Recently, I attended another one of Melissa’s Produce’s cookbook events. If you read my blog, you know that they invite new authors to chat with press and food bloggers about their new recipes and books. THIS one was for the new and improved Joy of Cooking. How awesome is that?! This iconic, classic cookbook should be in everyone’s cookbook collection! I’ll be blogging about this very soon, but as it’s got over 1,500 recipes and over 1,000 pages chock-a-block with new information, tips and over 600 NEW recipes, it might take me a bit to find one to share with you. Oh how to choose?!
The folks at Melissa’s generously give us their incredible, fresh produce to take home to recreate some of the dishes that are shared with us each time. This time, there was a bonus! Each of us got a case…you read that right…a case of cinnamon persimmons!
Aren’t they pretty?! I had never heard of a cinnamon persimmon before. Per Melissa’s blog, “Once native to China and Japan, persimmons, also known as kaki fruit or Sharon fruit, are now widely grown for commercial use in California. Melissa’s Cinnamon Persimmons are also known as “Hyakume” or “Howard’s Amagaki”. This so-called ‘cinnamon’ variety is named for the sweet flesh and dark speckling inside, reminiscent of cinnamon. Prized throughout the Orient as a ‘goma’ or dark-fleshed variety, they are often softened or cured in alcohol fumes. This curing means the cinnamon persimmon has very little tannin, which is often associated with regular persimmons.
Beneath the deep orange skin lies a golden flesh with flecks of brown, an indication that this is no ordinary persimmon. Many liken the fruit of this variety to both the Fuyu and Hachiya combined with a sprinkling of cinnamon. They can be eaten out of hand when they become soft to the touch as well as used in cakes, tarts, and puddings.”
We then were issued a challenge–come up with a new recipe for these beauties. OK! Having an athlete’s mindset, I’m always up for a challenge!! So this is what I did….
It’s winter here. (Yes, we do a winter here in Los Angeles. It lasts for about 7 hours. Kidding! It does last a few months and it can get down to the 40s at night!) I enjoy making soup for those cold nights. I started thinking about how I could incorporate this wonderful fruit into a soup. I’ve used apples and dried fruit in soups before, so why not these?
I thought the sweetness would marry well with butternut squash, since very often sweet potatoes are used in making a butternut squash soup, why not substitute cinnamon persimmon? I also wanted to add a twist here. Instead of using the typical winter spices of cinnamon and cloves, I added some heat from jalapenos and hatch chilies. It’s nice to have that sweet/hot contrast. You can add or take away the chilies, depending on your preference. It’s good without them, too.
Lastly, to add a bit more savoriness, I added pumpkin seed pesto, an idea I got from a cooking school recipe.
The result is a hearty, warming mouthful of tastes. Thank you, Melissa’s Produce, for the food, the fun and the opportunity to play in the kitchen! @melissasproduce #InMelissasKitchen