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Serious John and I have come a long way since last summer. Last year, he refused to kill bugs. Then, after the incident with the mosquito where I nearly broke my finger, he begrudgingly agreed to kill them, after much cajoling. Now, he's a one-man bug-killing MACHINE.

After the traumatic mosquito incident, I instituted a no-open-window rule, which we've abided by for the most part, except for when an annoying houseguest decides it's too hot and opens a window, thinking only of their hour or two of comfort and not the lifetime of fear we'll have to endure.

Energized by the thrill of the upcoming summer and warm weather, we decided to get a basil plant. I was consumed with rapture at the thought of all the homemade pesto and fancy cocktails it would proffer. So delighted that I didn't notice the horde of fruit flies that have, within a matter of days, infiltrated and commandeered our poor basil plant. 

We have a terrible track record of planticide. Our last plant was a giant rosemary bush that was bountiful for 2 or 3 weeks until it started growing white fuzz and shedding its leaves in a dramatic fashion. After 5 months of trying our best to revive it and paring it back until it was merely a few pathetic twig branches, we gave up and declared our home unsafe for any rosemary plant, now or ever. If our basil was looking sad and dying slowly, I would have shed a tear, made my peace, and dumped it immediately. But oh, the irony! It somehow not only survived our amateur gardening attempts, but thrived! It is wonderfully healthy with many generous branches and grows taller and taller every day. So you can imagine my frustration when I went to pick a perfect leaf to garnish my fancy egg scramble and the soil was teeming with tiny, disgusting creatures.

Naturally when I discovered this, I called Serious John over in a panic and he spent half an hour dutifully killing as many as we could find. At the end, I sighed with relief, thinking that despite the terrible misfortune, we had at least won. What naiveté. The next morning, I woke up and cheerfully went over to our basil plant to revel in our coup. I nearly died when I realized our plant was again home to a veritable fruit fly frenzy. A bevy of bugs.

After a few days of organized fruit-fly killing where Serious John would set a timer for 5 minutes and kill as many as he could, we decided it was not a sustainable situation. We researched all the different ways to kill fruit flies without destroying our plant and decided to prepare a simple home remedy of apple cider vinegar with just a hint of dish soap (and a few rotting raspberries for good measure) to lure our little friends away from our plant and towards an untimely death. According to the internet, fruit flies can't resist fermented apples or rotting fruit. Apparently, our fruit flies are fruit snobs. Not a single one even inched toward our concoction.

After a more few days, it was time to surrender. I'm not sure how many generations of fruit flies have now claimed our basil plant as their home, but they seem unwilling to move. Like many landlords trapped in the legal misery of rent-stabilized tenants, I now have to cope with the horrifying reality that I will probably never be able to get rid of these unwelcome occupants.

But let's be honest here. Likely it's only a matter of time before we kill the plant anyway, so I figure for the time being, we'll have to learn to live with them. But every time we sit down to watch a movie and I feel a tickle on my leg or my arm or my neck, I curse myself for liking pesto and fantasize about throwing the damn plant out the window and down all 23 stories. C'est la vie.

Rosemary Cranberry Biscotti

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray baking sheet with baking spray or line with parchment paper. 
  2. In a bowl, beat together the oil, egg, sugar, vanilla and dried cranberries until they're mixed together. 
  3. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and rosemary. 
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until it comes together into a dough. 
  5. Dump the dough onto a cutting board or surface and pull it together. Then roll the dough into a log and press down on it until it's about 1/2-inch thick.
  6. Transfer to the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. 
  7. Remove the baking sheet and let it cool for a few minutes. When the cookie log is cool enough to the touch to be able to handle, move it to a cutting board.
  8. Cut the cookie log across into 1/2-inch slices and put each slice back onto the baking sheet, cut side up.
  9. Bake for an additional 6 minutes on each side, until it's lightly toasted. Enjoy!

 

Rose Green Tea Biscotti

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp rosewater
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp matcha powder

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray baking sheet with baking spray or line with parchment paper. 
  2. In a bowl, beat together the oil, egg, sugar, and rosewater until they're mixed together. 
  3. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and matcha powder. 
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until it comes together into a dough. 
  5. Dump the dough onto a cutting board or surface and pull it together. Then roll the dough into a log and press down on it until it's about 1/2-inch thick.
  6. Transfer to the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. 
  7. Remove the baking sheet and let it cool for a few minutes. When the cookie log is cool enough to the touch to be able to handle, move it to a cutting board.
  8. Cut the cookie log across into 1/2-inch slices and put each slice back onto the baking sheet, cut side up.
  9. Bake for an additional 6 minutes on each side, until it's lightly toasted. Enjoy!

 

Orange Blossom Biscotti

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray baking sheet with baking spray or line with parchment paper. 
  2. In a bowl, beat together the oil, egg, sugar, and orange blossom water until they're mixed together. 
  3. In another bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. 
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until it comes together into a dough. 
  5. Dump the dough onto a cutting board or surface and pull it together. Then roll the dough into a log and press down on it until it's about 1/2-inch thick.
  6. Transfer to the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. 
  7. Remove the baking sheet and let it cool for a few minutes. When the cookie log is cool enough to the touch to be able to handle, move it to a cutting board.
  8. Cut the cookie log across into 1/2-inch slices and put each slice back onto the baking sheet, cut side up.
  9. Bake for an additional 6 minutes on each side, until it's lightly toasted. Enjoy!

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