So, I attended Pooja Makhijani‘s bake-a-long last weekend for the star bread, and it was fun and helpful. I think I know how to structure doing one now — would people like it if I started doing weekend cook-a-longs for recipes from Feast? The basic idea:
– I post that I’m doing it (with date / time / recipe)
– the first 20 people who commit to joining get in
– I send them a Zoom invite
– we cook together with me talking through the recipe, answering questions
Thoughts? Requests for recipes to do early? (Hoppers would be on the list, but probably I’d want to do a few before trying that one.)
Kevin handed in his grading, and I have about an hour left to do tomorrow, I think, so I’ve started the summer cocktail experiments. Woot!
(This is where I pause and reassure my dad that I am still very much a lightweight and hardly drink at all, he doesn’t need to worry. I will nurse one drink like this for an hour, and most weeks, don’t have any alcohol at all. Okay, onwards.)
Passionfruit Moscow Mule
(makes two servings)
4 ounces vodka — I used grapefruit & rose, mostly because it was just SO PRETTY, yes, Ketel One, you got me
1/2 cup passion fruit pulp
2 tsp lime juice
8 ounces ginger beer
fresh lime to garnish
I would say that this is tasty, but only if you like sour. Between the grapefruit vodka, the passion fruit, and the lime juice, you have three kinds of sour going here. If I were making it again, I’d rim the glass with jaggery sugar, for sure.
Kev and I were talking about how this compares to a whiskey sour (which is often my bar drink of choice; I’m a girl who loves the tang), and he said that whiskey has more complex flavors for the sour to play against, so it works better. I think that’s probably right — this cocktail is fine, but I wouldn’t say it’s really interesting, as it stands? Will have to think about how I’d want to tweak it.
Side note: I do have a particularly sour batch of passionfruit puree on hand right now, so that may be affecting my assessment slightly. Fresh passionfruit is often more sweet than this. So maybe just adding in a little sugar would address it. I’d also like to make it with some fresh passionfruit, because all the little seeds would look cool in the drink. So expect to see another variation on this sometime, whenever I can get my hands on fresh passionfruit. (Pete’s sometimes carries it…)
I’m feeling particularly frugal these pandemic days, so it seemed like the right time to try cooking with dandelions. I mostly dig them out of my garden, but they keep coming back, and I had no trouble harvesting enough to gather a cup of dandelion petals. I wish I’d saved the roots too, as apparently when roasted they make a coffee-like ice cream. Next year — I’m out of dandelions now.
I honestly wasn’t sure I’d like this! But it turns out I love it — I kept going back to the ice cream churn to see if I could scrape out a little more before rinsing it out. I think this is delicious, and well worth your time.
I ended up using a clover honey picked up at our local store, Carnivore Oak Park, one that came advertised as being loaded with pollen, I assume because pollen is supposed to be good for you? I don’t know — something new to research. I would recommend choosing a mild honey, to let the subtle dandelion flavor shine through.
I served mine with fresh mango — springtime and summer mixed together in a bowl.
Dandelion & Honey Ice Cream
The flavors here are delicately floral / herbal — this reminds me of Indian ice cream, oddly enough, maybe because I’m more used to honey and floral rose flavors there? It takes like sunshine on a warm spring day.
* 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
* 1 1/2 cups half and half
* 1/2 cup mild honey
* about 1 cup dandelion petals
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 6 egg yolks
1. Harvest about 2-3 cups of dandelions (grown in an area that’s free of pesticides / herbicides), rinse well, and let dry. Remove the petals, being careful to separate out and discard the bitter green leaves and stem. You’ll need about 1 cup of dandelion petals for 1 batch of ice cream. (This part is a little time-consuming, but fun to do with a willing child, should you have one on hand.)
2. Combine cream, half-and-half, honey, salt, and dandelion petals in a saucepan. Turn heat to medium for a few minutes to bring the temperature up, then turn down to a simmer, stirring the whole time. When it’s simmering (with little bubbles around the edge), remove it from the heat and add the dandelion petals. Let steep for 30 minutes.
3. Strain the dandelion blossoms out, pouring the cream into another container (one with a spout will make the next step easier, such as a glass measuring cup). Rinse the saucepan to cool it and return to stove.
4. Add egg yolks to the pan and whisk in the cream mixture. Turn the heat to low and continue to whisk until it thickens to a custard (thick enough to coat the back of a spoon).
5. Remove from heat and pour back into the container you used before. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
6. Churn in an ice cream maker. If you like, stir in a few more dandelion petals at the end for a pretty presentation. Perfect for a picnic in the grass.
The kids are now old enough (at 10 and 13) that Mother’s Day breakfast-in-bed doesn’t require anything of me other than telling them what I want and when I want it. Well, the ‘when’ was a little off, as I’d requested 8 and it arrived at 8:30, but the ‘what’ was perfect. And that was just fine, because I happily went back to sleep for another half hour.
Kevin got up to make the bacon, which also meant that he wasn’t sleeping, which normally precludes morning TV-watching in bed. So today I got to lounge in bed watching Nadiya’s very sweet _Time to Eat_, eating the kids’ bombatoast (it’s perfect), along with the host of clementines that Anand brought me. “We might be a *little* late with breakfast because Kavi just woke up…”
I went for a sunshine-y sunburst pattern for the seeni sambol star bread. My shaping could use a little work, so don’t look too closely at the details. But so, so tasty, and what a fun way to present seeni sambol for a party, instead of a stack of buns. Someday, we’ll have parties again, I promise.
Will post recipe tomorrow, along with recipe for dandelion & honey ice cream, today’s other experiment. Now, must sleep.
Kavi helped me make star bread for the first time today — I did a bake-a-long with Pooja Makhijani teaching us. Super-happy with the results — it’s so damn pretty. I can’t stand it. And making the twists was VERY satisfying.
My first one was chai-spiced: sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, nutmeg, ginger, black pepper. Mmm…. I have a second going in the oven, a savory one — will post details soon.
I don’t have a recipe for you, because I’m not sure where Pooja got the one we used, and I don’t want to share it without permission, but if you follow the King Arthur Flour recipe for star bread, just add 1/2 teaspoon of the other spices listed above to the cinnamon and sugar, and you should end up with something very close to mine.
I brought it warm to the kids to eat for a last treat before bed, after our nightly Doctor Who. They were VERY happy. It’s half-gone already.
Packed up the first of the local Mother’s Day treat packages — lily-of-the-valley soap and bath salts, baked goodies and confections. And locals get a little potted lily-of-the-valley too. Supplies limited — I think I can do 4 more before I run out of cookies. I’m done with baking for a bit…need to get back to writing.
(Treat boxes will return in June — we’ll open up ordering for them next week. I think the theme will be dragons.)
Spent the morning packing up and setting out Mother’s Day treat packages for shipment. It was a bit of a squeeze, getting them all done in time, and I had to enlist Kevin into cookie-dough making because I was running short on time and getting physically tired, but in the end, we made it. Whew.
I’m still taking orders on the Shopify site, but can no longer guarantee shipping by Mother’s Day. Locals, if you’d like a little potted lily-of-the-valley (traditional Mother’s Day flower) to go with your order, I’d be happy to include that. (I’m slowly digging mine up and replacing with native ground cover, so I have plenty to spare…)
Mask orders are open on the site too, but please note that I’m at LEAST 3 weeks out on sewing masks now. So only order if you are feeling very patient.
Packing up the Mother’s Day treat boxes for shipping out tomorrow — this is the medium box. Kevin periodically asks me whether it’s actually worth the amount of time and effort I put into this, and so I feel like I should note for the record that strictly speaking, it isn’t. I have to run the numbers at some point, but I’m guessing I barely break even on doing these boxes. So why do them?
a) It means that when I’m doing recipe development, I can make back some of the costs of ingredients and time to try variations until I settle on a recipe I really like. It’s a shame I can only do that for items that I can ship — I can’t easily send out curries! The plan for Feast is that we’re going to release smaller cookbooks in future months, including one for sweets that I’m hoping to have ready by October or so, in time for holiday baking. So everyone who’s ordering these boxes, thanks — you’re helping me develop more and better recipes for that! (Which also means I can post the recipes, which feel like tiny gifts to the world in the midst of all this.)
b) it’s a nice break from the computer — especially now, during pandemic times, it’s really easy for me to spend most of the day sedentary. For the first month or so, I spent so much time on converting my classes to online versions, not to mention researching masks and mutual aid, that my poor Fitbit was shouting at me that I was only getting 2K steps a day or so. Just lots and lots of sitting. Baking is much more physical, and when I mix cooking and gardening into my day, I feel physically better at the end of it.
c) I just like sending out presents. I mean, I know people have paid for these items, but it still feels like sending out presents, you know? Here’s everything that’s going into a medium box this time around:
1 Lily-of-the-valley soap
1 Lily-of-the-valley bath salt
1 Lavender soap
1 Lavender bath salt
5 Spiced Chocolate cookies
5 Jaggery Chai Spice cookies
5 Lime and Rosewater Shortbread cookies
1 five-piece set of assorted chocolates, marshmallows, and cashew milk toffee
1 set of five postcards
Fun to wrap up, fun to ship out. I mean, if I were doing thousands of them, it would be less fun, but I’ve limited it to 10 boxes each, max, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
And as a bonus, sometimes people add on books — the box I just wrapped also took a copy of The Stars Change and a copy of Feast, the one I’m doing next wants a copy of Perennial. More people reading my books = yay! If they eat some lime shortbread while they’re reading them, even better.
Please order by end of today if you want them shipped out in time for Mother’s Day! Here is the link: