Fridays Are Sweet

We’re trying a regular promotion this summer — buy a book (any print book, including the sci-fi, the romance, the literary fiction, not just the cookbooks), and get a half-dozen sweets to enjoy them with. Or curry powder, if you order on Sundays. Sweets will vary, depending on what I have on hand. Curry powder will be exactly the same every time. 🙂

Free passionfruit marshmallows with any print book purchase at the Serendib Kitchen shop today!

Carnivore Oak Park to Carry Feast

Nice meeting at Carnivore Oak Park, and it looks like they’ll be carrying Feast (hardcover & paperback), my hand-roasted Sri Lankan curry powder (small and large jars) and trying some Sri Lankan (and other) sweets. Woot!

Now, will they *keep* carrying them? I think that depends on whether people actually buy them. 🙂 But it’s nice to start with, at any rate. The question is, what sweets should I bring them? I want them to be shelf-stable for a good long while. I’m currently thinking:

– passionfruit marshmallows dipped in dark chocolate
– milk toffee with cashews

– dragonfruit chocolates with citrus

Those three are easy, because I know people adore them. Beyond that, I waffle a bit. Ideally, I’d like two more, so I can do a little sampler box. If you’ve had my sweets and have requests / suggestions, now is a good time to let me know! I’m planning to make sweets over the weekend and drop all the goodies off on Monday.

Kurakkan Roti (Millet Roti, with Coconut and Jaggery)

Ready to up your roti game? Try making it with millet flour (you can buy whole grain millet and quickly grind it to flour yourself in a blender), mixed with coconut and jaggery; the sweetness pairs beautifully with a spicy curry or earthy dal. Finger millet is traditional, but other common varieties of millet will also work well for this; I use proso millet, which is easily found at my local grocery.

For a gluten-free version, you can make this entirely with millet flour (as was typical in ancient Sri Lanka), but it will be more brittle; white wheat flour adds softness.

1 c. millet flour
1/2 c. white flour
1/2 t. fine salt
1 c. grated coconut
1/2 c. jaggery (or brown sugar)
hot water (as required, around 1/2 – 3/4 c.)

1 c. vegetable oil (enough to submerge rotis)

1. Combine first five ingredients in a bowl.

2. Add hot water slowly, mixing to make smooth dough.

3. Turn onto a board, oil your hands, and knead about 10 minutes (the dough will likely be a little sticky). Divide into sixteen portions and form little balls with the dough.

4. Pour oil into a flat tray; submerge balls in oil. (It’s a lot of oil, but if you make roti regularly, you can save it and re-use it time after time.)

5. Heat a frying pan (either nonstick, or plan to drizzle a little oil in the pan as needed to prevent sticking). Take a ball of dough, flatten into a circle, and roll out (or use the heel of your hand to flatten) until fairly thin — as thin as you can get it without tearing. This requires a gentle touch, as millet dough is more prone to tearing than wheat dough.

6. Cook each roti separately on high, turning over after about thirty seconds to cook the other side. They will brown slightly. Remove to a plate, covering them each time with a clean dishtowel, to keep warm. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

One More Hour

One more hour, my local peeps, for this event. (Me pictured wearing one of Madhurima’s fabulous earrings; you can’t have this pair, but she has other delightful options…)

I have to say the main thing that’s sold this time are confections (esp. the sweet samplers) and cakes — the redbud cakes have been selling like hotcakes. Maybe because they’re delicious? Not that people can tell that when they’re wrapped in plastic wrap, but they look delicious, and they ARE delicious. Also curry powder, several. Plus a scarf and a set of greeting cards and an alicorne soap for someone’s little girl, and a constellation pendant w/ necklace.

It’s interesting how differently things sell at different kinds of events — in December, lots of people wanted soaps for little $5 stocking stuffers. I thought they’d be big for Mother’s Day, but I guess not?

Still, it’s a beautiful day, and I’m enjoying myself on my porch (grateful for the shade) with my elderflower rose lemonade (which is kind of ridiculously floral in concept, but also tasty).

Cooking Sri Lankan with Mary Anne

I have to admit, I was actually super-anxious about the roti cooking class today for no good reason — it’s just been a while since we did one, I think, and I was feeling out of practice and inept. (And in fact, we meant to record it and didn’t manage to, so sorry about that, folks — can’t post it! Tech, bah.)

But it actually went fine, the class itself was quite fun (esp. with Pooja Makhijani interviewing me through it), my roti taste good (the kids like them!), and I think I want to do more of these, get back in the habit again. But I also am not sure I have the brainpower to commit in advance to particular dishes. Hm.

Would there be any interest in a “Cooking Sri Lankan with Mary Anne” sequence of classes this summer? The idea would be something like:

– classes will be Sunday afternoons, for about 1 – 1.5 hrs
– you’ll get a recipe and list of ingredients by the Thursday beforehand
– classes will be recorded for posting online, so you need to either be okay with being recorded or plan to have your video off (but it’s nice if some people leave theirs on, so I feel like I’m talking to actual people)
– we do a sequence of 6 paid classes (pay very nominal though — mostly I just want to avoid people signing up, taking a slot, and then not showing up, so maybe $5 / class)
– limit class size to 25 max

– have Darius Vinesar attending so he can handle recording and also reading off chat questions to me; I can’t actually see the screen well enough to read them while I’m cooking

Thoughts? I could do one vegetarian / vegan sequence to start, and then maybe a non-veg if it went well and I decided to do it again.

Sitting in the Sunshine

Met Roshani for lunch yesterday, outdoors at Little Gem. They have perfect French onion soup, and we shared a split of prosecco. Yumyum. So nice to sit outside in the sunshine with a friend…

Salmon and Asparagus with Pickled Redbud & Lemon Sauce

(30 minutes, serves 4)

Have you pickled some redbuds? Want to dazzle your guests at a spring luncheon? I’m not sure you can do better than this delicious tangy salmon & asparagus — it’s beautiful and very more-ish. Serve with a hot crusty dinner roll slathered with butter (redbud butter, if you want to be extra fancy), and you’re good to go.

You can use pickled redbuds in any recipe where you’d use capers.

4 T lemon juice
4 T minced red onion
2 T olive oil
2 T drained pickled redbud blossoms (or capers), chopped
1 t. grated lemon peel
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 lb. skinless salmon fillet(s)
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed
about 2 T additional olive oil

additional fresh redbud blossoms to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 450 F.

2. Whisk first five ingredients in a small bowl to blend. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Cut three 1/2-inch deep slits crosswise in top of salmon, to allow sauce to flavor. (Don’t cut all the way through.)

4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil; arrange asparagus in even layer on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and turn to coat, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

5. Place salmon atop asparagus, brush half of sauce over the salmon, reserving the rest.

6. Roast until salmon is just opaque in the center, about 20 minutes.

7. Transfer asparagus and salmon to serving dish, garnish with additional fresh redbud blossoms, and serve with remaining sauce alongside.

Pickled Redbud Recipe:

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. 🙂