This isn't so much a recipe as a sharing of knowledge and the beauty that is persimmons.
We have some very generous neighbors who have been sharing fruit with us during the past month. We've been given Hachiya, Fuyu, and even a few Coffeecake Persimmons. I love both the Hachiya and Fuyu varieties and am still waiting to try the Coffeecake because they aren't yet ripe. The Hachiya persimmons are possibly the most astringent fruit in existence when hard but are like eating jelly when ripe, in both their consistency and flavor. The Fuyu can be eaten hard or as they soften but become sweeter as they soften and darken in color. Ewan will bite into a Hachiya persimmon and eat the entire thing as the "jelly" runs down his face and arm. I like eating these in a slightly more civilized way, with a spoon after slicing off the top. I have also made persimmon smoothies and a batch of both persimmon cookies and persimmon bread from the Hachiyas, recipes to hopefully come soon.
After being given so many Hachiya Persimmons, I decided to try drying them. I read in several places online that they could be dried before they are ripe. I was pretty skeptical having tried to eat one last year before it reached its full ripeness and was only kind of soft, an experience I won't soon forget. So step one was a comparison, drying one fully ripe Hachiya and one that was still hard. Surprisingly, I greatly preferred the unripe one, and it was actually very sweet. This was a great discovery since drying them at their peak of ripeness is kind of like drying a bunch of jelly. They would probably make good fruit leather at that point, something I might try in the coming weeks.
So if you have a Hachiya Persimmon tree and a dehydrator or know anyone who does, pass on this bit of knowledge. I've been telling my neighbors but have to bring along some of my dehydrated fruit to prove it because if you've ever eaten one of these fruits before its ripe, it definitely is difficult to believe.
Crepes have long been a favorite of mine. I remember buying a crepe pan as a teenager at a garage sale very soon after the first time I cooked one in a cooking class. Of course, nothing beats the crepes available on the streets of Paris, but I can continue to try my best to recreate them at home.
This is definitely one food I should make more often and urge you to try if you never have. They are very simple and can be made several hours ahead, especially if you have an early afternoon napper as I do. We've entered the time where my 16-month-old and four-year-old both want to help me in the kitchen together, and it means I don't get much done other than trying to keep them from falling out of our Learning Tower.
You also don't need a special crepe pan. I used a ten-inch cast iron skillet for these, and they were loved by the whole family. Sadly, I believe that old crepe pan I had many years ago moved on to another owner sometime after I left home for college.
Crepes are such a versatile food; they can be filled with anything you and your family like. You can make them sweet by adding a bit more sugar to the batter and filling them with fruit and/or chocolate spread.
The most interesting thing I had every made previously with my waffle iron was waffled french toast (if you haven't tried this, I find it to be so much better than french toast cooked in a skillet due to the increased crispy surface area). I missed french toast waffles more than I missed waffles. However, I recently found this site and see that the waffling possibilities are endless.
I make my own corn tortillas a lot of the time because fresh tortillas are so delicious, but it has gotten a bit too time consuming now that Isla doesn't nap right before dinner. Ewan is a pretty good tortilla making helper, but Isla wants to do anything he's doing, especially if he's doing something with me, so this activity may be out for awhile. I decided to try making cornmeal waffles instead since waffle-making is a bit less hands-on than tortilla-making.
These turned out really delicious. They don't stay crispy for very long, but they are similar to a sope, which is sort of how we ate them. Feel free to add any kind of seasonings to the batter to make these fit your family's taste preferences. We topped ours with crispy pork, pinto beans, cheese, cabbage, and guacamole.
Sometimes it takes only a little extra effort to get kids to try new things, or just to get them away from requesting their favorite lunch, day after day. Ewan would eat peanut butter, honey, and banana sandwiches for lunch and dinner every single day if we allowed this. I also have trouble not falling into the trap of giving him this sandwich often since it's easier for me on so many levels: I know he'll eat it, he'll eat it relatively quickly (he is a very slow eater with most foods besides desserts and this sandwich), it's incredibly easy to make, we almost always have all of the ingredients in the house, and it travels well.
To keep us both out of the lunchtime sandwich rut (my favorite sandwich as a child was peanut butter and jelly, so it's hard for me not to want to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every time I'm making one for Ewan), I've been trying to make lunches and snacks more fun and eye-appealing.
One of my recent tricks is to serve food on a stick. Make sure your child is old enough to handle pointy toothpicks, and take a count of how many you have at the start and end of the meal if you're worried about younger siblings finding them lying on the floor later. But you might just be amazed at what a child will eat in this fun form that they may not have otherwise.
Prosciutto, Cheese, and Melon on a Stick
makes two dozen snacks on toothpicks
I like pairing a fairly strong flavored cheese with prosciutto. Here I used Pecorino Romano, but Parmesan would also work well. I served carrots and hummus along with our snack on a stick.
Part of one cantaloupe or something similar, cubed
Several thick slices of Pecorino Romano cheese, cut into squares
Several slices of prosciutto, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
Arrange on a toothpick by alternating melon, cheese, and prosciutto
We love sushi in our family. Going out for sushi is high on the kid-friendly restaurant list for us. There is this great little restaurant in town with the sweetest owner who brings the kids a complimentary meal of rice and tofu with miso soup poured over the top on a plate shaped as a fish. They both really love it along with an order of edamame. Ewan also enjoys the sushi, so I thought it would be a simple and fun snack or part of a meal to eat at home, minus the raw fish.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, we have a white peach tree in our yard, and this year I've been preserving a lot of the peaches by drying them...with a little help from my favorite almost four-year-old and my mom while she was here last week. Ewan loves these dried peaches (as he loves every dried fruit or fresh fruit or frozen fruit). Every time he helps me pick peaches from our tree he says, "maybe we can dry some of these peaches," or, "I was thinking about drying some of these peaches."
Today on our way home from the library Ewan said, "I think we should dry some eggs in the dehydrator." Let me know if anyone has tried this. He told me they would still taste like eggs.
This was a little snack I came up with the other morning to utilize some of our dried peaches a little more creatively than just eating them or mixing them into trail mix. It was really delicious and could easily be used as an appetizer for adults too!
I hope everyone had a lovely Fourth of July weekend. My parents were in town, so we had an activity-filled week with museum and beach trips; blueberry, raspberry, and peach picking; gardening; and lots of cooking. Jason and I even made it out on a second date in less than a month thanks to more family being in town to babysit.
This dinner was actually made before my parents' arrival, but I'm just getting the chance to post it as part of the Monday Meals series. Ewan really loves making pasta with our crank machine, so we did this one recent afternoon as a little activity while Isla was taking her afternoon nap. I like this kind of activity so much better than making playdough since we can eat the final product.
Peach season has officially arrived at the Training Taste Buds household. We have a white peach tree in our yard, and I spend a few weeks each summer trying to let as few as possible go to waste. We give them away, trade with friends for other garden items, freeze them, cook with them, eat a lot, and this year I'm adding drying to my list of things we do with them. I don't know if it's the drying or because we thinned the peaches for the first time this year, or possibly my three-year-old helper/ eater, but we are doing a pretty good job of keeping very many peaches from getting overripe and falling off the tree so far.
One of my favorite things about summertime is evening picnics. The kids and I usually have several picnics a week at lunchtime since we are fortunate enough to live where the weather is nice enough for picnics year-round. But, it tends to cool off so much in the evenings even before dark that we don't do many evening picnics until the days are longer.
I recently heard about packing salad in a jar, and it is pretty brilliant. I used to do something similar, always placing the lettuce on top when packing a salad for work, but the tall, skinnier container works really well and makes for a great presentation when dumped out onto a plate. I conveniently have a lot of jars that I already use for making yogurt, sprouting legumes and grains, and storing all sorts of pantry items.
Our usual Saturday tradition includes a trip to the Farmer's Market in downtown Santa Barbara. At some point during our shopping, there is always a detour to our favorite coffee shop, The French Press. Ewan has always enjoyed our coffee shop visits. He used to request to go just to watch the baristas grind coffee, but once Jason started including a scone with our coffee order, I believe the eating of the scone became his favorite part of our entire Saturday morning tradition.
Along with the scone comes a lesson in patience and a lesson in sharing. Our rule is that we all have to wait to start eating the scone until our coffee drinks are ready, and the scone has to be shared between everyone except Isla. Ewan is pretty good with both of these things, although he always wants the last bite to be under his control (mostly eaten by him, with possibly a little crumb or two handed out to Mama or Papa).
We've been missing our usual tradition sometimes lately due to busy work schedules and/ or Isla's napping, so I decided to make some scones at home to fill this void in my life. They don't quite live up to the ones from The French Press (which I highly recommend to any locals or vacationers), but they're pretty delicious, and I haven't seen the chocolate-blueberry combination yet...