Saturday, December 12, 2015


This post is a cry for help.

I have too many persimmons. I asked my mom to bring a few from their tree at home so that I could make an appetizer for Thanksgiving, and she brought a bushel, including persimmons from a friend's tree.

What do you make out of persimmons?

I've done everything. I've eaten them out of hand. I've sliced them up, split up a couple balls of burrata, garnished them with mint, and made a crowd of football watchers eat them.

I've made a parfait with coconut yogurt, persimmon puree, and the gingerbread granola from Thanksgiving breakfast (don't worry, it's the first item up, so you don't have to read the entire post).

I've made persimmon bread. Persimmon bread that I didn't even really like, but couldn't stand looking at the persimmon puree I had made in the fridge. (Pro tip: if you have overripe Fuyu persimmons and can no longer slice them, just slice off the top, and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. You can now puree it, and use it just like a Hachiya persimmon).

This bread is my own fault. I knew I shouldn't have added the dried fruit and chopped nuts - I don't usually like that in bread. It's otherwise very nice!

Persimmon Bread
slightly adapted from David Lebovitz
makes two 9-inch loaves

3 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1 c. melted butter, cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 c. bourbon
2 c. persimmon puree
1 c. chopped hazelnuts
1 c. diced dried apricots

1. Butter two 9-inch loaf pans. Line the bottoms with a piece of parchment paper.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and sugars. Make a well in the center, then stir in the butter, eggs, bourbon, persimmon puree, until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in the hazelnuts and apricots.

4. Divide the batter between the loaf pans, and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Friday, December 11, 2015

simple way to eat spaghetti

This dish may not look like much, but it is among the most decadent meals I've prepared in a good long while.

And to think there was a time when I didn't like either spaghetti squash or cacio e pepe. Well, I guess it's not fair to say I never liked cacio e pepe - I just never bothered to order it. Cheese and pepper, I thought? I could do that at home.

Well, I never did. Then one day, I gave in and ordered it at Jon & Vinny's, and to say that my life was never the same again would be an understatement. I hardly ever order the same thing more than once at a restaurant, and I'm pretty sure I've ordered it every time I've been there since. I would be there every day if I had the metabolism I had 15 years ago. I can't stop telling people about it. It is everything.

But back to spaghetti squash - I used to think it was downright gross. But in my old age, I'm trying to be more fair and more open-minded to everything, and that includes strange vegetables. And just like vegan food, it certainly fails to satisfy when you consider it as fake/replacement food, but when you just enjoy it for what it is and what it's meant to be, it is delicious in its own right.

Spaghetti squash is never going to be bucatini, but spaghetti squash cacio e pepe is still divinely delicious, and a good way to get in a lot of veggie power if you're judicious about the butter and cheese. And if you accidentally tip in a little more Parmesan, you're not taking away from the healthiness of the squash - you're just making life a little more fun.

Spaghetti Squash Cacio e Pepe
adapted from Bon Appetit
serves 2

1 medium spaghetti squash
2 to 3 T. butter, cubed, divided
1 t. black pepper
3/4 to 1 c. finely grated Parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Halve and seed the spaghetti squash, and place it cut-side down on a baking sheet. Bake until the squash is very tender, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, and set aside until cool enough to handle. Use a fork to separate the strands of squash, and set aside.

3. Melt 2 T. of butter in a large skillet, and allow to slightly brown. Add the pepper and spaghetti squash strands, and toss to coat. Start adding in the Parmesan, 1/4 c. at a time, until desired amount of cheesiness is achieved. Add the remaining T. of butter, if necessary. Serve immediately.