On Saving Gingko Nuts


Last year our gingko tree produced a massive crop of nuts leading to the question of how to preserve them. I carefully washed and dried the unshelled nuts and put them into sealed plastic containers. Some I stored in the pantry, some in the fridge, and some in the freezer.

The gingko nuts from the freezer were chewy, and while they retained a little gingko-ness, they were not the ephemeral seasonal gingkos. They are fine to add to a hot pot, or soup, or steamed with vegetables because they would add a nice texture, but they are only a sorry memory of a bountiful autumn.

Our beautiful tree won’t have many nuts this year…

A Plantain Dessert


When I was 12, I read an article in one of my mother’s “women’s magazines” about grilled bananas. We lived in a big old house with two fireplaces where we would often toast marshmallows over the glowing embers. Roasted bananas appealed to my desire for the exotic beyond the isolated UP. My mom was skeptical while I was persistent. She finally agreed to the experiment if the bananas were wrapped in greased tinfoil and placed in the embers. She wisely prevented me from poking a banana on a marshmallow stick—the result was a gooey mash of burnt banana and margarine…

Ginkgo Nut Bleu Cheese Bites

Yesterday, under a sunny sky with golden ginkgo leaves raining down on me, I gathered yet another bucket of ginkgo nuts. Yes, we have several hundred. It must be my squirrel genes! Thanksgiving is coming up so I have been thinking about appetizers to bring to holiday dinners. Hostess gifts! Crackers are good: they can be served immediately or saved to enjoy later. I thought of cheese crackers with ginkgo nuts and found a few recipes which inspired me to try a version of my own.

Spread a Bit Thick

In April 1984, a 115g jar of vegemite became the first product in Australia
to be electronically scanned at a checkout.

A friend in Australia sent me an amazing gift package which included a jar of Vegemite. There was some discussion on past posts here about whether I would like it or not. When or if I can find it here in the U.S. it is very expensive, but because of this lovely present I will most certainly pay the price: I love it!

Go Nuts! Ginkgo Nuts

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A ginkgo tree is lovely with its summer grey-green fan-shaped leaves fluttering in the slightest breeze. We are lucky to have a female gingko in our front yard. This is our first year in this house, and I’ve watched the tree, waiting for the edible “nuts” to fall. The fleshy seed coat may look like yellow cherries, but it smells something like very stinky cheese or even dog feces. This post describes how to prepare ginkgo nuts for a fun and tasty snack.

Sweet Potato Cakes

http://1tess.wordpress.comWhen the recipe says to broil on low (200°C) for only 15 minutes, believe it!
Also, set a timer so you know when the time is up…
Believe it or not, these were really truly very tasty once I cut the burnt tops off. They looked ok as well, once I turned them upside down. ≥^!^≤
The young woman at the little Korean grocery (Hyundai Asian Market) was arranging a display of pretty red sweet potatoes. They looked so fresh that two of them hopped into my basket before I knew it!

Oh sweet potato cakes!!

Mitsumame: a summer dessert

http://1tess.wordpress.comI’m looking through my window at the jungle our garden has become, at the bunches of pale green tomatoes hanging heavily in the cool sunlight. The trees and the house are casting shadows narrower and angled more northward than they did only a month ago. The sunlight is thinner after traveling through more air at a steeper angle, providing ever less warmth as we move closer to the equinox.

I’ll admit that today’s recipe is not suitable for my weather. It’s a light and refreshing Japanese sweet to be enjoyed on a hot and humid summer day. (ok, I’ll admit my posts have been sparse and I made this a month ago…) But it makes me happy that somewhere it is warm enough that this recipe will be just the perfect cooling dish to invigorate melting flagging spirits / appetites.

Japanese Menu for Six

http://1tess.wordpress.comA few weeks ago, we hosted a dinner for Mr. Tess’s “new” brother, his wife, their neice, and her boyfriend. We don’t know these folks very well, and I get nervous whenever we have guests. I wanted to have most of the dinner ready when they arrived, just in case an unanticipated kitchen disaster meant I’d have to resort to pizza delivery… Yes, Mr. Tess always tells me that it’s the company and not the food that is important, but none the less, I wanted to make a nice evening where things went according to plan.
My solution was a menu which I could prepare the evening or morning before, with only a small bit of close attention in the kitchen just before serving.

Chestnut Yanggaeng: Korean Candy

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The little Korean grocery store (Hyundai Asian Market) where I often shop, has a full aisle stocked with mysterious snacks and sweets.
This candy caught my eye because the package reminded me of a lacquered box filled with treasure. The chestnuts, just visible through the window on the front, seemed to glow through dark amber.
This is a sophisticated confection: the flavor of the red beans shines, and the chestnuts retain their distinct texture and taste. It is a lovely treat to serve with tea or ice cream.