I have been teased, that I am one of the only people who has "options" for pepper. Mixed? Cubeb? White? Pink? When I ask if you would like pepper, it is not a question to which "yes" is an acceptable answer. Pepper is not simple. I have been discovering that certain staples, ingredients rote and thoughtless, turn out, in the end, to be the most diversified.
This poor fruit, seldom considered more than a garnish, has an overwhelming varietal amount. I mentioned before, my infatuation with Meyer Lemons. This past week, gustation grieved their seasonal death, as winter passes into spring and Meyer's cyclical quietus continues, silent for months, on towards its rebirth.
A coworker and I, sharing a love for interesting foods, spent the fall months of this year passing earth's edibles between our desks: a friendship over fruit. A pomegranate would appear on my keyboard one day, and I would leave a pair of persimmons on hers the next. One of these surprises was a Sweet Lemon, looking suspiciously Meyer-like. I was assured that it was not! My friend grew up in Iran, and her eyes lit with warmth for a people and home missed. Sweet Lemons held the cure: for colds, throats, and all other manner of ailments needing soothed. Their sweetness also an apt elixir for matters of the heart.
I was given instructions to go home and suck on these lemons. Warm water or tea were accpetable receptacles for half of the lemon's juices; but first, I must taste its uniquely nectared piths...alone. Taking half in my mouth, a remarkable subtlety spilled forth, passively telling of its citrus heritage. Was it embarrased of its family's piquancy? Or, of its own lack of this trait?
The Sweet Lemon, a member of the genus Citrus limetta , is known by varying names throughout its homeland of South Asia and the Mediterranean: Palestine Sweet Lime, limo shirin, citrus limetta , C. limetta risso, and Persian sweet lemons and but a few of the possible names I have found.
Adventures in International Markets always prove fruitful, literally, in some way. And yesterday, I found myself fistfulls of lemons: Sweet Lemons. Alongside these sweeter, smaller, and smoother skinned cousins, were quite possibly the largest lemons I have ever seen. I filled a bag. And, picked an even four of the Sweets.
I was somewhat disappointed to find that the rinds of the big lemons proved false. The facade of pulpy largess, proved with a knife's cut, to be largely epicarp.
Tonight, the Sweet Ones brought with them memories of a friend, and proved healing for a bleeding heart...
Rice -- another boring staple. White, right? Sometimes people feel "healthy" and simmer up some brown. Lundberg Farms however, has rice that is exciting, different.....edgy even? "Edgy," this was a preocupation of my early college years. Edgyness. What was it? And, more importantly, how could I get it? As a homeschooled country girl from Iowa, newly ploppled into college in San Francisco, was it possibly to not feel The Über Conservative and Good Girl (complete, as I was, with the character outfit of glasses and plaid flannel)?! My roommate and I decided that we were boring. We needed to be edgy. Not "bad,"mind you, just edgy.
This theory trickled from a shared pool of childhood readings of Anne of Green Gables. Anne Shirley, you see, was bored with "good boys," with the boys she was supposed to like. However, the interesting boys were too "bad." Thus, boys must be good, but be able to be bad. They must comport through their carriage that they could do "bad" things, but, in the end, chose not to. That, dear reader, is interesting. That, is attractive. And that, is edgy.
Oh, how many hours of brainpower went into devising ways to be edgy! New clothes were held up to mirrored interrogations of "is this edgy?" Words were used which were almost bad, but fell short in their perfect edgyness. Certain clothing optional beaches were visited during, well, admittedly, during times when the possibility of other people being there was almost nonexistent. But, dangit, we were edgy.
Tonight I made Black Japonica rice. It is dark and sticky, moody and nutty. It is good...delicious even, but boy, it could be bad if it wanted to...this rice? It's edgy...
~ A Good Salad that Could be Bad ~
Black Japonica Rice
Freshly cracked mixed pepper