Archive | January, 2012

Like a LBD, Everyone Should Have the Perfect White Shirt

13 Jan

I’ve been hunting for the perfect white shirt for the longest time – my last go to white shirt was a Norma Kamali which has since turned yellow. I kind of regret not spending a paycheque on that Gianfranco Ferre one at Neiman Marcus a few years ago that was just the right amount of crispness, stiffness, whiteness with french cuffs and the most dramatic collar. At least if I bought that I could have had it copied in China. Nothing generic from the Gap, Banana Republic, J Crew would cut it… not even Zara or Club Monaco. Nothing was right unless I went bespoke (very Daphne Guinness whom is unmatched in pulling off white shirts and tailored jackets) until now…

“Part of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey group, Thomas Pink is a British shirt maker with flagship stores in London’s Jermyn Street, Madison Avenue, New York and Rue Francois Premier, Paris. Altogether there are more than 80 stores around the world – in USA, France, Mexico, Dubai, Hong Kong, Australia, China, Canada, and in the UK.”

“To date 2011 has seen new openings in Australia and Hong Kong and in May a newly designed Thomas Pink store concept opened doors in Washington DC. 2011 will also see a brand new refurbishment of the largest Thomas Pink store of all, www.ThomasPink.com.

Of course the only Canadian locations are in Calgary and Toronto…. but until they find their way to an Alberni storefront, I’ll have to resort to shopping online.

Plain Jane – not too plain – it’s all about the tailoring baby!

Erin Plain – feminine ruffled shoulders

Emma Plain – plain, though see the slight detailing?

Aileen Plain – Body Shirt (for tucking in!)

Cindy Plain – for you pussybow lovers

Lidia Classic – Check out the ruffle detailing!

Sabina Plain – a tuxedo shirt for the ladies

Sylvia Plain – not so plain with French seams and silk ruffles on the gauntlet and around the neck

Recipe: Persimmons: Scones & Sorbets and more

11 Jan

I love persimmons. I love scones. So why not put them together? Brilliant! While we’re at it, why not poach them, make them into frozen treats or toss ’em in a salad?

Persimmon Scones

Courtesy of Happyolks – With guidance from Tartine

  • 3 cups persimmons, chopped – use the firm ones, not squishy soft. Chop into bite sized pieces.
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 4 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, very cold
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk or dairy-free alternative
  • (optional glaze or reduction, see footnotes)

Preheat the oven to 400F. In a medium saucepan over high heat, melt 2 teaspoons of butter with vanilla and sugar, add chopped persimmons. Reduce heat and stir for 5-10 minutes until softened. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Add sugar, salt, and stir together. Cut or shave the butter into dry ingredients. Use a fork or whisk to break up the butter into small chunks throughout the mixture.

Add the buttermilk, then the persimmons. Mix lightly with a wooden spoon until the dough holds together, adding buttermilk or the reserved persimmon liquid to the dough as needed.

Dust a piece of parchment paper with flour and turn out the dough. Pat the dough into a rectangle (if making round scones, er, hockey pucks like mine) or into two circles, about 1-2″ thick. Using a round cutter, press out scones and lay on a baking sheet with parchment paper making sure to leave at least 1″ of space between each scone. Sprinkle raw sugar over the tops, generously, and bake for 25-35 minutes until just slightly browned.

*I think this Maple Nut Cream from Adrienneats, or a Maple Glaze from The Healthy Green Kitchen would make winning toppers to these guys. They’re more on the biscuit end, so a hit of sweet frosting or glaze would really make these a treat.

***

Hachiya Persimmon Scones

Adapted from a-gitate.blogspot.com

INGREDIENTS
1 Hachiya Persimmon (about 1 cup persimmon pulp)
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 stick (4 tablespoon) butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 large egg (or 1 small egg)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries (optional)

PREPARATION

  • Wash persimmon, discard stem, puree in food processor until smooth (with or without skin – your preference.)
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Sift flour, soda, spices together.
  • In a larger bowl, with electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until well mixed (about 2 minutes.)
  • Beat in egg, then fold in persimmon pulp.
  • Stir in flour mixture, making a soft dough.
  • Mix in walnuts and cranberries if using.
  • Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 1–2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet/parchment paper.
  • Bake 15–20 minutes or until lightly brown, rotating baking sheet halfway through.

Cook’s note: Make sure the Hachiya persimmon is ripe before using it in this recipe. Wait until it is custard-soft, with a jelly-like consistency.

***

Persimmon Scones

2 cup self rising flour
2 T brown sugar
1 stick (4 oz.) cold European-style butter (such as Plugra), cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup hachiya persimmon pulp
1/4 cup creme fraiche or buttermilk
Extra flour for rolling out the dough


Food processor
Rolling pin
Biscuit or scone cutter (or a knife)
Buttered baking pan


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C).

Place the self-rising flour in a food processor that has been fitted with the blade attachment in the bottom. Add the brown sugar. With the food processor on the pulse setting, start adding the cold butter, one piece at a time. Pulse about 10 times after each addition of butter. Continue to add the butter until it has all been incorporated, pulsing after adding each piece. Add the persimmon pulp and the creme fraiche or buttermilk slowly on the pulse setting (you may not need all of it) until the mixture starts to come together in clumps. Stop the processor and carefully check just the top of the dough (the blade is still inside!) to see if the mixture is moist. If so, remove the blade. Then gather up the dough into a ball form with your hands. If the dough is still too dry, then continue to add creme fraiche or buttermilk until the mixture starts to get moist.

Spread some flour on the countertop and place the ball of dough there. With a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is about 1 inch thick. You can then cut out shapes using your biscuit or scone cutter. Or you can roll the dough into a circle and cut it into wedges using your knife.

Place the scones into the buttered baking dish, sides not touching. Bake for 15-18 minutes until slightly browned.

Eat right away. These are great with honey, jam, creme fraiche, Devonshire creme, etc.

***

Persimmon Scones

2 cups self-rising flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cold, unsalted butter
½ cup persimmon pulp
¼ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place unripened persimmons in a freezer overnight. In the morning, peel, remove the papery leaves and mash the pulp. Set aside. Preheat oven to 425°.

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, and mix well. Work in the butter and mix until the mixture has small pea-sized bits of butter.

In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, persimmon pulp and vanilla, then pour into the dry ingredients.

Blend until the mixture just comes together. With extra flour, shape the mixture into one large round circle 1-inch thick, then score the dough into 8 even-size triangular wedges.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet at the upper half of the oven and bake 15–18 minutes, until golden brown. (Serves 8.)

***

BONUS:

Spiced Wine Poached Persimmon

From GourmetFury

Ingredients

  • 2 persimmons (peeled and scored from top to bottom)
  • 1/2 bottle red wine
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • handful of cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • peel of 1 lemon
  • 1 slice of ginger
  • Mint leaves

Directions

  • Score the persimmon all the way around and stud it with some cloves.
  • In a small saucepan, bring all the other ingredients to a boil. Lower the heat down to simmer, then gently poach the persimmon for 15 minutes. If there isn’t enough liquid to cover the fruit entirely, then turn it upside down midway through.
  • Remove the persimmon, drain, and place onto the serving plate.
  • Turn the heat to high, remove the spices, and reduce the poaching liquid to a thick syrup. This will take around 10 minutes.
  • Drizzle the syrup around the persimmon, garnish with mint leaves, and serve with ice cream or yogurt.
  • Warn your guests not to eat the cloves 🙂

***

Raspberry-Persimmon Sorbet (About 4 Cups)

  • 1 ¾ cup Raspberry Purée
  • 2 ¼ cup Persimmon Purée
  • 1 tbs Lemon Juice
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 5 tbs Agave Nectar, plus more if needed
  1. Whisk together all the ingredients except for the agave. Taste and add the agave a tablespoon at a time until the mixture tastes just a little bit too sweet. You may need more or less than five tablespoons.
  2. Strain the mixture through a medium mesh strainer (what you would use to sift flour). Mix with a spoon to get the mixture to move through the strainer. When done, you should have a thick jam-like substance left in the strainer which will be mostly raspberry seeds; discard this.
  3. Put the mixture in a covered container and let chill in the back of the refrigerator for several hours.
  4. Once chilled, freeze according ice cream maker directions. Transfer sorbet to a container, cover and freeze. You should be able to scoop it straight out of the freezer, but it’s always a bit easier if you let it sit out on the counter for a bit before serving.

Note: experiment with other complementary fruits such as pineapple

***

Persimmon Sorbet with Sautéed Honey Persimmon (adapted from The Food and Cooking of Korea)

Ingredients:

For the Sorbet

  • 4 ripe persimmons
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier

For the Sauteed Honey Persimmon

  • 1 ripe persimmon
  • A little less than 1 tbsp honey

Recipe:

For the Sorbet

  1. Peel and cut persimmon into small chunks and finely puree.
  2. Add persimmon puree and sugar in a pot over low heat, stirring all the while.
  3. When the mixture begins to boil, immediately take it off the heat and let cool.
  4. While it is cooling, stir in lemon juice and OPTIONAL Grand Marnier (note, the alcohol is there to make your sorbet easier to scoop once it has been frozen. You can leave it out, but will probably have to defrost the sorbet for about 15 minutes before serving).
  5. Place mixture into refrigerator to cool 6-10 hours.
  6. Follow instructions for ice cream machine.

For the Sautéed Honey Persimmon

  1. Peel and cut persimmon into chunks.
  2. Sauté persimmon chunks with honey on medium heat until heated through.
  3. Let cool (refrigerate if you prefer) then serve over sorbet.

***

Persimmon and Cardamom Sorbet

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar $
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups ripe Hachiya persimmon puree (about 4; see
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice $
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt $
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

Preparation

  1. Combine sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add persimmon puree and remaining ingredients, stirring well. Cool completely.
  2. Pour persimmon mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Spoon sorbet into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm. Remove sorbet from freezer 10 minutes before serving.
  3. Persimmon Puree Pointers. Ripe Hachiya puree is easy to make by following these tips:
  4. To speed the ripening process, freeze the fruit overnight or until solid. Thaw the persimmon; when soft, it will be sweeter and less astringent.
  5. Cut the ripe fruit in half. Scoop the pulp out with a spoon.
  6. To achieve an even consistency, place the flesh in a mini-chopper and process until smooth. This ensures the persimmon puree will incorporate evenly into batters.

***

Persimmon sorbet with spices (Sorbet de kakis aux épices)

Ingredients:

For 1 quart:

3-4 dead ripe Japanese persimmons (to make 3 c. puree)
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. water
1 3″ piece of cinnamon bark
3 cloves
3 allspice berries
1 head of star anise
A 1″ piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and cut into 1/8″ slices
5″ piece fresh lime peel
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1 T. dark rum

Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Drop in the spices, ginger, and lime peel, bring to a boil, and boil gently 5 minutes. Cool and strain into a bowl.

Cut the Japanese persimmons in half crosswise and scoop the fruit into the bowl of your food processor with a tablespoon. Squeeze the empty shell to extract remaining juice. Measure out three cups and bring to a gentle boil in a saucepan. Cook 5 minutes. Add to the syrup. Chill thoroughly.

Just before freezing, add the lime juice and rum. Freeze in your ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions.

Note: This exotic sorbet is light and refreshing yet rich in complex flavors. You can use more star anise and omit the other spices if you love the flavor of this oriental spice (called badiane in French). I served this after a supper of pork roasted with whole garlic and sage leaves and eggplant gratin for a delicious fall supper.

***

Persimmon Sorbet w/Sherry

250g/8oz caster sugar
600ml/1 pint water
6 very ripe persimmons (otherwise known as cachi or sharon fruit)
150ml/5fl oz double cream
100ml/31/2fl oz sherry, preferably a very dry fino such as Tio Pepe

Put the sugar and water into a sauce pan over a low heat. When the sugar has fully dissolved, bring to the boil, lower the heat slightly and simmer for five minutes until the sugar syrup has a slightly viscous consistency.

Peel the persimmons and whizz them in a blender adding the sugar syrup, a little at a time, then the double cream and the finally the sherry.

Persimmons are best when they are very ripe, nearly “bruised”, and they’re also very sweet. If you find them too sweet, the sorbet will be the same, so add some lemon peel to the sugar syrup.

Finally, pour the sorbet mixture into an ice-cream maker and churn until thickened (approximately 20 minutes), according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Remove and preserve in the freezer. Alternatively, put in a freezer-proof container and freeze, stirring every 20 minutes until set.

***

Persimmion Marmalade

Directions:

Blend enough persimmons to make 2 quarts. Cook for 15 minutes, add 1 C. pure orange juice and 1 C crushed pineapple. To each cup of mixture, add 3/4 C sugar. Boil, stirring often, until thick. Pour into jars, seal, do not put in hot water bath.

***

Persimmon Pomegranate Fruit Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 fuyu persimmons, peeled, chopped (1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces), seeds (if any) discarded
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 Granny Smith or Fuji apple, peeled, cored, chopped (1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 7-10 leaves fresh mint, thinly sliced crosswise (stack then, then roll them up like a cigar and take slices from the end)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Method

Gently toss all of the ingredients together.

Keeps for at least a couple of days in the refrigerator, but best eaten same day it is made.

Yield: Serves 4.