Husk Cherries

At our CSA pickup on Monday, I was given a little box of these strange-looking things.

I had no idea what they were until our friendly farmer Hans told me they were husk cherries.

OK, if I'm being honest, I still had no idea what they were even after he told me they were husk cherries.

But I dutifully took them home (along with a copy of this blog post about one woman's love affair with the husk cherry) ... curious, of course, to try them.

In order to actually get to the cherry, you have to peel off the papery little husk they're dressed in. After I removed my first husk, I was surprised to discover the cherries weren't cherry-like at all. They were more of a translucent green hue, shaped like a tiny grape, and very firm.

I popped the little cherry in my mouth and was surprised again. I'd been expecting something sweet. These weren't sweet. But they weren't tart. They weren't ... well, pardon my inability to describe them, but they weren't really comparable to anything I'd tasted before.

In the blog post I mentioned above, the writer described the taste as vanilla pineapple. My verdict is still out on whether that's the case.

Hans says they're better than regular tomatoes, but I don't know that anything can be better than the bright red, juicy tomatoes sitting next to the husk cherries on our counter right now.

Still, the husk cherries are pretty darn interesting. And it turns out you can do more than just eat them plain like I've been doing. Like throw them in a green salad or even make a jam. Or dip them in chocolate (sounds good to me!) or bake them into pies, tarts, or cobblers. If I get a chance to bake this weekend, I might have to try one of those latter options.

Then again, I might just eat one or two here and there. They make a pretty handy snack.

If you haven't ever seen husk cherries before, don't be surprised. I learned (again, from that blog post I mentioned) that they're on the Slow Food USA "endangered" list.

I guess that makes me all the more excited that they were included in our CSA loot!

(Conservative Hubby, though, isn't all that excited. I expect he'll be sticking to the regular tomatoes.)


Getting Back Into Baking

A couple of weekends ago, while Conservative Hubby was away at a bachelor party, I took advantage of a quiet weekend to finally--finally!--start baking again. I made cookies one night and cake the next.

The cookies I will share with you later.

This is the cake.

It's a whipped cream cake, the recipe for which was sent to me recently by Grandma P. I decided to top it with a no-cook fudge frosting, even though I think I was supposed to use a 7-minute icing.

My Mom and I had been talking cakes one day and she said the whipped cream cake was absolutely amazing. (So amazing, I learned later, that my Grandpa Charlie used to eat it for breakfast. But then again, if you knew Grandpa Charlie and his sweet tooth, that wouldn't surprise you. What sweets didn't he eat for breakfast?)

I decided that I had to try the recipe. Not because I expected to each much of it myself, given my general disinterest in cake, but because I knew Conservative Hubby would probably love it.

The only problem is, our oven is darn finicky. I have it down for cookie baking, but forgot that it would cause problems with cake, too.

So, sadly, because I did not adjust the baking time as I should have, the cake was a bit too dry. That didn't stop Conservative Hubby from eating it, mind you, but it did stop him from swooning over it like I expected he would.

I guess I'll just have to try again one of these days, eh?


Hummingbird Watching

On my recent visit to Georgia, I started each morning at My Parents' condo on the lanai (as they have taken to calling the balcony). It was the perfect spot to sit with a decaf mocha and my book--on a few mornings, for hours at a time.

But I didn't spend all my time reading. I also did more than a little bit of hummingbird watching.

The hummingbird feeder is apparently a hotspot for the little flittering creatures.

Except, we learned, when a wasp or hornet (I didn't get close enough to tell which) decided to feed. For some strange reason, that little pest managed to scare away the hummingbirds time and again. (That's him ... the little speck in the photo below. Come on now, use your imagination.)

Finally one of the hummingbirds got brave and said, "Listen, mister. I'm hungry and you're annoying. Now go away."

It didn't work.

But eventually the wasornet, as I will call it, went away and let the hummingbirds feed in peace.


The Crib

This is the crib we bought for the baby's room, which we put together this weekend. (I use the term "we" loosely, as some friends actually did most of the work while Conservative Hubby and I watched!)

And that is the sheet that goes on the crib. I picked it because it is bright and cheerful and gender neutral.

Not because we didn't plan on finding out the gender of our little one, but because I wanted something colorful and playful but not too boyish or girlish.

Speaking of boy or girl, we had our 20-week doctor's appointment today. And at that appointment, we spent quite a bit of time getting a peek at our little one's face and brain matter and hands and feet and femur and heart and all sorts of other parts.

The bambino wasn't too cooperative in giving away its gender, however. In other words, there's already signs of a stubborn streak there, so look out world.

But finally--finally!--we got a little peek.

And learned that we are, in fact, having ...

... wait for it ...

... just a moment longer ...

... OK, now ...

... A BOY!


Sunset on the Lake

I don't think there is such a thing as a bad or boring or in any way disappointing sunset on Lake Oconee. Every sunset I've seen from P-Diddy and Lovely Miss L's deck has been spectacular.

Last weekend's was no exception.

I snapped a photo soon after the sun began making its descent, then headed inside to continue drinking my delicious tonic and tonic (my cocktail of choice on the lake trip--I'm a wild woman, aren't it?).

But then I realized the sunset was just getting going, so I headed back outside to snap a few more photos.

By a few more, I mean about 30. But I won't bother sharing all of them with you. I'll just make you look at a few of the highlights. Enough to have you itching to see a sunset over the lake in person.

I highly recommend it.


Living the Retired Life

Last weekend I spent a few blissful days pretending I was retired with this couple.

Looking at this picture probably leads you to a number of incredibly important questions, such as:

1. Who are they?
2. What are they doing?
3. Are they really old enough to be retired?
4. Why aren't they wearing any clothes?
5. Whose hair is longer?

These questions are all very important and so I will answer them immediately.

1. My Parents.

2. Enjoying an evening boat ride on Lake Oconee with Uncle H, P-Diddy, the Lovely L, and me.

3. Many people would argue they're definitely not old enough to retire but, alas, they did just that not long ago. Go ahead, be envious.

4. Trust me, they are. It may not look like it, but they are both fully (or almost fully) clothed here. My Mom just happens to be wearing a strapless dress and My Dad, although still wearing shorts, decided it was too hot to wear his shirt on the boat. It was not a nude boat ride. I promise.

5. That's a tough one. It may be My Dad. But it's close. This is the first time in the history of life as I remember it that both of My Parents have hair long enough to fit in a ponytail--although it's possible they had matching ponytails sometime in the '70s. But I wasn't around to witness it.


M.C.'s Guac

At Uncle H and Auntie R's, our 4th of July dinner started off with a big bowl of M.C.'s guacamole and some tortilla chips. It was delicious.

Few things say summer quite like fresh guac, right?


Wishing You a (Belated) Happy 4th

I hope you had a fabulous 4th of July filled with friends, family, and fireworks.

I returned yesterday from a long, relaxing weekend in Georgia with My Parents and Conservative Family (except for Conservative Hubby, who stayed behind to golf and take care of sweet Butter).

It was terrific weekend, capped off on my last night by a delicious dinner at Uncle H and Auntie R's.

We made this little festive treat for dessert. Yum.


Summer Pie

I realized last weekend that summer isn't officially summer without a strawberry rhubarb pie. So I did what any sane person would do in such a situation. I made one.