Get ready – this post is gonna be a bit on the long side. But there’ll be lots of pictures!
I went back to Plum Market today, like I said I would in my post the other day, and came home with a Buddha’s Hand! I had never seen or heard of this fruit before seeing it at Plum the other day, but it might just be the coolest thing I’ve ever picked up in the produce section.
It is so cool that I need to show another picture of it, from another angle:
Here’s the skinny: A Buddha’s hand is a variety of citron, which means it’s a citrus fruit. It dates back thousands of years, and was originally cultivated in the lower Himalayas, in what is now northeastern India and China, where it is still considered a symbol of happiness and good fortune. This particular specimen, however, was grown in California, and cost me a cool $5.99. Buddha’s hand is very fragrant, smelling like a very pungent lemon, and a lot of websites out there advocate using it for purely ornamental reasons, as the aroma can fill a room for weeks and I know I could stare at it for hours.
But today I wasn’t interested in staring at it. I wanted to eat it. I read that you can eat it raw, peel, pith, and all, and a lot of people online recommended steeping it to make tea, infusing vodka with it, or making jelly or jams out of it. But all that kinda bored me, so I decided to build a dinner menu around it, which I mostly made up as I went along.
First up: A side dish. Baby red and gold potatoes, coated with a quick spray of Pam, tossed with fresh thyme and dried rosemary. Here they are, ready to go in the oven:
Next I started a sauce. First 1/2 an onion and 3 cloves of minced garlic went into a pot with 1 tablespoon of olive oil:
Then I started mincing up some of the Buddha’s Hand. Here’s another fun fact: a Buddha’s Hand doesn’t really have any flesh – it’s all rind and pith. Here’s what the inside of one looks like:
A few tablespoons of the minced Buddha’s Hand and some mushrooms went into the saucepot:
After it had cooked for a few minutes, I added a cup of white wine, although I forgot to photograph that step.
Meanwhile, I prepped a steamer to make the rest of the meal. I cut up some more Buddha’s Hand to flavor the water I was using underneath the steamer basket:
Next the steamer basket went into that pot, and first, I steamed three boneless skinless chicken breasts:
After they were done (about 9 or 10 minutes), I pulled them out and piled in some broccoli:
The broccoli only took about 5 minutes to cook, and then, everything was pretty much done! I pulled the potatoes out of the oven (they were in there for about 30 minutes total):
Then I started plating. Everyone got a chicken breast, some potatoes, and some broccoli. Some of the sauce, which had simmered and reduced the entire time the chicken and broccoli was steaming, went over the chicken and broccoli. I garnished with some parsley:
The verdict? Very lemony! If you didn’t know better, you’d probably have no reason to think lemon wasn’t used. The sauce was good, but not great – I think I used a little too much wine in it, but my dad didn’t think so. My mom was not a fan of the Buddha’s Hand in any way whatsoever. She said she liked every component of the meal except for the sauce, and was a sport and ate most of it, and then had a small bowl of soup to cleanse her palate from the Buddha’s Hand taste! My dad, meanwhile, had only compliments about the meal. He and I also tried pieces of the Buddha’s Hand raw, and it was very crisp and crunchy, like a lemony piece of jicama or something.
Oh! I never mentioned anything about the wedding I went to last night! It was a fantastic evening. My friend Laura, the bride, looked beautiful, and her new hubby Chad is a really nice, personable guy – I actually met him for the first time last night. All the people at my table were old friends, a couple of whom I haven’t seen in a few years, and there was great food (most of which I sampled, calories and fat be damned) and great music. After the reception was over, there was a little after-party in the bar at a local hotel where the out-of-towners were staying, and there was a little after-after-party in one of the hotel rooms. It was a late night (out until 4am), and a wonderful one. I’m ecstatic for Laura and Chad, and was so happy I could be there to celebrate.
I slept in this morning until 10am, and shortly thereafter I hit the gym, and for the first time since my sophomore year in high school (1995!), I had an all-swimming workout. Here’s what I swam:
- 2 x 200 yards freestyle (400 yards total)
- 2 x 200 yards IM (individual medley – butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle) (400 yards total)
- 200 yards kicking with a kickboard
- 5 x 50 yards freestyle sprints, with 10 seconds rest in between (250 yards total)
- 200 yards freestyle (cool down)
- TOTAL YARDAGE: 1450 yards (that’s 58 lengths of the pool, as the pool is 25 yards long).
I sorta made up this workout as I went along, and I failed to note what time I started, so I don’t really know how long I was in the pool altogether (although I suspect between 45-60 minutes). And while I felt sluggish and sloppy compared to when I was at my swimming peak 15 years ago (which is no surprise), I did feel wonderful afterwards. I was exhausted and felt loose all over, and even a little sore. I hit the hot tub for about 5 minutes, then headed back to the locker room.
Keep it up, David!