Thursday, October 29, 2009

Autumn Candied Kabocha Fruit Parfait with Cola Syrup

Autumn Candied Kabocha Fruit Parfait with Cola Syrup

Autumn is the time to enjoy lots of kabocha squash and persimmons! The best kabocha is sold in late fall and winter. It's flesh is firm, dense and sweet. In the summer, most of the kabocha in the market is almost dried out. I use kabocha for tempura, stew and dessert. Personally, I like candied kabocha better than sweetened yams.

One of my favorite fruits is persimmon. Most of the time, I like the Fuyu variety better than the heart-shaped, very astringent Hayachi variety. Fuyu persimmons are ready to eat right away even when it's still a bit firm and crunchy. I prefer to let it ripen a couple days till it's sweet but not mushy. The Hayachi variety is rich in tannins and tastes real nasty if eaten before it's completely ripe. But, if you let it sit at room temperature till it's completely soft, then it slowly becomes unbelievably delicious and sweet with an amazingly smooth texture just perfect for a parfait.

In this recipe, I'm combining two of my favorite autumn fruits into a dessert topped with ricotta cheese and cola syrup. Hope you like it. This is my entry to Royal Foodie Joust at the Leftover Queen Forum.

candied kabocha*
cola syrup**
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup dried prunes, chopped
2 very, very ripe, almost mushy Hayachi persimmon (This is important!!)
1/4 cup cooked elbow macaroni
1/4 cup granola (optional)

Prepare candied kabocha and cola syrup (see recipes below). Scoop out the mushy, soft and sweet flesh of Hayachi persimmon. Use a parfait glass or wine glass for this dessert. To assemble the parfait, place alternating layers of persimmon pulp followed by a layer of cooked elbow macaroni then some dried prunes and candied kabocha squash. Add the ricotta cheese last and top this dessert with cola syrup. The macaroni gives an interesting texture and the ricotta is mild to balance the sweetness of the candied squash and cola syrup. Optional: I did not have granola but adding it over the dessert gives it some crunch and texture.

Candied kabocha squash:
1 cup water
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 lb kabocha squash, cut up

Combine water and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Allow to boil and reduce by half then add the kabocha squash. Reduce heat and simmer till squash is partly cooked and still a bit firm and the syrup coats the squash. Turn off the heat and remove saucepan from the stove. The squash will continue to cook as it cools down. Set aside.

Cola syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 c Coke or A&W Root Beer
1 Tbsp dark corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
In a saucepan combine sugar, cola, and corn syrup and boil over medium heat, stirring constantly till thick and syrupy, then add vanilla and let cool.

I am also excited to participate in the Macaroni and Cheese 5 Star Makeover.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cabbage Wonton Soup

Cabbage Wonton Soup

I made some beef gyoza last night and had leftover filling that I used to to make wonton soup. The gyoza recipe is loosely adapted from Rachel Ray. Wontons were boiled in chicken stock seasoned with salt, pepper, a little sesame oil, garlic and green onions. The result was quick but soothing light soup.

Erbe is hosting Weekend Wokking for November. This is my entry for the month.

Farmers Market Part 2: Why people keep coming back

Here are more pictures of our Farmers Market. Luscious, fresh produce and herbs, live music, smiling faces...can't help keep coming back!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Peaches and Cream Two Ways: Doughball and Tempura

Here's a Peaches and Cream Makeover using sour cream, brown sugar and canned peaches. I'm sending this in to 5 Star Peaches and Cream Makeover . For the Dough ball version, I used Pillsbury butter biscuits flattened with a rolling pin to about 2 mm thickness. Canned peaches were mixed with sour cream and brown sugar and frozen for 30 minutes. This was wrapped in the flattened dough and shaped into a ball (see photo) and frozen till hard. The second version is the same filling but the peaches-sour cream-brown sugar mix was dipped in tempura batter and frozen hard. It was more difficult to handle than the dough ball. Both were fried briefly in very hot oil to brown and just crisp up the dough and tempura batter. The result is a desert that is warm on the outside but cold and sweet inside. Very interesting textures and flavor!