Well, after VeganMoFo, it feels like I dropped off the planet a bit. For a week, anyway This past week has been really stressful, and I’ve been having a hard time making food in general, much less blogging about it. But things are on the upswing (I hope).
Early for me on a day off, I got up to meet my friend Courtney for a late-season trip to the farmer’s market. It’s incredibly small now, mostly empty stalls with a few tables here and there. Things are shifting into holiday mode already with pine bundles and fanciful branches and autumn bouquets. Minnesota’s growing season, while bountiful, is certainly short. However, I still managed to come away with a delicious haul of locally grown brussels sprouts, organic dinosaur kale, and a whole peck of Honeycrisp apples, the latter being only $10 for seconds (I still love the unloved, not-perfect-looking produce). You better believe there’s gonna be some good eats happening with all of that!
While the majority of my produce from the farmer’s market is locally grown, there are times I can’t pass up a good deal at one of the produce reseller’s tables. The Minneapolis Farmer’s Market is a little odd in that it allows non-local produce to be sold, although I’ve been told that they aren’t allowed to sell specific produce that would compete with the local growing season (during corn or tomato season, for example). It’s also pretty obvious that pineapples or bananas just don’t grow up here naturally, nor do cardboard produce boxes bearing various corporate labels “fool” anyone with a bit of common sense, so it’s always obvious where the resellers are located. Today there seemed to be an abundance of persimmons, and though I haven’t used this gorgeous fruit much, it seemed like a good time to try something out.
Hence was born this Raw Coconut and Persimmon Parfait (using a young coconut I got for free from work), which is both fresh and a little tropical enough for the sunny fall days we’ve had this weekend, and just rich enough to be comforting in that autumnal kind of way. After a fairly exhaustive search of my cookbook collection, I found only two recipes that called for persimmons, and both were raw. Neither one fit exactly with what I had on hand in the moment I wanted to create something, so I fused them together a bit, though it’s primarily based on the Star Lotus Persimmon Parfait from Vegan Fusion World Cuisine. If you’re not interested in giving young coconuts a try, you can use non-dairy yogurt or a nut-based cream in place of the coconut cream. If you are, and haven’t ever opened a young coconut before, check out this link which has some step-by-step instructions.
The persimmon layer is sweetened with some dates and flavored with cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and lemon zest, while the coconut cream is as simple as you can get, although you might add some agave nectar if the natural sweetness isn’t enough for you. I made everything in a food processor, but if you have a high-speed blender feel free to use it to make it perfectly smooth and creamy… though while eating it I was feeling way too into the flavors to notice my “cream” had a few smalls bits of coconut meat in it.
Because I don’t (yet?) own everything I could possibly desire for serving food, like parfait glasses, I used a martini glass. There was plenty for one serving plus some leftover, but you might want to increase the persimmon layer amounts slightly if you’re hoping to serve two more amply. Top it with anything you like! The goji berries, cacao nibs, and shredded coconut I pulled out of my cupboards and freezer for a bit of color and crunch.
Raw Coconut and Persimmon Parfaits (serves 1-2)
1/2 lb. persimmons, quartered and peeled
1 tsp lemon zest
5 chopped dates, soaked in water if too dry
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1-2 tablespoons raw almond butter
meat from one young coconut
1/4-1/2 c coconut water, to reach desired consistency
agave nectar, to taste (optional)
shredded coconut, fresh fruit, goji berries, chopped nuts and/or cacao nibs to garnish
Add persimmons, dates, lemon zest, and spices to food processor and process until broken down and fairly smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Add the almond butter and process again until fully incorporated. Place in a small bowl and set aside.
Rinse out food processor bowl and add coconut meat and coconut water, starting with 1/4 cup. Process until smooth, adding additional coconut water to achieve desired consistency (you don’t want it too runny, or you won’t be able to layer your parfait). Taste and add agave nectar if desired.
Layer into parfait, martini, or wine glasses, alternating the persimmon mixture with the coconut cream. Chill in the fridge if desired, or sprinkle straight away with toppings and serve with a spoon.
One thing that’s going to be different around here is that I’m giving up gluten for a month. I’m not going to get into all the details, but it is for health reasons, and I’ll be exploring different ways to satisfy both my sweet and savory tooths without wheat, spelt, kamut, barley, or rye. I feel pretty excited about it actually! I’m particularly excited to test out this recipe for a GF, tofu-free vegan pumpkin pie as part of my Friendsgiving spread. And finding a good recipe for GF bread so I don’t have to spend $6 at the co-op on a frozen loaf that while delicious and wonderfully bread-like is pretty darn expensive. Hooray gluten-free!