Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Adventures in FFV

My dad used a military (?) acronym FFV on the grocery list for 'fresh fruit and vegetables'. It meant I think that he would pick out whatever looked good that week. And it made my mother laugh. 


-*- I found a new-to-me fruit at the latinx grocery story in K.C. last month: tejocotes. This blog post has a nice description and a recipe for Christmas punch. That's the usual use for these little crab apples. I tried one raw and it was crab apple texture but bland, not sour, nothing exciting. When boiled in spiced syrup however, the texture changes and the full taste is released. They are delightful and I ate them all. I used the Weird Explorer's "recipe" which starts around 4:25. Boil whole for 5-10 minutes in water, drain and cool, then slip off the skins. Make a syrup with 1:1 brown sugar and water, add cinnamon stick and whole cloves (and/or star anise if you like). Simmer the fruit in the syrup for 20 minutes, up to one hour. When cool, eat like little apples, biting around the large seeds at the "core". The leftover syrup is delicious too - could be a cocktail sweetener. I had such a good time finding out about these little fruits. 

-*- This fall I bought a bag of black walnuts at the grocery store with the best variety and local options. Black walnut trees are common here and throughout the midwest. The nuts that fall have a green hull that when opened stain everything black, and then an inner shell that is extremely hard to crack. So even though they're plentiful and easy to pick up, the nuts aren't easy to get at. My dad told a story about an Iowa neighbor who used his car to run back and forth over a burlap bag of black walnuts in order to crack them. This blog post shows how to do it with... a rock. I was happy to be able to buy the shelled nut meats. And they are interesting. Like stinky walnuts pretty much. You could even say gamey. It was fun to finally taste them.  

-*- Persimmon orange is a beautiful color. I have gotten some Fuyu persimmons recently and figured out a way to eat them that I like. These don't have seeds, which I find slightly disappointing. The first time I bought these fruits was in the Bay Area 25 years ago and they often had shiny dark brown seeds in their hearts. I found eating them a bit frustrating - the only way I knew was to remove the stem and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. It was inefficient and a bit awkward. This year I tried peeling the fruit and that was better! By taking off just the thin outside peel I feel like I'm getting more of the fruit. They are mild and sweet and crunchy. Here's a page with info on the two common varieties, Fuyu and Hachiya. Hachiyas are tannic/astringent if they're not fully ripe. My mother learned a way to force them for baking - once they're orange, stick them in the freezer, it finishes the ripening process. If you're using them for baking that works well. 

-*- The best apple varieties change year to year. This year the best ones I've gotten consistently have been Jonathans from Michigan, the bag says Riveredge. Crisp and tart/sweet. 


Have a sweet and calm end of the year. And may we all have wonderful discoveries in the new year. 

Friday, December 9, 2022

Pert Pose



Found in the wonderland of Gods and Foolish Grandeur. A favorite model of the artist Helleu, Marthe Letellier is portrayed here. I love the silly fingers as well as the big eyes/tiny mouth ratio. Her strawberry blonde hair is the focus of the first pastel work in the linked blog post. 


I went to the faculty and staff appreciation holiday party yesterday. This is an annual event that used to be held in the Chancellor's residence, now it's in a fairly generic events space on campus. This was the first time I made it, even though I've worked here soooo loooong (17+ yrs). I'm a little sorry I didn't make the effort to go way back when, just to have a look inside the residence.

The snacks were quality and I was surprised at how few people I recognized in the good-sized throng. Door prizes are always given out, it was fun to see some of those collected. I also learned that there's a new campus welcome center going to open in Feb. We had a potluck on Monday for our office crew. It's been nice, a little exotic, to be able to see people at work events. And of course not everyone attended and Covid is still in mind. Local numbers are low, so far I'm willing to roll the dice.  


I have been watching a lot of Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova's video series UNHhhh. A woman friend said that she finds all male drag to be anti feminist. And I understand that position. But I am putty in the hands of a talented drag performer. I think part of it is that a drag persona is a monster woman. It's not necessarily a denigration of the feminine but an exaggeration/dramatization that results in an uncanny clown entity. Thwoorp!  

Thursday, December 1, 2022


The October 2022 full moon rising in NE Kansas. It was chilly.

We drove our little butts off and went to Albuquerque and back again via Las Cruces. Those who flew were on time and the store-bought turkey was even moist and yum. We are a small clan but it was still good to have a get together. I hope to see some nephews next time, maybe at brother's house. 

My mom is in a lot of leg pain unfortunately and it remains to be seen how to help that. 

Of All the Birds, Ravenscroft catch, sung by Maddy Prior with Hannah and Giles from 3 for Joy. I love this song and hadn't heard it before. 'To whit, to who' is the British owl call (that I first encountered in an Asterix comic rendered in BritEngl). This song starts with owl admiration but seems to be emphasizing the night-owl aspect and it is a drinking song. I want to hear the album. Slightly variant lyrics.  

 Rene Quillivic Breton sculptor and woodcut artist. On the Open SeaBlog post with three prints

Two delicious metafilter Thanksgiving recipe recommendation troves: 2017 and 2022. Includes a homemade harissa recipe.  


Edited to add that no one has gotten sick after our get together which makes it a complete success in my book. Mom is doing better after getting more aggressive with her snuggest support hose and wrapped bandages. She is looking forward to a rally dog trial this weekend and was able to do the practice last Sunday. That's medicine for her.