Party prep and salmon curry

Party prep — I can’t take credit for the gorgeous Turkish delight or passion fruit meringues — I picked them up at Jed’s local grocery store, Piazza (and just cut the Turkish delight up into smaller pieces). But aren’t they pretty? Salmon curry is mine, though Marie Aunty kindly insisted on chopping onions for me! She and Genisha stopped by Jed’s for coffee, and they really didn’t have to cook, but none of the women in my mother’s family are good at sitting still when someone else is working…

*****

Salmon Curry
(45 minutes, serves 6)

2 lbs salmon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 onions, chopped
1 TBL mustard seed
1 TBL cumin seed
1 tsp fenugreek / methi seed
1 tsp fennel seeds
6-12 curry leaves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp Sri Lankan roasted curry powder
2 cups coconut milk
Juice of one lime

1. Wash fish and dry on paper towels. Cut into roughly 1 inch pieces.

2. Sauté onions on medium-high with seeds, curry leaves, and salt until golden-translucent, stirring as needed.

3. Add cayenne, curry powder, and coconut milk. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes, until well blended. Add lime juice, stirring so it doesn’t curdle.

4. Add salmon and simmer an additional 10-15 minutes, until fish is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve with rice or stringhoppers and an assortment of sambols.

***

My new Sri Lankan cookbook, A Feast of Serendib, launches on March 6, 2020, but we’re doing a long, slow pre-launch of the special Kickstarter edition in the interim. Right now, we still have discounted Kickstarter pricing available for pre-orders, along with Kickstarter goodies — you can pre-order here: http://serendibkitchen.com/a-feast-of-serendib/

If you’d like to support the development of more mostly Sri Lankan recipes, I’d love to have you join the cookbook club — for $2 / month, you’ll get recipes delivered to your inbox (fairly) regularly: https://www.patreon.com/mohanraj

And here’s all the foodie social media:

Serendib Kitchen blog: http://serendibkitchen.com
Serendib Kitchen Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/serendib_kitchen/
Serendib FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/132029834135500/
Serendib FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/mohanrajserendib/

Thanks for your support!

#serendibkitchen

Please follow and like us:
error

At Green Elephant for lunch

Tired after a three hour flight delay and broken sleep, but Jed took me to Green Elephant for lunch, a local Burmese place, which revived me somewhat. Tea leaf salad, eggplant and fish in spicy garlic sauce, a potato thingie that I’m forgetting the name of, and the yummy roti-like bread with sauce that is called something different in Burma than Malaysia but is always delicious regardless.

Resting a little now, then coffee here with my cousin Genisha and Marie Aunty, while cooking for tonight’s Feast potluck dinner at Jed’s. I say potluck, but I’ve got five dishes planned, plus substantial leftovers from lunch, oh well…

Hey, is this the first official Feast-with-books-in-hand event? I think it is. Neat. 🙂

***

My new Sri Lankan cookbook, A Feast of Serendib, launches on March 6, 2020, but we’re doing a long, slow pre-launch of the special Kickstarter edition in the interim. Right now, we still have discounted Kickstarter pricing available for pre-orders, along with Kickstarter goodies — you can pre-order here: http://serendibkitchen.com/a-feast-of-serendib/

If you’d like to support the development of more mostly Sri Lankan recipes, I’d love to have you join the cookbook club — for $2 / month, you’ll get recipes delivered to your inbox (fairly) regularly: https://www.patreon.com/mohanraj

And here’s all the foodie social media:

Serendib Kitchen blog: http://serendibkitchen.com
Serendib Kitchen Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/serendib_kitchen/
Serendib FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/132029834135500/
Serendib FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/mohanrajserendib/

Thanks for your support!

#serendibkitchen

Please follow and like us:
error

Upcoming events for Feast

I am having a surprisingly difficult time tracking the events I have upcoming for Feast; trying to get them all written down in one place now. I think these are all the ones confirmed — if anyone reading this happens to remember something I’ve forgotten to write down, let me know, please!

Sneak Peek Events (official launch: March 6, 2019 @ FogCon)

BAY AREA:

Friday, September 13: Bay Area: Potluck dinner at Jed’s in Mountain View

Saturday, September 14: Bay Area: meeting people at Writers with Drinks to hand off Kickstarter books

OAK PARK:

Sunday, September 29, 3-5 p.m. Jake’s Place Bookstore — cook-off and book signing (free to attend, all are welcome)

October 16, 6-8 p.m. Sri Lankan Feast Party @ Eastgate Cafe: live music, henna painting, spice grinding demonstration, hors d’oeuvres and drinks, books for sale. Tickets (which include a book) available at the door ($50 hardcover / $35 softcover), but discounted $5 for advance purchase. Ticket sales open soon.

October 22: Chicago: Union League Book Feast: The event will feature a cocktail hour, during which ULCC members and others attending will be able to purchase books and have them signed by participating authors. Union League Club of Chicago, 65 West Jackson Boulevard on the 5th floor in the Crystal Room.

October 27, 10-12 a.m. Sri Lankan cooking class (hopper-making!) At SugarBeet Schoolhouse, $45 for the class, which includes brunch, discounted books available for purchase. https://www.hisawyer.com/sugar-beet-s…/…/activity-set/94183…

CHICAGOLAND:

October 27, 5-8 p.m. Miss Porter’s alumni dinner party.

Please follow and like us:
error

Frantic rush

Whew — it was a bit of a frantic rush this morning, as I tried to simultaneously figure out on the phone with Heather what was up with the signing up for GSuites for Nonprofits for the SLF and work with Stephanie on getting the review copies ready to send to my high school for their alumni event, to Sophia du Brul, a high school compatriot who is kindly hosting an alumni book party for me, and to Booklist, Library Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly, for hopeful review.

I’m not sending a review copy to Kirkus, at least right now, because they only review indie-published titles if you pay them — and I understand that they’re deluged, but it’s still frustrating. (Can’t remember the exact amount, but around $400, I think?) For one of the others, they at least give you two options, of either guaranteeing a review by paying them or submitting it and taking your chances. I suppose if they almost never review the latter, that might mean that indie publishers would be better off saving their print/mail costs for the book, but it’s nicer having the option, I think. I suppose I still might suck it up and pay for a Kirkus review, but not right now, as production costs have been mounting steadily.

We’re working on a big chart, which I’ll post when it’s ready. I’ve made a lot of costly mistakes, which is painful, but I’m trying to chalk that up to learning a new business. If I were going to take a publishing seminar, that might cost a few thousand dollars, right? Maybe not, but it’s a comforting illusion, anyway, so don’t take it away from me….

Then all that segued into very quick packing, and now I’m heading into campus to teach my classes, and from there, to the airport. These books are big! I’m delivering about eight copies to a few people who pre-ordered in the Bay Area, and it turns out when I was packing that I can actually only fit about ten copies of the hardcover book in my carry on suitcase + backpack. I think I managed to pack so I didn’t incur extra fees for heavy suitcase — we’ll see! It does mean an extra heavy backpack, so it’s a good thing that though I’m small, I am also MIGHTY. 

I’m going to the Bay Area for the weekend (coming back Monday night), and this really is a personal vacation rather than a business trip, though I’m doing a few book things while I’m there — it’s my very good friend Alex’s 50th birthday, and he and his wife Christa are combining that with a housewarming for their new place. I waffled for a good long time about going, because I wasn’t sure I could afford the time, but one of my big resolutions this year is to invest in significant relationships, for the sake of my own mental health and happiness. So here I go.

Also, this is a threefer, as I get to also stay with Jed for a few days, and even have dinner with my in-laws, who I haven’t seen in many months. Bonus! So good all around, I think, and with any luck, I’ll get a fair bit of work done on the plane too. We’ll see how exhausted I am after teaching; sometimes, it’s draining enough that all I want to do afterwards is sleep. In which case, I’ll do that on the plane instead, or at least doze and watch dumb tv. Rest also good, or so I hear…

***

My new Sri Lankan cookbook, A Feast of Serendib, launches on March 6, 2020, but we’re doing a long, slow pre-launch of the special Kickstarter edition in the interim. Right now, we still have discounted Kickstarter pricing available for pre-orders, along with Kickstarter goodies — you can pre-order here: http://serendibkitchen.com/a-feast-of-serendib/

If you’d like to support the development of more mostly Sri Lankan recipes, I’d love to have you join the cookbook club — for $2 / month, you’ll get recipes delivered to your inbox (fairly) regularly: https://www.patreon.com/mohanraj

And here’s all the foodie social media:

Serendib Kitchen blog: http://serendibkitchen.com
Serendib Kitchen Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/serendib_kitchen/
Serendib FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/132029834135500/
Serendib FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/mohanrajserendib/

Thanks for your support!

#serendibkitchen

Please follow and like us:
error

Hardcovers of Feast!

Hardcovers!!! This is what 100 hardcover cookbooks look like. And yes, I pored over it obsessively tonight until I finally found both a typo and a word choice I’d like to edit, but that just means God won’t smite me down for hubris, because otherwise, this cookbook is pretty close to perfect. 

I think I started seriously working on this book in the summer of 2017, so more than two years ago.

A long (but tasty) road.

(Side notes: Jeremy John Parker, I was setting up a book event today, and the cafe owner asked who had done the book design, because it was really, really good. I agree. Thank you for making this labor of love so beautiful.

Pamudu Tennakoon, every time the book falls open to one of your illustrations, it makes me smile (and for the paperback, which has no photos, your illos absolutely make the book). Paul Goyette, it’s a privilege having one of your photos on my cover, and so many of them in the book.)

***

My new Sri Lankan cookbook, A Feast of Serendib, launches on March 6, 2020, but we’re doing a long, slow pre-launch of the special Kickstarter edition in the interim. Right now, we still have discounted Kickstarter pricing available for pre-orders, along with Kickstarter goodies — you can pre-order here: http://serendibkitchen.com/a-feast-of-serendib/

If you’d like to support the development of more mostly Sri Lankan recipes, I’d love to have you join the cookbook club — for $2 / month, you’ll get recipes delivered to your inbox (fairly) regularly: https://www.patreon.com/mohanraj

And here’s all the foodie social media:

Serendib Kitchen blog: http://serendibkitchen.com
Serendib Kitchen Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/serendib_kitchen/
Serendib FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/132029834135500/
Serendib FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/mohanrajserendib/

Thanks for your support!

#serendibkitchen

Please follow and like us:
error

Just jotting down a few notes…

I am NOT working on the Wilding memoir right now. There’s so much else in the queue ahead of it. Let me just jot down a few notes on things that came into my head in the car on the way back from the doctor…

Five minutes later:

– incident — buying house, destroyed by construction, plants coming up, reported to village by trustee who walked by regularly (so we heard), tried to resist, had to go to court, cried, was fined the smallest fine, had to cut it all down. Gave up and started over, rather than wait another year to figure out what I had (knowing it’d look like weeds in the process)
– cut down tree of heaven (mistake)
– massive tendency to fail to water, cost so many plants!
– layering in hardscape, trees, shrubs, perennials, edibles, annuals, groundcover (correct order?)
– how much grass to leave in front (aesthetics) and back (children playing)
– plan for an organic garden, mostly because of small children and edibles — almost no fertilizer (and only organic), no pesticides or herbicides for seven years
– natives outperforming and crowding out ornamentals
– collecter versus designer (design effects: limit number of plants in garden, plant in odd numbers (3,5,70, plant in paisley
– layered bulbs
– Martha Stewart digs out a massive trench and throws down daffodil bulbs willy nilly
– early spring bulbs and hellebores
– spring garden first, then filling in summer and autumn
– Kirsten’s gift of autumn book (British gardening vs.)
– frustration with garden magazines
– Garden Club question about burdock (paint poison with a paintbrush)
– attempts to espalier fruit trees
– difficulty of planting vegetables when you keep giving over all the sun to flowers
– beneficial non-native versus invasive
– planting the hellstrip instead of green grass
– heavy pollen plants / bees in hellstrip

*****

I may be in some trouble here.

Please follow and like us:
error

Milkweed pods

As I’m pausing in the alley to take a photo of the milkweed pods by my garage, a passing neighbor — “Your garden is so beautiful. Next year, you should plant vegetables too, so we can all get fat.”

(I’m actually really bad at vegetables. Working on it. My cherry tomatoes are okay this year — I think I’m going to try some on ornamental trellises in the front parkway strip next year. Maybe Atomic Grape, since it’s so pretty.)

Please follow and like us:
error

Cancer log 207: Make appointments, get tests done

Cancer log 207: Nothing much to report yet — we’re in the ‘make appointments and get tests done’ part of the process, and since my oncologist (whom I met with this morning) agrees that it’s all probably nothing, there’s not a lot to do but work the problem.

It *is* irritating that Loyola has recently switched to a policy of scheduling 16 days out (to allow for insurance), so when the poor medical secretary was trying to schedule my MRI for me, she got all these questions from the other end about why she wanted it done quickly (because the doctor said so, because my doctor is awesome and thinks tests should be done quickly so you can catch things early if they’re there, which you’d think the insurance companies would also want, since early treatment is way less expensive than late treatment…).

The secretary got really flustered trying to answer the other person’s questions — “I’m not a doctor, I’m the staff person!” and ended up having to call back my doctor and have her write STAT on the order, which was not a great use of the doctor’s time either, being interrupted like that, probably when she was in the middle of talking to a patient.

I generally find inefficiencies super-frustrating, but this is the sort of inefficiency that costs lives. Not my life, not in this case, but how many tests will be delayed by these policies, meant to benefit the insurance companies? How many people will have their cancer caught critical weeks later?

How much money would America save, if we could just eliminate the profit-motive in medicine, and make healthcare the public good it ought to be?

I don’t know how to best attack that problem, but the Democratic presidential candidates had better be thinking hard about how best to achieve Medicare-for-all — or whatever they want to call it, I don’t care.

The linking of health insurance to certain higher-end jobs is an accident of American history, a painful accident we’ve all been paying for, for far too long. Time to end it.

Please follow and like us:
error

Various threads of my life suddenly coalesced into a project

Had another idea for a memoir this week, or rather, various threads of my life suddenly coalesced into a project.

“Wilding memoir — one year in a pollinator-friendly Midwest perennial garden (combine with memoir aspects, thinking through conventionality, neatness, social class, precarity, the symbolism of the lawn, vs. exuberant life, dandelions & roses — how to marry these elements harmoniously, the difference between a garden and a wilderness)”

I don’t think of myself as an environmental writer, you know. When you’re in grad school, choosing a focus, you really have no idea where you’re going to be in 10 or 20 years, and I’m grateful that I’ve ended up in a flexible job. This is coming out of running the local garden club Facebook group, also out of watching Jeff VanderMeer’s work re-wilding his home and Stephanie WP’s tireless efforts with West Cook Wild Ones to encourage natives in our own area.

Also from Nicole Walker’s beautiful micro-essays (her books are gorgeous, half poetry) around ecology, conservation, capitalism, and conversations with Angeli Primlani around the urgency of addressing climate change. Also reading Amitav Ghosh’s book, The Great Derangement (which asks why we have so little powerful climate change fiction), and seeing my UIC colleague Rachel Havrelock’s work at the Freshwater Lab (living in Chicago, it’s hard not to think about how critical Lake Michigan is to our long-term health).

All I have are notes right now, and I have put it into the Trello board under project ideas, and I am resolutely NOT starting it yet, because there are other things in the queue that should be finished first. Benjamin Rosenbaum spoke very sternly to me about that a few years ago, and I am trying to take his words to heart, because otherwise, I start kazillion things and never finish any of them and also feel like my mind is going in a thousand exploding directions.

But it’s itching at me. I’d always planned to spin off Serendib Garden from the Serendib Home site — it’s own set of blog / instagram / etc. So maybe it’s not unreasonable to do that this fall, so at least the different pieces on this topic that I throw off in the blogging process will be collated in one place, ready to collect and revise and turn into a book at some point? That’s not the same as actively working on it, right? (I know Ben is shaking his head at me right now…)

But the ways in which conventionality and societal expectations hobble us, leading us to strangle ourselves, so that we can’t really breathe? That’s really all of of a piece with so much else that I write….

Please follow and like us:
error