Puréeing ripe persimmons into a creamy dressing makes for a sweet and juicy salad without excess oil. Persimmons are a seasonal treat with a local heritage. Native to the southeastern US and Asia, but able to be grown in Canada, and now grown around the world, much of what’s available in this country comes from California, Spain, and South Africa and starts appearing in markets in late fall and early winter. The most common cultivars are Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons, and either can be used for this recipe. Just keep in mind that Fuyus are ripe when firm whereas Hachiyas are ripe when their skins are begging to break and their tongue-tying astringency has turned to sugar-sweet juice. The only downside of being so juicy is that Hachiyas can be tricky to slice at that point, so if you’re going for presentation, choose Fuyus instead. If you can’t find persimmons, use sliced grapes. And feel free to top this salad with dukkah for a nutty, crunchy touch.
You can use any greens you like for this salad, from tender Boston lettuce to arugula to hardy kale, massaging the greens as much or as little as needed to soften them. Tender lettuces need just a gentle toss in the dressing (think relaxation massage) while kale needs something akin to deep-tissue. For tender greens, dress the salad just before serving so the leaves don’t wilt; hardier greens can be dressed well in advance.
In salad bowl, combine washed and dried greens with 1 cup (250 mL) persimmons and sliced cucumber.
In blender, combine remaining persimmons with white balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) salt. Blend until smooth. Add oil and blend for 30 seconds, or until emulsified.
Sprinkle greens and fruit with pepper and remaining salt. Pour half of dressing over greens and use hands to coat leaves. Taste and add more salt and dressing as desired. Leaves should be lightly coated, not soggy.
Pears and chocolate make for a very natural friendship and play together beautifully in this plant-based, dairy-free cake. This cake is dense and rich, with a medley of spices, and enhanced by just a hint of espresso powder, which allows that chocolate flavour to shine through. In addition to slices of pears being laid on top, this cake employs some pear purée to add moisture and sweetness to the slightly nutty texture provided by the whole wheat flour. Pear primer A firm pear such as Bosc, recognizable by its distinctive dusty brown skin, is perfect for this dish. When eaten raw, Bosc pears are crisp and not too sweet. When baked, this variety softens up and its flavours are enhanced, but it maintains its characteristic long-necked, graceful shape. Unlike a Bartlett pear, which turns from green to bright yellow when ripe, Bosc pears don’t change much in colour when ripe. Give it a little nudge with your thumb near the neck of the pear and it will give slightly—that’s how you know you’ve got a ripe one. Compared to other pears, Bosc will still be quite firm.
Many flavours that complement pears—sage, ginger, maple syrup—also go well with butternut squash, so it makes sense to bring the two together. For this autumn salad, mixed greens are tossed with marinated squash ribbons that serve to dress the salad with spicy, gingery brightness. A juicy yet firm medium-sweet pear, such as red Anjou, works well here, and its vibrant red skin makes a pretty plate alongside butternut squash. The finishing touch is a sprinkling of crispy sage and maple syrup-toasted hazelnuts. Refrigerator tip Treat butternut squash ribbons as you would a dressing, keeping them in the refrigerator until ready to use. They will last a few days in the refrigerator, and you can have them on hand to dress small amounts of lettuce. If, rather than making one large salad, you want to serve individual amounts of this salad, just dress a few leaves with some ribbons; cut up pear and fry sage leaves as you serve.
Luscious figs loaded onto hearty flatbread make a satisfying breakfast or brunch. They’re sweet and delicious when paired with savoury cinnamon-flavoured crunchy pumpkin seeds and tart goat cheese. And, with a dough enriched with whole wheat flour, hempseeds, and nigella, these flatbreads are sure to be satisfying. They’re also chock full of fibre and protein, and with 6 mg of iron, you’ll be on your way to 31 percent of the recommended daily value. A freezer favourite By making dough in advance and freezing, you can make these individual flatbreads part of your routine for days when you don’t have much time. Simply portion dough individually right after mixing, allow it to rise in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours, and then freeze in individual containers. To thaw an individual ball of dough, 24 hours before you wish to use it, remove the container from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. At least an hour before baking, allow dough to come up to room temperature outside of the fridge.