Posts Tagged ‘food’

On Wednesdays (couldn’t we go back to Fridays??), timing is everything.  The Photo Challenge goes live (usually) at 11 am CST here in the Chicago area, so by 10:55, I’m usually sitting with my laptop, ready to start looking for photos.  But wait!!  What if my laundry is ready to come out at that time?  I don’t want it sitting in the machine getting wrinkled but I don’t have time to hang it up.  I have to be photo hunting!!  🙂  Hopefully this week the comments and pingbacks will work right away.  Anyone else having trouble getting posts to load in the Reader?

Today, everything is under control.  The laundry just went in, I have my opening paragraph written, I have a half-priced cappuccino for National Cappuccino Day, and I’m ready.  So here we go…

Today’s theme is…drum roll, please…”Temporary.” While there are all sorts of choices for this, my mind is on food and these wild French raspberries were very temporary indeed, but oh, so good!

© janet m. webb

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Yesterday was our 33rd anniversary, which is why I was absent from the online world.  .  As my husband’s favorite food in the world might be watermelon, I thought I’d honor him by sharing a few things I’ve learned about watermelon since indulging him in this low-calorie, good-for-you treat as often as possible.  🙂

  1. Seedless watermelon aren’t, so don’t be taken aback or angry when you cut open that seedless melon, only to find little translucent “seeds”, really the coatings of seeds that haven’t matured.  They can’t mature and they can’t reproduce, so don’t plan on planting any to get your next year’s melons. *
  2. In China, watermelon consumers like to either eat the seeds from regular watermelon or toast them, while Americans tend to spit them out…or avoid them by buying “seedless” melons.
  3. No matter what you read about how to pick the right watermelon (tap them, look for a yellow patch, etc.), there’s no guarantee!  Just take your chances and enjoy.
  4. The best time to cut a watermelon is the day you’re going to put your garbage out for pick-up, unless you mulch, in which case you may feel free to cut one whenever you darn well please!  All those rinds are heavy, too!
  5. Watermelon rinds are great for putting on top of your shredded, private information.  Our recycling requires shredded material to be bagged which, to me, defeats the purpose, even though no one is likely to be able to reassemble our shreddings.  But put watermelon rinds or other wet food garbage on top and if anyone wants to try to steal information from that bag, have at it and good luck.
  6. I can see why someone invented watermelon rind pickles.  She probably got tired of throwing out all those rinds.
  7. The water part of watermelon isn’t just there for fun.  Once cut, the melon will lose, well, red water.  To keep the pieces lasting longer, drain that off every day…if the melon lasts that long.
  8. Watermelon, although about 92% water, is distressingly good for you.  (Don’t stop eating it, though!!)  It has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids, and a bit of potassium. It’s also is fat-free, and low in sodium and calories (40 calories per cup.)
  9. If turned into a math formula: my husband’s ability to eat watermelon >>>>>the space in the fridge for the cut melon.  (That’s a greater-than sign to the 5th power, BTW.)
  10. Egyptians placed watermelons in the burial tombs of kings to nourish them in the afterlife.  For more fun facts about watermelon, head over to this LiveScience page.
  11. There’s lively debate about whether a watermelon is a fruit or a vegetable.  According to Natural Health ezine:  Most of us automatically assume that a watermelon is a fruit, but technically it is counted as a vegetable (The Oklahoma State Senate passed a bill on 17 April 2007 declaring watermelon as the official state vegetable, with some controversy surrounding whether a watermelon is a fruit.). It is related to the cucumber, squash and pumpkin plants. The watermelon is classified as Citrullus Lanatu. Regardless of whether the watermelon is a fruit or vegetable, it is known to be very healthy.
  12. The heaviest watermelon weighed 268.8 lbs./121.93 kg (I wouldn’t want to pay by the pound for that one).  My watermelon-loving spouse says that would be big enough to make a casket and that’s how he’d like to be buried.  He adds that would be a green burial in both senses of the word.  I’m not sure what I can add after that, so I guess that makes this the end of my post!  🙂

*But wait, there’s just a bit more.  For anyone interested in how you can grow seedless watermelon if the seeds really aren’t seeds, here’s an explanation from a horticultural newsletter.

The obvious question asked about growing seedless watermelons is: “How does one obtain seed of a seedless watermelon?” Obviously, you cannot save seed from a seedless watermelon. So, where do the seeds come from? Simply stated, the number of chromosomes (the threadlike bodies within cells that contain the inheritance units called genes) in a normal watermelon plant is doubled by the use of the chemical colchicine. Doubling a normal (diploid) watermelon results in a tetraploid plant (one having four sets of chromosomes). When the tetraploid plant is bred back, or pollinated, by a diploid or normal plant, the resulting seed produces a triploid plant that is basically a “mule” of the plant kingdom, and it produces seedless watermelons. Seed of seedless varieties are available from most major seed companies.

We interrupt our previously scheduled travelogue to bring you a scone recipe, because there’s always time for food.  Su, far away from me in New Zealand, a place we hope to visit one day, mentioned making savory scones with rosemary and feta.  I mentioned the scones I make and said I’d share the recipe. But the recipe came from a Moosewood cookbook and if I posted it, I’d be infringing on the copyright, even though I found the same recipe posted online.

What did I do?  I emailed the famous Moosewood Restaurant, asking them for permission..which I got within just a few hours, with their thanks for asking.

My addition is the option of dark chocolate chips.  Mix the ingredients as little as possible to keep them tender and only bake until just done to keep as moist as possible.

Hope you enjoy this, Su!  We’ll be headed back to Wyoming on Friday, after the Weekly Photo Challenge and Thursday Doors.  Make a batch of scones to munch on to go with your tea or coffee while reading blogs in the meantime.  And don’t post copyrighted information without asking permission, no matter what it is.

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Finally!  It’s lunch time.  We’ll eat at Chalet-hôtel du Grand Ballon, (you can view this in English by clicking the box on the upper right), but first we have to make a stop at the Famille Riche store, filled aromatically and beautifully with all things honey-related.  The family raises the bees, using the honey in a variety of products.  My s-i-l gifted me with a jar of honey, almonds in honey, and a beeswax Christmas candle.  I bought several trios of honey-based soaps as gifts. If you have a minute, take a look at their website.  You’ll find beautiful things.  The almonds in honey taste wonderful on chèvre or foie gras.  You can take my word on that!  🙂

© janet m. web

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A visit to France immediately elicits thoughts of food.  The pairing is as inevitable as France and wine, visions of stars dancing in heads, little bistros in Paris, bouillabaisse in Marseille, Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Gigondas in Provence (or rosé when it’s too hot), and, of course, croissants and pain au chocolat.

The good news is that you can find wonderful food (and better prices) in the hinterlands of France.  In tiny Mélisey (less than 2,000 inhabitants) in the Vosges and closer to German and Switzerland than to Paris or Provence, you can find memorable meals at Café Auberge, familiarly known as Chez Mimi after, I believe, the wife of the couple who owns and runs the restaurant.

The space is small (although there’s another room), but has the feel of a good bistro anywhere in the country.  As you can see, in addition to meals, there are other delights on offer.  Cheeses, chocolate, and coffee are just three and many offerings are regionally produced.

© janet m. webb

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© janet m. webb

Last year, my s-i-l and I discovered the enchanting town of Plombières-les-Bains (Plombières of the baths, referring to the thermal baths that have been there since Roman times.)  We’ve been there a number of times, generally just in time for lunch by some strange coincidence, usually at the same restaurant, Brasserie Montaigne.  On this day, however, it was closed, as were a number of shops.  There seems to be no set day that restaurants and stores are closed, although many are on Wednesday.  So we were on the hunt for another place to eat.

Just off of the main square, we found the Hotel du Commerce and although it seemed deserted, we inquired inside and found that the restaurant was open.  The owner, a droll man who enjoyed talking to us in French, English, and German (although not at one time), also served us. We sheltered under the umbrella to escape the heat and enjoyed our meal (food, so to speak, for another post) outside, just off the narrow street, the perfect place to get a shot for Challenger’s Choice on Sally’s blog today.

I’m sorry to report that this will be the last time Sally hosts the Mobile Photography Challenge. It’s been a wonderful time and I’ll miss it greatly!  Thanks, Sally for the many wonderful months and years!!

Just so you don’t think you’re being neglected, I’ll be busy and out of fast internet range for the next few days. Hope your week gets off to a great start.

© janet m. webb