Easy Way to Feed the Kids

Lots of posting this morning, but now I’m going to turn off FB for a while and try to write. I leave you with a one-pot dish — take my Sri Lankan ginger-garlic chicken, cook it most of the way, add 1-2 cups of water, bring to a boil, dump in a bunch of leftover takeout rice, cook the water out, taste and add more salt if needed, stir in some frozen peas.

Easy way to feed the kids around here and also to use up leftover rice that’s starting to get dry. 

Another Swing-and-a-Miss

This is another swing-and-a-miss. I like my chocolate-spiced cookies; the hint of cayenne brings out the chocolate beautifully, and the dough takes embossing well, letting me have fun with decorating. But they’re a little plain, and they seemed to be crying out to become sandwich cookies. I could’ve gone with an Oreo-type filling, which honestly would likely have worked better, but I thought a mango filling would taste even better with the chocolate and cayenne. So far so good…

…but I had some homemade mango curd left in the fridge, and I think that’s where my frugal instincts betrayed me, because I tried to make that into a filling, mixing it with confectioner’s sugar and melted butter. It tastes nice, but it was just too goopy, my friends. If you refrigerate it for an hour, and then pull it out to serve, I think you’d be okay for a bit, but after 30 minutes, it’d soften so much that it’d be squishing out filling with every bite, which not ideal.

Back to the drawing board — I need to figure out a good mango cream filling from scratch, instead of attempting a false economy. Can do. (I wonder if I can use amchur powder to get strong mango flavor, without the moisture of the mangoes themselves? Hmm….)

A Qualified Success

Hm. I’m going to call this recipe a qualified success. I went looking for lemon bars with cashew and coconut, because I thought that might be nice, and I found this recipe, which I think might actually be gluten-free, as the entire base is just cashew, coconut, honey, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt. That part is pretty yummy.

The lemon bit, though, tastes…healthy? Even though I upped the honey from what they suggested. I mean, it’s nice, and both Kavi and Kevin said it was good too, and we’ve certainly been eating them, so I guess if you want a healthy-dish lemony snack, this is a good option.

But when I want a lemon bar, I don’t usually want something that’s good for me, you know? I want a puckeringly sour, but also beautifully sweet dessert, and this isn’t that. I think I’m going to try again, probably marrying elements of this crust (which I really did like) with a completely different lemon bar for the filling. Interesting.

Time Is Blurry

A journalist is writing a piece on my cookbook for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which is lovely, and she sent me a fact-checking query about how long I worked on the cookbook, so I went to go look at my blog to confirm that I spent a summer developing recipes, and wow, my memory is terrible. I started work on Feast in May 2015, finished recipe development in August 2017, and handed a final draft off to layout in October 2017.

A summer is not the same as 2+ years, Mary Anne. Time is blurry.

Chocolate-Dipped Madeleines with Passionfruit Flakes

I’m not going to write up a recipe for these, because I pretty much just used The Kitchn’s recipe for the madeleines themselves — first time making them, wanted something reliable. I didn’t have lemons, so I used lime zest instead, and used Baker’s Joy to spray the pans instead of making a melted butter+flour combo, but otherwise, followed their recipe pretty exactly.

These came out great, with the characteristic ‘hump’ that Paul Hollywood seemed so obsessed by on GBBO.

Then I melted some semi-sweet chocolate (1/2 power in the microwave for a few minutes, stirring) and dipped them, laying on parchment paper. Easy-peasy way to dress them up, and while a naked madeleine is just perfect with a cuppa, the chocolate makes it more of an eat-by-itself dessert.

I added passionfruit flakes, just for a little extra sparkle and a touch of tang. Honestly, you can barely taste them, but still, a little extra fun.  Will be including a few of these in the September treat boxes…hope the chocolate doesn’t melt in shipping!

Oh No, I Had to Eat It

Started working towards the September Patreon treat boxes. (Reminder — I only offer a limited number of these, so there’s only, um, 8 of 25 spots left? I think so. $10 / month for a box once a quarter.) This is a nice, simple chocolate combo I’m enjoying — semi-sweet chocolate with goji berries and coconut. One bar might have broken apart when I was unmolding it, so oh no, I had to eat it. Alas.

(Seriously, though, I need to up my activity levels a bit this month, because when I’m making a lot of sweets, I have to taste them, and that way lies a much rounder Mary Anne unless action is taken. I actually put my Fitbit watch back on again a few days ago, and yesterday, I added in an extra walk instead of driving to the drugstore to pick up my meds and hit 10,000 steps for the first time in forever. Slept better too. Activity, good.)

The Smell of Melting Butter

The smell of melting butter is just fantastic. And if you’ve been running a little harried, being forced to just stand still and watch the butter melting for a few minutes is rather lovely. (Somehow, the last few days have been particularly hectic, working often for 12-14 hours straight, with most of it requiring my brain, which is tiring.)

Made a jaggery brown butter glaze for the banana bread scones, glazed them, then froze them for the September Patreon treat boxes. They’re so tasty — I really love these; hope the recipients do too.

I realized this morning that I kind of want feedback on those treat boxes — if you got one and feel like sharing, would love to hear what you liked, what didn’t work, etc. Constructive criticism is good! I want recipients to be utterly delighted with their boxes, and I’m still new enough at this that it’s definitely a learning experience for me.

And the June box was definitely a challenge, since I was so fretful about things melting — it meant I didn’t feel like I could rely on marshmallows and chocolates the way I could in March.