Well, it’s come to this—prune talk. I’ve been working on a story that has some elderly characters moving into assisted living, and believe me, prunes are a big topic. What I know, besides what we all know about prunes, is that I’ve got two really tasty, pruney snacks for you.
It’s true! I promise. Trust me. Read on—
I’ve become reliant on my plants during the pandy. The greenery, here in the dismal gray winter of Portland, has lifted my spirits. The opportunity to tend to a living thing has been good for my soul. Watering, spritzing, feeding, and yes, talking to my plants, has given shape to the sometimes shapeless days of life indoors. Is it Monday? Is it Thursday? Who knows? But the soil in the Ficus is dry! The snake plant needs some attention.
Imagine my delight when this gem of a mini-documentary fell into my inbox. “Noble Planta,” is charming, a bit slow moving, so maybe play it on your tablet in the kitchen while you prepare dinner. The story of a plant shop in Manhattan, and a marriage, both of which require tending. The husband is a bit woowoo about plants and humans communicating. “Nobody wants to be smacked in the face. We are giving a silent suggestion to the plant and the plant is telling us when the time is right.”
In our house, we’re also pretty smitten with “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.” My only advice, don’t watch when you are hungry.
Finally, PIFF, the Portland International Film Festival is underway. The value add about no in person films? Everyone can access the amazing menu of films to watch in your own home. Check out the virtual calendar, schedule a watch party from afar with family and friends. Honestly, every year I find some gem that inspires me, makes me laugh, and expands my world.
The NYTs recently put out this list of 36 Podcast Personalities Recommend Their Favorite Shows, which appears to be a great trove of suggestions.
I’m going to start with: “Goodbye To All This,” described as an audio memoir by Sophie Townsend, the entire series is a beautifully told journal about family, loss, love and discovering what’s next.
So, prunes. Hang with me. I know some people (not you) turn up their noses at prunes. Just here to say, I try to have a container of these sweet babies in the fridge at all times.
Prunes Poached in Red Wine.
Put everything in a saucepan on the stove, heat till bubbling and then turn down VERY low. Simmer for 30ish minutes. If the prunes do not remain submerged in liquid, add a bit of water. Let cool. Store in fridge. Your options for serving are now endless:
I promised two prune recipes. When I was having chemotherapy (I am fine. Nine years out. Hooray!!) I made this, both for iron and for sluggish digestion. I still make it, for us, for family and pals, all the time.
Take about 4 cups of dried fruit. I use pitted prunes, dried cranberries, dried figs, sometimes dates. Always let the prunes do most of the heavy lifting. Place in a pan and cover with one bottle of organic, sugar free, pomegranate or cranberry juice. Add several cinnamon sticks. If the fruit is not submerged, add enough water to cover. Let simmer on the stove for about 45 minutes, until the fruit softens and absorbs liquid. Once cool, remove cinnamon sticks and puree in a Cuisinart. Store in the fridge, and add a spoonful to your yogurt or oatmeal, or, spread on bread along with some almond butter.
Wishing you all ease of mind. Slowly but surely. Change is coming. While we wait, why not take a moment to treat yourself to a little something something? Maybe an ice cream bar, maybe a long bath, a glass of bubbles, some Bombas (which really do hug your feet!) or a new top, maybe these fantastic spatulas, or a new saucepan (I know, a splurge. I was given one for the holidays, and I am ridiculously in love). We are in the shoulder season between winter and spring! Vaccines are rolling out. Let’s kick up our heels.
Here’s Stanley, with a chill park vibe for you.