Adorable Set of Jars

More party pics from Lori’s friend, John. Look, I actually sat down with friends for a minute! Booksellers (from Forest Park’s history and mystery bookstore, Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore) sold lots of copies of _Death at Greenway_, I think!

Isn’t that set of jars adorable? I’ll be using them for sambols and chutneys in the future, I’m sure. Link here.

Maybe It’s Time for Another Soup Exchange

The plan was to set up all the tea and food inside (it just seemed a lot easier, given all the fragile china, the need to boil water for tea, not needing to worry about keeping bugs away from the table full of food, etc.), ask people to wear masks when in the house getting their food and beverages, and then come out to the garden for the tea party, where they could be unmasked. Our town has pretty high vaccination rates, which helps with feeling like this was a reasonably safe activity to host.

It worked REALLY well, and made me feel like with a little forethought, I could’ve done a lot more entertaining this past year. We had gorgeous weather on Saturday, very lucky, and even though I now have a heater on my front deck, and a firepit in the backyard, there probably will soon be some limits on how much people are willing to hang out outside. We’ve had snow on Halloween some years!

But I’m hoping for another month of decent weather, so I can get in some good socializing before the snows descend and we hunker down for three months.

Maybe it’s time to host another soup exchange. 🙂 Everyone brings soup to share, takes some away so they have a variety for the winter (ideally soups that freeze well), and we also have some hot here, with bread, for people to try while chatting outside. I think if people don’t mind using mugs as well as soup bowls, I probably have enough for thirty or so…

Pictured: egg salad sandwiches, curried mushroom sandwiches, my Star Trek captain’s tea set (a surprise Christmas present from Kevin a few years back, much loved), mimosas (your choice of mango, passionfruit, or mango-passionfruit, mixed with either prosecco or non-alcoholic ginger beer), someone’s utterly charming bicycle near my cemetery, and a nice big red pot full of tea that Lori brought all the way from Agatha Christie’s home of Greenway!

A Weakness for Wicked Smart and Snarky Bad Boys

Kavi and her friends, Emma and Dani, hard at work. Apparently, they got into quite an argument later on, because Kavi likes Dean (Gilmore Girls), and Emma and Rose (not pictured) emphatically do not. They told Kavi she doesn’t get to have an opinion yet, as she’s only partway through season 2.

I admit, I am with Emma on Team Jess. 🙂 I have a weakness for wicked smart & snarky slightly bad boys.

Sri Lankan Beets Are the Best Beets

Kavi asked if she could invite friends to the tea party, and I told her to invite ALL the friends. She didn’t invite all her friends, which is probably just as well, as they would have eaten all the food, but three did come over and I think had a good time. Here you see Dani chipping in with Kavi and Lori’s friend Kim on the ribbon sandwich cutting.

People who were wondering what the spicy element is in the ribbon sandwiches — it’s green chili. Just a bit! I was pleased that Kim, who said she normally hates beets, liked these sandwiches, despite the beets. Or perhaps BECAUSE of the beets? Sri Lankan beets are best beets. 🙂

Omnivore Books

We stopped at Omnivore Books in San Francisco on our way up to Alex and Christa’s yesterday. It’s a fabulous cookbook store, and I was supposed to do an event here for Feast last year, but sadly had to cancel it (and the rest of the book tour) when COVID hit.

They still had some copies of Feast on hand, delightfully, which I signed, and said they’d be happy to have me come do an event anytime. I’m thinking in spring, when Vegan Serendib launches.

I managed to get out of the store after buying only three books, which was an act of great restraint on my part — I think I used up all my willpower for the week.

No Chastisements in the Kitchen Tonight

Kavi, who’s been a little sick for a few days: Do we have any chocolate?
Me, dubiously: We have chocolate chips.
Kavi, pathetically: Anything more dessert-y?
Me, thinking: How does chocolate pudding sound?
Kavi, cheerfully: I haven’t had chocolate pudding in forever. That sounds great.
Me, a gleam in my eye: Give me a few minutes.

….ten minutes later, drumroll….

Presenting very dessert-y chocolate pudding!

(Instant vanilla pudding we happened to have on hand, cooked on the stovetop with chocolate chips melted in, chilled in our fanciest gold-flecked dessert bowl, with gold candies scattered over, graced with graham crackers…)


I am happy to inform you that milady was pleased with the offering; there will be no chastisement in the kitchens tonight.

Guerrilla Cooking Skills

I’m really grateful that at this point in my life I have guerrilla cooking skills, because they are really helpful in times of exhaustion. Example — meals for this week:

– I took a pork shoulder out of the deep freeze and stuck it in the fridge, planning to cook it the next day — maybe vindaloo or tamarind pork curry?

– I was too tired to cook the next day; we ordered Indian takeout instead. Indian, because I was still planning to cook the pork soon, and so I figured any leftovers would go with

– the saag paneer that came with the Indian food was blander than usual — Kevin and I ate about a fifth of it, but without joy. I knew I’d want to add flavor before eating any again.

– the cilantro chutney that came with our samosas was thin and watery — it had some flavor, but needed more intensity and less wateriness

– next day, still too tired to cook from scratch. But hey — I heated some oil and cayenne in a big pot, took the pork shoulder and put it in, searing it (turning to sear both sides), and then dumped in the saag paneer and also the cilantro chutney and also some salt. Added some water, brought it to a boil, then covered and turned down to medium. Went to basement to chill out with TV for a while.

– eventually wandered back up, flipped pork over, gave everything a stir, tasted the sauce. Delicious. Added in the leftover devilled potato curry from the other day, turned heat down to medium low. Let it all cook another hour while I watched TV, checking periodically to make sure the liquid didn’t cook off too much.

– checked pork temp with thermometer — all good. Removed pork from sauce, sliced it up, and rinsed a few slices for the kids (too spicy for Anand otherwise, and I wasn’t sure Kavi would go for the saag sauce), Kevin and I had it straight up with naan / rice, pouring sauce over.

– next day, needed chickpea water for vegan love cake experiment. So had to open can of chickpeas. Perfect — added chickpeas to remaining sauce and simmered for 15-20 minutes. Delicious straight up with rice / naan, also good with pork slices added in.

Somewhere in there, I also pan-fried some chopped up chicken thighs with salt and pepper, added the restaurant tikka masala sauce, along with the tamarind sauce that came with their samosas. Yummy.

And so it goes around here. Nothing wasted, everything delicious.