Redbud Butter

I learned how to make butter this week ! It turns out to be really easy, esp. if you have a mixer. You can also shake it in a mason jar, if you have a strong arm. 🙂 And then you can do something that looks fancy, like adding in fresh edible blossoms, like redbuds, to make redbud butter.

1 c. heavy cream
1/4 t. salt (optional)

1/2 c. fresh redbud blossoms, stems trimmed and discarded

1. Mix (or shake) cream & salt if using, starting on low speed and then increasing the speed as it thickens. After several minutes, you’ll have whipped cream — keep going! The whipped cream will start to yellow, then after several more minutes, the fat solids will separate. You’ll see clumps of butter fat forming, with sloshing liquid buttermilk in the bottom of the bowl.

2. Strain the butter fat from the buttermilk using a fine mesh strainer (or cheesecloth). Save the buttermilk in the fridge for later use in other recipes.

3. Pour cold water over the butter, drain, and repeat twice more. (This will help preserve it longer.)

4. Stir in redbud blossoms, then shape into a ball or log or use a mold for interesting designs. Enjoy!

Cashew Milk Toffee

Do come early if you want confections on Sunday, because I only have about a dozen of each kind on hand. When they’re gone, they’re gone. Also if you want free samples. 🙂

Finalizing Items for May 2 Makerfaire

I’ve finalized two items I’ll be offering at the May 2 Makerfaire this Sunday (11-4). My house, 332 Wisconsin Ave., the blue and purple house with the out of control spring garden. 🙂

• little jars of fresh-roasted Sri Lankan curry powder (no cayenne; add your own if you want it spicy), small jar $5; large jar $8

• confection treat boxes, $10: sesame-coconut-date balls, redbud and citrus white chocolate marshmallows, dragonfruit chocolates, coconut rock, cashew milk toffee

Aren’t the little hex jars the cutest? I die. I’ll also have Feast cookbooks for sale, of course!

Facebook event link:

A Family Challenge

I’ve been thinking about the fact that I’m putting together this vegan cookbook, but I’m not actually vegan myself. Also about the fact that Anand is very tender-hearted and leans vegetarian, and I want to support him in that.

I know a lot of people do Meatless Mondays; I’m not sure I’m organized enough for that with our family’s meals. But I think we can probably do one vegan day / week as a family challenge.

Anyone interested in trying that with us for the next month or two? Would be easier with company. 🙂 I’d try to post regularly what we’re eating on that day, and would love to get inspiration from what others eat.

Ellu Urundai / Thala Guli / Sesame Balls

Delicious little balls of sesame seeds + coconut + date + jaggery — great as a dessert, at tea time, or just a nibble to power you through your day. Traditionally in Jaffna, these were often made with just sesame seeds and jaggery, perhaps with a little rice flour / water as a binder, but I find them much tastier with the addition of coconut and dates.

1 c. white sesame seeds
1 c. desiccated coconut
1/2 – 1 c. chopped dates

1 c. jaggery or dark brown sugar

1. Toast sesame seeds and coconut on medium-low heat, stirring, until the coconut turns light tan. Don’t toast for too long, or the sesame seeds will become bitter.

2. Let cool, then pound all the ingredients together or combine in food processor until you can form the mixture into balls that hold together. You may need to adjust the amount of dates (Medjool dates tend to be moister), and/or add a little water.

3. Shape into small balls, squeezing mixture together firmly. Enjoy!

NOTE: These may be stored refrigerated for a few weeks.

For most recipes, I’d recommend fresh coconut or rehydrating desiccated, and you certainly can, but these will actually keep longer if you skip the rehydrating phase.

Things Just Fall Out of My Head Sometimes

Shipping out some cookbook & curry powder & milk toffee orders today. I want to apologize to the folks who ordered these — some of them are 6-8 weeks out from ordering, and I have to admit, they honestly just fell off my radar somehow; I got a little overwhelmed or pandemic-exhausted or something in March, and I lost track of checking the order tracker we have set up.

So sorry! I don’t think that’ll happen again, as Stephanie now knows to backstop me on that. Things just fall out of my head sometimes. Usually I should be able to ship book orders within a week!

I’m almost caught up on orders (just a few more masks to sew and send out today), and this is the last week of teaching, so I’m thinking about what I have capacity to do. Normally I’d have a fair bit of travel in the summer, but there probably won’t be much this year, so it’s basically writing, gardening, and then working on continuing to develop the SLF and Serendib.

I’m hoping to finish Vegan Serendib recipe development soon (you should see a flurry of recipes for that in the next two weeks), and we’re looking at starting to schedule book events for Feast over the rest of the year. We’re still a little tentative about in-person events, but maybe some outdoor events in the summer, and then possibly some indoor in the autumn? Always assuming we don’t have to backtrack with new virus variants, etc.

But for online promotions (I do still have something like 1500 books sitting in a warehouse in North Carolina, after cancelling all of last year’s book tour events), I was thinking that I probably have capacity to do a little fun stuff.

I was thinking about having regular weekly sales from May 1 – July 31? I’m thinking something like:

• Fridays are Sweet: get a set of 5 pieces of Sri Lankan cashew milk toffee with every book ordered

• Sunday are Savory: get 4 oz. of Sri Lankan curry powder with every book ordered

I think those should be relatively easy to manage production for over the summer; spending a little time every weekend on making milk toffee and curry powder sounds manageable, and like it won’t get in the way of novel-writing. And if it’s regular sales, there’s less mental tracking involved for me and the Serendib staff.

Thoughts welcome. 🙂