Archive: Autumn Classics

The Pleasure of Persimmons

Hachiya persimmons in their unripe (lone bright one on the right) and ripe, ready-to-eat state. (Kim O'Donnel) Wanna get into the spirit of Thanksgiving? Get your hands on a persimmon. The subject of much discussion in this week’s What’s Cooking, the persimmon (diospyros) is that orange-tomatoe-y thing you may have seen recently in the produce aisle. It’s in season right now, and it sticks around for just a month or so, so now’s the time. Native to China but cultivated in Japan, Asian persimmons arrived in the U.S. in the mid-1800s. The two most commonly grown varieties are the Fuyu and the Hachiya. The Fuyu is round and squat, kind of like a pumpkin, and it can be eaten out of hand like an apple. Some cooks suggest throwing into salads for a little extra fiber and Vitamin C, of which there is plenty in that little morsel. The...


By Kim ODonnel | November 14, 2008; 08:03 AM ET | Comments (14)

Baked Pear Aromatherapy

The house smells like one of those potpourri candles – but in a good way. I’ve just pulled baked pears, enrobed in an almond streusel, from the oven, and the aromas are positively dreamy. Streuseled pears getting ready for the oven. (Kim O'Donnel). Think of this as a take on fruit crisp, with more emphasis on fruit than crisp, but with a little more pizzazz. As much as I love spooning into a tray of fruit crisp, it lacks structure and has a face only a mother can love. A roasted pear, on the other hand, stands tall and pretty, full of grace, streusel-y perfume -- and yes, plenty of fruit. The recipe, which comes from Bay area pastry chef Emily Luchetti, can easily be tweaked to suit personal preferences. Almonds, for instance, could easily be replaced with walnuts, and if you want to use dairy-free “butter” (I’m thinking Earth...


By Kim ODonnel | October 10, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

Leftover Pumpkin Gets a Breakfast-y Makeover

There was talk in Friday's blog space about what to do with leftover turkey and the more obvious Thanksgiving trimmings such as cranberries and stuffing. However, I overlooked the lonely container of pumpkin puree sitting in my fridge, one cup remaining from dessert and begging to be used. Pumpkin pancakes: A great way to use up leftover puree. (Kim O'Donnel) I immediately thought of the jug of Vermont maple syrup given to me by my visiting father-in-law, and wondered if there was a way to combine the two ingredients into some kind of wonderful breakfast over the long holiday weekend. Pancakes are among my favorite things to make for those rare lingering mornings (although recently, I made blue corn pancakes one Thursday pre-work morning for me and Mister MA, to which he declared, "Let's have pancakes every Thursday!"), and I kept thinking, if only I could come up with a...


By Kim ODonnel | November 26, 2007; 09:25 AM ET | Comments (13)

Halloween Candy Confessions

Today is not just the eve of Halloween. It's National Candy Corn Day! I'll admit that I'm a fan of the waxy, tri-colored triangles that every kid in America sticks up his nose at some point during childhood. I love to bite off its white tip and ponder its decidedly unnatural shade of comic-strip orange. I love its cloying sweetness and that it tastes nothing like corn or anything remotely from a farm. Apples get a caramel cloak just in time for Halloween. (Kim O'Donnel) Remember the good old days, when Halloween was a time to reap the ultimate in candy creations? I thought I had died and gone to heaven when my plastic pumpkin contained a pair of wax lips, a pack of chalky "cigarettes" and a store receipt-like strip of paper dotted with edible pastel buttons that you scraped off with your teeth. Oh, and the candy necklaces!...


By Kim ODonnel | October 29, 2006; 11:10 PM ET | Comments (14)

Happy Halloween, Pumpkin Muffin

Pumpkin bread is one of my favorite things in the world. It's one of the few reasons I tolerate autumn (the other being the almighty apple). In my book, things get even better when raisins are thrown into the mix, but I know not everyone shares my love for the teeny dried fruit. (Those mini boxes of Sun-Maid raisins have been a thread in my life since grade school.) Pumpkin muffins studded with raisins and pepitas (Kim O'Donnel) I like how pumpkin bread settles in with a cup of coffee, be it breakfast or late-afternoon snack time. I take comfort in its golden harvest color, its spicy perfume and its earthy crumb. With Halloween just a few days away and the doorstep jack-o-lantern de rigeur (at least for this weekend), a pumpkin-y treat is undoubtedly in order. In keeping with a festive theme, I upped the pumpkin ante and made...


By Kim ODonnel | October 27, 2006; 10:27 AM ET | Comments (30)

Spirit of Fall Is in Gingerbread

Yesterday morning, my pal Nancy called me from Chicago with some startling news: It was snowing and 21 degrees, making it the earliest measurable snowfall on record for Chicago. Gingerbread topped with homemade, moron-proof applesauce. (Kim O'Donnel) The sultry Indian summer weather smiling down on Washington was paradise in comparison, and then, as if I spoke too soon while basking in the sun like a kitty, the skies went gray, the wind got fierce and the temperature dropped about 25 degrees in a matter of hours. Although sunny, this Friday the 13th is downright crisp, a day of classic autumnal proportions. In fact, I have a bit of déjà vu; it was day like today that I invited my friends for a hayride to celebrate my 13th birthday and it was a day like today that my father died 24 years ago. Beautiful, melancholic, set to the sound of crunching...


By Kim ODonnel | October 13, 2006; 11:21 AM ET | Comments (9)


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