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Tag: ginger

Chilled Gingery Beet Soup with Cucumber

Ok, yes, I know. You have to turn the oven on to make this soup… Wait, wait, wait, though.  Even if you don’t normally like borsht (I don’t) or even beets, this is cool and invigorating. Culled from Amanda Hesser’s authoritative and engaging 2010 NYTimes cookbook, this soup is simple and simply delicious.

The beets proffer their sweet earthiness and body, lemon juice contributes its bright acid, and the cucumber garnish punctuates it all with crunchy freshness. I elected to serve it on the cool side of room temperature, and added diced shrimp. Like the cucumber, they provide a textural counterpoint to the smooth soup and make it a bit more substantial without weighing it down. A good thing, as I really don’t feel like cooking any more than I have to right now.

Either red or yellow beets work well–I’ve used both in different batches this week. The former produces a glorious magenta soup, the latter a brilliant Big Bird yellow. They are equally delicious. Obviously, for vegetarians, omit the shrimp, but do not be tempted to leave out the cucumber. Its sprightly crunch adds a great deal.

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It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Zing: Asian Potato Salad

I make no claims to authenticity on this yummy tasty novel–er, salad–save for that a more anodyne version of this dish is found in Korean salad bars and the lunchtime bento specials of many a D.C. pan-Asian restaurant. I mean, sweet potatoes aren’t even orange in Japan and Korea. But, well, that’s where the inspiration came from, though my version has a bit more verve, thanks to two kinds of ginger, two different alliums, and a little hot sauce.

I recently brought this, along with my more authentic sesame-dressed green beans, to a friend’s green card party where both were gobbled up with verve. The honoree, however, who is famed for carrying tiny bottles of Tabasco around in her pocket book, thought this was just divine. While it’s not that hot by any stretch, this potato salad has it all. The rich, complexly tangy dressing dances over the earthy, sweet potatoes in a most delightful way.

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新年快樂! Ginger Scones and the Year of the Tiger

Despite the distractions of lingering snow and Olympic excitement (though Bob Costas could fall into a crevasse somewhere and I don’t know that I’d complain…) life does go on. Life, of course, includes having my friend Kate for tea  to plan our menu for a Lunar New Year dinner. While we’ve yet to settle on a date at this point, at least the menu’s going to be hot. One cannot, of course, have someone to tea without something nice to go with it. In honor of our Asian endeavor and the newly-minted year of the tiger, I decided to make some rich and zingy ginger-vanilla scones.


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Baking Through the Snowpocalypse: Moosehead Gingerbread

In case you’ve not yet heard, it’s been snowing in D.C. Rawther a lot of snow, in fact. Enough snow for pretty much everything to grind to a halt. While there’ve been reported power outages and snowball fights, I was not really feeling either, though, so I turned to the oven. And what could be better on a cold, wintry night than a warm, spicy square of gingerbread?

This version is my hands-down favorite. Author Maida Heatter, grande dame of American baking, reports that she got the recipe from a fishing guide up at Moosehead Lake, Maine, where they know about snow, and clearly about gingerbread as well. It’s substantial, moist, and chewy with an almost savory-sweet zing from molasses, ginger, dry mustard, and black pepper. Great served warm topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, it’s also wonderful at room temp, eaten out of hand.  It was also a really nice conclusion to our homemade take out dinner of mala tofu and sweet and sour chicken with vegetables that eased us into an evening of movies. Amen for instant-Netflix.

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Every Boy and Every Girl… Spice Up Your Life!

gingercookiesYes, I went there… a Spice Girls reference. A SECOND TIER Spice Girls reference. My brothers are now killing themselves solely so they can turn over in their graves. Bwahahaha…

Ahem. Having committed myself to sending cookies all over the Eastern seaboard, I found myself needing to get my bake on. My answer? These chewy, crunchy, flagrantly fragrant ginger-spice cookies. They come together quickly, and are a perennial family favorite. I’ve made several minor changes to the recipe over the years, with each additional spice or alteration noted with a different color ink in my terribly beat-up copy of the Rosie’s Bakery cookbook, whose spine is conveniently cracked all the way through right at this recipe. Rolling the cookies in turbinado sugar deepens the flavor and makes for a more striking textural contrast between the chewy cookie and crunchy exterior, while adding dry mustard and pepper to the dough–a nod to Maida Heatter’s Moosehead gingerbread–gives these enough spice for Sporty, Baby, Crazy Scary, Ginger, AND Posh.

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PF Thanksgiving: A Different Bird Being the ‘Word’


Alas, I meant to post this earlier in the week but I was too entertained by this.

I love duck and I’ve come to discover that there is something deeply satisfying about slow-roasting a whole duck (hell, any bird, really). Done correctly, it invariably produces the requisite “Oooohs” and “Ahhhhs” from your guests as it is brought from oven to counter. Luke’s turkey the other day had the same effect, more appropriate for a Rockwell painting than our “very special” Thanksgiving table.

Duck is quite a grand, elegant meat. I love the fat it packs (it’s a lot), how a slow-roast produces meat that falls off its tiny bones and the combination of a crispy skin and succulent flesh become something special, elegant and refined. Roast chicken is a Tuesday night meal but duck means it’s time for the weekend.

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