Tag Archives: persimmon

Persimmon Sweet Potato Soup

Count persimmons as one of those foods I wasted too much of my life not eating. Truth be told I don’t think I even knew what a persimmon was until last year. I have a lot of time to make up for. I’ve noticed we mostly get the fuyu variety, although other kinds sometimes pop up.

We like to eat persimmons in both the firm stage and the OMG-soft-touches-only stage. The former is great for snacking and the latter works perfectly as a jam stand-in. Of course, as is my trend, I can’t simply eat a food without experimenting, and after a little bit of Googling I hit upon the idea of persimmon soup.

persimmon soup

Persimmons are rather small, so I didn’t want to base the entire soup on them. Sweet potatoes are a natural match, and really help with adding bulk to the soup. With some spices and a mirepoix, the soup’s flavor is rather similar to butternut squash soup. Maybe that’s why I like it so much. The persimmon season is short, so try this recipe out while you still can!

If your fuyu persimmons aren’t in the squishy stage, you can pop them in the freezer overnight and thaw them in the fridge. The insides will scoop out easily with a spoon or melon baller. Haiyacha persimmons will need to ripen on the counter, but you can speed up the process by putting them in a paper bag with an apple or banana.

Persimmon Sweet Potato Soup
serves 4-6

1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2/3 cup diced carrots
2/3 cup diced celery
2/3 cup diced onion
1 large sweet potato, diced
6 persimmons
5 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
Salt and pepper
Almond slivers (optional)

In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium. Once the oil is shimmery, add the carrots, celery, and onions, and cook until vegetables are soft onions are translucent.
Cut persimmons in half from the bottom and scoop out pulp, removing any hard bits. (The flesh should be dark orange and jammy, with a few dark flecks from sugar caramelization.)
Add sweet potato and persimmon to pot and cook 5 more minutes. Pour in stock and stir in turmeric and ginger. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Cover and let cook for at least 30 minutes, until sweet potatoes are completely soft.
Working in batches, puree soup in a blender (or use a stick blender), then return to pot. Taste soup and season with salt and pepper to your liking. If your soup is too thick, add additional stock or water to thin it out. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Serve with almond slivers on top, if desired, and bread for dipping.

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Persimmon Bread

[Printable Recipe]

I’m never sure what to do with persimmons when they’re really mushy. I used them in sorbet, and that went well, but it’s been so cold that I haven’t been in the sorbet mood lately. I’ve put them in waffles, but I wasn’t as pleased as I was with the fig waffles experiment, as the persimmon flavor didn’t really come through as much as I had hoped. I scoured the web for some new ideas, and found a recipe for persimmon bread on David Lebovitz’s blog. His recipes have always worked out well, and since it was originally from James Beard, I had high hopes.

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Besides, it called for a ton of whiskey. What could be bad!?

Let me tell you that I loved this bread. The spicy notes of the whiskey came through really nicely, and complemented the sweet persimmon so well. No one was able to pinpoint what those spicy notes exactly were though, so I had fun keeping people guessing. This was as easy to make as any other quickbread, but flavor-wise, it was so different (in a good way!) than the typical pumpkin or banana bread that I’ll be keeping this in my rotation for a while (as long as persimmons are in season, that is!).

Since I only had 2 persimmons, I halved the original recipe to make just 1 loaf.

Adapted from James Beard, via David Lebovitz

Ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour, sifted, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup Cognac, bourbon or whiskey (I used Jack Daniels, since we already had some in the house.)
  • 1 c. persimmon puree (from about 2 squishy-soft Hachiya persimmons. I run the persimmon chunks through the food mill to preserve the consistency, but I’m sure a blender would be okay too.)
  • 2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Butter a loaf pan, then dust with flour. Tap out the excess.
  • Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, granulated sugar and brown sugar together into a mixing bowl.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then stir in the butter, eggs, liquor, and persimmon puree. When the dry ingredients are incorporated, fold in the nuts.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for ~1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly.

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A Local Box Thanksgiving

Better late than never, right? I told you about how I was planning on using my Greenling box for Thanksgiving dinner this year. I had to supplement a bit (my sit-down dinner for 6 ballooned into an all-out buffet for 15), but I kept all of the dishes the same and just made more. Here are some of the successes of the night:

Cranberry-Persimmon Chutney:

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The great thing about this dish was that I made it ahead of time and just took it out of the fridge an hour before my guests arrived. This could definitely take the place of a traditional cranberry sauce, but it’s a bit sweeter and more complex in flavor. I used this recipe (minus the pork part) and left the cinnamon sticks in for the entire simmering process. I also realized that the liquid wasn’t reducing at all after about an hour of simmering, at which point I cranked up the heat and reduced the liquid so that it was the consistency of a chutney.

I served this with crackers and a local aged camembert that I got from Humble House at the Pearl Farmers Market.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes:

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Such an easy recipe that’s great for a weeknight dinner too. Just cube the potatoes (other root veggies, like turnips or parsnips, would be great here too), toss them in a bit of canola oil and herbs (I like thyme, dried or fresh is fine), spread them out on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, tossing midway though the cooking time. I like roasting veggies like this because they reheat nicely (so you can make it ahead of time) and it’s so forgiving that it’s not stressful when making it for a large crowd.

Rosemary Parmesan Pinwheels:

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We also got a huge bunch of rosemary in our box, so I served this appetizer to appropriately highlight it. I actually prepped these the night before and baked them right before guests came, and they turned out really well. I doubled the amount of parmesan (what can I say — I like parmesan!), so they were doubly salty and cheesy. The bottoms were a bit browner than I would’ve liked (I let them go probably a minute too long), but our guests still loved them. They were great little bites before dinner. I’m looking forward to experimenting with puff pastry pinwheels using other ingredients (perhaps using sundried tomatoes, other herbs, meats or lox?).

Did you make any Thanksgiving recipe with the contents of your Local Box?

Local Box Meal Plan: Dec. 7-11

Now that I’m back, I can’t wait to start getting Greenling boxes again! I’ve supplemented with veggies from the Pearl Farmer’s Market, but there’s something to be said for local produce on your doorstep.

What I like about local, seasonal produce is how it seems like what you’re “supposed” to eat is what’s available. The first night of Hanukkah is on Friday, and this week we’re getting potatoes and onions (the key ingredients in latkes) and apples (for applesauce). Maybe it’s a coincidence, but I’d like to think otherwise.

This week, we’re getting red potatoes and yellow onions from Naegelin, sweet Italian peppers from Lundgren, apples from Top of Texas, beets and icicle radish from My Father’s Farm, cucumbers from Home Sweet Farm, Bibb lettuce from Bella Verdi, Louisiana scallions from Acadian Family Farm, rainbow baby carrots from Animal Farm, and Hachiya persimmons from Indian Hill.

For Hanukkah dinner on Friday, I’m making:

  • Brisket with baby carrots
  • Latkes with red potatoes and yellow onions (I’ve been sworn to secrecy so I can’t share my family’s recipe, but I’m sure googling will produce lots of recipes for you to try!)
  • Applesauce
  • Bibb lettuce salad with cucumbers, scallions and radishes

For the rest of the week, I’m making:

  • Arugula salad with roasted beets and goat cheese
  • Stuffed pepper casserole
  • Persimmon bread (if the persimmons aren’t ripe enough, I’ll store them in a paper bag on the counter for a few days. They need to be quite ripe for baking.)

If anyone saw Top Chef last week, Kevin made what looked like a very cool puree from the carrot tops, so I’m going to try my hand at something like that under a panseared fish. Don’t want to waste good produce!

Local Box Meal Plan: Nov. 16-20

Happy Thanksgiving! I realize that I’m a week early, but we’re having some friends over for an early Thanksgiving on Sunday. Because it’s not the actual Thanksgiving day, I’m taking some liberties and veering from my family’s traditional Turkey Day menu (and let’s face it, who wants to have the same meal twice in one week?).

This week, we’re getting sweet potatoes, red onion, and collards or mustard greens from Naegelin, Eureka persimmons from Indian Hill (Texas A&M has a good breakdown of persimmon varieties grown in Texas here), Cameo apples from Top of Texas, pie pumpkin, green beans from Animal Farm, hot and sweet peppers from Green Gate Farm, escarole and Louisiana shallot-scallions from Acadian Family Farm, Bibb lettuce from Bella Verdi and herb from Pure Luck.

So I’m making:

Appetizer:

Main course:

  • Herb-roasted turkey
  • Chestnut-apple stuffing (made with a red onion) served inside a roasted pumpkin – this only works if we get a pumpkin, not fennel. Here’s hoping for a pumpkin for the super cool presentatation!
  • Roasted sweet potatoes tossed with herbs
  • Roasted green beans
  • Sauteed greens with garlic
  • Louisiana shallot-scallion dinner rolls (based on this sweet dinner rolls recipe)

And because we still have to eat dinner on Saturday:

I’m also retrying hot pepper jelly with this recipe, since it didn’t work so well last time.

Are you changing up some of your Thanksgiving staples this year, or keeping it traditional?

Pomegranate-Persimmon Sorbet

[Printable Recipe]

POM Wonderful was nice enough to send me some samples of fresh pomegranate juice. I love to make cocktails with pomegranate juice, but it’s fun to cook with it too (remember the duck I made last year? So good!). I had a few persimmons from our Greenling box that were just on the brink between ripe and over-ripe, and I thought the sweet flavor of the persimmon would complement the bite of the pomegranate juice nicely. The most logical way to combine the two? Sorbet!

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While vodka isn’t essential, I always add it to my sorbet recipes to ensure a smooth texture. I don’t use enough to taste the alcohol in the sorbet itself.

Adapted from Saveur

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. fresh pomegranate juice
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 c. persimmon puree (from about 6 medium-sized persimmons. The puree is best when made in a food mill to preserve the texture, but a blender works also.)
  • Juice of 1/4 lime
  • Scant 1/2 tsp. vodka
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  • Combine the pomegranate juice, water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
  • After the pomegranate mixture comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and let cool. Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours.
  • After the mixture has fully chilled, whisk in the persimmon puree, lime juice, vodka and salt.
  • Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Put in a tupperware and store in the freezer for an hour before eating.

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Verdict:
I loved this sorbet! It was sweet but not overly so, and so light. I imagine that it would be great as a palate-cleanser for a multi-course meal.

Local Box Meal Plan: Oct. 12-16

Finally, some squash! I’m so excited. Even though it doesn’t feel like fall yet, I can tell cooler weather is coming.

This week, we’re getting sweet grape tomatoes from Pedernales Valley; red onion, butternut squash, and globe eggplant from Naegelin; microgreens and Bibb lettuce from Bella Verdi; either persimmon or pears; okra from either Bradshaw Creek Farm or Walnut Creek Farm; dragon tongue beans; and apples.

So I’m making:

Sides:

Dessert:

  • Fried wontons with caramel-apple filling and chocolate-persimmon/pear filling

Dinner:

I found that dragon tongue beans taste much like wax beans, so I’m excited to use them in a twist on bean salad.