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Arthur the Guard Toad

arthur2Arthur is our guard toad.  He is just so adorable. He comes to our porch almost every night and sits on the stoop. The cats keep an eye on him from behind the door but he does not seem to mind.  When I see him, I go outside and say hello and he says, “Reporting for duty, ma’am. No intruders to report.”  (We have a constant made up dialogue with our wildlife.)  He started appearing a few months ago.  He disappeared for a few weeks and I was so sad.  But then he came back and is his old warty self.  I swear I could take his picture every day.  Look at that face!

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Last night, he brought a tree frog friend who has climbed the glass storm door.  Here he is. from both sides.  He doesn’t have a name.  Yet.

 

Passionfruit – the local harvest

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People who live in the tropics are so lucky.  They get the exotic fruits that we can only imagine.  A few years ago, Matt and I traveled to Sri Lanka.  It was there we discovered and indulged in passion fruit.  I think it is an acquired taste,  a complex combination of passion flower (you can often find sachets and scented potpouri in passion flower) tart lime, and sweet orange.  It has a zing to it and if you do not like tart fruits, this would not be for you.  But for us, it is heaven.

When we were in Sri Lanka, our guide convinced the bartender to make a drink of passion fruit juice and arak, the local liquor.  We downed quite a few one night in a restaurant much to the annoyance of the bartender who did not know he was going to have to juice fruit all night.

On the outside passion fruit are kind of ugly.  They are about the size of an extra large egg and have a hard outer skin that shrinks and wrinkles as the fruit ripens.  They end up looking a bit like oversized prunes.  The more wrinkled they are, the sweeter and juicier they are.  You have to cut them open with a knife and when you do, you find a surprise inside.  A bit of pulp seeds and juice.  Very precious little.  Perhaps a few tablespoons. So if you are going to eat them as say a dessert or an a snack, you would need about five or six.  And it does not look all that appetizing so you are wondering, huh?  You are eating snot?  No, trust me. That is a gob of sweet tart delight.

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In the States, passion fruit is ridiculously expensive so they must be good right?  You might find them in a very large grocery store for $2.50 each.  Yikes!  $2.50 for about two tablespoons of pulp?  For that kind of money, they better be the best passion fruit ever.  So we sit around longing for them.  Matt might buy a few in the middle of winter.

But now I have discovered I need not wait for that moment.  I signed up for a website called Local Harvest.  It puts consumers in direct touch with farms.  Here is the hilarious part.  “Local” it is not.  I can sit here in Maryland and order fruit from California and honey from Florida.  I am buying it without the middle man and I suppose there is some valor in that. But it is not like I am getting food from the local market or pick your own farm.

Local Harvest sends me email alerts.  I try to toss them in the trash so I am not tempted but one day I opened it and there it was–passion fruit for sale.  God bless California farms.  I had no idea we grew passion fruit in the U.S. and I sure had no idea I could have them mailed to my door step.  The cost?  About a dollar a piece, half of what the grocery store charges. No question, I immediately ordered some.  I went a little nuts and ordered from two farms, 30-40 in each box.  So 80 passion fruit were on the way!

I could not wait for them to get here.  And now they are here and I am trying to pace myself.  Pacing sucks.  I swear I could sit down and eat ten or fifteen no problem.  But I try to limit myself to five or six so as not to commit the deadly sin of gluttony.  Stupid deadly sins!

Then I got on-line to find passion fruit recipes.  Of course you can find them in desserts but what about entrees?  I figured fish would be the key–tropical and often paired with fruit.  Bingo.  I found about six recipes for fish with passion fruit sauce.  This is a very popular dish in South America.  Was it good?

Yes, it was yummy.  It was passion fruit pulp cooked with red onion garlic and then processed into a sauce with fresh cilantro.  It went perfectly with fish and rice.  I hope this does not turn into a habit.

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