The year I was born,my grandparents were doing the Peace Corps in Ghana, when she developed heart trouble. The doctors wanted to put her on heavy duty meds, with lots of side effects. She didn't want that, so she did a lot of research and landed on the Pritikin Diet. My whole childhood, she was a very strict adherent to this diet: no salt, no fat, no sugar. So, while most of you might have very fond memories of Grandma with cookies and treats, my food memories are a bit different. Canning my own no-sugar applesauce definitely makes me think of her. Fresh raspberries from her garden will always bring her to my thoughts. Today I made two other recipes that came from her.
Roasted Butternut Squash
A family favorite. My grandma's method was to peel the squash, which is a bit of a chore but you simply must do it. Turn the oven to 400. Scoop out the seeds, and cut the squash into giant disks or half-moons about 3/4" thick. My grandma didn't use oil, but I like to put a small amount of oil on the squash to lock in the moisture. Arrange the slices on a cooking sheet lined with tinfoil. (A silpat will not work - it will stick & won't caramelize as nicely). Cook for about 25 minutes, flip them over, and cook for another 25-30 minutes until very tender and caramelizing on the edges. Yummo!
Grandmommy's Persimmon Bread
A couple of years ago, my grandma brought this great persimmon bread to a holiday gathering. It's dense, spicy, moist, a little bitter and a little sweet. There's a great story behind this recipe. A friend of my grandma's sent it to her, and so my grandma made it right away, but found it to be very dry. So, she fussed with it and came up with something quite nice. Here's the email I got from my grandma after she spoke with her friend:
"Now about the bread. I emailed Sue and told her that the original recipe she sent was too dry to mix. She called today and we went over it. She said "Did you mix the 1/2 cup of butter and the cup of sugar first and add the three eggs?" She had left that out! Luckily. Well, we had a good laugh. She'll do it her way and I'll do it mine. gm"
I love you Grandmommy!
I'm sure that other way is awfully nice, but I really like this bread my grandma came up with, and especially for today I felt honor bound to stick to her fat-free, sugar-free recipe.
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil a loaf pan.
Puree in a food processor
1 nice orange, chopped up - peel and all
1/4 c sherry
1 c persimmon puree (approx 2 persimmons)
1 tsp baking soda
In another bowl, whisk together:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 each: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts, Grandma used almonds)
Bake for about 45-50 minutes, until moist, but not gooey.
I brushed on a little of the leftover glaze I had from the Pan de Muerto, which was a nice touch:
Glaze: Place 1/2 sugar, 1/3 cup orange juice and grated zest of 1 orange in a small saucepan. Boil 2 minutes. You could make a 1/4 of this recipe and it would suffice.