Monday, April 30, 2018

Z is for Zucchini

In Florida, Frank had a huge garden every year. He’s grow corn, onions, potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and other kinds of squash . . . just a huge garden. I loved the produce, but I’m here to tell you that I didn’t like what I had to do with most of the veggies when they were ripe for picking. I had to either freeze or can them, and I’m just not domestic enough to enjoy those chores. Also, almost every year, the veggies needed to be either frozen or canned right at final exam time, when I needed to be making and grading tests and getting final grades done; or everything needed doing just as we were getting ready to leave for Europe, when I needed to be getting all the last minute things done for the trip. I loved the onions, potatoes, and cukes, though, because I just needed to go out and pick or dig veggies for dinner.

I think that the last time Frank had the huge garden was in 2002, the year before our move to New Mexico. Things are different here in the Land of Enchantment. It’s almost impossible to grow a garden of any sort because of the lack of water. You need to know that some people have beautiful gardens – both flower gardens and vegetable gardens – but it takes MUCH tending and LOTS of water. I’m not much of an outdoor person, even for having beautiful gardens, and Frank has grown weary of working so hard, sometimes not getting anything to grow.

But . . . one year (and I wish we could remember which one!) we had so much zucchini that we couldn’t even eat it all. He would go out in the evening to check the growth and find six or seven inch squash, only to find that they had grown to ten or twelve inches by the next morning. Amazing! I have searched for a photo that I have of him holding one at least fifteen inches long, but to no avail. That summer, just as I was leaving to go to Pecos to do a math inservice, he came in the house with a box full of zucchini. He said to tell the teachers that I wouldn’t be doing the meeting until they had taken all of the zucchini with them. A couple of years later, I was in Hagerman visiting a teacher. The new principal came to the desk in the office, and we began to chat. We both said that we thought we’d met before. He told me that he used to be the principal at Pecos Middle School. Then the light bulb went off in his head, and he said, “You’re the zucchini lady!” Funny, huh?

Let me tell you a couple of things to do with zucchini. We found or created lots of recipes that Summer of the Abundant Zucchini! The first is one that Frank made up, and it’s delicious. He’d slice the zucchini into what he calls “slabs” lengthwise. I prefer to call them “slices.” Then he puts either butter or olive oil on the griddle and grills them. At the end, he puts slices of cheese (any kind will do) and melts the cheese. These are absolutely delicious! My hero is good at making up recipes.

And what about me? I’m a recipe gal. So I found a delicious dessert  recipe. I hope you make it sometime. You can really fool people!

Zucchini Dessert Squares– I found this recipe in the New Mexican one summer, but I lost the recipe. Since you can find anything on the Internet, I googled it and up popped my recipe. Tastes like apple pie!


     4 cups all-purpose flour
         2 cups sugar
         1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
         1/2 teaspoon salt
         1-1/2 cups cold butter
         8 to 10 cups cubed seeded peeled zucchini (4 to 5 pounds)
         2/3 cup lemon juice
         1 cup sugar
         1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
         1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

         In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly; reserve 3 cups. Pat remaining crumb mixture into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 375° for 12 minutes.
         Meanwhile, for filling, place zucchini and lemon juice in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 6-8 minutes or until zucchini is crisp-tender. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; cover and simmer for 5 minutes (mixture will be thin).
         Spoon over crust; sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture. Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until golden. Yield: 16-20 servings.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Y is for Between Fairbanks and the Yukon

In August 2013, Frank, Sam (his older brother), and I went to Alaska. We drove Sam’s new Chevy to Prince Rupert, B.C., and boarded a ferry to Alaska. We had a room with three single beds, a desk, a closet, and a bathroom. What a wonderful way to cruise! We had a forest ranger on board with us to give lectures, and we stopped at various ports so that passengers could go on land to explore a bit if they wanted to. We never did get off the ferry because we didn’t want to risk not getting back before departure. Of course, when we reached Haines, AK, we had our car for touring.

We made lots of stops along the way, but Fairbanks and Anchorage, with Denali in between, were our main destinations. We loved Fairbanks, but Anchorage was just another big city to us. Besides, the only rain that we had was in Anchorage. So . . . we cut our stay there by a day or so and headed to Dawson City, a place where Sam had wanted to go from the outset . . . the place where Jack London lived for a year and wrote many of his stories. Sam had always been a fan of Jack London and was so excited about going to a town where London had history.

On the way to Dawson City, we stopped at a “town” that I want to tell you about . . . Chicken, AK. Oh, my goodness, what a treat! Chicken was once a mining town, but now, it’s just a tourist trap. You may think the name of the town a bit strange, but there’s a story behind it.

You see, the miners wanted to name the town after the local bird . . . the ptarmigan; however, no one could spell it, so they named it chicken, another bird in the area and one whose name they could spell.

The reason I used quotation marks around “town” is that I’m not sure that a place with a population of 7, according to a 2010 census, should be called a town. In 2000, the population was 17, so you can see that Chicken isn’t growing.

We loved the Goldpanner, the gift shop, and spent about an hour there. Then we headed for Dawson City. Hope you’re not disappointed that I didn’t write about the Yukos, but I was writing about the place between Fairbanks and the Yukon . . . Chicken, Alaska. What a treat! Here are some photos to prove that we were there!

Friday, April 27, 2018

X is for 40 Words That Start with X

Well, dear reader, I’ve cheated a bit on X. I know only two words that begin with X: 
x-ray and xylophone. I don’t want to write about x-rays, and I’ve already written about xylophone in another year of Blogging from A-Z April Challenge. So . . . I went to the internet and found the following article. It has neither of my two words, but it has 40 words that I’ve never heard of and which I will probably never use. I enjoyed reading this and thought you might, too.

                                                      40 Words That Start With X

JUNE 28, 2017

When the lexicographer Dr. Samuel Johnson put together his Dictionary of the English Language in 1755, there weren't a lot of words that started with X; he even included a disclaimer at the bottom of page 2308 that read, “X is a letter which though found in Saxon words, begins no word in the English language.” Noah Webster went one better when he published his Compendious Dictionary in 1806 that included a single X-word, xebec, defined as “a small three-masted vessel in the Mediterranean Sea.” Although, by the time he compiled his landmark American Dictionary in 1828, that total had risen to 13.

X has never been a common initial letter in English, and even with today’s enormous vocabulary you can still only expectaround 0.02 percent of the words in a dictionary to be listed under it. But why not try boosting your vocabulary with these 40 words that start with X.

On its own, the letter X is listed in the Oxford English Dictionaryas a verb meaning “to cross out a single letter of type.” X. X. in Victorian slang meant “double-excellent,” while X. X. X.described anything that was “treble excellent.”

Xanthippe was the name of Socrates’ wife, who, thanks to a number of Ancient Greek caricatures, had a reputation for henpecking, overbearing behavior. Consequently her name can be used as a byword for any ill-tempered or cantankerous woman or wife—as used in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.

Xanthos was the Ancient Greek word for “yellow,” and as such is the root of a number of mainly scientific words referring to yellow-colored things. So, if you’re xanthocomic, you have yellow hair; if you’re xanthocroic you have fair hair and pale skin; and if you’re xanthodontous, you have yellow teeth.

In old naval slang, an X-catcher or X-chaser was someone who was good at math—literally someone good at working out the value of x.

Victorian slang for criminals or pickpockets, or people who make a living by some underhand means.

1960s slang for something really, really terrible.

Derived from the same root as xenophobia, a xenagogue is someone whose job it is to conduct strangers or to act as a guide while…

…a xenagogy is a guidebook.

The adjective xenial is used to describe a friendly relationship between two parties, in particular between a hospitable host and his or her guests, or diplomatically between two countries.

Don’t like going to see doctors you don’t know? Then you’re xeniatrophobic.

A xenium is a gift or offering given to a stranger, which in its native Ancient Greece would once have been a lavish feast or a refreshing spread of food and fruit. In the 19th century art world, however, xenium came to refer to a still-life painting depicting something like a extravagant display of food or a bowl of fruit.

A 19th century word meaning “the act of traveling as a stranger.”

A government formed by foreigners or outsiders is a xenocracy. A member of one is a xenocrat.

Defined as “the lore of hotels and inns” by Merriam-Webster.

A guesthouse or hostel, or any similar stopping place for travelers or pilgrims.

A 17th century word for hospitality. If you’re xenodochial then you like to entertain strangers.

The ability to speak a language that you’ve apparently never learnt.

The scientific study of extraterrestrial phenomena is xenology. The study of extraterrestrial life forms is xenobiology.

The opposite of xenophobia is xenomania or xenophilia, namely an intense enthusiasm or fondness for anything or anyone foreign.

Something unusually or irregularly shaped is a xenomorph—which is why it’s become another name for the eponymous creature in the Alien film franchise.

Transplanting organic matter from a non-human into a human (like a pig’s heart valve into a human heart) is called xenotransplantation. Whatever it is that’s transplanted is called the xenograft.

An ecological term used to describe anywhere extremely dry or arid. If it’s xerothermic, then it’s both dry and hot.

If you live in a xeric area, then you’ll have to xeriscape your garden. It’s the deliberate use of plants that need relatively little moisture or irrigation to landscape an arid location.

The medical name for having dry lips. Having a dry mouth is xerostomia.

A xerographic copy of a document—or, to put it another way, a photocopy.

The eating of dry food is xerophagy. It mightn’t sound like it, but it was originally a religious term.

The proper name for the process of polishing.

Something described as xilinous resembles or feels like cotton…

…while something described as xiphoid resembles a sword.

Derived from the Greek for “carve” or “scrape,” a xoanon is a carved idol of a deity.

31. XTAL
An abbreviation of “crystal,” according to the OED.

A 19th century word for a wood engraver.

Why say that something is “woody” when you can say that it’s xyloid?

A 17th century formal name for a timber merchant.

Describes anything or anyone particularly good at wood-cutting or wood-boring.

Means “razor-sharp.”

The fear of being close to or touching sharp implements.

Nowhere near as nasty as it sounds, this is just an old name for what we now call charcoal.

A type of covered walkway or portico.

40. X.Y.Z.
Late 19th century slang for a journalist who takes on any work going, or else 18th century slang for a dandyish or “exquisite” young man.