Category Archives: Fruit

Apricot-Sage Cream Scones | I'll Make It Myself! 2

Apricot-Sage Cream Scones

These last weeks have not been good for breakfast. Life has been rather rough, and it’s brought on a depression that leaves me weak-armed and unwilling to consume anything but smoothies and soup. But it’s autumn, and we should have nice things to eat. Scones are easy, and sage doesn’t have to be just for stuffing turkeys or making pumpkin turnovers. Try it with dried apricots and apricot jam in these simple cream scones.

Continue reading Apricot-Sage Cream Scones

I'll Make It Myself! 1 | Lavender Blueberry Muffins

Whole-Wheat Blueberry-Lavender Muffins

It’s only now, right at the end of berry season here in the Pacific Northwest, that I’ve gotten this recipe to where I want it. For some reason, The Joy of Cooking‘s whole-wheat-muffin base recipe only called for 2 tablespoons of butter when the non-whole-wheat recipe calls for 4-8. Trust me, you need that “extra” butter.

I'll Make It Myself! | Lavender Blueberry Muffins 2

Japan notes: Muffins are lovely to make in a moven/oven range. Blueberries tend to be in season in June-July, and culinary lavender can be purchased in Japan, though where you get it may depend on where you live. I found some at Ikeda Herb Center in Nagano and Nunobiki Herb Garden (English, 日本語) in Kobe, and a friend gave me some from Meidi-ya in Kyoto. If you don’t live near a place that grows lavender, you might try a gourmet grocery or import store, or online. Lavender meant for cooking may be referred to as dried lavender (kansô rabendâ, 乾燥ラベンダー ) or culinary lavender (ryôriyô no rabendâ, 料理用のラベンダー ).

Continue reading Whole-Wheat Blueberry-Lavender Muffins

Nerdache Cake’s Wolfsbane Cupcakes (MTV Teen Wolf)

Teen Wolf is back!

Source
Source

To celebrate, I decided to try Nerdache Cake’s Teen-Wolf-themed “wolfsbane” cupcakes, a dark-chocolate brownie with berries and berry frosting.

Wolfsbane Cupcakes | I'll Make It Myself! 4

Continue reading Nerdache Cake’s Wolfsbane Cupcakes (MTV Teen Wolf)

The Rosette of Versailles: Apple Custard Tart with Walnut Crust

I offered to bring tarts to a dear friend’s family Thanksgiving and found this recipe as I was considering my repertoire. Also, geeky-dessert talk: I’m a huge fan of Ikeda Riyoko’s The Rose of Versailles (Beru Bara) fan*, so how could I pass up the tarte bouquet de roses?

This tart looks and tastes elegant: the freshness of the (mostly) uncooked apples with the creamy maple custard and soft walnut crust creates a great combination of flavors and textures. In Alain Passard’s version, he cuts the apples with a machine into long strips, but those of us without mandolins can (carefully) slice the apples into paper-thin, translucent pieces.

Continue reading The Rosette of Versailles: Apple Custard Tart with Walnut Crust

Fresh Mango Salsa

A nice bright salsa to end the summer (never mind it’s been over for a month). This recipe is very simple, and I love the way the flavors and textures work together.

Easy Mango Salsa @ I'll Make It Myself

I like to serve this with homemade tortillas (or rice or quinoa), avocados, and roasted kabocha tossed with cumin and cayenne.

Continue reading Fresh Mango Salsa

Hot Weather, Cool Kitchen: Overnight Oats

There are two import foods I can’t live without: peanut butter and oats.

Let’s talk about oats–I’ll get to the peanut butter later. Sometimes I buy Quaker Oats in bulk from online import stores; sometimes I buy Alishan or Alara jumbo organic oats at Diamond in Omicho Market; sometimes I get Nisshoku oatmeal from the regular supermarket, though I prefer bigger oats. At any rate, there’s a constant supply of oatmeal in my kitchen, which keeps my cereal-obsessed American self quite happy, especially in the dead of the Hokuriku winter when the morning oatmeal warms the kitchen and dining room.

But what about in summer?

Overnight Oats with banana, cherries, and sliced almonds.

That’s where overnight oats come in! It’s like making cold cereal — requires no heat and barely any effort, just 5 minutes before you go to bed!

Continue reading Hot Weather, Cool Kitchen: Overnight Oats

Spiced Persimmon Cake

桃栗三年柿八年 (momo kuri sannen kaki hachinen): it takes time to reap the fruit of one’s actions

(lit. [It takes] three years for [planted] peach and chestnut trees, eight for persimmons [to bear fruit]) (ことわざ学習室

In late autumn and early winter (mid-Nov. to New Year), Omicho Market is awash in reds and oranges: strawberries, crabs, mikan, and persimmons. Before I moved to Japan, I had never seen a persimmon, though they seem to be available in California.  There are two main varieties available in Japan: non-astringent (amagaki, 甘柿) and astringent (shibugaki, 渋柿). Fuyu (富有), the tomato-shaped variety, are a variety of sweet persimmon; they are dull orange, firm, and ready to eat when they are sold. The human-heart-shaped Hachiya (蜂屋), on the other hand, is very astringent until the skin turns reddish and the insides turn to jelly.*

Seedless persimmon, possibly 紀ノ川柿 variety (Kinokawa)

I tend to eat Fuyu persimmons plain, but I was inspired by The Food Librarian‘s “Fuyu Persimmon Bundt” to try something new.  I used a sweet seedless variety  (hiratanenashi, 平種無) with a cinnamon-colored flesh in one batch and a seeded variety with orange flesh in another. Both work equally well, though the color of the cake will vary based on the fruit. (Remove the seeds, of course, if applicable.) My coworkers compared this cake to a Western-style Christmas cake, combining sweet fresh and dried fruits with nuts and spices. I think I know what I’m making instead of Stollen for Christmas this year!

My alterations: The night before I made the first round of this cake, I was out of butter, so I swapped in yogurt 1:1 by volume. Also, I think the natural sweetness of the persimmons more than makes up for the comparative lack of sugar in my version. This is also a half-size recipe to accommodate for the size of Japanese oven-ranges. The original recipe is here if you want US measurements and the full-size recipe.

Continue reading Spiced Persimmon Cake