Sugared Violets

Hm. This batch of sugared violets did not work great. I picked a bunch of lawn violets — all I had, which wasn’t very many. And then I tried the dip in sugar syrup, put on wax paper, sprinkle with caster sugar method of sugaring them.

The problem is that the clump up as soon as they get wet, and then all the pretty definition is lost. Maybe you could separate it with tweezers, but I think they’d likely tear badly if you tried? I didn’t have the patience for it. So I have clumpy sugared violets — I have one idea for a recipe that they’ll probably work okay in, but it wasn’t what I intended. Bah.

The other method is more time-consuming, and involves using a paint brush to brush them with egg wash and they sprinkling sugar on them — I think that would likely work better to maintain the flower’s appearance. Next time I have violets, I guess I’ll try that — but I’m all out now, so I suppose it will have to wait ’til next year.

Redbud & Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Fairy food! I had a redbud for a few years, but I didn’t realize the flowers were edible. Once someone told me they were, I had to try experimenting. (We’ve kept our garden pesticide-free for ten years now, which makes it much easier to eat out of it!)

To be honest, I find that the flowers, like most, have almost no flavor — if I eat them on their own, I can taste a very faint sweetness, slightly nutty. But put them in a cucumber sandwich, and you have a teatime treat to brighten any fairy’s heart!

My daughter was a little suspicious — ‘flowers aren’t for eating!’ But I convinced her to try, and she admitted that the cucumber sandwiches were quite yummy. Of course, I think she mostly likes the butter…

Roasting seeds for curry powder

On the one hand, it was actually lovely, after a few days of grocery store hot-bar meals because the end of semester is too frantic for cooking, to be cooking again. I was just dry-roasting curry powder ingredients, nothing fancy, but between the scent of the spices and the sandalwood I burned earlier in the writing shed, I felt like I was coming home to myself.

On the other hand, I was still so tired that I somehow put the glass jar down too hard on the shelf, and it cracked a piece off, and suddenly I had coriander seed spilling out voluminously onto the counter, my cupped hand — it took a second before I even really believed I’d managed to break the jar.

I was tired enough that I just gave up and went to bed — not quite to sleep, actually, because I owed George a pitch for a Wild Cards story, which I’d started in the shed earlier, and I wanted to finish it before sleep. Which I did, though my eyes kept closing as I tried to write the last sentences — hope he likes it. My new protagonist, Jesús “Retazos” Sanchez, is a general contractor who can mend things — his patches don’t last for very long, but they’ll hold for a bit, until he hopefully has a chance to do the job properly. It’s a very tiny little superpower, generated in brainstorming with my father-in-law; I like it.

I owe George another pitch, which I’ll hopefully have some time to finish writing up today. Also owe Marco an expanded pitch. And then back to finalizing revisions on the SF novel that used to be Flight. It’s actually really close to done, I think, has been for months — just need time to sit and write it. Summer is coming, and there will be much writing.

Anyway, this morning, I woke up sore from all the gardening I did yesterday, but sore in a good way. I’ve added a bunch of natives to my garden — they don’t look like much right now, but hopefully they’ll settle in and thrive, bringing more pollinators to the garden. The coffee is kicking in, so in a minute I’ll get up and actually clean up the glass + coriander mess.

Then I get to roast curry powder spices all over again. Not because there’s glass in what I did — thankfully, that accident happened far away from the roasted spices I had been working with. (Though I’m going to have to throw away a good cup of coriander seeds, which is a sadness.) No, I was tired enough that I was sort of on autopilot, and as I roasted seeds individually, I threw them all into one big pot for grinding — which is *not* what I need today.

I’m staffing the South Asian group table at Julian middle school’s ethnic festival today, and I promised to do a spice grinding demo, and for that, I usually put out a set of little jars with the spices individually pre-roasted, and let the kids / adults measure out the spices into the grinder and grind them. I could just let them grind the mixed spices, but the measuring is more fun for them. I suppose I’ll bring the mixed stuff in a bag too, as back-up — sometimes I run low, if things are busy.

Okay — clean-up, then roasting (need to give the spices time to cool before packing up), then printing out recipe sheets, then printing out South Asian coloring sheets, then packing up books for sale (my old cookbook, since the new one isn’t even close to ready yet), stuff to decorate the table, some saris to demo textile art and dress people in.

It’s a slightly complicated day, because Kavi also has a soccer game, and is then joining me at the table for a few hours, and is then going to a sleepover, and eventually coming home tomorrow, but tomorrow is also a Maram day of cooking and art at my house, so I need to remember to pick up some plastic tablecloths this afternoon to protect tables for one of the art projects, and there are probably some other things I’m forgetting right now. Find the name tags and photo permission stickers. Bring the projector and screen up from the basement. Make a list, Mary Anne. Lists are helpful.

Monday. Monday I sleep all day. That’ll be nice.

A book, a book. I seem to have finished a book.

I have handed A Feast of Serendib off to the formatter & indexer. I’ve added photos throughout, purchased ISBNs (oof!), the colophon is done, the author bio is added. I want to revise every single recipe again, but I am not going to do that.

 

I am fighting a nasty cold that has made me light-headed and woozy all day, so I think I’m going to have some comforting rice and meen kari (fish white curry, made with halibut in this instance, which came out very nicely) and a little seeni sambol, and then I’m going to put myself to bed early. 

 

 

Maybe I’ll post some more Sri Lanka photos if I find the energy. If I weren’t sick, I admit, I would have a drink right now. I could use one.

 

A book, a book. I seem to have finished a book.

Eep.

 

Feast Kickstarter draws to a close…

Just a quick update to note that we’ve just broken 300 backers — terrific!

It’s a little unclear if we’ll make the final stretch goal; at just about $13,400 and only two days left, I don’t know if we’ll make it to $15K. Maybe? So if you’d like those cooking demo videos, this would be a great time to tell your friends and family about the project.

Regardless, great to be in the home stretch! I’m so looking forward to bringing out this lovely book.

And here’s a little treat, in case you missed my posting it on FB yesterday — I’ve finalized the 125 (!) photos for the eBook, and they’re all available to browse here on my Facebook wall. Something to whet your appetite…
Enjoy!
*****
Feast of Serendib Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/feastofserendib/a-feast-of-serendib
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Retake photography

Yesterday was a mad rush to finish off the retake photography on the cookbook — I think it is actually done, finally. I have all the photos I need. 4 days left on the Kickstarter, and we broke $13,000 this morning. Neat.

We left the kitchen an absolute disaster and simply walked out the door so we could hit the road earlier and not do night driving, which stresses me out these days. Old eyes get tired.

We’ve taken us and the kids off to a friend’s lake house in Indiana for no good reason, really — it’s too chilly this weekend to do much lake stuff. But Kev and I have just been working so hard, and I miss the kids, and I thought it might do us good to have a little time away, just in a different space. Also, I wanted to check this place out, and see if we might want to come back for a longer stretch this summer, maybe a week or so.

Anyway, Kev and I still have way too much work to do; we should really work straight through the weekend. But maybe we can do 8 hour days instead of 16 hours days; that would be a nice change.

I let myself sleep in this morning, until 9 a.m., when Anand pitifully came and asked if he could have some breakfast please, and Kev’s actually still in bed, which I think he really needed. The union bargaining ate up an incredible amount of time; it is not easy fighting the forces of neoliberalism. My hero.

Now I will finish assigning the photos, write up the salmon curry recipe that I’m adding, do one last compulsive check of the text, and then…send it off? Eep.

After that, I need to pay some people, and I need to write some things, but I’m also going to chill out with the kids. Make art. Knit a little. Watch TV. Play board games. Dream of mango mimosas on the beach in Sri Lanka…

Home stretch for the Feast of Serendib Kickstarter

Less than a week left on the Feast of Serendib Kickstarter — we’re heading into the home stretch. I just checked, the first time I’ve looked at the page in days, and someone actually signed up for the poetry package, which is delightful. (I hand-write a poem for you, on the topic of your choice.) The Island Relaxation package is almost all gone; just one left. And we’re almost halfway to the third stretch goal, where I commit to doing various teaching videos.

Heather is running numbers for me on the possibility of doing a print run (maybe yes for the paperback, probably no for the hardcover, I think, given pricing, but we’ll see, and will also be editing the little video that Kavi and I did together.)

Chugging along, chugging along.

Today, I re-cook the last few dishes to take better photos; this morning for falooda experiments — because if I’m going to re-cook, I might as well try expanding the recipe a bit too, right? I know, this way lies madness — just for the falooda, okay? Deal. And then I need to cook one more white fish curry, and one creamy mushroom appetizer, and then I think we’re done. Done? Well, we’ll see.

#serendibkitchen

Sri Lankan Bombay Toast / Bombatoast

(serves 4)

Buttery-sweet bombatoast is one of my favorite breakfast foods. The term comes from Bombay toast, like French toast, but the Sri Lankan version has sugar in the mix, so you don’t need syrup. There are savory versions too, with onion and green chili, but this is the one I grew up eating. It’s soft and tears apart as you eat it; my children love it too.

It’s the perfect meal for recuperating from an illness, or just for a lazy Sunday.

12 slices white bread (not too mushy, or it’ll completely fall apart)
2 cups milk
2 eggs
6 TBL sugar (this makes it pretty sweet; you could cut back a bit if you wanted)
butter for spreading

1. Butter both sides of each slice of bread. (You can do these as you go, pretty much.)

2. Beat the egg well and add sugar; beat well until sugar dissolves. Add mix this to milk and beat well.

3. Dip a slice of bread in the egg and milk batter (both sides) and put it in hot buttered griddle (I’d use nonstick). (If you leave in the batter too long, it’ll get soggy and hard to flip without tearing. Still yummy, though.)

4. After a bit (when you think it’s browned, but not burned, flip and cook the other side. Serve hot.

Sri Lankan-Style Green Chili & Onion Egg Bites

Sri Lankan-style egg bites, done in the sous vide — delicious. it was very satisfying finding a way to make my favorite egg breakfast in egg bite form.  The sweetness of the onion, the flavorful heat of the green chilies, all wrapped in unctuous egg and creamy cheese — perfection!

10 minutes active cooking time, serves 7.

1 T ghee or butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1-2 green chilies, chopped fine
8 eggs
3 oz. cream cheese
1 t. salt
1 t black pepper
extra equipment: 7 4 oz. / 125 ml canning jars with 2-part screw on lids

1. Fill sous vide cooker with water and set to 172 F.

2. Sauté onion and green chili in ghee until golden.

3. In a blender, combine eggs, cream cheese, salt, and pepper until smooth.

4. Distribute onion-chili mixture evenly among seven canning jars, and follow with evenly distributed egg mixture.

5. Attach lids and close to fingertip tightness — do not over-tighten.

6. Once closed, submerge jars in water bath and set timer for 1 hr.

Serve warm — I eat them straight from the jar, generally, but you can also slide a butter knife around the jar, invert onto a plate, and broil or sear with a torch for color if you’d like a fancier presentation. They reheat easily in the microwave (no lid!) for about a minute on low heat. Enjoy!