It’s been a couple of summers since I was introduced to the wonders of the pluot, which as near as I can tell is just a better looking plum. That quarter apricot is completely lost on me, although I do appreciate the pretty skins — dinosaur pluots especially.

But this year brought apriums, which I sadly stumbled upon too late to enjoy at bargain rates. Black velvet apricots are awesome. They are the size of regular apricots and fuzzy like apricots — the lower left one is dry, so you can see the fuzz; the other two have been recently washed — but are plum-like inside and very sweet. For a couple of weeks, they were for sale cheaper than regular apricots and I dithered purchasing because the other store had everything else I wanted, so I only got a pound of aprium enjoyment before they were moved inside with a higher price tag. Ah, well. Maybe they will return to the low-rent district again soon.

Another new thing this summer has been my re-acquaintance with my grill. Like pretty much every other cooking item I use, it’s not new and required some refurbishing. I got some bling for it to make it food-worthy and then some other items to compensate for my pyrophobia (really not a phobia to have when you live alone).

But it’s in working order now and the first item up was… veggies. Eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, fennel, onion, and a couple of nectarines that were going to be mealy and miserable raw. Smoked paprika for the veggies and the nectarines were au naturel.

The nectarines were awesome.  I’ve read that grilling fruit over charcoal is supposed to impart a weird taste, but I didn’t notice anything. They were sweet and tasty and a vast improvement over what they would have been otherwise.

The third new thing is horchata, which is not new, but at least new to me. One of the local ‘supermarkets’ (it’s not really a supermarket, it’s a somewhat sketchy market with delusions of grandeur and a house brand) caters to latino clientele despite a local latin population under 2%. The produce is wilted and dented and there’s a layer of grime building up since the Reagan years, but it’s the place to go for an entire aisle of dried beans and rice varieties as well as almost every product Goya makes. (And the only market that carries my preferred brand and make of hot dog, but that’s a different matter.)

I have recipes for horchata, but I’ve never gotten around to making it. I live off Crystal Light iced tea and lemonade in the summers and that plus seltzer is usually more than sufficient for non-milk liquid when it’s too hot for tea. But I was poking around on the shelf with the bags of ground grains and next to the bulgar was this. The ingredients list — morro (calabash tree seed), cocoa, coriander, spices — had plenty there besides rice that was not in my recipes, so I figured why not.

A quick Google search tells me that horchata de morro is the Salvadoran variation on the drink, although the bag says it was produced in Nicaragua.

A picture of the contents in a jar, since I’d already transferred the contents of the bag.

To my North American palate, it tastes a little like a more exotic combination of chai and Ovaltine, but chai Ovaltine sounds vile, so don’t take me literally. It’s nice.

I made up a batch with water — it says use water or milk — and it looks massively unappealing, especially separated like this, but so does the picture in Wikipedia, so I’m not doing anything wrong. I’ll try another one with milk next.


One thought on “novelties

  1. That stuff looks disgusting. How many calories per serving? The grilled veggies look good. Try grilled potatoes….slice 1/4 ” thick and grill over high heat. Turn over before the top side begins to cook so that they don’t break in the turning.

    AA Edible: Calories per serving = ~90, which is on par for non-diet soda, I think. Made tatoes today.

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