Running Frantic

Whew! I was running a little frantic, trying to get some Sri Lankan curry powder packaged and out the door before my 10 a.m. appt. to record a podcast with Benjamin Rosenbaum, and I was just getting ready to drop Ben and Darius a note asking if we could possibly push it to 10:30, but then I went to go check the calendar for something else entirely, and saw that we had actually scheduled today for 11 a.m., because Ben had a thing, so whew.

Packages are all done now (and look, I figured out partway through that if I sealed them with washi tape and wrote a label to go over it, that would hold the not very sticky washi tape in place and look v. pretty) and out the door, waiting for pick-up…

…including a big mask order — 4 LotR masks and 4 Dr. Who masks. Someone is going to be geeking out when they get this. 

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Now I just have to pick out a topic for today’s recording. If you have an opinion, feel free to weigh in! I’m going to take 15 minutes to walk through the garden, take some photos, drink my coffee, and breathe.

Possible topics…

Humanism:

– what does it mean to be human as a SF/F writer? Post-human / far future / Singularity / Plurality University / etc.

-> Ben: you asserted that we were humanists in the first episode. I think this is interesting; it’s not a label I identify with, not because I have any strong aversion to it, but just because I’m not sure what it means. I sort of associate it with the 15th century and with putting Man atop the Great Chain of Being, but that’s obviously not what you mean by it. Let’s also talk about what the label means.

Pandemic:

– how people manage risk

– how we’re handling all this personally

– how you and Esther and the kids are doing (if you’re comfortable talking about Esther as therapist and your relationship stuff and your synagogue work, all of that would be interesting, I think, and I’d do the same from my end with Kevin and Jed and the kids and teaching)

– how Switzerland and the U.S. are handling coronavirus differently (I have no idea what’s happening there, actually)

SF & Writing:

– maintaining SF community during a year-without-conventions (Mary Robinette)

– writing during all this

– motivational structures

– the frustration and grief of a delayed book launch; plans and strategies for handling it (Liz Gorinsky)

Teaching:

– Swiss and American educational systems during the pandemic

Domestic:

– domestic labor during the pandemic (the big chart)

Misc:

– international guests (Yudhanjaya, Aliette — fold in pandemic check-ins — New Zealand (Toni, Jed’s friend, etc.))

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Birthday Lunch Crepes

Birthday lunch crepes! In addition to the chicken filling and the apple filling, we put out lemons and sugar, plus Nutella. I would’ve sliced some bananas to go with the Nutella, but we didn’t have those on hand. Oh well!

I was very happy with first a chicken-and-Emmenthaler crepe, then apples-and-Emmenthaler, then finishing with a perfect lemon-sugar. Kevin and Kavi did similarly, but Anand — oh, Anand is our experimental cook. He did one crepe with Nutella and apples and Emmenthaler (he LOVES cheese), which is reasonable enough. But then he did one with Nutella and sautéed chicken and Emmenthaler.

I mean, a chocolate molé sauce is great on chicken, so he’s not SO far off adding Nutella, I guess? But I don’t think I’d do it. Anand did conclude that he would’ve liked that one better without the chicken. 

#kaviturns13

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We Went with Crepes

For Kavi’s birthday trip-to-France-themed lunch, we went with crepes. I love a crepe selection, personally, and when we did it for Sunday dinner, the kids had a lot of fun deciding what they wanted in their crepes. Normally I’d do a spinach-feta filling (sauté onions and garlic in olive oil, add chopped spinach (thawed from frozen works great, if you squeeze out the extra moisture), salt and pepper, stir in the feta), but we were out of spinach AND feta. Oh well. 

I did a chicken filling instead. Sauté 1 chopped onion in a few T butter, stirring ’til golden, add bite-size pieces of chicken thighs, 5-6 thighs (I could have cut it a little smaller, but was in a bit of a rush, and this worked fine), 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper. Sauté until chicken is browned and cooked through, then add 1/4 c. heavy cream and simmer until well-blended and the cream has thickened into a sauce. Mmm…

Kevin diced up some apples and we sautéed those in butter too (separate pan), adding a teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Both of those go well with Swiss cheese, if you feel like adding that — we used Emmenthaler, because we had some on hand, and it was delicious.

#kaviturns13

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All About Food Around Here

It’s all about the food around here. For Kavi’s birthday party-day dinner, we went with unicorns — Annie’s mac-and-cheese unicorn-themed pasta. Not the fanciest dinner, but she was delighted, and we were pretty tired, so grateful for an easy meal. (I had leftover rice and curry myself.)

I set up the dining table for her actual birthday, clearing off all the sewing stuff. I used the checkered tablecloth (symbol of France, but will also hopefully be useful for picnics in the park / woods once the weather gets a little less wet, so I bought a good quality one for us to use, and I quite like it — it’s twice this size, I have it doubled up in the pic), and managed to salvage enough of the flowers despite their use as a balloon swatting device to make a cute little vase.

 

Kavi went for her standard cereal for breakfast — if I’d been more organized, I’d have had a few chocolate croissants on hand, but she seemed happy enough with this. And mid-morning, I cut up two mangoes for the kids, because cutting fruit for people = love.

 

#kaviturns13

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Sri Lankan Curried Cod

Sri Lankan Curried Cod

(25 minutes, serves 4)

This is a simple curry rich with coconut milk and green chili, appropriate for any whitefish. Cod is lovely in this, but you could also use tilapia, bass, grouper, haddock, catfish, snapper — mildly flavored, quick-cooking fish that usually aren’t too expensive.

A great weeknight meal, and feel free to double the recipe for leftovers in the next few days; this will also freeze well for a rainy day; rice freezes well too, in a Ziplock with the air pressed out, so you could portion this out into meals and freeze. Add a little moisture to rice when reheating in the microwave.

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs cod or other whitefish

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2-3 onions, chopped

1-2 T fresh ginger, chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

2 finger hot green chilies, chopped (adjust up or down as desired for heat)

1 TBL mustard seed

1 TBL cumin seed

1 tsp fenugreek / methi seed

Pinch of saffron threads

6-12 curry leaves, optional

1 tsp salt

2 cups coconut milk

Juice of one lime

NOTE: If making rice, start it first; it’ll be ready by the time you finish the curry.

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

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

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

4. Add fish and simmer an additional 5-10 minutes, until fish is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve with rice; also nice with string hoppers, dosai or roti, or in a bowl with kale sambol.

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Mother’s Day Request

My main request for Mother’s Day was that I not have to think about feeding anyone. The kids took care of breakfast, I had seeni sambol buns for lunch and have no idea what the rest of them ate, and Kevin made us this lovely Sunday dinner. I particularly liked the chard with cherries — YUM. I’d give you a recipe, but I have no idea what he did.

The first two photos are Kavi not in a mood to be photographed and hiding behind her brother. She was willing later, though, as she practiced carving the roast. 

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Weekend Cook-a-longs for Feast

So, I attended Pooja Makhijani‘s bake-a-long last weekend for the star bread, and it was fun and helpful. I think I know how to structure doing one now — would people like it if I started doing weekend cook-a-longs for recipes from Feast? The basic idea:

– I post that I’m doing it (with date / time / recipe)

– the first 20 people who commit to joining get in

– I send them a Zoom invite

– we cook together with me talking through the recipe, answering questions

Thoughts? Requests for recipes to do early? (Hoppers would be on the list, but probably I’d want to do a few before trying that one.)

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Passionfruit Moscow Mule Recipe

Kevin handed in his grading, and I have about an hour left to do tomorrow, I think, so I’ve started the summer cocktail experiments. Woot!

(This is where I pause and reassure my dad that I am still very much a lightweight and hardly drink at all, he doesn’t need to worry. I will nurse one drink like this for an hour, and most weeks, don’t have any alcohol at all. Okay, onwards.)

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Passionfruit Moscow Mule

(makes two servings)

4 ounces vodka — I used grapefruit & rose, mostly because it was just SO PRETTY, yes, Ketel One, you got me

1/2 cup passion fruit pulp

2 tsp lime juice

8 ounces ginger beer

fresh lime to garnish

I would say that this is tasty, but only if you like sour. Between the grapefruit vodka, the passion fruit, and the lime juice, you have three kinds of sour going here. If I were making it again, I’d rim the glass with jaggery sugar, for sure.

Kev and I were talking about how this compares to a whiskey sour (which is often my bar drink of choice; I’m a girl who loves the tang), and he said that whiskey has more complex flavors for the sour to play against, so it works better. I think that’s probably right — this cocktail is fine, but I wouldn’t say it’s really interesting, as it stands? Will have to think about how I’d want to tweak it.

Side note: I do have a particularly sour batch of passionfruit puree on hand right now, so that may be affecting my assessment slightly. Fresh passionfruit is often more sweet than this. So maybe just adding in a little sugar would address it. I’d also like to make it with some fresh passionfruit, because all the little seeds would look cool in the drink. So expect to see another variation on this sometime, whenever I can get my hands on fresh passionfruit. (Pete’s sometimes carries it…)

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Dandelion & Honey Ice Cream

I’m feeling particularly frugal these pandemic days, so it seemed like the right time to try cooking with dandelions. I mostly dig them out of my garden, but they keep coming back, and I had no trouble harvesting enough to gather a cup of dandelion petals. I wish I’d saved the roots too, as apparently when roasted they make a coffee-like ice cream. Next year — I’m out of dandelions now. 

I honestly wasn’t sure I’d like this! But it turns out I love it — I kept going back to the ice cream churn to see if I could scrape out a little more before rinsing it out. I think this is delicious, and well worth your time.

I ended up using a clover honey picked up at our local store, Carnivore Oak Park, one that came advertised as being loaded with pollen, I assume because pollen is supposed to be good for you? I don’t know — something new to research. I would recommend choosing a mild honey, to let the subtle dandelion flavor shine through.

I served mine with fresh mango — springtime and summer mixed together in a bowl.

 

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Dandelion & Honey Ice Cream

The flavors here are delicately floral / herbal — this reminds me of Indian ice cream, oddly enough, maybe because I’m more used to honey and floral rose flavors there? It takes like sunshine on a warm spring day.

Ingredients:
* 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
* 1 1/2 cups half and half
* 1/2 cup mild honey
* about 1 cup dandelion petals
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 6 egg yolks

1. Harvest about 2-3 cups of dandelions (grown in an area that’s free of pesticides / herbicides), rinse well, and let dry. Remove the petals, being careful to separate out and discard the bitter green leaves and stem. You’ll need about 1 cup of dandelion petals for 1 batch of ice cream. (This part is a little time-consuming, but fun to do with a willing child, should you have one on hand.)

2. Combine cream, half-and-half, honey, salt, and dandelion petals in a saucepan. Turn heat to medium for a few minutes to bring the temperature up, then turn down to a simmer, stirring the whole time. When it’s simmering (with little bubbles around the edge), remove it from the heat and add the dandelion petals. Let steep for 30 minutes.

3. Strain the dandelion blossoms out, pouring the cream into another container (one with a spout will make the next step easier, such as a glass measuring cup). Rinse the saucepan to cool it and return to stove.

4. Add egg yolks to the pan and whisk in the cream mixture. Turn the heat to low and continue to whisk until it thickens to a custard (thick enough to coat the back of a spoon).

5. Remove from heat and pour back into the container you used before. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

6. Churn in an ice cream maker. If you like, stir in a few more dandelion petals at the end for a pretty presentation. Perfect for a picnic in the grass. 

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