Persimmon Salad with Ginger Dressing

persimmon salad - trust in kim

I haven’t made this for years, and I was sure I’d posted the recipe before, but apparently not. So here goes…

You can use this for an appetizer or a side dish. The dressing is slightly sweet, and has a nice gingery taste to compliment the sweetness of the persimmons. The hardest part is finding persimmons that are the right ripeness. I find the Fuyu, the smaller flatter ones, are best, as the other varieties seem to go straight from hard to mushy. So I buy them when they are still unripe and put them in the fridge when they start to feel slightly soft. Then they are ready to use within a few days.

I made this one as a side dish for a family Christmas dinner. There is an optional garnish of mint, but I knew some people in my family might not like that, so I left it off. I honestly can’t remember the last time I made this, so I have no idea how it tastes with the mint, but I know it’s really good this way:

What you need:

  • 3-4 Fuyu persimmons
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves (optional)

What you do:

  1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a small saucepan and add the ginger, salt and pepper, and let this cook on low for about 5 minutes, stirring.
  2. Stir in the maple syrup and vinegar and remove from the heat. Taste to adjust seasonings, adding a little more maple syrup or vinegar if you think it needs it. Let it cool down before using it. If you make it ahead of time, remove it from the fridge early enough to let the butter soften again, at least 1/2 hour.
  3. Peel the persimmons and slice them into wedges, then arrange them on a serving plate. Spoon some sauce over the top and sprinkle on the mint if you are using it.

Enjoy!

Maple-Nut Granola

maple-nut granola - trust in kim

For breakfast I usually eat a bowl of fruit and homemade yogurt.  It’s so delicious, but I find sometimes it’s not enough to get me through the morning.  I haven’t made granola in ages, so I thought this would be a good time to rework an old recipe. I’ve used maple syrup for a little sweetness, and a bit of olive oil to make it nice and crunchy.  I think the amount of sugar and fat are quite reasonable, especially when you look at the fat and sugar content of commercial granolas.  The nuts themselves have a high fat content, but it’s a healthy fat, and one of the reasons why  serving of granola should be small.

What you need:

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 300F.

2. Combine the oats, almonds, pecans, walnuts and salt in a large bowl.  Add the oil,maple syrup and vanilla to this and combine thoroughly.

3. Spread this mixture evenly on a baking tray.  Bake for 2o minutes.

4. Add the pumpkin seeds and coconut to the baking tray and combine with the other ingredients.  I like to add these later in the cooking process so they don’t get too toasty.

5. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.  You will want to watch it towards the end of the cooking time, just in case your oven in running a little hot.  The granola should be a golden colour, but not browned.  I think it tastes burnt when it gets browned.

6. Allow to cool completely on the baking tray, then store in an airtight container.

Mom’s Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

I grew up on these, and now I make them all the time when I have company for brunch.  I’ve also served them, with lots of teachers flipping and serving, to the kids at my school for Bike to School Week.  Anybody who rides to school that week gets a free pancake breakfast!  The incentive works well, and we have tons of kids riding.

This recipe is really easy, and sooo much better than a box of pancake mix!  They are also amazing with raspberries in place of the blueberries.  Serve them with a little butter and real maple syrup and they’ll be perfect.

What you need:

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

2 teaspoons vegetable oil or melted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

butter for frying

What you do:

1. Beat the egg up a little with a fork, then add the other liquid ingredients.

2.  Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir it until there are no lumps.  If it seems a little thick, thin it down with a bit more buttermilk.

3.  Stir in the berries.  If you are using frozen, don’t thaw them, just mix them in straight out of the freezer.  They’ll maintain their shape better that way.

4.  Heat a frying pan to medium high and put a little butter in the pan.  I usually do one tester pancake because the first ones never seem to turn out right.  Scoop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot pan, turning it down if it starts to smoke.  When you see bubbles rising to the surface of the pancake it is time to flip it.  Cook on the other side until they are nicely browned.

I like to serve them fresh out of the pan because they taste the best then, but I suppose you could put some into a warm oven if you needed to.

Fig & Anise Crisps

Terra Breads makes this fabulous fig and anise bread.  I just made up a mixture of olive oil and maple syrup, brushed it on and toasted it to makes these darlings.  They were delicious with some salty olive tapenade on top to play off the sweetness of the figs and maple syrup.

What you need:

part of a loaf of fig & anise bread, thinly sliced

olive oil

maple syrup

What you do:

1.  As thinly as you can, slice the bread.  Place the slices onto a baking sheet.

2.  Mix some olive oil with some maple syrup, less syrup than oil.

3.  Brush a little of the mixture onto each piece of bread.

4.  Toast them in the oven on about 250-300F, watching closely so they don’t burn.

They were great with the olive tapenade, but I would imagine a sharp cheese or some cream cheese would be fantastic.

Maple Butternut Squash Soup

The sun came out today and reminded me that I only have a little more time to make winter soups!  So here is a squash soup I’ve been meaning to post for a long time, one that I’ve been making for years.  The baked cauliflower topping, however, is a new addition, and I’m going to make it like this again.

I know that the sticker on your squash probably tells you that the easiest way to cook it is in the microwave.  This may be true, however, I find oven-baking it makes it taste sweeter, and it’s also more satisfying.  Also, you can cook the cauliflower while the squash is baking.

What you need:

1 medium-sized butternut squash

2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil)

2 stalks celery

1/2 large sweet onion (I cry less over sweet onions – you can use a regular one if you wish)

1 red or yellow sweet pepper

1/4 cup white wine (I used riesling)

1/4 teaspoon dry tarragon leaves, crumbled (1/2 teaspoon fresh)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

3-4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock

maple syrup to taste

salt to taste, unless your stock already has salt in it

1/4 cup dry sherry – optional but amazing!

1 cauliflower, an optional topping

What you do:

1.  Cut the squash in half, de-seed and lay on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400F for about 30 minutes or until it pierces easily with a knife.  At the same time you can cut the cauliflower into florets and bake for the same amount of time, until browned.

2.  Cook the onion, celery and pepper in butter for several minutes.  Add the spices, then the wine, and cook for a few more minutes.  Add half of the stock and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.

3.  When the squash is cooked, allow it to cool enough to be handled.  Puree it, along with a cup of the stock, then add it to the vegetables.

4.  Heat the soup through, then add the maple syrup, sherry, and salt to taste.

5.  Top with chopped roasted cauliflower to serve.

Beets with Maple-Grapefruit Glaze

Beets are a beautiful vegetable to make for a winter feast.  The glaze is tangy yet sweet, and can be served hot or cold.  I’ve served them hot as a side dish, and cold on a green salad with some ground toasted sesame seeds.

What you need:

1/2 pound beets, cooked (You can use beets that have been boiled or baked, with the skins rubbed off.)

juice of 1 pink grapefruit

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 or more tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon corn starch

What you do:

1.  Bring the grapefruit juice and vinegar to a boil, then mix the corn starch with a little cold water.  Mix it so there are no lumps, and stir it into the boiling juice. Make sure it is boiling when you add the cornstarch or you will get lumps.

2.  Add maple syrup to taste.  Remember that the beets are sweet, so you don’t want the sauce to be too sweet.

Brandied Cherries

In the middle of winter you are going to pull out a jar of these, and all the warmth of summer will come flooding back, just long enough to warm you up.

It’s really easy.  You just need:

a few canning jars (but we’re not doing proper canning, so don’t worry!)

some fresh, plump cherries (I used Bing and Rainier so it would look pretty)

a little maple syrup

vanilla bean

brandy

Here’s what you do:

1.  Wash your jars and lids.

2.  Stuff as many cherries as you can into each jar without squishing them.

3.  Cut small pieces of vanilla bean and put one in each jar.

4.  Drizzle a little maple syrup in each jar.

5.  Top up with brandy.

6.  Screw the lids on tight and wait a few months.

7.  Enjoy straight out of the jar, or on top of some vanilla pudding or ice cream in the dead of winter.