|Posted on February 26, 2013 at 10:20 AM||comments (0)|
Blood orange is one of my favorite citrus fruit. I love its bright ruby color and the sweet orange flavor. The season is not very long so I buy dozens, and use them to make juice and sometimes to make jellies.
At the recent soba workshop in San Francisco Cooking School, I introduced blood orange agar agar dessert. I love this dessert because agar agar jellies are simple to make, and so refreshing. I make this with different types of fruit purees and juices. Citrus fruit in the winter, strawberries in the spring, stone fruits and berries in the summer, and persimmon in the fall. I can have colorful seasonal desserts all year round.
400 ml Fruit puree or juice (blood orange, persimmons, pineapple, strawberries, any seasonal fruit – one or a combination of fruits)
2-2 gram bag of Agar Agar (Kanten Powder)
4 tbls cane sugar to taste 100 ml boiling water Mint for garnish Sauce (optional)
Combine the agar agar powder and sugar in the boiling water and mix well.
Add the puree or juice and continue mixing for a minute.
Pour the mixture into a mold.
Refrigerate. Garnish the jelly with mint and serve.
|Posted on December 5, 2012 at 10:50 AM||comments (0)|
Fall has come to LA and it is still lingering. I spent the month of November exploring Hachiya Persimmons - a fruit that I didn't care for as a child.
I loved to look at persimmon trees especially in the autumn when the leaves change bright red. My mother would make pressed salmon sushi wrapped in those beautiful crismon color leaves. But I didn't look forward to eating any type of persimmon. It was a common tree, like an orange or lemon tree is in Los Angeles. We took the persimmon for granted and when my mother served wedges of persimmon as dessert instead of a pear on an apple, I wouldn't eat it because I didn't like the flavor. It reminded me of the tropical fruits like mango and papaya that I didn't care for while living in Mexico. My mother told us that persimmon was the only fruit available to eat during the war. She and my uncle would climb neighbors' persimmon trees to steal the fruit, and sometimes they got into trouble.
Palates can change over time. I am now completely hooked on persimmon and it happened this year. I had encounters with the most deliciously ripe Hachiya persimmon, gelatinous and floral in fragrance, and the sweetest crispiest Fuyu persimmon; I also discovered Chocolate persimmon - that has a brownish meat. It tasted similar to Fuyu - crispy and refreshing. I became hooked on persimmons, so much so that I decided to even take a hoshigaki -dried persimmon workshop so I can learn how to preserve the persimmons and enjoy them even when they are not in season. Here is the story about Hoshigaki making, which I wrote for Zester Daily. (here is the link).
|Posted on October 23, 2011 at 6:35 AM||comments (1)|
My English friend Caroline sent me this picture she took of apple varieties displayed at the National Fruit collection in Faversham, England. They grow 2,300 varieties, 2 of each tree. Caroline and her partner, Evan, went on a guided walk and tasted various apples directly from the trees. I didn't know that many varieties of apples existed.
|Posted on August 20, 2011 at 4:05 PM||comments (1)|
|Posted on November 25, 2010 at 4:40 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on January 3, 2010 at 8:22 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on July 26, 2009 at 11:27 AM||comments (0)|
Just out of the of the oven
Something smells good. My sister Fuyuko is always testing recipes. I am the happy guinea pig. In general, I find French pastries too sweet for my palate but this Basque Gaeteau is not. You can have it for breakfast with coffee. Basque Gateau is made with an almond meal cookie base so it has a nice crumbly texture. It is filled with a custard creme but today Fuyuko filled it with Apricot jam and I thought it worked very well. Slowly but surely the cake disappears.
For the pastry
2.5 egg yolks (50 grams)
65 g powdered sugar
65 g granulated sugar
125 g softened butter
125 g unbleached all purpose flour
65 g almond meal
5 cm vanilla bean, split and scrape seeds
1 teaspoon rum
Apricot Jam - enough to fill the cavity, about 2/3 cup (see Apricot Jam with Vanilla)
Making the pastry
Combine all the ingredients for the pastry without overworking it.
Cover and let rest in a cool place for 4 hours.
Butter a 16 cm round cake pan.
Roll out half the pastry to a thickness of approximately 3 mm.
Line the bottom and sides of the cake pan with the pastry.
Spread the apricot jam evenly in the pastry case.
Cover with the remaining pastry. Brush with egg yolk.
Bake in a 180° C oven for about 20 minutes. Then lower heat to 150 ° C for 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
|Posted on June 30, 2009 at 1:48 AM||comments (1)|
One of the first pictures I took for the blog in May was my apricot tree. The fruit was still green then. I thought it would take between 6-8 weeks for the aprictos to ripen but 4 weeks later, here I am making apricot jam with the harvested fruit. I am leaving for Tokyo in a few days and I would like to take some jam back as a souvenir. The tree produced about 300 apricots this year. Raw, they tasted best when they were firm and still slightly on the green side. Riper, the fruit became sweeter but slightly mushy. This is the trouble with apricots. You love them but they don't quite deliver. So we picked most of the fruit slightly early and decided to try jam making with them.
Apricot butter cooling in the jars
Since I knew I couldn't get to the fruit right away, I froze the fresh picked apricots. Freezing is a good way to preserve certain fruit but you want to make sure they are clean, firm and not bruised. I found an apricot butter recipe in Joy of Cooking. I defrosted 8 lbs of apricots overnight and spent Saturday cooking the fruit in my big Le Creuset pot. When defrosted, the apricots go brown and look like they are about to melt but the flavor remains intact. The apricots were sweetened with sugar and spiced with cinnamon, allspice and clove but I found The Joy of Cooking recipe too generous with spices for my taste so I cut back. Also, since every fruit has different levels of acidity and sweetness . you have to be flexible about how much sugar and lemon juice to add. I kept tasting the apricot butter with a spoon. I's good to have a nice loaf of bread when you are making jam so you can try it on a piece of bread. I had a beautiful loaf of Brioche that Huckleberry gave me yesterday for free. They wouldn't let me pay for it because it was past 6 pm and the cash register was already closed. Got lucky. By the time I finished straining all the fruit, and tasting it, adjusting the spices, I felt tired. I decided this was more than a day's work. I let the apricot puree rest in the fridge for a couple of days. I came back to it and finished the rest of the recipe today. This was a good strategy. The apricot butter turned out nice and the spices were a good accent. I might make it without the spices next time and to keep it pure apricots with just a hint of lemon. I will see what my Japanese friends have to say about the apricot butter.
|Posted on May 29, 2009 at 2:25 AM||comments (0)|
Peaches and Apricots in my Garden
This year, I am going to have a lot of fruit. Jam making is in my mind. Myfriends in Tokyo are waiting. It will be at least six to eight weeksbefore the fruit will be ripe but they are so beautiful to look at. Onthe other hand, my two plum trees are dormant this year. It's good tohave a garden that rotates fruit.