Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash and KAKI (Persimmons)

I have been trying to come up with a recipe to cook with Japanese Persimmons - KAKI.    It seems that all the recipes that I came across always seems to use a lot of cinnamon or other spices that seems to overpower the natural taste of the persimmons.    KAKI in natural state - raw is wonderful to eat, especially when they are ripened to its peak moment on the tree.    Of course, there is a loss in doing so.    I have a personal experience this winter, while waiting for 7 out of 70 KAKI blossoms that turned into beautiful mature FUYU KAKI.    Medium size non-astringent KAKI.    I waited and waited for the right moment to pick.    Then, one day when I went out there, I counted only 6.   I noticed the whole entire KAKI has disappeared from the branch left with only the stem still attached to the branch.    In panic, I took one off and ate it.    The sugar and starch have started to mature and have started to form the beautiful brown lines in the flesh.    For the 5 I have left, I decided to give it another day or two to ripen some more.    But alas!  the very next day I went to check, the bird has eaten an entire half side of the KAKI leaving a wonderful Bird Art again for me to just wonder - just how do they know that they are just so perfect for their beaks to penetrate those sweet flesh.      All right, my turn.   I cropped the final 4 and half.   The next evening, I acquired some extra butternut squash that someone didn't want.     I started to prepare to roast them in the small covered roaster pan.     Then, the color of the butternut squash reminded me of the KAKI.     Why not roast them, too?   Thus far, all the roasted vegetables and fruits and nuts and olives in the Mediterranean cooking have turned out great.  Why not roast the butternut squash with the KAKI, I thought.    So, I tried it.     I added, just a small handful of chopped celery tossed with pinch of poultry herbs; cut up the butternut squash and sliced the KAKI.    Added some Olive oil and baked for 45 minutes in 375'F gas oven..... Then, I decided to squeeze one large lemon juice to spike up the ... rather bland, yet sweet taste of butternut squash and 'not so sure' taste of KAKI when cooked with the usual heavy spices like the cinnamon and nutmeg, etc.    The result:  I think it turned out great and worth making it again.   The tangy lemon juice covered the roasted butternut squash and intensified the squash flavor dancing on the tongue with a hint of herb flavors and celery.    When you bite into the KAKI, it complimented the squash with its soft fruity taste and you want to take another bite to see if it's really KAKI that you just had.     It is a new fun experience eating the KAKI this way.

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