what is normal?
Years ago I sang that line as Trina in Falsettos. It's a good question.
After 3 weeks away from home I needed some normalizing, normalization, normalness. Only one place to find that: in the kitchen.
Since our freezer door barely closes, I started there, and pulled out the vodka soaked fruit that I'd used to make fruit infused vodka. Nothing shall go to waste! The vaguely alcoholic gooseberries, currents, green grapes, and sumac berries are now a fantastic, not-usually-found-in-nature vermillion jelly. Don't let the photo fool you; I've got at least 10 half pint jars. Always more than I expect.
Next stop: refrigerator. Six giant quinces have filled the fruit drawer since Christmas and their pervasive perfume reminded me that I'd better do something with them asap. I've been missing fresh fruit lately (big surprise) and while quinces are WAY too hard to eat out of hand, they're delicious poached. What could be easier than a vanilla bean, a few star anise, very light simple syrup, and peeled, cored, sliced quinces, in the slow cooker for 8 hours?
Bonus: I now have 2+ pints of brilliant red, quince poaching liquid. Far too beautiful and tasty to throw away. I've canned it for now, but I'm pondering what wonderful thing(s) I can make with it. Reduce it to a syrup and pour over the quinces with yogurt? Freeze into a sorbet? I'd appreciate suggestions.