Ginger, Passionfruit & Cashew Dark Chocolates

Ginger, Passionfruit & Cashew Dark Chocolates

This is actually a reasonably healthy chocolate, I think? I was aiming for something that might be almost as healthy as trail mix, in terms of nutty protein and dried fruit, but indulgent-tasting. It came out really well! I’ve never made filled chocolates before, but it turns out that making the chocolate shells is surprisingly easy, and even fun. 

I used passionfruit and ginger, because I love that combo, but you could sub in any dried fruit you liked.

NOTE: Even though there’s a photo here that shows big pieces of dried fruit in the food processor, I don’t recommend trying that, as you’ll likely just jam up your food processor and have to stop it and take everything out and reset it, the way I had to. Chop (or use scissors to cut) some first — big pieces of dried fruit are very gummy!

Ingredients:

2 c. dark chocolate chips, melted (ideally tempered in a double boiler, but microwaving at 1/2 power and stirring every 30 seconds ’til melted also works)

Filling:

• 1 c. dried passionfruit, chopped fine
• 1/2 c. crystallized ginger, chopped
• 1 c. roasted salted cashews, chopped
• 2 T honey
• 1/2 c. cocoa powder, sifted
• 1/2 tsp coarse salt
• zest of 1 orange
• zest of 1 lime
• 3 T mango juice

1. Fill mold with melted chocolate to the top, then turn it over the pan and let the chocolate drip out again. It should pour out quickly, and then you can flip it over and let what remains in the mold dry, creating a chocolate shell.

2. Combine chopped passionfruit, ginger, and cashews in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped and mixed. Add remaining filling ingredients and pulse until well blended; it should resemble a thick paste.

3. Once the shells are dry and set, add a little bit of filling to the center of each chocolate. Pour in enough melted chocolate (re-melting or re-tempering as needed) to fill them again.

4. Let dry and set, then pop them out. Enjoy!

NOTE: You’ll have extra filling left over, quite possibly. You could make more chocolates.  But I think this would also be very nice to spoon into a brownie batter, and I might try that if we have any left over.

Seattle, Elliott Bay Book Company

Seattle, Elliott Bay Book Company. I went by to drop off a copy of A Feast of Serendib, to ask whether they might want to do an event there if I came back. First of all, their cookbook section is very impressive — Seattle people must like to cook! (Long, dark winters…) And check out the big dedicated section on SE Asian cooking; that tells you where you should try eating out when you’re in town.

But the funniest bit was that way back in 1997, twenty-two years ago, I did a reading here when I was a student at Clarion West. And amazingly, the programming guy, Rick, actually remembered me from back then! How cool is that? (What I would give for a memory that worked that well…)

Rick’s even going to Sri Lanka in a few weeks, and we had a great conversation about his travels there, and about other Sri Lankan American authors he likes, and it was just very cool. I hope I can manage to fit in a Seattle trip for the book launch this year!

A request, my dears? If you’ve read A Feast of Serendib, write a review?

A request, my dears? If you’ve read A Feast of Serendib, and feel inclined to review it, even a few lines, it would be GREATLY appreciated, for both GoodReads and Amazon. Honest reviews are welcome.

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46363491-a-feast-of-serendib

Amazon:
https://smile.amazon.com/Feast-Serendib-Mary-Anne-Mohanraj/dp/1645432750/

(And if there are other review sites I should know about, please tell me more…)

#serendibkitchen

Serendib Kitchen website redesign

Hey, folks. With Stephanie‘s help, I’ve spent a while updating the Feast page on the Serendib Kitchen site. If you feel like glancing at it and letting me know if you see any issues, that’d be great. It was a big block of text before; I’m hoping that it’s now more easily accessible and appealing! I’ve added in some background material as well.

http://serendibkitchen.com/a-feast-of-serendib/

I’m wondering if I should link at least some of the recipes listed there to pages on the cooking blog? Most of the Feast recipes aren’t on the site yet, I think, although many will likely be by the end of the year, esp. as I plan to start doing more and more cooking videos. I’ll be adding those videos too, as they get edited, at least as a link to the YouTube channel. (Not ready yet!)

#serendibkitchen

Feast: officially supporting SAMBAL Sri Lanka

As we’re getting ready to more formally launch Feast, I’m trying to think through what I want the cookbook to do in the world.

One thing I’d like to do is give back concretely in some way. I thought about directing a percentage of profits to Ajit George‘s wonderful Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project, but I think that’s primarily based in India, and I really do think it’s more appropriate that it be a Sri Lankan nonprofit this particular book supports.

My cousin Genisha Saverimuthu and my aunt Marietta Saverimuthu support SAMBAL, which does education work with disadvantaged children in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. (That’s my aunt in red at the head of the class in the second photo.)

SAMBAL seems like a really great fit with Feast — even the name is appropriate! And I know that I can trust them to do good work with any funds raised.

My aunt travels to Sri Lanka regularly to work with the children in these village schools. After all the heartache our country has been through, it’s good to see some smiles on these sweet faces.

***

“OUR MISSION
Sponsor A Mind Build A Life (SAMBAL) was established to provide charitable assistance to children who are disadvantaged due to war, poverty, natural disasters and other calamities primarily in Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

We partner with organizations around the globe to identify children in need and develop coordinated efforts to nurture their physical, intellectual, emotional and social growth. Through sponsorships and program donations from individuals like you, SAMBAL builds lives and empowers underprivileged children to reach their full potential.

WHY SAMBAL?
In many parts of South Asia, rice and sambal is a staple food–the Eastern equivalent of bread and butter. A spicy side dish made with chilli peppers, sambal is eaten from Sri Lanka to Malaysia by young and old and considered the bare minimum for a regular meal.

We believe that every child should be afforded a daily bit of rice and sambal but also the sustenance to develop socially, intellectually and emotionally despite their hardships. By feeding a mouth and feeding a mind, SAMBAL builds a child’s path to a better life.”

More about SAMBAL: http://www.sambalnow.com/page-about1.php

#serendibkitchen

Seattle: Dinner at Wild Ginger

Dinner at Wild Ginger in Seattle with the Sri Lankan panelists for MLA. Funniest part — none of us thought the food was spicy enough, so we asked for some hot sauce.

 

They brought us a bowl of delicious house-made sambal. Perfect. Then we finished the bowl. So we asked for another one. Then we finished that bowl. We contemplated asking for a third one…but we were pretty stuffed by that point, so decided the leftovers would be okay without.

But as the person who ate the leftovers the next morning, we should’ve gotten the third bowl too. 

Good food (particularly liked the sea bass appetizer), best company. Could’ve talked with them for hours and hours and hours more. Thanks, Dinidu Karunanayake for organizing us.

Much love, Dinidu, Maryse Jayasuriya, husband Brian Yothers (who was the first to ask for more sambal), Sugi Ganeshananthan, and SJ Sindu. Come to Chicago ANYTIME. I will host you and feed you and try to set up something at my university so people can see how awesome you all are.

(My mango-lemonade soda with chili *was* appropriately spicy and also delicious, btw.)

Food writing class

A friend is looking for a food writing class, like the one I took with Pooja Makhijani at Catapult. Suggestions? She’d love one in Chicago, but since that seems unlikely, online? Or a local workshop of people who are working on food writing, perhaps? If the latter, in the Oak Park area would be ideal for her.

New food books

In case it’s of interest, I had a gift certificate for $200 in books, and I decided to go all in on food memoir-ish stuff. This is what I’ve ordered:

The Language of Baklava, Diana Abu Jaber
A Cook’s Tour, Anthony Bourdain
My Life in France, Julia Child
Home Cooking, Laurie Colwin
How to Cook a Wolf, MFK Fisher
Grape, Olive, Pig, Matt Goulding
Blood, Bones & Butter, Gabrielle Hamilton
A Year in Provence, Peter Mayle
The Apprentice, Jacques Pepin
Tender at the Bone, Ruch Reichl
The Making of a Chef, Mark Ruhlman
Yes, Chef, Macus Samuelsson
Domesticity, Bob Shacochis
Toast, Nigel Slater
Give a Girl a Knife, Amy Thielen
Rhapsody in Schmaltz, Michael Wex

I imagine some reviews will be coming along at some point…

Let’s see if I can identify these meal photos

You know I’ve been too busy when I get months behind on posting photos from my phone. Let’s see if I can identify these meals:

a) I made a salad with roasted brussels sprouts — I remember that it was tasty, but don’t remember the occasion!

b) This was dinner in Greektown with George R.R. Martin and one of his fabulous assistants when he was in town — yumyum. (And did I feel very cool? Yes, yes I did.

)

 

c) I think this was a poached egg in a salad with…oh, now I can’t remember. Maybe Amanda or Nara or Roshani or Kavi? Definitely at Léa up the street, I think. Good! I’m not sure if I’ve had a poached egg in a salad before; I approve.

d) Experimenting with painting edible gold dust on chocolate cookies pressed out with a fancy die-cut roller. Dust = good. Roller = good. Cookies = meh; at some point, I’d like to develop a cookie recipe I’m happier with for this kind of application. Something with a little zing to it.  Chocolate-cayenne, perhaps? Or abandon the chocolate and go for a classic lemon sugar cookie…maybe we’ll experiment for Valentine’s Day. What are V-day flavors to you, aside from chocolate? Hmm…I’m thinking passionfruit cookies are worth experimenting with!

e) This is the one that really makes my mouth water. Stringhoppers and curries. Nothing better! I can’t remember who I was eating this with, but I must have liked them a lot if I pulled out the string hoppers….