Monthly Archives: December 2007

Dried persimmons

Our friend Max gave us a lot of persimmons. The hachiya type. The type I don’t like! But with a whole brown grocery bag full of them, what’s a girl to do? I peeled them, strung them up, and watched them rot. This wasn’t a random act of persimmon hatred, but of love. The plan was to make hoshigaki, whole dried persimmons. I heard about how to do it from a blog called bunnyfoot, but she never said how they turned out. Here’s the deal.
This should be done in November (oops).
Peel the not quite soft fruit.
Tie them with a string (in my case dental floss and baling string)
Hang them somewhere where they get sun and a breeze (oops).
They should develop a white coating. This happened to mine and even fruit flies stayed away because of the astrigency.
After a few days, massage them. I just prodded mine, but in Japan, people really get into it and massage for about 5 minutes every day for weeks. You can feel stuff breaking down inside.
After a week or two, mine started to drip a bit. Sweet fluid. Must have been the lame massaging….
The fruit–which looks very festive, by the way, starts to turn a dark orange color.
After a month, they were ready–I stuck them in a food dehydrator to make sure to get all the water out.
How do they taste? Chewy, sweet, like candy. Really good sliced thin and served with goat cheese (preferably ones that were smuggled from France!)

Last minute xmas gift

A subscription to Meatpaper!
It’s the perfect gift for anyone obsessed with food, specifically meat. They also throw elaborate parties featuring both salumi and fake meat in the same room. In the latest issue (number 2) My friend Heather wrote about Taiwan’s brisk wheat gluten and soy business; I wrote about Jesus, blood and Christian hang-ups.
Check it out–the New York Times even gave them a rave write-up.


Hi everyone. No I’m not caught up in the holi-daze, just really busy trying to get my book done, and visiting with good friends from out of town. Yesterday Leilani and I butchered two roosters who were terrorizing our eardrums (Moses was busy with the muslim holiday called Eid). Actually every liquor store was closed for Eid–it is one of the ghetto’s most delicious ironies. The roosters look beautiful, and they might be young enough to have a mellow game-y flavor. Will find out tonight when I pop one in the oven–full report this weekend.

Fennel nights

When it gets dark at 5 it’s easy to get bored. You read books, you read blogs, you make a pie. Then what? Sometimes we’ll go to a movie because it’s so cold in our apartment, or we’ll go dumpster diving for the animals (exercise=warmth). The other night I baked a squash and processed my dried fennel pollen.
In July I picked bunches of fennel in the yellow pollen stage. There were so many bees in the fennel field across the street from our house, I felt a little bad taking my share. We filled two giant shopping bags of the stuff, and hung it in our laundry room. Five months later I finally have time to process it! For about two hours I plucked the dried yellow pollen off the fennel umbels. The dust made me sneeze, but it’s well worth it. Fennel pollen makes meat taste really really good. I put it in rabbit dishes–and when we made salami, that was an important ingredient in the finnochio salami. I think it would make a good dry rub for beef and a secret ingredient in roast vegetables.
I was left with a bucket of spent dried fennel branches and a small pint jar of pollen. The spent fennel went to the rabbits, who are always eager for an herby snack–they loved it!

New farm animal

No, it’s not a goat.
It’s Cousin. He looks like our dearly departed cat Sparkles, like he could be her cousin. Hence the name. He’s a stray who has lived in this neighborhood for a long time, we just weren’t ready to adopt him. Now we are. He’s a great addition to the farm because he hunts mice. He’ll catch one, bring it to our bedroom, meow, and then consume the whole mouse-y package. Welcome Cousin!
Speaking of goats, I should mention that the goat collective is searching for a goat host. Our original hostess had some medical issues to deal with. So if anyone has a back 40 in oakland or berkeley, let me know. I’m also contemplating getting pygmy dairy goats. They’re more expensive and yield less milk, but they would be fine in our backyard (with some periodic walks).

Vote for riana

My sister’s food blog–garlic breath–got nominated for an award! It’s a great source for recipes and fun stories about cooking in France. Go vote for her.

Fair trade rooster

Around 3:30, 4 am the rooster would begin to crow. Over and over again. He’s a teenage rooster so he’s just excited to be alive. Or, maybe he crows to soothe an existential crisis. In either case, it’s extremely annoying. And dangerous. If my neighbors complain–who knows, maybe animal control will come and take my prized turkeys. The rabbits. The duck! I called a few friends over for a rooster butcher, or harvest if you will. Then I rode my bike past Brother’s Market.
“Hey–hey,” Moses the shopkeeper yelled.
I slowed down and peeked in.
“Where’s my honey?” he asked. I showed him the beehives in the spring and gave him some fava beans.
“There isn’t much left,” I answered. “Want a rooster?”
He came outside. Moses has dyed red hair. I’m not sure what’s up with that. He nodded. Tomorrow, I told him I’d bring him the rooster and some honey.
The rooster sleeps outside so I nabbed him in the morning. He had already put in a few crows before 8am. I put him in this cage and walked half a block to Moses’s market.
Inside the store–think malt liquor and chips–a woman sat on a chair peeling an orange. When she saw me, she let out a torrent of words. The customer in line did a double take at the rooster, then gathered his black plastic bag of beer and left.
I set the cage on the ground. Moses came around to look at him. I handed him the jar of honey. He smiled. “How much?” he asked.
“Ten dollars for the rooster, the honey’s a gift.”
Moses went back around to the cash register and opened the till. His wife shouted a few words, ate a slice of orange.
“She thinks that’s too much, huh?” I said. A woman’s displeasure is apparant in any language.
“Yes, but don’t worry about it,” he said. To make her feel better, Moses gave her the honey. He waved the jar in front of her until she took it out of his hands.
I looked down at the rooster. I’m sure Moses will do a better job than I would.
Then I was walking home, the sun out, the cold December air, a well-worn GhostTown $10 in my pants pocket.