Two Sri Lankan cuisine questions

Two Sri Lankan cuisine questions:

a) I’m making seeni sambol buns and beef curry buns (mas paan) for the Bite Nite event on Friday. I’m thinking of using a food processor on the (already cooked) seeni sambol to chop it a bit, so the onions are a little less stringy in texture. Is that going to lead to disaster? I haven’t seen a recipe that calls for that, but I think it might be good. Thoughts? (In retrospect, it would be better to just finely chop the onions if you’re going to do that, but I didn’t think of that beforehand, and now the seeni sambol is made, so…)

b) Are there other common vegetarian fillings for these kinds of buns that I’m not familiar with? I have jackfruit, for example, and could make a jackfruit curry filling, or jackfruit and potato. I could also do chickpea curry. (I could do lentils, but I think I want something more savory and robust in flavor, with that tomato component, rather than a creamy coconut milk lentil in a bun.) Thoughts?

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Recorded a foodie episode of “Our Opinions Are Correct,” my favorite podcast

Recorded a foodie episode of “Our Opinions Are Correct,” my favorite podcast. Talking about food in SF/F, food in culture, food in my cookbook, etc. Funfun, but now I really am exhausted, and very shortly, I will devour the last of the passionfruit ice cream and put myself to bed.

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Sunday dinner was lovely

Sunday dinner this week was actually a full meal! Yay, us! We had crudité! We had bread! And it only took 15 minutes or so to prep together (aside from the ice cream) (plus baking time).

Admittedly, we bought a bag of frozen brown-and-serve rolls, so making bread was mostly a matter of sticking those on a tray and adding it to the oven ten minutes before the chicken was done, but hey, I’ll take it. 

This week’s menu:

• crudité with carrots, bell pepper, ranch dip, hummus (set out in advance, so hungry people could nibble while cooking / waiting, and get some vegetables into us — Anand said, “I’m so hungry, even raw carrots taste delicious!” Yes, that is my sneaky plan, child.)

• baked chicken thighs wrapped in prosciutto and topped with mozzarella (no need for anything else in the baking dish, since the prosciutto and cheese give plenty of salt, and the chicken gives off liquids that it cooks in, making a beautifully moist result — just bake in oven @ 400 for 35 minutes). Kevin grated the mozzarella (you could use pre-grated, but Kev is picky, and if he’s willing to grate it, that’s fine with me!), and the kids helped with wrapping the chicken and sprinkling the cheese. The cheese did get a *little* browner than ideal, so you might want to cover with foil for the first half of cooking if you’re being fussy, but definitely remove it after that, so the liquids can cook off and the cheese can brown.

• asparagus roasted in olive oil, salt, and pepper (Kavi did most of this, with a few reminders of process along the way; I’m determined to get the kids really used to roasting vegetables before they start high school, so they can do it easily for themselves once they leave us — we prepped it along with the chicken, but waited and added it to the oven along with the bread, about 10 minutes before the chicken was due to be done)

• warm, crusty rolls, served with a) olive oil & fresh grated Parmesan (for Kavi), b) olive oil & balsamic vinegar (for me and Kevin)


• two varieties of homemade ice cream (vanilla with chocolate chips / passionfruit with fresh berries, made by Anand and me the Saturday afternoon before)

It was lovely.

(And I love that photo of Kevin’s hands working, and Kavi’s hands beside him as she watched and learned.)

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Sunday dinner: Rose, rose, thorn, bud

We added something new this time — we went around with “Rose, rose, thorn, bud” first, which was a little awkward since none of us had done that before, but if we do it a few more times, I’m hopeful that it’ll help get the kids in the habit of pleasant dinner table conversation.

The main goal of that is to get them used to actually taking turns leading the conversation, asking people questions about the good and hard things in their lives, not interrupting too much, etc. I would like to raise socially adept children, if possible, who can adapt to different conversational styles, be welcoming and inclusive, etc., though it does take a little extra work given neurodiverse frameworks. (And of course, if we learn more about their lives and what’s going on with them, that’s good too.)

And then we played Geography until we were done eating, and everyone helped clear the table and clean the kitchen.

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Well, except for blocking, but I’m not sure whether there’s really any need to block this kind of chunky seed stitch scarf. It seems pretty good as is. So maybe just done? It’d be nice to finish something — somehow it feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve finished anything.

That’s actually not true — I finish cooking things all the time, which is a large part of why I like cooking. My ADD brain LOVES instant gratification. I mean, LOVES LOVES LOVES AND KIND OF NEEDS it.

But I have multiple cooking projects in the works this week, in preparation for Bite Nite on Friday, so it doesn’t really feel like I’m finishing them right now, which is like many blinky lights in my brain, which is quite stressful. The house is also FULL of partially completed house projects, gah. And then there’s a semester of teaching we’ve just started, and of course, writing, with like 15 book projects on my board…

So let’s call this done, shall we? So much satisfying chunky goodness. I’ve never knit anything with such big needles before — it goes so fast! Maybe I’ll only knit chunky things on big needles from now on… 

In retrospect, I do kind of wish I’d made this scarf a little less wide, so that the end result (with one skein) was longer, but oh well. It’ll be just fine under the jacket I have in mind for it. I’m going to have my monthly writer-friend lunch with Lori today, so I think I’ll wear it out!

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Finishing the scarf

Oops — I was so excited about finishing this scarf (how long as it been since I *finished* a yarn project? Don’t ask. I mean, I think we might be talking YEARS) that I knit almost to the end of the yarn.

I forgot that with knitting, you have to actually cast-off the last row, which I think needs more yarn than I’ve left? I’ll have to check, but I didn’t even think about it. Crochet habits betraying me! Oh well. I can tink back that row if needed, and then cast-off. As Julian of Norwich tells us, “‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

Sripati says, “Chill, mama. See? Watch me.”

Sri and Julian are soul-siblings, clearly.

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Passionfruit Ice Cream

Mmm….this is my kind of ice cream — passionfruit. Basic vanilla recipe + passionfruit puree. It is v. tangy!

(The chocolate chips are because it’s the second half of the vanilla w/ chocolate chip ice cream I made for the kids; I just added the passionfruit puree to that. I wouldn’t really recommend doing that! Though a drizzle of chocolate syrup would be lovely with this fruity ice cream.)

Kavi did think the passionfruit ice cream was just a bit *too* tangy on its own (is there such a thing?), and maybe she’s right. (I mean, she’s still happily eating bowls of it, so take that critique for what it’s worth…)

I think the ideal form of this ice cream might be swirled with vanilla ice cream, or even better, swirled with vanilla & rose ice cream. I’m going to try that next, I think. 

Alternately, you could use half as much puree, if you didn’t want to bother with swirling a second batch, and I think that might be a more generally popular version, for those people who aren’t quite as addicted to tang as I am. (I’m the person who eagerly reaches for the lemon cake, and then is so often disappointed because it isn’t lemon-y enough…)

But I loved this ice cream as it was, and I’m having a hard time not just eating an entire batch out of the tupperware with a spoon! Especially when graced with appropriate complements:

• If you like the summer beach classic treat of mangoes with chili and lime, passionfruit & vanilla ice cream sprinkled with cayenne is in that same flavor family. Mmmm…

• And at least as good — passionfruit ice cream with fresh strawberries. It reminds me of being in Sri Lanka, in the hill country, eating strawberries with Karina from a roadside stand. And now I’m homesick…

I think passionfruit is my favorite flavor right now. I’m obsessed. 

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Homemade Ice Cream

For our first batch of homemade ice cream, Anand requested chocolate, which is a little dull to try to make with an ice cream maker, but okay, might as well start with a simple classic, except it turned out that we were inexplicably out of cocoa (actually, I’m sure we’re not, but I can’t FIND IT, gah), so we made vanilla instead, and dropped in some chocolate chips, and it was pretty good, though the chips were too big, everyone agreed, and mini chips would’ve been better. But nonetheless, experiment #1 with the new ice cream maker = success, and it was all eaten up by the end of the day.

(Side note: we didn’t read the instructions carefully enough — you’re supposed to have the plastic top on before you pour anything into the frozen ice cream bowl. It didn’t cause disaster or anything, but wanted to note that the first picture is technically wrong.)

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