Kavi helped me collect and prep some edible flowers

Kavi helped me collect and prep some edible flowers — I’m going to make some little jars of flower confetti to sell at What’s Blooming on Harrison. So far, we have cornflower, pansies, peonies, dianthus, and even a few early roses. Tomorrow, planning to add fuchsia, dahlia, hibiscus, and maybe nasturtiums — have to check if any of mine are blooming yet. Usually these would just take a few days to air-dry, but I’ll likely pop them in the dehydrator tomorrow to speed up the process. Some of the tasty things you can use dried edible flowers for: herbal teas, cocktail garnish mixes, infused oils, infused vinegar, cake decorating, garnishing your meals, botanical salts, and infused spirits. And then of course there’s arts and crafts, bath bombs, hand scrubs, body balms, etc.

Cabbage Varai / Muttaikoss Varai

Like most everyone lately, we’ve been a little startled by how grocery prices have gone up.

Cabbage is still pretty cheap, though! This is cabbage varai — delicious and healthy, just the thing to round out a plate of rice and curry.

And did I mention that it’s both easy and fast? 🙂

Cabbage Varai / Muttaikoss Varai

(15-20 minutes, serves 8.)

Sweet, firm, rich with coconut.

8 oz. cabbage 1 medium onion, minced 2 fresh green chilies, seeded and chopped ¼ rounded tsp. ground turmeric ¼ rounded tsp. freshly ground black pepper 1 rounded tsp. salt ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut

    1. Shred cabbage finely. Wash well, drain, and put into a large saucepan. Don’t worry about drying the water clinging to the cabbage—you actually want that water to help steam the cabbage.
    1. Add all the other ingredients except the coconut. Cover and cook gently until cabbage is tender, stirring periodically.
    1. Uncover, add coconut, stir well, and when the liquid in the pan has been absorbed by the coconut, remove from heat. Allow to cool before serving.

(This recipe and many more can be found in my cookbooks, A Feast of Serendib and Vegan Serendib.)

Mas Paan: Perfection

One of my favorite snacks is mas paan (buns stuffed with beef and potato curry) and malu paan (buns stuffed with fish curry). It is very comforting, having a few dozen in the freezer, knowing that you can pull one out whenever you’re having a curry craving, and just toast it up in the toaster oven and enjoy with a nice hot cup of sweet milky tea. Perfection. I did develop a dough recipe for the cookbooks, but the truth is that I never actually make it from scratch. I just buy frozen bake-and-serve dinner rolls at the grocery store and use those. I recently had both beef curry and cabbage varai on hand, and I thought they might go well together — Dear Reader, they are DELICIOUS in a roll, and now you’ve got entire meal in there, with a veg. as well as the bread and meat. Perfection. I also tried cooking some carrot in with the beef and potato, and that worked great too. (I recommend at least two rolls for lunch. Three or four if you have a hearty appetite. If using the frozen rolls, follow the instructions on the package to let them thaw and rise. Then tear them open and stuff them with curry and shape it into a ball again, with the seam on the bottom. It’ll look lumpy, but don’t worry about it, and don’t feel like you need to let it rise again — just pop those in the oven for 15-20 minutes, and they’re good Hmm…I think I need some breakfast.

“Apple of My Heart” serving board

Okay, I’m not sure this is the most practical serving board — I wanted to experiment with dried apple slices, and they are definitely somewhat bumpy. I don’t think I’d try to put three or four different kinds of cheese on here, because there’s not that much flat space for them! But it works reasonably well for a wedge of brie and some crackers — you could probably fit some grapes too. A wee little snack for you and yours. As we head into summer, we’re also heading into the season where a lot of my meals are as simple as possible. You could also just hang it for kitchen decor. It is so cute, I named this one — “Apple of My Heart.” With pressed chionodoxa flowers (early spring ephemerals) and ferns. Will drop off at the store (Berwyn’s Sprout) sometime soon, probably Thursday, unless someone buys it first. 🙂 NOTE: This is food-safe resin, and you can cut on it, but like any cutting board, it will gather cut marks over time. I wouldn’t recommend using it for heavy daily chopping!

Finishing up the spring treat boxes

Finishing up the spring treat boxes — I think I want to make one more batch of chocolates, and one more batch of baked goods (I’m thinking orange & black pepper madeleines, dipped in chocolate, possibly), and then I’ll be ready to pack up and ship them, hopefully early this week. No treat boxes in the summer, because shipping has proven unreliable for me even with ice packs, so if you sign up (see comments), the next one goes out in early autumn. Pictured here, little Neapolitan chocolates (Callebaut white, ruby, and dark chocolate), and squares of Neapolitan chocolate with an array of mixed dried fruit.

There are a lot more Indian options on Grubhub

I’m so happy that I can get idli-sambar delivered to my house, which has never been possible before (per previous note, there are a lot more Indian options on Grubhub for us than there used to be!). I was a little hesitant to try getting masala dosa delivered, because I wasn’t sure it’d travel well going 30 minutes through rush hour traffic, but I’m probably going to try it sometime when it’s not rush hour, when it’ll take more like 15 minutes. South Indian delivery options! YAY! Tonight’s order from Siri Indian:
    • idli with sambar add-on, came with coconut chutney, DELICIOUS (one order has 3 idli)
    • mirchi bajji (fried chili) appetizer — eh. Maybe it was good when it was just fried, but after driving to us, this was very boring and dry. I had one bite and then left the rest for Kevin. Might be good with a sauce.
    • honey chili fried cauliflower appetizer — also eh, but mostly because it’s not really my sort of thing; I was curious. It’s from their Indo-Chinese fusion section, and it’s cauliflower battered and fried, in a slightly spicy sweet sauce. Someone else might love it, not for me.
    • fish curry — delicious, would happily order again
    • goat vindaloo — tasty, but the goat meat was both fatty and chewy, which, honestly, might be what goat meat is mostly like, it’s been a few years since I last had it, I think, and it wasn’t spicy enough to call it vindaloo in my opinion. But fine.
    • palak paneer — disappointingly salty, alas. Wouldn’t get again, which is a shame, because this is one of our Indian food stand-by dishes
    • garlic naan — good.
But did I mention the idli-sambar? 🙂 Next time, I might just get a double order of that.