Fall Forage: Cooking with Pomegranates

 

When isn’t it a good time to think about food and flowers? And this time of year, with the anticipation of a Thanksgiving meal at hand, the cravings are keen with a bee-line toward fresh and seasonal. What amazing somethings can I add to the list?

In need of inspiration, I went outside. What’s growing out there and what can I do with it? My neighbor’s tree is bursting with persimmons, I’m sure I can glean a few. The fennel is flowering and going to seed, setting new bulbs and preparing for spring, plenty there to use liberally. The marigolds, Tagetes lemonii, while stinky, are bursting with color and are a perfect pick-me-up during these short days. Plus greens for garlands or even a gin tea, olives for brining and this lonely pomegranate from my newest addition to a growing container garden.

Two things I quickly realized: one, how refreshing it is to walk through the neighborhood simply to take note of what is growing and two, it’s time to approach an old recipe with fresh eyes. With that in mind, I’ve decided on a short list of pomegranate themed fall dishes and beverages.

Fall Green Salad with Fuyu Persimmons and Pomegranate Seeds

What You Need:

  • Dark, leafy greens. Arugula, chard, kale, Mizunas, oak leafs or whatever is on hand
  • 1/2 seeded pomegranate
  • 1 Fuyu persimmon sliced into thin wedges
  • 1 handful nuts: sliced almonds, walnuts or seeds
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup crumbled cheese: feta, chèvre or blue cheese
  • White wine, lemon and olive oil dressing with salt and pepper

What You Do:

  • Clean the greens, chop the veggies and toss in a bowl with the dressing.
  • Add avocado to live large.
  • To make the dressing mix 1/3 white wine vinegar to 2/3 olive oil with 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon. Add fresh ground salt and pepper to taste. Shake or stir well before tossing with veggies.
  • Serve immediately.

Beet Salad with Pomegranate Seeds

What You Need:

  • 3 to 4 large beets
  • 1/2 seeded pomegranate
  • 1/2 cup fresh red onion, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • Red wine vinegar, olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon, salt and pepper
  • Fresh greens such as arugula
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

What You Do:

  • Cut beets in bite sized cubes or wedges, slice onions and place in a baking pan with about 1/4 to 1/2 inch water. Cover with foil and roast at 350 degrees until soft.
  • Remove beets and onions from heat, drain off water and let cool.
  • Wash greens.
  • Mix 1/3 red wine vinegar, 2/3 olive oil, 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon, pomegranate juice, fresh ground salt and pepper.
  • Toss beet and onion mixture, pomegranate seeds and dressing together.
  • Serve over greens and top with feta cheese.

Pomegranate Gin Fizz

What You Need:

  •  1/2 cup gin
  • 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon
  • 2 Tbsp fresh pomegranate juice
  • Club soda (or tonic if you can’t live without it)
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1/2 pomegranate, seeded
  • ice

What You Do:

  • Mix gin, lemon and pomegranate juice and soda water
  • Shake with ice or serve over ice
  • Garnish with a rosemary sprig and pomegranate seeds

As with all my recipes, I change them as I go depending on what’s at hand, what’s fresh or the mood I’m in. Give these a whirl and let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear about any additions or changes you make.

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