Thanks to readers, of manna, and Penjing Report

First and foremost, thank you to all the readers who lately have used the donation button on the Feeder Feed posts.  Your help is deeply appreciated.  I’ll probably be coming back to you for something else that is shaping up, but for now the birds will be fed for a while longer.

I am particularly happy to receive requests for prayers for certain intentions, some of them quite serious.  I have asked for your prayers from time to time and you have responded well.  I am happy to remember your intentions in prayer as well.  When I read your emails, I stop and on the spot pray for you and I remember you in my rosary or office, whichever is next on the list.

On Friday 30 July, morning, I will make a list of those who have sent donations or other things since the last time I did this, and remember you all and your intentions at the altar during Holy Mass, which I offer periodically offer pro benefactoribus.

Also, many thanks to FGZ who sent, I am not making this up: manna.   Yes, I have received manna, not exactly from heaven, but from Italy.

The manna arrived with a block of bottarga.

I kid you not, when I opened the box and saw the package on the right I actually said, "What is this stuff?"


I also received from a reader, CS, a copy of Avery Dulles’ book Magisterium: Teacher and Guardian of the Faith.  It was on my wishlist.

A good friend who is one of the best working theologians I know says that this book is an excellent basic source for the Church’s understanding of the Magisterium.  I look forward to reading it.  Thanks CS!

Also, someone – not sure who perhaps "D" – sent a copy of The Voice Of The Church: A Forum on Liturgical Translation by Gilbert Ostdiek.  I will look at it with interest.

Moreover, thanks to those of you who have not only sent seeds for the birds, but seeds for my morning coffee.  They are nearly exhausted, but they have been great!

In addition, I must send out a huge renewed thanks to those of you who in the past have sent me, again from the amazon wishlist, uninterrupted power sources (UPS).  This summer there have been some bad storms with lots of lightning.  The other day a near strike would have probably blown away some equipment.  Instead, it blew away my UPS.  It was an older unit, alas, and so it can’t be replaced by the manufacturer.  In the past when I have had problems or strikes with newer units, the maker replaced them free of charge.  But…  older unit gave its last full measure of devotion and died.  I renew my thanks to anyone who ever sent a UPS.  If you don’t have UPSs, you may be at risk of real losses.  Get a big one, get a little one, whatever.  Just think about it.  I have read about people who, during blackouts, kept their medicine cool in a small fridge powered on a UPS until the blackout passed.  I know someone who waited to get a surge protector and UPS after getting a big flat screen TV.  Bad move.  I have read a story about a person with an embroidery home industry/company whose computerized sewing machine was saved when there was a strike. 

Anyway, many of you have been very good lately, thanks.  It is a pleasure and duty to pray for benefactors in prayer, as well as those who simply have intentions.

The garden is producing broccoli and more broccoli.  That would be bad for some.  I think it is great.  Except… what to do with it all?

This is what I came up with the other day.

I had things coming from the garden: peppers, eggplant, and the aforementioned broccoli.  I had some things in the fridge I wanted to use up.  What to do?

I grilled eggplant and peppers.

I sliced thin some broccoli and blanched it. Twitter

Then I started layering it together with some pasta/tomato sauce that I had made and hadn’t eaten, together with some cottage cheese which I drained a bit (lest the final product get soupy).

I used also a little bit of shredded "mozzarella" (oh, how unworthy of the name), which would soon have turned green.

Into the oven at 350F for 45 minutes.

This lasted for four days, and not because I didn’t want to eat it all at one sitting.



Penjing, star of Z-Chat, has never looked so good.  You will recall that as winter was wending to its conclusion, Penjing looked dreadful and like to lose the number of his mess, as the Captain of HMS Surprise might put it.  Not so.

One of you readers suggested shots of coffee (and the Captain of the HMS Surprise would approve).  I repotted with a different soil composition and have been leaving Penjing in the sun, which Fukien Teas have liked in the past.  Success.  I have never seen the leaves look so good.

And it has been flowering periodically… little white blossoms.  But not right now.

Meanwhile, Irohamomiji is looking great as well.

Here are two shots, with different angles of sunlight, so you can see how nicely this Japanese Maple is doing.

Finally, there is Penzai and the Pandas.  Penzai needs a trim.

By the way, Penjing wants the NCR and The Tablet – both – to be shut down.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Fr. Z's Kitchen, Lighter fare, SESSIUNCULA, The Feeder Feed. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. So: what the heck is manna?

  2. swamp_rabbit says:

    A friend of my family, Fr. Howard Basler, writes for the Tablet on occasion, and I didn’t think it approached the problems with the NCR… Though, now that I think of it, I do remember some stuff about “alternate views” of the Resurrection a while back… Are they getting in the game, too?

  3. Federico says:

    What to do with broccoli…pasta coi broccoli arriminati. Broccoli in Sicily means cauliflower, but you can substitute the English notion of broccoli and, in my opinion, you improve on the dish. Decent recipe:

  4. Supertradmum says:

    We lost a beautiful Japanese Maple in a rare storm with cold wind in England. I am happy your plants look so well. I sincerely hope you do not talk to them, as HRH Prince of Wales was supposedly doing-talking to zombies…

  5. Federico: That looks good. I can see it would work with broccoli (the green stuff). I have some anchovies on hand and, I think, pine nuts sealed up somewhere. Onions are growing in the garden. And did I mention broccoli?

    Tonight I had it in mind to make elicoidali with broccoli, a dab of cream cheese, cracked pepper, and parmigiano.

  6. Supertradmum: I understand that talking to zombies does no good. I have never tried to talk to Penjing. But, if I did, and it didn’t do any good, would that make Penjing a zombie?

    (Who can identify that logical fallacy.)

    I have no experience of talking to HRH Prince Charles.

  7. albizzi says:

    Mi sembra di leggere che la bottarga è bottarga di tonno.
    In Francia nelle regioni vicine al mare (Mediterraneo) conosciamo solo la bottarga di muggine.
    Penso che quella sia superiore al caviar.
    Lei mi confermi?
    Comunque, buon appetito, Padre.

  8. albizzi: Confermo che questa è bottarga di tonno.

    Non so se bottarga di tonno sia superiore al caviar o no.

    Dopo averla provato, le lo communicherò.

  9. That was a serious question. What’s the manna that was sent to you? What’s in it? How is it made?

  10. seanl says:

    Very jealous of both your beautiful dish, and the current status of your garden. My attempts at gardening of late haven’t yielded such bountiful harvests. The sweltering southern heat may have something to with that though. Kudos on your green thumb, Father.

  11. A. J. D. S. says:

    Father, the fallacy would seem to me to be a type of affirming the consequent.

    E.G. :

    If it is a zombie, it does no good to talk to it.
    Talking to Penjing does no good.
    Therefore Penjing is a zombie.

  12. Random Friar says:

    Manna looks like french fries that soaked up all the grease in the deep fat fryer. Yum. Wikipedia says “manna” can refer to a bunch of products from a family of plants, especially plant sap. That looks like some kind of root.

  13. For some reason, plants do seem to grow better with a little noise than with no noise at all. Talking to indoor plants works, but so does happening to have on the radio or TV. It’s probably just something about wavelengths of sound vibrations.

  14. Anna Barrie says:

    If you have more brocolli than you can use, I would suggest blanching then freezing the excess. It’s a lovely feeling deep in winter to open your freezer and pull out last summer’s harvest.

  15. Jon says:


    My wife and I would like to thank you for this evening’s dinner.

    Typically, when I cook myself, I limit it to turning the burgers on the coals. But I saw your little entree this afternoon, and thought “hey, even I can do that!”

    So I ran to the grocery store (living in Lanc. County, PA, EVERYTHING’S right out of the garden), picked up what I needed, and hurried home.

    I have now accumulated what are known as official marital points (I think). Obliged!

  16. Federico says:


    La bottarga di tonno (siciliana per antonomasia) è, a mio avviso, più pregiata della bottarga di muggine (piu tipica del settentrione e Sardegna) che ho visto utilizzata solo come condimento, e non come vivanda di per se. Affettata sottilissima, condita con un filino di EVO, si presta ad ottime tartine. Tritata, condita con lo stesso filino di olio ed un trito di prezzemolo e mandorle, mescolata con pasta al dente diventa una leccornia.

    Più buona del caviale? Non azzarderei un giudizio simile. Ma sicuramente preferisco avere bottarga di tonno in frigo piuttosto che un caviale di seconda scelta.

    Anita Moore: it’s the sap of a particular type of ash (I think) grown in certain areas of Sicily and harvested in accord with a specific disciplinare found at:

  17. Federico says:

    Ah, Albizzi (and father), grattuggiare la bottarga di tonno è una bestemmia.

  18. Jon: Thanks for that! I really enjoy hearing that the food posts help people to do something new.

  19. Federico: grattuggiare la bottarga di tonno è una bestemmia


    La ringrazio per questo monito! Stavo per… immaginiamoci!

    Purtruppo, ci sono tante persone nello stato di peccato, visto che molte ricette ci consigliano di, addirittura, grattugiarla.

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