Although persimmons are best known for their contribution to desserts, one of my favorite ways to eat them is in salads. Add to that the cayenne-spiked lime vinaigrette and every bite of this salad is refreshing and tantalizing — a pure delight for the taste buds.
*Note: If you can’t find watercress, baby arugula is a good substitute for this salad.
- 1/4 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- 2 bunches watercress, preferably hydroponic, stemmed*
- 8 ounces radicchio, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
- 2 large, firm-ripe Fuyu persimmons, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes, for garnish
- 1/4 cup cashew pieces, roasted and salted, for garnish
12 Persimmon Recipes Everyone Should Make This Fall
Persimmons, vivid orange fruits of autumn, have been cultivated in parts of Asia for at least 1,000 years, but remain mysterious to many Americans. We're finally catching up these days, and that means that we're discovering ways both new and old for making great use of persimmons in savory preparations as well as sweet ones throughout fall.
The two varieties commonly available here are Fuyu and Hachiya. Before you buy a persimmon, it's important to know which type you're considering, because that will affect how and when to prepare it. Fuyu is the squat persimmon with a rounded bottom pictured here. It can be eaten when firm or soft. To choose a fuyu, look for one with taut skin free of blemishes. When it's firm, simply cut away the leaves, and wash or peel, then slice it as you would an apple it is crunchy and sweet, and best for salads. To eat it when soft, store at room temperature until it gives to the touch, similar to a tomato.
The Hachiya persimmon, on the other hand, has an elongated, heart-like shape. It should only be eaten when very ripe when firm, the Hachiya is so astringent it can make your mouth dry to the point of numbness. It will ripen at room temperature and once ripened, the luscious, aromatic fruit is unforgettable. It can be ripened far past the point at which you might throw away most other fruits when the skin appears almost translucent and the fruit feels mushy, you can bake with it&mdashor slice off the top and eat its jelly-like contents right away.
1. Persimmon risotto with pancetta and goat cheese
If you can make a risotto with strawberries or with green apples, why wouldn’t you make one with the crisp Fuyu persimmons? The persimmon makes the risotto slightly sweet, but the other ingredients perfectly balance the final taste of the risotto. The browned pancetta adds a savoury richness while the melting goat cheese contributes with a slightly acid and creamy touch. This risotto is like a hug, a seasonal and festive dish.
How to eat a Persimmon
As I mentioned above, the Fuyu persimmons are great eaten out of hand.
You can bite right into them like an apple. The skin is thin, somewhat soft and eatable. That said, if you prefer them without the skin, use a paring knife to remove it.
Persimmons can be sliced like an apple.
17 Delicious Ways to Cook With Persimmons
The first time I saw a persimmon, I thought it was an orange tomato. A friend of mine had brought it to school to snack on, and when I probed her about it, she gave me a taste, immediately setting me straight. This was no orange tomato: It was a sweet, soft treat that tasted like fall and cinnamon and all things cozy—hygge in fruit form. I was hooked and I had to know more.
According to Katy Green, global produce field inspector at Whole Foods Market, what I probably ate that day was a Fuyu persimmon, one of the two most common varieties of persimmon. She says the other, called Hachiya, is high in tannins and cannot be eaten if it's even a little bit underripe, so it's better to cook with than consume raw. On the other hand, Fuyu persimmons have way fewer tannins, so they're better for snacking on or adding to salads, she says.
The fruit is indigenous to Asia and in season from mid-October to February, peaking from November to December. Green says you'll start to notice them at the supermarket a lot more around Halloween.
As for how to pick the best persimmons at the supermarket, Green says the main thing you should look for is exterior color. "They should be orange and bright orange during peak season," she explains. Additionally, the calyx (which is the star-shaped leaf at the top) should be green and in good shape, not falling off or moldy.
Unlike other fruits, persimmons continue to ripen after they've been picked, and often are sold while they're still unripe and very firm, says Green. Hachiya persimmons will be ready to eat right when you buy them at the store, because they're supposed to be firm thanks to their high level of tannins. Fuyu persimmons should be left to rest on your counter for a few days, so they have time to get soft enough to snack on. Whatever you do, she says you should never put a persimmon in the fridge. "They will turn black and the texture will be compromised," she warns.
Put your new persimmon knowledge to work in these 17 recipes, which take advantage of the fall fruit in all the different ways. From baked goods to soups to salads and beyond, there's something here for everyone.
La Posta Vecchia: Italian style meets local flavor
Moments after spotting the baked sardines with sweet peppers on La Posta Vecchia’s Sunday menu, the woman at the next table loudly announced to her companion, “I don’t think I’ll be eating that!”
When they finished their wine, they left.
She didn’t know what she was missing. In the hands of La Posta chef and co-owner Chris Avila, the mild and meaty little fish – once the stars of Monterey Bay’s commercial fishery – were a delightful starter. The impeccably fresh sardines were blanketed in crunchy bread crumbs, almonds and currants, baked in the brick pizza oven and served on a bed of sweet-and-sour bell peppers. They were a far cry from the much-maligned tinned variety.
Sunday “family meal” dinners at the year-old restaurant in the Seabright neighborhood of Santa Cruz are filled with culinary surprises. Each week, Avila produces a ฮ four-course meal focused on a different region of Italy. That might mean cured halibut with a lemon and olive salad from Campania in the south one night, or a veal roast with tuna and anchovy sauce from Piedmont in the north on another.
No menu choices are offered on Sundays, although Avila says he always plans a vegetarian option. It is Santa Cruz, after all.
The rest of the week, the small menu roams the boot of Italy, offering an array of robust dishes prepared with local ingredients and Italian inspiration that changes with the season. Everything from the crusty walnut bread and fennel-flecked salami to the tender ravioli and pomegranate sorbet is made in-house. Most produce is organic and seafood choices comply with Monterey Bay Aquarium recommendations for sustainability.
The wine list is Italian from top to bottom, including bottles you’re not likely to see at many restaurants.
La Posta takes its name from its 1911 vintage building on Seabright Avenue, which once housed the beach neighborhood’s post office. It’s a joint venture of Avila and Patrice Boyle, an owner of Soif Wine Bar in downtown Santa Cruz, where Avila also serves as executive chef.
The 60-seat restaurant feels like it’s remained unchanged for decades. A mahogany bar with eight stools is placed near the front door and dark wood banquettes, crowned by mirrors, line the ocher walls. Tables are bare. Old photographs and postcards here and there serve as decoration.
Avila, who grew up in Richmond and trained at Contra Costa College before working with David Kinch at Sent Sovi and Manresa in the South Bay, had never been to Italy when he proposed the trattoria concept to Boyle. (Earlier this year, he and his wife, Emily, who runs the front of the house, made their first tour.)
His dishes are based on extensive research into Italian regional cuisine. The food is simple and seasonal, based on fresh local ingredients from respected purveyors. “I’m not trying to duplicate something exactly like they do it in Italy,” the chef explains. “It’s more the philosophy of cooking than the actual recipe.”
All the effort paid off at the Sunday night homage to Sicily: Baked local sardines a lovely pasta Norma with perfectly roasted eggplant, crisp on the edges and a dish of thickly sliced pork – braised with lemon, orange and juniper berries – fanned across a bed of gutsy kale.
Flavors were bold and textures appealing. Served family-style, portions were large but not overwhelming. Two little scoops of pomegranate and orange sorbetti were a bright and refreshing ending to the substantial meal.
The wine pairings suggested by Boyle, former general manager of Bonny Doon Vineyard, were spot-on – a full-bodied 2005 Feudi di San Giuiliano white (ů.50/glass) with the sardines and pasta, a dark and velvety 2004 Valle dell’ Acate nero d’Avola (ű.50/glass) with the pork, and a fruity, lightly sweet 2002 Tenuta Soletta moscato (Ű.75/glass) with the sorbet.
Service was casual and friendly.
On another evening, my companion and I pondered difficult choices on the regular menu while we munched on crunchy house-made grissini. We started with a plate of gorgeous house-made coppa (ŭ), the thinly sliced sausage, rosy and well-marbled with a peppery bite.
Although we enjoyed the radicchio and watercress salad with Fuyu persimmons and ricotta salata (Ű), we found ourselves competing for the last forkful of the salad of shaved fennel and apple slices tossed with glistening pomegranate seeds and Pecorino cheese (Ű). Lightly dressed in excellent olive oil, it was an addictive interplay of crisp textures punctuated by sweet, tart and salty flavors.
Barely sweet winter squash was a luxurious filling for a trio of oversize ravioli (ฝ) in a puddle of nutty browned butter. But pureed squash proved too much of a good thing as an accompaniment to the rich roasted duck breast, its skin nicely browned, and leg confit with a rosemary-accented pomegranate sauce (ฬ). I was thankful for the contrasting bitter and salty notes contributed by a side dish of Brussels sprouts (ŭ), roasted with pancetta.
More subtle was the large filet of halibut baked in the oven with sweet, tender baby clams, white wine and fennel (ษ). The fish – topped with crunchy bread crumbs and fennel fronds – was moist and flaky, the flavors fresh as the sea.
Desserts felt less inspired. The obligatory panna cotta (Ů) was silky smooth and redolent of vanilla. But the roasted pear (ů) was dull and picked up virtually no flavor from the red wine in which it was cooked, nor was there enough balsamic caramel sauce to save the dish.
A better option might be one of the Italian cheeses (ŭ) – the Gorgonzola dolce from Piedmont is tempting – and a glass of luscious dessert wine.
538 Seabright Ave., near East Cliff,
The Dish: Italian regional cuisine comes to the beach in a small neighborhood trattoria with an emphasis on local, organic ingredients and a broad selection of varietals from Italy.
Price range: Dinner appetizers ŭ-บ, entrees ผ-ฬ. Corkage fee: บ.
Details: Sunday night “family meal” dinners.
Pluses: Exceptional house-made breads and salami, addictive fennel and apple salad, impressive wine list.
Minuses: Dull roasted pear in red wine.
Hours: Dinner 5-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 5-9:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 5-8 p.m. Sundays.
Restaurant reviews are conducted anonymously. The Mercury News pays for all meals.
Grilled corn with Sriracha butter (page 85)
From Myers+Chang at Home: Recipes from the Beloved Boston Eatery Myers+Chang at Home by Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz
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- Categories: Dips, spreads & salsas Grills & BBQ Appetizers / starters Vegetarian
- Ingredients: butter Sriracha sauce corn on the cob scallions
I need 2 recipes for a gluten free 3 tier wedding cake, one that is chocolate and one just a white. I have 2 weddings for 2 family members, that have to have gluten free cakes. Could you please tell me how to adjust this recipe for chocolate and white. Thank you
You can adjust the lemon ginger wedding cake recipe to make chocolate and white cakes.
The basic recipe is here…
To make white cake, just leave out the lemon extract, grated lemon rind and ground ginger. You should add or increase the vanilla extract (almond extract might be nice too). Some sort of extract is important to mask the slight bean flavour from the garbanzo-fava flour.
I have never made this particular cake with chocolate but I am certain that you could add cocoa powder and some grated chocolate to the batter with excellent effect. Again, you will want to include vanilla an or almond extract. I would make a single batch (the top tier of the cake) as a test first.
An American classic, persimmon pudding is a great way to use traditional fall flavors and turn them into something greater. The intense sweetness and soft texture of hachiya persimmons are perfect for baking, but it’s integral that you allow your persimmon to fully ripen before cooking. If not, your dessert can have an unpleasant bitterness.
- Pro Tip: Before baking, add generous amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla into your batter to hit the “fall” flavors home. Ground clove and allspice work well too!
Chef John Ash serves up some delicious ideas for a festive brunch
Apparently, the first use of “brunch” - a playful blend of “breakfast” and “lunch” - happened back in 1895. Guy Beringer, a British writer, authored a piece called “Brunch: A Plea” in Hunter's Weekly. He urged people to gather for a late breakfast on Sundays, not necessarily for the food but for the convivial experience.
Beringer had high hopes that the mash-up meal would bring together the best of both worlds.
“By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers,” he wrote. “It would promote human happiness in other ways as well. Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk- compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
That may have been a bit of an exaggeration. But there is no question that brunch has become a solid part of our culinary tradition in America.
Some historians have derided the meal as simply an excuse for drinking. Well, maybe so. Famous brunch drinks, including Mimosas, Bloody Marys and of course, Champagne, have all become associated with the brunch tradition.
I, for one, love the idea of brunch and, if it is an excuse to have a good glass of Champagne or a California sparkling wine, so be it.
I agree with Beringer that brunch does help us slow down and is a great excuse for being with family and friends, which is so hard to do during the rest of our busy weeks.
Here then are some ideas for you to serve at your next brunch gathering this holiday season and beyond.
This recipe was adapted from the “Cafe Beaujolais” cookbook by Margaret Fox of Mendocino.
Buttermilk Cinnamon Coffee Cake
21/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar, preferably organic
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, both sugars and oil. Remove 3/4 cup of this mixture to a separate bowl, stir in the nuts and set aside to use as a topping.
To the remaining batter, add the baking soda, baking powder, egg and buttermilk. Mix to combine all ingredients. Small lumps in the batter are OK.
Pour the batter into a well-greased 8- by 8- by 2-inch deep baking pan or dish. Sprinkle the topping mixture evenly over the surface. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Traditionally, eggs Benedict uses Canadian bacon. Here we are using smoked salmon. According to “The Food Lover's Companion” by Sharon Tyler Herbst, the dish originated at Manhattan's famous Delmonico's Restaurant when regular patrons Mr. and Mrs. LeGrand Benedict complained that there was nothing new on the lunch menu. Delmonico's maître d' and Mrs. Benedict began discussing possibilities, and Eggs Benedict was supposedly the result.
Classic Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict
- Hollandaise Sauce (recipe follows)
2 English muffins, fork split in half
5 ounces or so sliced smoked salmon
- Optional garnishes: dusting of paprika and fresh salmon roe
Make the Hollandaise sauce and keep warm. Poach the eggs by filling a 10-inch skillet with water at least 1 inch deep. Add vinegar and bring to a simmer. Break the eggs one by one and carefully slide them into the water around the edge of the skillet, which will help keep the eggs together. Poach for 3 minutes or so or until the whites of the eggs are just set. You want the yolks to be runny. Alternately, you can add the eggs, turn off the heat, cover the skillet and let them sit for about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, toast the English muffin halves and lightly spread with butter.
To serve: Place a muffin half on 4 warm plates, top each with the smoked salmon, a poached egg and a big dollop of hollandaise. Garnish if you like with a sprinkle of paprika and/or fresh salmon roe.
Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Place the egg yolks, lemon juice and mustard in a blender and pulse 2 or 3 times to combine. With the blender running slowly, add the hot butter in a thin stream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more lemon juice if you'd like. Keep warm.
Note: If the sauce curdles or “breaks” (separates), you can correct by whisking in a teaspoon or two of boiling water, a drop at a time. If that doesn't work, put another egg yolk in a bowl and very slowly whisk in the broken sauce. Usually it'll come back together with one of these two methods.
This is a great salad for the winter months because it takes advantage of seasonal ingredients. To make it more of a substantial course, drape some paper-thin slices of prosciutto or coppa around the plate.
Fennel, Pear, Persimmon and Toasted Pecans Salad with a Fig Vinaigrette
3 cups mixed savory greens such as arugula, watercress, tatsoi, endive and/or radicchio
1 firm Fuyu persimmon, sliced thinly into rounds
2 ripe pears, sliced in wedges with cores removed
1 small bulb fresh fennel, sliced thinly
- Fig Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1/2 cup pecan halves, lightly toasted
Arrange greens, persimmons, pears and fennel attractively on plates, drizzle over some fig vinaigrette and top with pecan halves.
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried figs
1 1/2 cups apple juice or cider
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Combine dried figs and apple juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 6-8 minutes or until liquid is reduced by a third.
Pour fig mixture into a blender and puree. Pour into a mixing bowl. Whisk in all other ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Thin if desired with apple juice. Store covered and refrigerated for 3 days.
The crepes for these blintzes can be made a couple of days ahead. Stack them on a plate, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. You also can completely make the blintzes ahead and store refrigerated, well covered with plastic wrap for up to 3 days.
My Grandmother's Cheese Blintzes
2 tablespoon melted butter
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- Cheese filling (recipe follows)
Add the eggs, milk, melted butter, salt and flour to a blender and blend until smooth. Let the batter rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Heat an 8-inch nonstick crepe or omelet pan over medium heat and spray with oil or wipe with an oil-soaked paper towel and a bit of butter to very lightly coat. Pour a scant 1/4 cup batter into the hot pan, wait a couple of seconds and then tilt the pan in all directions to make a thin crepe that comes up the sides of the pan.
Cook until the surface of the crepe is dry and edges release easily with the tip of a knife or spatula. It'll only take 20-30 seconds. Turn the cooked crepe out onto a plate and repeat until you've run out of batter. You should have at least 12 nice crepes, plus a few.
Fill the crepes with a heaping tablespoon of the cheese filling, then fold the top and bottom, followed by the sides, over the filling to enclose and make a compact package. Store seam side down in the refrigerator until ready to cook. Place a skillet over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add a bit of oil, melt in a bit of butter and fry the filled blintzes for 5 minutes or so on each side until they are golden and crisp. Serve hot with any of the suggested toppings.
Cheese Filling for Blintzes
1 1/4 pounds drained whole milk ricotta or farmers cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons finely grated orange zest (use a micro plane)
1/3 cup chopped golden raisins or dried cherries
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Suggested toppings for blintzes: crème fraiche, sour cream or slightly sweetened Greek yogurt fresh seasonal fruits of any kind powdered sugar powdered cocoa maple syrup fruit syrups reduced balsamic vinegar or drops of lemon juice
Stratas are basically savory bread puddings. You don't need to do a lot of prep or planning because they are an ideal place to use up whatever you have in your kitchen. Stratas are also a great make-ahead dish. They taste best when you make a day ahead and let the custard soak into the bread overnight before baking.
Here's how to construct a strata (which means “layered” in Italian) as well as a recipe suggestion:
Select the baking dish: I like to bake mine in a 9-inch by 13-inch deep baking dish or pan, but you also could bake in individual 8-ounce ramekins.
Select your bread: You'll need 10 to 12 slices of 1/2-inch thick bread. Use something good and artisan if you have it, which could be challah, multi-grain, brioche or ciabatta. It's even better if it's a day or two old. You can also cut the bread in 1-inch cubes and toss them with the custard and fillings, but I like the layered method better.
Select the fillings: You'll need 2 1/2 cups of freshly grated cheese. Vegetables could include 2 to 3 cups of roasted red peppers, sautéed mushrooms and sautéed spinach. For meat, use cooked and crumbled bacon, sausage or ham.
Make the custard: Use 10 large eggs and 1 quart of whole milk, whisked together with 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg and/or 1 teaspoon dry mustard. Season to your taste with salt and pepper.
Assemble the strata: Layer half the bread on the bottom of the buttered baking dish, cutting it to fit snugly. Spread all filling and half the cheese evenly over that, then top with remaining bread, cut to fit snugly. Pour the custard over and finish with remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Cook the strata: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover strata and bake for 60 minutes or until mixture has puffed a bit and is golden brown on top. Shake the dish a little the center shouldn't shimmy. Tent the dish with foil if the top is browning too quickly. Place on a rack and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Bacon, Fontina, Mushroom and Sun Dried Tomato Strata
10 slices of your favorite bread, cut 1/2 inch thick
- Butter for coating the baking dish
6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups sliced mushrooms, browned in butter
1/2 cup drained and chopped sundried tomatoes in oil
2 1/2 cups freshly grated Fontina, Gruyere or other semi-soft cheese
1 quart whole milk or light cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Layer half the bread on the bottom of the buttered baking dish, cutting it to fit snugly. Combine the bacon, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes and spread this evenly over the bread along with half the cheese. Top with remaining bread, cut to fit snugly.
Whisk together eggs, milk, nutmeg, mustard and salt and pepper to taste and pour over the strata. Top with remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover strata and bake for 60 minutes or until mixture has puffed a bit and is golden brown on top. Shake the dish a little to check the center shouldn't shimmy. Tent the dish with foil if the top is browning too quickly. Place on a rack and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Zabaglione (Italian) or Sabayon (French) is a simple but delicious dessert or brunch dish that is made at the very last minute and served warm. It's like a soufflé without all the effort. Serve in a pretty glass with fresh berries.
3/4 cup sparkling wine or Champagne
2 tablespoons kirsch or orange flavored liqueur such as Grand Marnier (optional)
2 cups or so fresh berries of your choice
Beat the yolks, sugar and salt until light. Place mixture in a heatproof bowl over (not touching) simmering water and whisk in the sparkling wine and kirsch. Continue whisking and turning the bowl until the mixture mounds and quadruples in volume. There should be no liquid visible and the mixture should be thick with the consistency of whipped cream. This will take 3 minutes or so. Spoon on fresh berries and serve immediately.