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  • Gretchen Rose



WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LOQUATS


During these stressful times of Covid-19, many of us have upped our culinary game. I certainly have. Truth be told, I've always loved to cook. For years, I've been working on a recipe book, "Cooking with Friends," a combination of my original recipes and poetry. But, as the name implies, it was always my intention to include recipes, poems, haiku, teeny essays, and the like from—you guessed it—my friends. So, if you'd like to be a part of this creative process, please email me your favorite original recipes, poems, haiku, and essays.


MY TRUSTY LOQUAT HARVESTER



LOQUAT BRANDY


50 Loquat seeds, cleaned

.75 ML Vodka

3 1/2 Cups water

3 Cups sugar


Place cleaned loquat seeds on a cookie sheet and set in the sun for 6 - 8 hours (until some of the seed husks have split open.)

Transfer seeds to a large glass (gallon) container with a tight-fitting lid and pour in the vodka.

Place in the sun for 3 - 4 weeks.

Once seeds have seeped in vodka for 3 - 4 weeks, strain seeds from the vodka. Make a simple syrup of sugar and water, boil until clear, and then remove from heat and let cool.

Add cooled syrup to vodka and store in a cool dry place for 2 - 3 weeks.


This brandy, with its hints of cherries and almonds, is truly delicious!




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  • Gretchen Rose

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

In these stressful times, while we shelter in place, I thought I'd share this image with you, my friends and family. (It always brings a smile to my face.)



I took this photo in Empire, MI, while standing atop a dune, in the historic Sleeping Bear Dunes, which ring the shores of Northern Lake Michigan. Believe it or not, the photo was taken 350 feet above the lakeshore! (I know. It's a bit of an optical illusion!) Several years ago, Good Morning America designated the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore the Most Beautiful Place in America. Whether that's true or not, it certainly is right up there in the top twenty. With its majestic dunes, pristine turquoise waters, and magnificent towering forests, it has been dubbed the Michigan Caribbean. A coveted destination for hikers, bikers, birders, and nature lovers of all stripes, this little known part of the world is one of nature's finest creations. Mel and I are fortunate to have a summer home there, and I was so taken with its breathtaking beauty, I decided to write a children's book to celebrate it, one that would inspire in young readers an appreciation of natures' wonders and a desire to husband our precious natural resources. The result was DUNE DRAGONS, a story about a colony of peace-loving dragons who, long ago, settled in the Sleeping Bear Dunes.




This book is an ideal read-to for children aged 4 and up, and a fast-paced read for ages 8 - 12. It can be purchased on my website or on Amazon.


Anyway, in the days and weeks ahead, I am going to initiate a project, and, if you're interested, I hope you'll decide to be a part of it.


You see, for the past several years I have been compiling a cookbook, the original title was to be:

COOKING WITH FRIENDS

But as we enter the new normal, and so many of us are homebound, honing our latent culinary skills, I thought we could truly be friends cooking, sharing, and collaborating. Perhaps you'd like to contribute to:


COOKING IN THE TIME OF COVID


Meyer lemons harvested from our garden, with which we made delicious Meyer Lemon Marmalade.

My concept was to intersperse poems, haiku, teeny stories or anecdotes with the recipes. So, think about it. If you're interested, let me know, and we'll get started. In the meantime, check out my new website, brilliantly created by Loft 2203.


The following poem was inspired by Mel's lovely garden, from which, two months ago, we harvested an abundance of Meyer Lemons. Now, she's yielding a bumper crop of loquats, which I am preserving, pickling and even experimenting with a Loquat Brandy. Recipes to follow.




MY GARDEN


My garden is singing

a song of delight

for, after her long thirst,

rain quenched her last night.

My garden is weeping,

leaves beaded with tears.

They sparkle like diamonds

in the crown that she wears.


My garden is dancing.

She pivots and sways.

She tangos with sunlight

and bends to its rays.


My garden is laughing;

she's shaking with mirth.

What's more fun than planting

one's self in the earth?


My garden is donning

a frock like no other;

it's sequined, and ruffled,

and dazzle-colored.


My garden is tempting

her suitor, the wind.

He yearns to caress her,

and she lets him in.


My garden is humming

a desultory tune.

Cicadas, their strumming

tease out a pale moon.


My garden is dreaming;

she sighs in her sleep,

perfuming the air

with the secrets she keeps.


For now, stay at home, read, cook, write down your favorite recipe, and we'll all get through this.

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