This was fun

One of the libraries has a monthly spice club, and they had me do little curry powder packets for their club – Eliana packaged them up for me, with some recipes, etc., and it just came out very cute.

Desserts for the South Asia Institute launch party: Passionfruit buttercream on a Sri Lankan butter cake, layered with strawberries, mango, and lemon curd.

I’m still not a great cake decorator, but improving. Probably should’ve put more buttercream on the sides and added berries to the bottom of the cake, but I ran out of time, alas! (Note to self, allow at least 30 minutes for frosting cake in future. You are slow.)

Per usual, cashew milk toffee and passionfruit marshmallows. I would’ve made the dragonfruit-citrus white chocolate bonbons as well, and maybe the cayenne-chocolate roses, but ran out of time on those too! Oh well.

Was really happy that people seemed to love the food; I got a lot of compliments. 🙂

Someone asked me what my signature dish was last night, and I was totally stumped. I don’t actually have one! But I do like all of these.

I wanted to keep this event vegetarian for the South Asia Institute, so I skipped some of the classic Sri Lankan short-eats – if it weren’t vegetarian, maybe mutton rolls would be the signature dish. I don’t like the typical vegetarian version nearly as well, though. Maybe I should try making it with jackfruit…hmm.

This layout worked pretty well for an event, so noting for the future:

• three kinds of frozen samosas – these I just baked / fried as instructed. Pumpkin samosas from TJ’s (which I haven’t tasted yet, so not sure if they’re any good), paneer-chili samosas (don’t remember the brand, but spicy, good), and potato & pea Punjabi samosas (Swad). I’m really glad I got a deep fryer, because it makes this kind of thing SO MUCH easier.

Set the temp. to 350F (or whatever is appropriate), and then it’s just popping them in, waiting five minutes, popping them out to a paper-towel-lined plate. Transfer to foil pans, pop in warm (low) oven to keep warm until ready to transport / serve. Easy-peasy. Would’ve been nice to serve hot, but they work fine at room temperature, served with tamarind chutney and coriander chutney (decanted from store-bought jars).

• ribbon sandwiches (beet / carrot / spinach) — Pepperidge Farm Very Thin bread is key

• mini naan rounds (quartered) from the grocery store, with four dipping spreads: jackfruit curry, potato curry, eggplant pickle, mango-ginger chutney

I forgot to bring cheddar cheese cubes, which go great with the mango-ginger chutney and naan, but otherwise, happy with the savory options.

SAI provided beverages, which made my life simpler!

This Morning, I Cooked a Little

Was trying to convince my father that steel-cut oatmeal was much better than regular oatmeal. Good for his heart health, etc., but also it can be really tasty. I made a big batch and then served it with a few options — I had mine with sautéed onions and green chili, with a fried egg on top — could’ve used a little cheese too, I think, but I didn’t think of it. Pretty good, though I cooked the egg a little too long, so it didn’t do the runny thing when I broke into it, so the overall effect was a little drier than ideal. Ah well — I was distracted chatting.

I also took half the sautéed onions and added chopped apples and sautéed a little longer, plus a tablespoon or two of coconut milk, and that was a great accompaniment both to the oatmeal and to pancakes (my dad wanted me to show our young Sri Lankan guests how to make pancakes, so I dutifully did, although they can make dosas, so I suspect American-style pancakes will hold no mysteries for them). The apples would also have been good with a little shredded cheddar… (Any leftover apples would be great with some roast pork for dinner or in a sandwich…)

There’s a lot of oatmeal left, which I told them could be heated and eaten later in the week, and I tried to convince them to pick up some cashew butter to enjoy with bananas and maybe some chocolate chips, but I don’t know if they’ll take me up on that recommendation. We’ll see!