Saturday, October 29, 2005

Falling for Fall

Living a half mile from a fantastic twice-weekly farmers' market has rendered me somewhat lazy. I've fallen out of the habit of visiting other markets (with the exception of the Point Reyes Station Saturday market, which is so real, so homemade, so earnest — and its last day this season is Nov. 5).
But, as Dr. Biggles explained to me, Fatted Calf, his to-die-for favorite charcuterie and salumeria, doesn't come to Marin anymore. Not for now, anyway.
So Cranky and I decided to wake up early (whoa!) and make a day of it. A Saturday of it, at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market. Yes, including a ferry ride from Larkspur. First-class, babe.
California, contrary to popular belief, does have discernable changes in seasons. Right now, it's cool, sometimes breezy, occasionally cloudy, and when the sun is out, the landscape is bathed in a slanting, golden light.

But the best indication of changing seasons is the produce at the markets. Little Point Reyes Station hardly has any produce left to sell. The Ferry Plaza market, on the other hand, is bristling with fall harvest, in perfect fall colors: pomegranates, persimmons, peppers... Less intensely hued (duh, white!) were artisanal tofu and yogurt... We didn't buy any, because we can get most of it closer to home.
But we did make that destination purchase (and yes, Dr. Biggles, it rhymes with "kitchenette").
More later.


Jamie said...

Oh! Those persimmons! Only once (in Nashville, oddly enough) have I seen that many in once place. I bought a LOT of them and that's why I already have persimmon pulp in my freezer, waiting to be made into a pudding during the holidays.

cookiecrumb said...

Doesn't that look like a Chinese painting?
I'm not a baker, so I'm not sure what to do with persimmons. But when I saw the bounty today, I was wavering. Convince me!
(Also they're selling fuyu persimmons, the crisp, eat-out-of-hand variety.)

Jamie said...

Could you be a baker for a day? :-)

4 soft, ripe Hachiya persimmons
1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 c. milk
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground clove
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. golden raisins
1 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2 1/2 to 3-quart baking dish.
Squeeze the pulp out of the persimmons, remove any seeds you find, and puree the pulp in a blender. You should have about 2 cups.
In a bowl, mix the pulp with the brown sugar, eggs, milk, baking soda, melted butter, and vanilla. In a second bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the persimmon mixture to make a smooth batter, then add raisins and nuts.
Pour batter into the buttered baking dish and bake until well browned and set, about 1 hour. It should be firm to the touch but still a little wobbly in the center. The pudding will fall as it cools.

Try it, cc! It's an English-type pudding, like a wet cake, and flavorwise it is in the same family as pumpkin pie, but more ethereal. I hoard pieces of it in my freezer long after the holidays for times when I need a little boost of happiness.

cookiecrumb said...

Well, I DO have that awesome oven...
All righty. You talked me into it! :D
I like the sound of those spices. And the pecans.
(Oh, BTW, I bought 1/4 pound of organic vanilla beans on eBay last night for $3.)

KathyF said...

"Artisanal tofu?"

And Prince Charles isn't even there yet!

drbiggles said...

Let me guess, they're in your fridge? Or have you eaten them yit?

cookiecrumb said...

Biggles: They've been et. Ohmygod, they're every bit as good as you've been saying. (Major grease splatters all over the stove, though. Yummy, brown grease we saved and added to the bacon grease -- in the fridge!.)
Kathyf: He and She are going to a different market, up in Marin County. No handmade tofu there, but lots of handspun natural yarns. They'll like that.

drbiggles said...

Hey, that's good news! Yeah, they are like little pork clouds.
Grease bombs for sure, which is why I make a point of grilling them whenever possible. Even then you have to be careful. The reward can't be beat though.
I picked up a loaf of ox tail terrine, new stuff. Maybe I'll try some tonight.


cookiecrumb said...

No, Biggles, these were Guinea Hen clouds! With onions and prunes, and a criss-crossy web of caul fat, of course. (Do you know where to buy caul fat?)
Griddle! I'll do that next time.
You've got to tell me what that terrine tastes like. I've made super-deep stock from oxtail. It's the flavor-definition of "brown."