Ellie’s Farm

Ellies Farm

My friend Kim invited me over to her parents’ farm this weekend to taste fresh mulberries from their mulberry tree.  I had only had dried mulberries before and now, after trying the fresh one, I have to say the dried ones are no comparison. Fresh mulberries are sweet, with deep, rich flavor like dark cherries. Right off the tree, they pop between your teeth and fill your mouth with sweet juice.

While on the farm, I also saw some chickens.

Ellies Farm

And some kittens.

Ellies Farm

And all sorts of other fruits like passion fruit, oranges, pomelos, and even a macadamia tree!

Ellies FarmEllies FarmEllies FarmEllies FarmEllies Farm

Persimmons + Booze = √persimmon

When life gives you lots of lemons, you make lemonade.  When friends give you pounds of persimmons, you don’t make persimmonade.  You make a persimmon cocktail just in time to usher in the cold weather.  Living in Los Angeles, we miss out on watching the foliage turn those warm fall colors, but one way to make up for it is to make a spiced drink that looks like the season.

Booze + Persimmon = ?

Not surprisingly, there aren’t too many recipes for persimmon cocktails online, which meant the BF had to improvise. When I think of a holiday drink, I think of something mellow and warming with spices like nutmeg, cloves, and even cinnamon. Luckily, these flavors also go well with persimmon.

Booze + Persimmon = ?

The first step was to peel, core and seed the persimmons.  The hachiya persimmons, from a friend of Yuko’s (Yuko was nice enough to invite us into her kitchen and make dinner) were incredibly ripe and soft. One was so ripe that it would have been impossible to peel, so we just set that one aside.  While peeling the persimmons, be sure to taste some because if they’re not perfectly ripe, the hachiya persimmons can be quite astringent, which could easily ruin a drink.

Booze + Persimmon = ?

The second step was to puree the the fruit with a little water, a small amount of vanilla, and lemon juice.  Be light on the vanilla because persimmon has such a delicate flavor that one too many drops can overpower it completely. The lemon was to keep the nice orange color from turning brown as well as an added boost of flavor.

Once the puree was nice and smooth, it was time for experimenting.

Booze + Persimmon = ?

persimmon cocktail #1:

2 oz bourbon (used Old Weller 107)
1 oz persimmon puree *
3/4 oz spiced honey syrup **
dash aromatic bitters (BF used Bitter Truth “Jerry Thomas” bitters)

This being our first persimmon cocktail, we didn’t really know what to expect. I thought the spiced honey syrup was too strong for the mild flavor of persimmon and covered it completely. There was only a hint of persimmon aftertaste. Our friend Yuko noted that persimmon was more of a texture than flavor in this drink — lending a silky, thick mouth-feel.

persimmon cocktail #2:

2 oz white rhum (used Barbancourt)
1 oz persimmon puree *
3/4 oz ginger syrup ***

Without even tasting it, I could tell this wasn’t going to be something I’d want to drink again. The tropical, sweet flavor of the rum was at odds with the flavor of persimmon. It reminded me of a pina colada gone wrong. Sometimes, contrasting flavors can be good, but not in this case.

√persimmon (aka persimmon cocktail #3):

1.5 oz bourbon (used Old Weller 107)
1 oz ROOT
1 oz persimmon puree *
1/2-3/4 oz ginger syrup ***

Ding! Ding! Ding! Third time’s a charm. This drink was the clear winner of the night. The slightly medicinal, root beer aroma of ROOT, the creamy texture of the persimmon puree, and the mildly spicy ginger syrup combined to make a complex yet easy to drink beverage. The texture of this drink was so pleasantly thick it reminded me a bit of eggnog. I expect to see this drink at my Thanksgiving table.

Additional recipes for syrups and puree after the jump.
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Dinner: Celebrating Autumn

Dinner: black bean and pumpkin soup

I made black bean pumpkin soup tonight after being inspired by the epicurious recipe here. I somewhat followed it, which means, I took the ingredients list as a suggestion and just added stuff in what I thought were the right quantities. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of taste, but the cumin I added in it made the whole soup taste Tex-mex like chili. Next time, I think I’ll back off on the cumin so I can taste a bit more of the sweetness from the pumpkin.
Dessert: pear crumble with soy vanilla ice cream

For dessert, I made pear crumble topped with store-bought ice-cream. I cut the pear into bite-sized pieces and sprinkled cinnamon, a spritz of lemon, ginger powder, and all-spice before tossing it around in a baking dish and chucking in the 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. During those 10 minutes, I put together the crumble topping which was: two tablespoons margerine, 1/3 cup rolled oats, a small amount of pastry flour, white sugar (I wanted brown, but we had none), cinnamon, and nutmeg. I just mushed all these ingredients together, put them on top of the pears, and then baked for another 30 minutes or until the topping was crunchy.

I was going to put some chopped nuts in the topping, but completely forgot. Despite that omission, the pear crumble was delicious. I liked it with a scoop of soy ice-cream on top because it cut down on the tartness of the pears, but the BF liked it plain because he said the ice-cream overpowered the pears.