Last fall, I headed up to northern Wisconsin with My brother and some friends. During that trip, two of the bunch proposed a monthly cook-off. The original theme was simply ‘make Your s*** fancy.’ What can I say, it was a weekend of drinking, shooting and dirt bikes. The feast idea changed slightly after that and starting this past January, Fancy Feast had begun. Instead of making it a competition, it is a slightly less intense meal making endeavor. Four courses minimum, guests bring a bottle of decent booze as tribute, or declare themselves the next host/cook for the feast.
First up was My friend Keith, who made some beet and cheese appetizers that were quite good. Followed by a lobster and shrimp torta with lima beans, avacodo topped with seasoned cream cheese and an encrusted herby salmon bake. Then, He banged out a lovely candied bacon, puffed cream and brownie desert.
February went to My brother, Chris. Churning out seven dishes and various drinks. I did however neglect to catch a picture of the fresh pumpkin bread desert. Pictured are His mushroom soup, with leeks. Egg cooked in swirling water and hash, a topper variety plate, cold soba and soy sauce, what I think was a chorizo dish and meatballs cooked forever in a pho soup stock.
I called March’s meal. My theme was simply to do something different. So, no stir-fry. No grill, or smoker. No cajun spices, chili blends, sherry, or even soy sauce. I struggled a bit, making multi-course meals that come round after round doesn’t mesh particularly well with My laid back, ‘just throw some stuff together and hope it’s good’ cooking tendencies. I produced the minimum of four dishes. Bacon and baby lima bean soup, spicy sweet potato mash with roasted brocolli and pistachios on toast, fruit stuffed pork tenderloin roll and finished with citrus gratin. The desert was kind of odd honestly, but it had much potential to be delicious. Something to ponder on how to go about improving.
A while back, I started buying fruit trees. It started with a Dwarf Fig, Carmine Jewel Cherry and some Blueberries. Rapidly followed by a plethora of Citrus varieties! This being Minnesota, I put the Cherry and Blueberry Plants in the ground and planted everything else in pots to bring in for the winter. Oddly enough, winter never REALLY showed up this year, which left my Cherry and Blueberries exposed. Sadly, they were eaten down to stubs at ground level by some ravenous rabbit-like creature! Not sure if they will grow back, but for fledgeling deciduous trees/shrubs in this kind of winter, I’m not sure they would take anyways… Time will tell I guess.
On the other hand, thus far, the Fig tree has defied deaths calling. Indoors, amongst the Citrus trees. My neighbors probably think that I’m growing other things in the attic from the artificial sun that’s beaming out of all the windows in the evenings.
For now there are 10 Citrus trees in My ‘Tropical Minnesotan Attic Jungle’ . 2 Keiffer Lime trees that are 2 and 4 years old, the older of which is now flowering for the first time. 2 Moro Blood Orange Trees which are also 2 and 4 years old. 2 and 3 year Mexican Sweet Limes, that, I’m not doing justice to, they’re yellowing and sad looking. 2, 5 year old Owari Satsuma Mandarins, one of which gave Me My very 1st orange this past December!
There is also a 3rd year Meyer Lemon that is growing 9 little lemons for the 1st time, unlike all the others, the lemon gives TWICE a year, instead of just once.. I’m struggling a bit keeping the lemon tree happy tho. Lastly is the 5 year old Ruby Red Grapefruit tree, which I almost slayed with water when I got it..
I swear, CITRUS TREES HATE WATER!! I learned this as I watched My beloved grapefruit tree drop 2/3rds to 3/4ths of it’s leaves before I re-potted it in a better draining soil mix. It’s bouncing back and is currently covered with wonderfully aromatic blossoms.
December to February is Bloom season for all citrus that I’m aware of, and what a great time to have an indoor forest! The house is graced with a really nice conglomerate of scents from the numerous varieties of fruits being spawned.
I’ve certainly got more trees than I need, but I’ll be acquiring more this spring! I plan on getting Trovita Oranges and Oroblanco Grapefruits. Hopefully, that will satiate My ‘need’ for citrus trees. .. … Because I feel the ‘need’ to dive into nut trees, cherry trees, apple trees and, well, clearly I need to move out of the city!