Archive for the ‘Food’ Category
04 Nov

Recipe: Caramel Apple Dip

I realized the other day that part of this blog was supposed to be about food. I love to cook and bake. I’ve done it since I was a kid and one day I asked my mom to make some cookies and she said she was busy and that if I wanted them, I had to make them. So she got out the recipe and had me follow it and make the cookies. Of course, as a kid my attention span was short, so I made one tray and that was all I need. Mom finished up the rest. To this day, I still hate baking trays and trays of cookies. But it gave me the bug to start making things on my own. I seem to have a knack for doing it and I really enjoy creating in the kitchen. My favorite thing is making Sunday dinner. It is rare that a Sunday will go by that I’m not making a big meal. My best dishes (and experiments) and usually reserved for that day. So for those that know me, if you are in the area give me a call – I always have plenty to share!

A friend reminded me of this the other day so I thought I’d share it. This is incredibly simple, yet so very good. It’s great for a party or just as a snack or dessert. Anyone can make this and if you have kids it is also something that they could do. Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla


Beat the cream cheese in a bowl with an electric mixer (or stand mixer) until smooth. Add brown sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until smooth and fluffy. Scrape into a serving bowl. Cut a couple of apples, remove core, and slice into 12 or more pieces. Serve apples with dip.  (Note: if apples are to stay out for a while and not eaten right away, you can put a little orange juice in a bowl and toss the apple slices with the orange juice. This will prevent any immediate browning.)

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19 Nov

The Persimmon Incident

We were at the grocery store the other day and happened upon a big display of persimmons, which we assumed were in season. These were small fruits that were orange-yellow in color and resembled small tomatoes. We had never had one before and the signs were saying things like “sweet and tangy,” which is right up my alley. So curiosity got the better of us and we got one each of the two kinds of persimmons they had. We didn’t know if they were fully ripe, as a lot of supermarket fruit is typically not ripe, so we put them on the counter when we got home. A couple of days went by and I grabbed the more oblong one (known as a hachiya) and decided to give it a try. What could go wrong? It’s a fruit, right?

The evil persimmon

I took a big bite out of a slice and started to chew. Within seconds, my mouth felt like a wool sweater just exploded. I could not taste a thing, it felt like my whole mouth was swelled up with fur, and it felt like no matter where I put my tongue, it got stuck. A quick drink of water relieved the fuzzy feeling in my mouth and I stood kind of dumbfounded. Who on earth would eat one of these things?  So obviously now that I had discovered this I had to let Rob try it without telling him what happened. Comical results would have to ensue, yes?  Yes.

I took a slice and handed it to Rob. He said, “oh, you slice it up – is it good?”  I didn’t get a chance to even answer or make up anything before he bit into it.  All of a sudden he gets a very weird look on his face and says “what is that!!”  I just look at him as if to say “what do you mean?” Then he gets a little nervous and says, “oh my god, I think I’m allergic to this!  My mouth is all full and blowing up!”  Of course, that made my start laughing, which was a bummer because I really wanted to explore this allergy reaction thing. Then I had to tell him the same thing happened to me. We were both clueless as to what was the deal with this persimmon.

Turns out (after looking it up on the internet – which is what we should have done first) that an unripe persimmon, particularly the kind I sliced, is incredibly high in tannins and if eaten in that state completely dries out your mouth – hence the feeling that you just ate a cat’s coat that was covered in dog fur. The time to eat a persimmon is after is had become very, very soft inside – almost gelatinous. Then you cut the top off and scoop out the insides. When it is fully ripe like this, the tannins are gone.

Of course, the other variety of persimmon we got (it is called “fuyu” and frankly I’d leave off the “yu” because, well, FU persimmons!) are considered non-astringent, so they have minimal tannins and those go away much quicker. That would have been the one to start with, but alas I picked the wrong one. The fuyu is still on the counter and I’m waiting for it to soften so we can try that one…maybe. The other one has found a home in the compost bin and I hope it is happy there drying up all the other scraps that come into contact with it.

Needless to say, we won’t be venturing near the persimmons again. I’m sure if they were served correctly or in something they might be delicious. But for us it is just created a moment in time we like to call “the persimmon incident.”

P.S.: Two days after trying this bizarre fruit, my new issue of Cook’s Country arrived and on a page they describe winter fruits. Guess what was featured with a notation about what happens when you eat an unripe one?  Geez – two days, too late.

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