Osage orange, horseapple, brainfruit…whatever you want to call it, this was a very good year for the local representatives of Maclura pomifera. This tree last year had maybe one fruit per clutch, and now it has anywhere between six and eight.
And on discussions as to whether or not Osage oranges were a regular food item for the Pleistocene megafauna of Texas, such as Columbian mammoths and ground sloths, I really need to ask a few keepers at either the Dallas or Fort Worth Zoos if they’ve ever offered them to the resident elephants. I’m really curious as to how well modern-day megafauna relatives, other than horses, would take to them. All I can say for certain is that these aren’t anything that humans are going to want to eat any time soon, even with all of the catsup and Tabasco sauce in the world.
The summer wasn’t as intense as last year’s, but the tougher the summer, the more brilliant the autumn colors. Compared to, say, Vermont, we have little more than pastels, but we’re also getting autumn colors in shirtsleeve weather in the middle of November.
My friend Michael Hultquist is a bad man. No, I take that back. He’s a bad, bad, BAD man. Positively EVIL. The sort of guy who comes up behind exhausted parents and gives their children four shots of espresso and a puppy. I can say this, because he just let me know that he’s put together a whole site dedicated to jalapeno pepper recipes. I mean, he already has multiple books on chile pepper recipes out there, and now he has to offer MORE? The MONSTER.
Very seriously, I’m glad of this for one big reason. I was first turned onto cream cheese-stuffed jalapenos via the Red Hot & Blue barbecue chain, where they were titled “Red Hot Chili Poppers”. Unfortunately, Red Hot & Blue removed them from the menu about four years ago, and repeated entreaties to bring them back have been unsuccessful. (I’ve forgiven them this trespass. The Walnut Hill location is still my choice for takeout just before screenings of The Walking Dead.) Now, though, NOW…it’s time to experiment with the basic idea. Even better, it’s time to try some of these with some of the best from the Chile Pepper Institute.