Snail's Tales has an interesting post today on steep roads in Istanbul and includes great photos of an Osage Orange tree at the top of one those steep roads.
He has an excellent closeup of an Osage Orange that Georgetown residents may recognize if they visit Montrose Park--the big dog park on R and 32nd Streets NW, where there are a couple of Osage Orange trees right near the hedge.
Osage Oranges actually look a bit like oranges because of their yellowish pebbly rind, but they are NOT EDIBLE.
Sometimes people bring them to sell at the Farmers Market at Dupont Circle on fall Sundays for two reasons: 1) they look weird enough to be sort of decorative if you're into natural fall displays, and 2) they are reputed to be good for repelling insects, particularly the German cockroach (those speedy, greasy-looking little brown ones that hitchhike home via grocery bags and newspapers, to name two of the most common routes).
Research in Iowa, among other places, has shown that some of the essential oils in the Osage Orange fruit will repel mosquitoes and cockroaches, but just putting the big fruits themselves out doesn't seem to do much except in old wives' tales. Being a big fan of home remedies of all kinds, I've set them out every year, and only once have I had a little brown roach zip around my kitchen counter following a trip to a NAMELESS SUPERMARKET whose emptied bag I left by the sink.
Today I set about making a big pot of yellow pea soup with pork according to Beatrice Ojakangas's sublime "Pea Soup Menu for Winter Fun" recipe, but already I've been forced to improvise. Whole Foods, no less, did NOT have any of those wonderful yellow whole dried peas--the kind familiar to Canadians in Habitant's canned pea soup--and that Ojakangas called "Swedish" peas.
I was forced to go to the Soviet Safeway (long lines, no food) on 17th Street to get some. Alas, even Safeway has given up on carrying yellow whole dried peas. Too much cooking, I guess. So I got a bag of yellow split dried peas. The esthetics of split dried peas is very different from that of whole dried peas, but they do not require overnight soaking. SCORE!!
And the 3-lb. fresh pork roast called for in the recipe was $7.95 a pound! So I bought 2.5 pounds of fresh pork Andouille sausage (for the less costly price of $5.95 a pound).
So now the soup is simmering away on my stove and will be done about 8 p.m. It smells absolutely wonderful. That Cajun sausage is really perking up those bland peas.
Dessert will be, again according to Ojakangas's prescription, Norwegian apple pie. This you make by buttering a 9" pie plate, chopping up a couple of tart apples and half a cup of nuts, and throwing in flour, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, cinnamon, and an egg. You mix it all up, pour it in the pie tin, and bake at 350 for 20-25 mins. NO pie crust! It's more like apple crisp, Ms. O says, but I've never eaten anything baked by a Norwegian that wasn't absolutely fab. Can't wait.
The only part of the menu for fun that I'm not trying tonight is the Finnish rye bread from scratch. One learns to wait for another day.
Also, I am just realizing that I have sold my beautiful home! WTF!!! Ah well, this is how it goes. I'll have another beautiful home....just have to be open to all the new possibilities.