December 29, 2012 § 2 Comments
If you are anything like me, you give yourself free reign to eat whatever desserts you please during the holidays. For me, this means cookies for breakfast, chocolates for snack, and some kind of treat with just about every meal. By the time Christmas is over, graham crackers and candied nuts are basically health food in my mind.
Once the holidays are over, I have to figure out strategy for cookie detox. At the same time, I never succeed in implementing a total ban on sweets, so I start with some semi-healthy cookie replacements.
If you find yourself in a similar predicament right around this time of year, and can still get your hands on some late-season persimmons, I cannot recommend this dessert enough. It is simple to make, and completely satisfying to eat. Though I’m still indulging in an excess of sweets at this point, this frozen persimmon delight has helped me to cut out at least a few daily chocolates.
November 6, 2012 § 5 Comments
I’ve tried being a vegan exactly two times. Well, actually, I tried eating vegan for a one-week time-span on two different occasions. And neither time did I make it the entire week.
When I lived in New York, I made it 5 or 6 days. My roommate and I were both vegetarian, and we decided to take the plunge together. Our main issues were baked goods, candy, and eventually, cheese. We would spend way too much time reading candy and chocolate bar labels, sadly coming to grips with the fact that many dark chocolates still have milk in them. We would pass our favorite scone place, and all we could get was a coffee without cream. We would pack our lunches for work, substituting soy yogurt for “regular” yogurt, tofu for cheese. It took a whole lot of planning and will-power every single one of those 5 days!
And this is what eventually broke us. Well, that, and a few drinks. After 5 (maybe 6?) days of being real-life vegans, we went out out and had a few drinks on a Saturday night, and then of course we got the late night munchies. And what sounds better for a late night snack than Mexican food?! Well, let me tell you, while vegetarian Mexican food can be delicious, vegan Mexican food is another story.
So, two cheese filled, sour-cream dolloped tacos later, that was that.
My second experiment in veganism occurred in L.A. Another veggie roommate and I similarly decided to attempt a week without any dairy. (I know it seems like I’m the common thread here, but I have no recollection of provoking these experiments). Things were going well for all of two days, until Nathan downed a bag of M&M’s, and a friend made me a dinner of spaghetti squash. Even if I had really been committed to my dairy free lifestyle, it would have been difficult to turn down that squash. I was in the midst of a 9am-9pm day of classes, and a friend so thoughtfully took it upon herself to deliver me a home-cooked meal on campus: farmers’ market squash slathered in pasta sauce and cheese. Who could turn down such a mouth-watering and thoughtful gesture in the middle of a long day??
October 25, 2012 § 2 Comments
In my family, we have a tradition of giving fruit trees as birthday gifts. I seem to be the most consistent participant in these exchanges. I’ve been on the receiving end of a an Asian pear tree and a pomegranate tree. My mom has a persimmon tree, and I just recently gave my dad an avocado tree – we have yet to see whether avocados can really thrive in the Bay Area.
I’m not sure how this tradition developed, or how I became one of the central participants. Neither of my sisters have been on the receiving end of a tree gift! Maybe I just loved fruit more than the average kid? I know that Asian pears and pomegranates were among my favorites from a young age. Or maybe it was because I used to spend a lot of time climbing fruit trees? When I was four and five, I would spend hours and hours perched in a fig tree in front of our house. The fig tree died a few years later – hopefully not as a result of my climbing – but I’ve never forgotten how much I loved that tree.
However the tradition began, it’s a great one. There aren’t that many presents that stick around year after yea! I guess if you weren’t a fruit lover, it would be an odd gift choice, but for me, I can’t think of anything better!
September 28, 2012 § 1 Comment
I never really fully appreciated apples until I lived on the east coast. You can definitely grow good apples in California, but they aren’t our very best fruit offering. When I moved to the east coast after college, my eyes were opened to all that apples could be. There were apple-picking excursions in upstate new york, and new apple varieties that were crisper than anything I’d had on the west coast. I remember when I first discovered what is now my all-time favorite apple, Mutsu. It literally blew my mind. I would sit on my couch marveling that an apple could be so crisp and tart and sweet all at once. I once texted a friend to brag about my apple. And for a while, I literally wanted Mutsus for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was out of control.
Even though I’m back in California now, my eyes are open to all that apples can be. And I’ve noticed that over the past few years, local markets and stores have begun to carry a wider range of apples, including Honey Crisp, Pink Pearl, and (finally!) my beloved Mutsu. As the days begin feeling more like fall, I’ve found myself craving apples once again, so I thought I’d start the season off on the right note with this simple and healthy apple butter. And, I suppose you should know that I actually made this apple butter with a future (considerably less healthy) recipe in mind. So get ready, apple butter will be making another appearance shortly! « Read the rest of this entry »
September 5, 2012 § 4 Comments
Don’t hate me… but for the past week I’ve been in Hawaii! For me, the three best things about Hawaii are the beach, the ocean, and the tropical fruits, not necessarily in that order. This week, I really went all out in the fruit department. I ate pineapple, mango, papaya, passion fruit, and – a first for me – dragon fruit. To be honest, I didn’t hate the dragon fruit, but I didn’t love it either. It is certainly visually stunning, but it just didn’t blow me away. I decided to spice it up with this passion fruit dressing, and the dressing ended up being the main attraction for me.
Whatever your feelings about dragon fruit, I think you will love this dressing over fruit salad. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
Plums, plums and more plums! It is officially plum season. My parents have an incredible plum tree in their backyard, which means that for the next few weeks I will have more plums than I know what to do with. It also means that this is probably the first of several posts involving plums!
I always know it’s time to start picking the plums when I start seeing them on the ground. It seems to happen almost over night. One day there are hundreds of small green plums on the tree, and the next the tree is heavy with purple and red fruits and the ground is spotted with the first overripe plums.