Temporary Indulgence.

Write. just….write. Tasking myself in this art that is my therapy, can be challenging. Writing sometimes feels like a beast; words don’t readily reveal themselves, and yet there is a fluidity in movement, in ideas, in form and inspiration; so much activity that begs to be shared.


It’s easy in the kitchen, creating; weaving beauty into the flavor and fabric of the food I make and share with loved ones. This past month has been full of inspiration from the farmer’s market parcel that arrives at my doorstep weekly. Urban living doesn’t preclude me from wanting to enjoy local, seasonal foods. There’s a fair amount of diversity in the PNW, and it’s relatively easy to eat within the seasons, though I do get smitten by the pomegranates and Fuyu persimmons when they hit the local brick and mortars. Disassembling a pomegranate to unearth those sweet and juicy-jeweled orbs is worth a bit of splash along the counter and apron.


And the persimmons! I give each one a daily squeeze until they’ve got just enough give before my teeth into their glossy skin and inhaling the succulent flesh beneath.


I’ve been incredibly indulgent with them, eating one nearly every day. It’s such a short season. And I need little excuse to bake. With a party on the calendar, I readily offered to bring dessert. As usual, inspiration comes when I am out on a run, or in the mountains, away from the daily grind. There is such clarity in those moments of pure movement, fresh air; it primes me for new genius. Last Friday, for example, I was in the woods when the idea of a persimmon frangipane confection came to mind. Simply an adaptation of the pear and almond tart from this post  I’d made a while back and have served more than once, to welcome recipients.


Pistachios have also been my jam lately, and the exotic persimmon pairs well with their distinctive flavor. A few mini-tarts with some pistachio cream and fresh persimmons seemed the next logical creation.


For the pastry cream, I just borrowed M.S.’s pastry cream , omitted the vanilla bean, whisked in 1/2 cup finely ground salted pistachios and proceeded with the cream. I used about three persimmons for the almond tart, two thinly-sliced for the mini tarts with pistachio cream.


What makes these desserts so comely is the love behind them. Made with good intention and beauty, they are an extension of gratitude and sweet indulgence to be shared with good company. Let this ignite your passion to create and serve beautiful food. (And for those with more exacting inclinations, I promise to include recipes next time).


Enjoy, and much love,

J

Obsessed with Autumn.

There’ve been countless good things coming out of my kitchen lately. Probably too many to mention, however I’m tempted to give it a go, if only for future inspiration. The past month I’ve been doing more living, experiencing, tasting, loving; and I haven’t felt much interest in writing about food.

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However, with a trove of inspiration swirling around in my head, I thought I’d share with you.
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I made this incredible pear and buttermilk upside-down cake that would knock your socks off:
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I followed David Leibovitz’ direction to tuck thin slivers of garlic and anchovies into a lamb shoulder, which was later roasted to perfection, and served it with a mixed root vegetable mash and possibly the best pan gravy I’ve ever had. I elevated it to the sublime with a preserved lemon, olive and parsley relish. I know I’ve done well when I find myself audibly moaning with satisfaction in the midst of my workday lunch. No apologies.
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And then there was this little gem of an idea found in Amy Pennington’s cookbook Urban Pantry. I could feel my eyes widening with anticipation at the apple quince butter, and was instantly inspired. I started calling around the local markets for quince, and made not one, but two batches, modestly adapted, richly spiced, and perfectly sweetened. I’d planned to follow with a persimmon-pear butter, however after two days of first degree burns from boiling fruit, I’ve given myself the week off.
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Moving on…
With several persimmon on hand and in need of some baking therapy, I set out to make this beauty:
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Having leftover buttermilk on hand, I added it to the cake, along with persimmon purée, and the resultant cake came out ultra moist. I also folded in preserved walnuts and chopped persimmon to give the cake a bit of texture. A straightforward swap for regular walnuts would be equally satisfying; however the preserved walnuts are reminiscent of candied fruit, their bittersweet flavor complements the cake well. Easily justified for breakfast with a bit of yogurt, not that one needs an excuse to eat cake.
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Enjoy, and much love,
J
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Persimmon and Walnut Cake
Note: I prefer the taste of hachiya persimmon over fuyu, as the fuyu tends to have a bit of a chalky, bitter aftertaste. Use ripe persimmon in this recipe; ones that have a bit of give when pressed. 
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Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
3 eggs
3 persimmon (purée two of the persimmon; chop and set aside the remaining)
1 cup buttermilk, or plain yogurt
1/2 cup preserved walnuts, chopped, or 1/2 cup plain walnuts
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Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Butter a medium-sized bundt pan, or a regular 9×9 pan.
Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl; set aside.
In a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar. Cream until light, ~5 minutes. Add lemon zest.
Add eggs, one at a time, mix well.
Add pureed persimmon and combine.
Alternate addition of flour and buttermilk, adding one half of each at a time. Mix just until incorporated.
Fold in chopped persimmon and walnuts.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for ~40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow to cool for ~5 minutes in pan, then invert and cool completely on cooling rack.
This cake will keep for 3-4 days at room temperature, however I don’t anticipate it’ll last that long.