and set aside.
2.) In a skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat, then add the onion, remaining garlic, and green onions. Stir-fry until golden, then add the red pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the jackfruit. Stir until the jackfruit is thoroughly heated and the vegetables are tender. Season as needed with salt and black pepper.
3.) To serve, place a portion of noodles in a medium-size bowl and top with veggies as desired. Ladle some coconut curry sauce over the noodles and veggies, then top off with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, scallions, and cilantro. (We also added chopped pistachios to ours, for extra protein and crunch. Highly recommended, but certainly not necessary).

Curried Rice Noodles with Jackfruit | A Hoppy Medium

This dish is super easy to whip up, and I loved all of the aromas and flavors that came with it.

Happy autumn, all! 

What's your favorite thing about fall?