Christmas Salad

christmas salad

Fresh persimmons in a salad?  Are you kidding?!

Opening one’s mind and taste buds to new thoughts, ideas and flavors is what keeps life interesting. The idea of including fresh persimmons in a salad presented itself when I attended a supper club meal at Polly’s Paladar. This creation was made with bitter greens, pomegranates, and candied pecans. It was topped with hot pork chunks and served with a vinegrette dressing.

Here is my modified version.  I named it ‘Christmas Salad’ because I first made it right after Thanksgiving – using turkey left-overs – and everyone exclaimed that the colors (spinach, pomegranties, persimmons and mandarines)…looked just like Christmas.

 

Candied Pecans

Coat as many pecans as you plan to use with maple syrup. Spread them out flat on a baking pan and cook at 200 degrees until nuts are lightly toasted (and dry) …..approx. 30 minutes.

IMG_6211wb

Fresh spinach

Fresh persimmon(s) – soft…almost squishy…peeled and seeded – chopped into bite-sized bits

Mandarines – peeled

Pomegranate seeds

Top wth your favorite protein

Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing

 

pomegranate-1076657_640

 

 

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Ultra Chocolaty – Chocolate Coma Cake

Ultra Chocolaty - Chocolate Coma Cake

Ultra Chocolaty – Chocolate Coma Cake

Three 8″ round cake pans lined with wax paper.

Cake:

5 oz. (1/2 a bag) Ghiradelli bitter sweet baking chips
16 oz. (two 8 oz. bars) Ghiradelli semi sweet chocolate bars
2  1/2 sticks butter
1 heaping cup of sugar
1/2 cup flour
12 egg yolks – slightly beaten
12 egg whites whipped into stiff peaks

Filling:

Apricot Pineapple (or any other type of fruit) Jam
**fruit pie filling would also work well
Fresh pineapple (or other soft fruit) slices

Preheat oven to 350˚
Whip the egg whites and set aside.
Beat egg yolks set aside.
Have the sugar and flour measured and standing by in their measuring cups.

Break up chocolate bars into small pieces. On low heat, melt chocolate and butter. Constantly stir with wire whisk until everything is melted and smooth. Immediately remove from heat.

Pour chocolate / butter mixture into a large bowl. Slowly stir in egg yolks till completely mixed. Add sugar in the same manner followed by the flour. Once this is completely blended, add half of the whipped egg whites. Gently fold this in until thoroughly mixed. Repeat with remaining egg whites.

Pour batter into wax paper lined pans. Trim wax paper excess (otherwise it will smoke inside the oven).
Bake for 35-40 minutes until a thin crust forms on top (when it smells and looks done –  i.e. ‘spongy,’ gently and quickly tap on the top of the cake with with a finger to check for the crust. ( Caution: DO NOT try this if it still looks like batter as it will cause a burn.)

**the toothpick doneness method does not work with this cake.

Remove cakes from oven and let cool until the centers appear to sink. (This is normal….the sink holes are a perfect place to fill with wonderful things…) While still warm, flip them over onto a wire rack. Gently pull away the wax paper.

cake out of oven

Ganache Icing:

24 oz. (three 8 oz.) Ghiradelli semi sweet chocolate bars
approx. 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Break chocolate bars into small pieces. On low heat use wire whisk to gently stir until mixture is smooth. Slowly pour in small amounts of the whipping cream while whisking until desired consistency is achieved.  Let it cool some before frosting cake. (But not too long as the icing will harden.)

Assemble:IMG_2232

Place first layer of cake on a decorative dish. Gently spread fruit (jam or pie filling) evenly over the top leaving enough space around the edges so it won’t squeeze out when the next layer is put on.  [On the cake pictured above, I put fresh pineapple slices on the bottom layer only.] Repeat with cake and jam layering leaving the top of the cake jam / fruit free.  Once the cake has been assembled, gently trim any jaggedy edges with a large serrated knife.

Frost.

Place cake in the refrigerator for a few hours to harden the frosting. (If you plan to put candles on…do that before it goes in the refrigerator.)

finished cake

E-n-j-o-y!

Apple (or other fruit) Cider Vinegar

I LOVE it when I can work in my kitchen preparing one thing…and have numerous other things going on at the same time. This one utilizes scraps from ‘other things going on.’

apples

Apples or other tart fruit scraps

1 cup honey per gallon of water

Open glass or crock container

Towels or cloth for covering

Time…

Chop apples into chunks (or use scraps from pie making)

Add honey – stir to mix well

Put a glass plate on top with a weight to make sure all fruit is submergedapples in bowl

Cover with towels (the towels are to keep out fruit flies *see fruit fly trap below) or use a rubber band to tightly tie down a cloth around the opening of the container.

Place in dark spot on counter or in pantry for a month or more…taste occasionally till it’s reached the desired strength
Note: a white ‘fermenting’ scum will appear on the top [this is normal]…scoop it off if you wish…or scoot it aside for taste testing

Strain out fruit

Put liquid in a glass jar with a lid

The 'floaties' are a good thing....it's what turns the fruit liquid into vinegar. Bacteria, air, and sugar create a vinegar 'mother.'

The ‘floaties’ are a good thing….it’s what turns the fruit liquid into vinegar. Bacteria, air, and sugar create a vinegar ‘mother.’

Let it sit another 6 weeks – Voila! It’s Vinegar!jar

Lisa’s Notes:

Like many cooks before me, I have to test my results before sharing a recipe.gift bottles

I experimented with different sugars; concluding that I like honey the best. I tried different sitting times; deducing that a stronger taste will result from a longer sit – but also that the type of fruit used, air temperature, and the time of year that you make it will also have an effect. Which boils it down to – the taste will tell you when it’s done.

Fruit Fly Trap – In an open dish on your counter, place vinegar, liquid dish soap and a piece of fruit that sticks up over the liquid

Additional Resources: 

From The White House Cookbook 1887  – Digitized – Michigan State University Library

“Apple Vinegar (economical and good)
Have an earthen jar ready for use. Into this put your apple peelings and cores if good. Cover generously with water. Cover the jar tight, and let stand in cool place. Every day parings may be added, putting on more water each time. When cold tea is left, pour into this jar and also add molasses to the proportion of a cup to a gallon of water. In the course of two or three weeks you will have an excellent vinegar made of nothing. When ready to use, strain through cheese cloth and stand away. This has been tried with good results, and with a little thought economical housekeepers can make enough in one summer to last all winter. ”

Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores – Mother Earth News

How to Make Homemade Vinegar – Mother Earth News

Creating Homemade Fruit Vinegars – Mother Earth News

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinegar

http://www.apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com/vinegar-history.html

Cranberry Clove Sauce

Make your next meal pop with this mildly sweet, tangy super food sauce.

2 cups fresh cranberries

juice & zest from two lemons

1/2 to 2/3rds cup maple syrup

Combine all in pot; cook on medium (t0 low) heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn off heat. Carefully mash berries with a potato masher (berries will pop ….be careful of hot, flying cranberry juice)

Stir in 1/8 – 1/2 tsp. ground cloves OR 3 drops food-grade Clove Oil – to taste

cooking cranberries

Health benefits of cranberries

Antioxidents & Vitamin C

Healthier Teeth & Lowering Cholesterol

Reducing Inflammation

Kiwifruit Pie – Grandma’s

Fillingkiwi
1 – pkg (8oz. cream cheese)
1/3 cups sugar
2 tblsp. orange juice
2 tblsp. heavy cream
Mix the above

3 cups kiwifruit  – cut into thin slices
Betty’s notes: I layered this, a little difficult, but works out okay.  Put in refrig. to cool.

Glaze – add green coloring
3 cups sliced kiwis –  mashed
2 tblsp. cornstarch in a little cold water
1 cup sugar
Mash kiwis, put in kettle to heat, will make own juice, after cooked a little, add sugar, cook a little more, add cornstarch, mix quickly, will thicken, cool, put over pie. cool
Serve with whipped cream.

*recipe is for a large, deep dish pie shell

kiwis

 picking kiwisgrandpa kiwis
kiwi sale
 Harry & Betty Wrysinski were one of the first kiwi farmers in California.

Canned Apricots – Grandma & Jeanette

Wash fresh, firm apricots.apricots

Cut in half and place cut side down in clean, scalded glass quart mason jars.

Drop in 1 or two pits for better flavor.

Pack firmly but not beyond shoulder of jar.

Cover fruit with boiling, light syrup made from 9 cups water to 2&1/4 cups sugar.

Leave 1/2 inch headroom (space between top of liquid and top of jar).

Place scalded lids on jars and hand-tighten screw lids. Do not over-tighten.

Process 7 jars at a time in boiling water-bath canner for 30 minutes, keeping at least 1 inch of boiling water above jar tops.

Carefully lift jars out of canner with jar-lifter and set on towel on counter to drain and cool.

Lids should pop closed as they cool. If not, the seal is not good, so refrigerate and eat soon. These will store well for months if kept in a cool, dark place.

Remembrance:

Jeanette (3rd Daughter, child #5):
This was a case where the littlest people had the advantage when filling jars. Mom used narrow-mouthed jars so when a half apricot was dropped in, it often bounced and flipped over. A small hand could fit inside and flip them over – skin-side up – so they would look pretty in the jar.

jacob schmidt 1881jacob schmidt senior - grandma's great grandfather

Fancy Jello & Sherbet Dessert – Uncle George & Aunt Mary

2 large pkgs.  of  jello – dissolved –  hot water only  

1 or 2 pkgs of 8 oz. Cream Cheese

1/2 gallon of sherbet (that matches jello flavor)

4 cans of mandarin oranges – drained

Nuts if desired.

Dissolve jello (in HOT WATER ONLY).

With blender, blend (room temperature) cream cheese with hot jello.

In a large bowl, chop up sherbet into small chunks.

Pour jello / cream cheese mixture over ice cream and blend till smooth.

Refrigerate till mixture begins to jell,  add fruit and nuts.  Refrigerate again.

 

Match the jello with the sherbet and the fruit.

Raspberry jello, raspberry sherbet – raspberries

Orange jello with orange sherbet – mandarin, oranges

Lime jello, lime sherbet – pineapple

 

Lisa’s successful experiment.  After visiting my mom, to get her secrets to making this recipe, I made a version of my own and tested it out a few more ideas. Would regular ice cream and coconut milk work?

My ingredients:bryers vanilla

2 lg. pkgs. lime jellojello cream cheese coconut milk

2 pkgs. cream cheese

1 can coconut milk

3 heaping tablespoons coconut oil

1 qt. vanilla ice cream

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this version set up great. Vanilla ice cream instead of sherbet didn’t have the amount of zesty flavor that I’ve come to expect. I also added 4-6 drops each of Lemon & Lime food-grade essential oils, but it still needed something more. The addition of the fruit made all the difference.

Further musings: Could you go into chocolate realms with this?  Chocolate or coffee flavored ice cream and unflavored gelatin?

 

This recipe entered came to the family through Aunt Mary – wife to Uncle George. George was a younger brother to my Grandfather, Harry.

 

Ray’s (second son, child #3) Remembrance:
The picture of Uncle George in the grass skirt is from Hawaii.  I think he and Dad were there just before the atom bomb was dropped that ended the war.  They were part of the Military group that was preparing for the invasion of Japan.

uncle george 1Young Uncle George in Wisconsin probably in the 1930’s

 

uncle george 2

george mary

uncle georgeuncle george aunt mary