Everything is better with kiwi preserves. Credit: Maya Dukmasova

At 5 PM Saturday, March 21, Governor J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 Executive Order No. 8, aka the Stay at Home order, took effect. Here’s a daily-ish journal of how Reader staff, our friends, family—and our pets—are spending our time.

Day 60: May 19

What we’re reading:

Where we’re shopping:

  • Super H Mart in Niles—a Korean supermarket with an expansive and affordable produce section
  • Mitsuwa in Arlington Heights—a Japanese supermarket with high-quality and very affordable sashimi cuts and a wide variety of unusual snacks and home goods
  • The online store for Martha Mae: Art Supplies and Beautiful Things

What we’re watching:

  • Sex Education on Netflix
  • Russian Ark (2002) on hoopla, a streaming service that makes thousands of films available for free from the Chicago Public Library!
  • Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (1958) [Elevator to the Gallows]

What we’re cooking:

  • Martha Stewart’s easy steamed artichokes
  • Julia Moskin’s spicy Korean rice cakes
  • Melissa Clark’s mango tres leches cake
  • Samin Nosrat’s simple tomato sauce
  • Linda Larsen’s pesto chicken (or turkey!) meatballs
  • Date and coconut “soup”: Cut up one big date into small pieces, combine with one cup milk and a handful of unsweetened shredded coconut. Chill in the fridge for a few hours and enjoy as a dessert or snack. Also great with some cubed mango!
  • Simple kiwi preserves: This recipe can be used to make preserves out of any fruit. It doesn’t have pectin so the resulting syrup is quite runny and the fruit pieces delicately preserved. It’s best to use unripe fruit so that the slices don’t disintegrate much through cooking:

    Thinly slice stone fruit, or apple, kiwi, or pit some cherries, or half some strawberries, or just rinse some raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries—whatever unripe fruit you’d like to turn into preserves!

    Weigh fruit, then measure out the same weight of granulated sugar. Combine sugar with half a cup of water in a pan and heat until sugar dissolves into a simple syrup. (If it starts crystalizing, just add a bit more water.)

    Once the syrup is bubbling and clear, add the fruit and bring to a boil, stirring gently to make sure all the fruit is well-coated in syrup.

    Boil for five minutes. Then turn off heat and collect as much foam as possible from the top. Clearing the foam will make your preserves more clear. The foam is also delicious!

    Let the pan rest outside the fridge for 24 hours, then repeat boiling for five minutes the next day, collecting any more foam that forms. Do the same on the third day, and also prepare some clean jars. After the third boil, you can pour the hot preserves into jars, let cool uncovered, then put the lids on and store in the fridge. You can also sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water and pour the preserves into them after you fish them out and dry them. Close the lids while the jars and preserves are still hot. If the lids have sealed properly when they’ve cooled (i.e. the popping center of the lid is sucked down), you can store the preserves outside the fridge for a few months.  v