Sunday, December 6, 2015


I didn't notice them at first, but when the people ahead of me in line raved about the American persimmons for sale by Coyote Hill Farm at the farmers market, I decided to try them. I had had Asian persimmons when we lived in California but had never tried the native American ones. These were much smaller, maybe around 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

In general, I have to say I'm not convinced they were worth it. Each fruit had several large seeds in it, and while the flesh is very sweet, it's sticky and there isn't that much of it. That said, I know some people love persimmons, so if you find them and don't mind the fuss, give them a try.

After we ate a couple straight, I decided to try to separate the seeds from the pulp and do something with the pulp. It wasn't all that easy. I tried putting them through a food mill, but the seeds were large enough that they got in the way. I eventually ended up pulling the seeds out with my fingers and then putting the flesh through the mill to puree it. That worked reasonably well, but I wouldn't want to do it with a large quantity (I had a pint or so of fruits). This yield around 1/2 to 2/3 cup of puree - though it was really more the consistency of paste than puree.

Since the amount of puree I had wasn't large, I decided to mix it with some applesauce. I did about a 1:4 ratio of persimmon puree to applesauce. It was quite tasty, and turned the pale yellow applesauce a pleasant pale orange color. I think this might make nice fruit leather as well. You could certainly go heavier on the persimmon in the mix if you had enough.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Roasted Garlic Southwest Chicken Soup

Substantial, warming, and full of flavor. If you don't have roasted garlic on hand and don't feel like roasting some just to make this soup, go ahead and make the soup anyway. Substitute 6-8 cloves minced fresh garlic and add it with the onions.

Olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced (frozen is okay)
2-3 cups corn kernels (frozen is okay)
Chicken stock
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
1 head roasted garlic, cloves peeled and minced
1 lb cooked chicken, shredded or diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
Optional toppings: chopped pickled chili peppers, cilantro, sour cream

Heat a little olive oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and cook for 3-5 minutes, until translucent. Add the pepper and corn,. Add the chili powder and cumin and cook for another minute. Add chicken stock to cover the vegetables. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and chicken, plus more stock if needed. The soup should be hearty, not too watery. Simmer another few minutes, then add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Stir in the cheddar until it melts.

Serve hot. Add toppings at the table if desired.

Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Simple Roasted Brussels Sprouts

The preparation and seasoning of these sprouts is utterly simple, but they are packed with flavor. This might be my new favorite way to eat them. I topped mine with a sprinkle of fleur de sel before serving, just because I had some, but they don't need it.

1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed (large sprouts halved)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fancy salt for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the sprouts in a bowl and drizzle generously with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread the sprout on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roasted for 25-30 minutes, until nicely browned and crispy on the outside and tender when pierced with a fork. Serve hot, topped with a bit of fancy salt if desired.

Serves 3-4.