I’m Going Back in Time a Bit

I was a little rushed getting lots of dishes cooked to freeze and take to Santa Fe for the Feast party I promised to throw for George. Well, it was more that I promised to provide a Sri Lankan feast (in thanks for giving me a place to run away from my life and write for a week), and told him he could invite people, and then he threw the actual party, but you know what I mean. 🙂

So over the next day or two, I’ll post some photos from party prep. If for some strange reason you’re planning on throwing a party for up-to-40 people in another state, it might help to know what freezes well, so I’ll start with this one — pol (coconut) sambol freezes beautifully.

Tip for freezing:

– try to squeeze as much air as possible out of the Ziploc bags when sealing
– try to freeze dishes hard (so at least the night before travel, earlier if possible)
– freeze in flat layers for ease of getting them out of the freezer (you don’t want them to have molded themselves around your bag of frozen peas), and for ease of packing
– don’t try to freeze potatoes if you can avoid it, especially bigger pieces! they go all mealy and weird.

Boxing Day Dinner

I volunteered to cook Boxing Day dinner for the family, and it went reasonably well, but I made two frustrating mistakes — cooking in someone else’s kitchen is a little stressful, trying to figure out where everything is and how to use unfamiliar appliances, and I guess I don’t always think so clearly in those circumstances.

Appetizers — tried to go easy and kid-friendly here:
• two kinds of cheddar (basic and more interesting) with mango-ginger chutney and crackers (Ritz crackers continue to be wildly popular with the kids and go incredibly fast), put out with some cut-up watermelon and pineapple

• carrot sticks and sliced bell pepper, with ranch dip

• chicken marbella (for some of the grown-ups)
• sautéed chicken thighs in béchamel (for everyone else)
• buttered egg noodles
• roasted asparagus

• sautéed broccolini

• lots of leftover Christmas cookies

• mango fluff

The two mistakes I made? Well, one was a simple error with the mango fluff — I forgot that fresh pineapple will keep the gelatin from setting; usually I remember and use canned, but they had fresh on hand and I just didn’t think about it. Sigh. So it was more mango dessert soup? Still tasty, but a little frustrating.

The bigger mistake was with the chicken marbella. I haven’t actually made it before, and while it’s a simple enough recipe (marinate together: garlic, green olives, prunes, capers, red wine vinegar, oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper, brown sugar, and white wine with chicken pieces; bake; sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve), the timing was off.

I’m honestly not sure why, but we brought it to the table and served it, and some of the chicken on the bone was still pink near the bone. Argh. We put it back in the oven to finish cooking, and it was totally fine the next day, but frustrating.


• try not to cook in a hurry, especially in an unfamiliar kitchen
• remember relevant chemical interactions
• always check that meat is cooked through before serving, esp. meat on the bone, which takes longer

• don’t try an unfamiliar recipe for the first time for a big party!

Oh well. Everyone ate well anyway, because I made too much food per usual, and we had enough for leftovers the next day, and it’s all fine. Just a little irritating!

Here’s a recipe for chicken marbella, which I really do like a lot. Just watch those cooking times!

Turtles on the Wishlist

Kevin’s mom put turtles (the candy) on her wishlist. We could’ve bought some, of course, but it seemed like a fun opportunity to make some with the kids. Super-easy, esp. if you buy caramels and melt them (with a little milk) to make the melted caramel, and melt the chocolate at half-power in the microwave. Thanks to Jed for letting us make a bit of a mess in his kitchen. 🙂

Done? DONE! I wrote a book, peoples!

I arrived exhausted at Alex and Christa‘s, just bone-weary, and for the first two days we were there, I think I mostly rested and recovered. It was a LONG semester.

But by yesterday I was feeling mostly like myself again, and by today, I actually felt like I could write, for the first time in months. Much credit to their soothing, restful home!

This morning, I finished the last edits to Vegan Serendib and handed them off to my staff. They’ll implement the edits and proof it, then they index it, then we order a print copy (two, actually, for hardcover and paperback) and proof THAT, and then, um, I think we will actually have a book? Yes, a book!

It took a solid 6 months longer than I’d hoped — I think I allocated a year for writing this book, and it was more like 18 months. But hey, I wrote a book during a pandemic, so an extra 6 months doesn’t seem so unreasonable.

Tentative plan is to launch July 2022, if all goes well. Will we be able to schedule book tour for July / August / September? I certainly hope so. That’s the plan. If you’d like me to come visit your city and bookstore, now is a great time to let me know. I love travelling, so any excuse…

Next cookbook will be Gluten-Free Serendib, which I actually think we’ll be able to bring out relatively quickly — I’m pencilling in July 2023 for that. So for those of you waiting for that — thank you for your patience, it’s coming, but also, I’ll note that 95% of Feast of Serendib is already gluten-free. Benefits of a rice-based cuisine…

Pre-order Vegan Serendib here — and hey, it’s not too late to order it as a holiday gift and give them a nice little note saying the actual book will come in July: https://serendibshop.com/…/vegan-serendib-recipes-from…

Amazon is also claiming that if you have Prime and order A Feast of Serendib today, you can have it in your hands on December 24th — a great gift for the foodies in your life!


Book book bookity book book. One down, a dozen to go…