Browsing Archives for December 2008

The Freaky Fruit Fest

December 17th, 2008

It’s cold.
Really cold.
And nothing says cold like standing around the kitchen sampling bizarre tropical fruit with the kiddos.  
Let’s try some together!

This is my baby holding a baby pineapple.  

The baby pineapple was delicious and tasted just like a regular pineapple.
The only difference was that it was cuter and could fit in the palm of your hand.

Next, we slaughtered an innocent pomegranate.

To mixed reviews.

We moved on to the mango.

Drew did not much like the mango.


Very orange with a surprising star on the interior.

Jack slurped down that persimmon and begged for more.  

The rest of us were not so sure about it.  
It is very sweet in a kind of carroty way… with an extra dash of slime.

No this is not an alien egg, it is a kiwana.

Oh please no.

My two middle sons loved the kiwana!

It tastes like a green banana… but extra, extra, extra slimy with a pumpkin seed chaser.

Jack did not care for the kiwana.

At all.

And Calder… my oldest… while sampling the kiwana… well he just looked at me the way he always looks at me these days.  

Moving on… the pepino melon.

Which tastes like the cross between a watermelon rind and a very green cantaloupe.

Ethan liked the pepino.

Are you having fun?
Are you enjoying our little freaky fruit fest?
I have a feeling it is going to be a very long winter.

Then we tried the feijoa – an egg shaped tropical fruit that grows in Australia and South America.    

The feijoa met mixed reviews tasting somewhat like a kiwi gone wrong, but it does have a nice fragrance.  
It might have a future in candles.


Stranger than it might seem. 

Again, reminiscent of other orange fleshed edibles like carrots and sweet potatoes but muskier and not so great.

The cactus pear

Kind of watermelony in texture, and bland in taste.

Hummingbirds are always pictured drinking from the Cactus Pear in the desert, but then… what choice do they have?

And lastly, the quince.

Yes this is the last fruit.
This post is not going to go on forever and ever.
It might kind of seem like it already has, but it is not.  
I promise.

Leathery in texture, the quince tastes like a dried, spiced apple.

We all liked the quince.  

Here are the taste results of our freaky fruit fest.

You can see that the first fruit, the baby pineapple and the last fruit, the quince got the most positive ratings.  
The feijoa and the kiwana got the most negative ratings.  
It was a fun activity, but I don’t think we will be adding any of these fruits to our normal diet.  
Still, in the course of normal conversation, the next time someone asks one of us what we think about the pepino melon… or the cactus pear… or the feijoa or the kiwana, we can say… musky with a hint of impending doom… or serious slime, with echoes of banana… or dry as dirt, sprinkled generously with sweet pepper.
And that is at least worth something.  

I have a problem…

There is a bakery…
A bakery that I like to stop by on my way home from work…
And I like to pick out a scone or a roll or bun for my breakfast the next day…
It is my secret little pleasure that no one knows about and it is not hurting anyone.
I eat my secret pleasure breakfast after the kids are off to school and the Country Doctor has left for work.  
I pour a cup of coffee and get my secret pleasure bun or scone or roll and sit down by the computer and catch up on a few blogs and read my e-mail and enjoy the heck out of my little secret pleasure breakfast.
The problem is, that recently, my secret pleasure breakfast has been disappearing!
I get everyone off to school and to work and pour myself a cup of coffee and then I go to fetch my secret pleasure roll or bun or scone and IT IS NOT THERE!!!!
I tried to solve the case of the disappearing secret pleasure breakfast scone by choosing a trickier hiding spot.
Like deep in the depths of the pantry… or behind the stack of dishes in the hutch… or under the sink!
Then I had another problem.
I forgot where my better secret pleasure breakfast bun hiding spot was and I also kind of forgot that I had hidden anything at all… because of the four holes in my head where the babies came out… so I ate a miserable bowl of cereal instead and went to work feeling empty and alone.
Then a few days later, I found my secret pleasure breakfast stash!  Behind the cookbooks above the fridge!  But now my secret pleasure breakfast is very hard and dry and brittle.  Kind of like me… who is also hard and dry and brittle due to four gaping holes in head and also due to lack of secret pleasure breakfast.
So I made an invention!

I call it my secret pleasure breakfast, back to life, not so hard and brittle steamer doohickey thing.

I placed my secret pleasure breakfast re-activator device doohickey thing over a bowl of boiling water in the microwave.

I then sat my secret pleasure dried out ginger peach breakfast scone atop my secret pleasure re-activator hard and brittle personality inhibitor device and zapped it for twenty seconds!

Voila!  Secret pleasure breakfast brought back to sweet, soft and airy goodness!
Yes, even with four holes in my head, I am a genius.
Secret Pleasure Hard and Brittle Breakfast Bun Softener Personality Re-activator Device to hit a store near you soon!  Patent pending.  
But I might need to work on a catchier name.

In Search of A Perfect Cup of Tea

December 15th, 2008

Recently, I wrote a post about socks which was also a post about tea.  In this post I mentioned that socks were the bane of my existence and that tea was the elixir of life, except that all too often my tea was merely marginal and I couldn’t understand why…

Several readers tried to ease my laundry burden by giving me loving sock guidance, however, a small handful of readers were far more concerned about the merely marginal tea I kept making.  They offered me some helpful hints on how to make a good cup of tea.
I’m sorry to tell you this, but I was far more interested in learning how to make a better cup of tea than I was in learning how to better organize my laundry.
What does that say about me?  

Some of the tea making advice that was offered was directly contradictory.  One reader insisted that I should never pour boiling water over tea as this increased acidity.   Another reader said that I must pour the boiling water directly over the tea.  
Several readers counselled me to try loose leaf tea and some said I just needed to add more sugar or milk or grain alcohol to my cup and then I wouldn’t even notice the tea at all.

So I decided to conduct an experiment.  

I gathered three types of Earl Grey tea because we are Earl Grey drinkers around here.
I found some organic loose leaf Earl Grey in a local food co-op.
I found some hoity toity silk bags of Earl Grey in a local antique store.  
And I almost always have either Bigelow or Twinings on hand.  I will say that I really think Bigelow makes a better Earl Grey than Twinings.  But sometimes Twinings goes on sale and I buy it, than I wish I hadn’t because… blah.

For my tea making tools, I dug out this cast iron kettle with dragons on it that the CD gave me a few years ago for a birthday present.  I pretended to be excited that he got me a cast iron kettle with dragons on it in which to make tea… but no… not really into dragons.  

I will also be using a tea strainer for the loose leaf tea.

There will be two variables in this experiment.
1.  The type of tea – loose leaf, hoity toity silk bag, or regular old tea bag.
2.  The type of water – boiling water poured directly on tea or very hot but not quite boiling water poured directly on tea.

Drew was my collaborator in this experiment.  He loves tea as much as his mom.  We both usually pour milk and sugar or honey into our tea, but for the sake of this experiment we are drinking it black.  

The sacrifices we make!

We eventually prepared all the cups for the test.  

Then we tasted them.

We wrote down our thoughts about the taste as well as a rating for each cup with one being low and five being high.

More tasting…

More rating….

Occasionally, we cleansed our palettes.

Drew insisted that I include this photo in the story.

Then our tea party got crashed.

But we let him stay.

Here are the results of our little tea sampling party…

The hoity toity silk tea bags covered in boiling water.

Drew – “normal” 2 stars
Mom – “smooth, very nice, not bitter” 3 stars
Ethan – “really great, but strong” 2.5 stars
The hoity toity silk tea bags covered in water that is very hot but not boiling.
Drew – “not as strong” 4 stars
Mom – “tastes almost like hot water” 1 star
Ethan – “plain, terrible” 0 stars

The organic loose leaf tea covered in boiling water and steeped in the cast iron dragon pot.
Drew – “tastes like a leaf, tastes like a stick” 3 stars
Mom – “strange, earthy” 1 star
Ethan – “tastes like you ate it out of a dirt spoon” 1 star

Organic loose leaf tea covered in water that is hot but not quite boiling.

Drew – “bad after taste” 3 stars
Mom – “much milder than boiled, but less flavor, bland” 1 star
Ethan – “really great, but tasteless” 2 stars

Bigelow tea bag covered in boiling water.
Drew – “stronger taste” 3 stars
Mom – “more bergamot flavor” 3 stars
Ethan – “not the best tea in the world” 1 and 3/4 stars
Bigelow tea bag covered in hot water that is not boiling.
Drew – “very hot and thick” 4 stars
Mom – “tastes like hot water” 0 stars
Ethan – “tastes like hot water” 1 star
As you can see, our results did not amount to much cohesion, nor do they seem to make any sense at all.  My favorite cup turned out to be a Bigelow tea bag covered in boiling water, but the silk bag in boiling water was a close second.  The loose leaf variety that we tried was so vastly different from any Earl Grey tea that I have ever tried, that I almost wonder if the store placed the wrong tea in the bulk jar.  
Unsatisfied with the results of our test, I turned to my investigative journalism skills and found a good, concise, yet photographically satisfying article on how to make a good cup of tea on the BBC.  You can read it here.  
Now that I think about it… every once in a while I pour milk and honey in the bottom of my tea cup and then pour tea from the tea pot on top of it and well… that just might be the magic mix. 
So please disregard our research and try out the BBC version.  I imagine they are probably right being all British and everything.   Now I am going to go try and make a good cup of tea…