Daniel Boulud’s Root Vegetable Cassoulet

root vegetable cassoulet

I was flipping through the pages of Daniel Boulud’s Cafe Boulud Cookbookat a friend’s place the other day when I saw the photo for the root vegetable cassoulet.  I always thought of cassoulet as a pork and beans type dish and never even had the thought to just leave off the meat and make it vegetarian until seeing this book.  The photo looked so comforting and warm that I decided to cook it the next day.

Luckily, the recipe could be found online.

I’m usually not one to follow recipes, but I think this dish is simple enough (simple for a restaurant dish recipe at least) that following the recipe would be advisable, especially the herbs and ingredients for the broth. The broth is definitely worth it. We had some leftover broth which we saved to make noodle soup the next day.

The only thing I wish turned out better was the bread crumb topping. It wasn’t crunchy at all. Maybe I needed to toast those separately in the oven before adding it to the cassoulet.

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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