Vegan Serendib Is Feeling Real

This also arrived today, paperback galleys. Eep! Vegan Serendib is starting to feel very real.

AND, it looks like my cancer memoir, Tornado, will actually ALSO be coming out very VERY shortly, paired with a reissue of Perennial. Woot!

So it’s just going to be ALL THE BOOKS, ALL THE TIME around here…

Something Celebratory for Diwali

I wanted to cook something celebratory for Diwali, but I’m also trying to eat more oatmeal, so I ended up with delicious oatmeal experiments:

• savory coconut milk oatmeal with green-chili chicken
• sweet coconut milk oatmeal with tropical fruits and jam

The nice thing about this is that you make the same oatmeal for both — it just tilts more savory or more sweet depending on what you serve it with. I did:

1/2 c. steel-cut oats

1 c. coconut milk

1 c. water

generous pinch of salt

Bring to a boil, turn to a simmer, cook 25-30 minutes to desired texture.

While that’s going, you can cook the chicken — sauté a diced onion, some diced garlic, a few green chilies in oil with mustard seed, cumin seed, and salt. When onions are golden, add about a pound of chicken in bite-size pieces — brown on high, then turn down to medium and sauté, stirring, until chicken is cooked through.

Chicken should be done after 10-15 minutes of cooking, so it’ll finish up right around the same time as the oatmeal. And then you can have more coconut milk oatmeal with some chopped fruit and a spoonful of jam for dessert. 🙂


A Solution for a Little Problem

It’s really satisfying when you finally solve a problem, even a little one. I’ve been making chocolate bars for some years now, and I’ve never been happy with the packaging — the foil wrappers I was using never seemed to be the right size, and the final result often looked sort of crinkly and unprofessional.

Then I found these self-adhesive cellophane bags with accompanying labels, and they just worked. It makes me so happy. 🙂

Ruby chocolate with mulled apple cider marshmallows and a drizzle of milk chocolate. Simple, sweet, kid-friendly. I’ll put full-size bars in the top-tier boxes, and smaller samples in the other tiers.

Now, eventually, I’d love to design my own Serendib House labels (or have Kavi design them for me), but this will do very nicely for now. Link to packaging in comments, for anyone else searching for such a solution.

Queen of Hearts Cherry-Rose Scones

(35-40 minutes, makes 16 mini scones)

Yes, I know ‘tarts’ would rhyme and ‘scones’ doesn’t, but I really wanted to bake scones…

2 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup jaggery (or dark brown sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter
3/4 c. dried cherries, halved
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 T rosewater
1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray mini scone pan with Baker’s Joy (or butter and flour pan).

(If you don’t have a mini scone pan, you can cut and shape these by hand, and bake on a regular baking sheet, placing them quite close together. If you pop them in the freezer for 30 minute before baking, they’ll hold shape better.)

2. Mix first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Chop butter in small pieces and cut into flour with a pastry cutter (or with your fingers) until mixture resembles coarse meal. (It’s fine to have small lumps.) Stir in cherries.

3. In a medium bowl, combine remaining 4 wet ingredients, beating eggs lightly. Pour into dry mixture and stir with a fork until a soft dough forms.

4. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and gently knead a few times until it comes together into a dough. Cut into 16 equal pieces and press into the cavities of the pan.

5. Bake 20-25 or until medium brown. Remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely. Serve warm, with coffee or tea.

Cake-Like, Bread-Like

Heh. People ask how I get so much done; my family helps, is part of it. Kevin made two double-batches of my chai-spiced apple bread for me yesterday, but amusingly, he did something differently between the two batches, and is not sure what.

One is a little more cake-like, the other a little more bread-like. Maybe he forgot to double the butter? I’m pretty sure that’s it, but luckily, both batches are delicious, so it doesn’t really matter. 🙂 There’s also more active swirling on the second batch, which results in more of the sugar-spice mix caramelizing on the top.

Recipe is here (if you want it more bread-like, you might try cutting the amount of butter in half — no guarantees, though!):…/09/chai-spiced-apple-bread/

And yes, I have a Nordicware molded pan problem, I know. I know!

A Conversation Between Wonderland Guards

Two Wonderland guards, a conversation:

Bob: “But Joe, *why* does the Red Queen want us to gild all the animals of the forest?”

Joe: “Come on, Bob, you know better than that. You remember when the Red Queen made us paint all the white roses red?”

Bob: “Yes, of course. That took us three solid weeks! The bloomin’ rose trees kept putting out more roses — we could barely keep up!”

Joe: “And you remember what happened to Tim when he started asking questions?”

Bob: “Not really. Though, now that you mention it, I haven’t seen Tim around in quite a while.”

Joe: “Exactly, Bob. Exactly. Word to the wise, innit?”

Bob: “If you say so, Joe.”

Joe: “Just gild, Bob. Gild like your life depends on it…”

“…(and be grateful that these animals are only going in the higher tier boxes…)”