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From tart to sweet and back.

Don't dismiss the worth of persimmons

LIKE SLEEPING BEAUTY, the Hachiya persimmon was given all the graces but a wicked fairy laid a curse on it: the unripe fruit is so astringent that many people, once victimized by its puckery harshness, are unwilling to taste it again even after its ripeness is attested to by its softness. (Ripe fruits have the feel of water balloons that sportive college students drop from their dorm windows.) At the proper stage, these beautiful bags of sweetness not only are delicious when spooned up or slurped directly from their skins, but also make prime ingredients in baked goods like this splendid persimmon pudding.

Persimmon Pudding

1 1/2 cups ripe Hachiya-type persimmon pulp (about 3 large persimmons)

1 tablespoon baking soda

3 large eggs

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

About 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, melted

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup each all-purpose flour and whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)

1 cup chopped walnuts or almonds

Whipped cream (optional)

Whirl pulp smooth in a blender, or rub through a strainer into a small bowl. Stir baking soda into persimmon pulp; set aside (mixture gets firm and thickens as it stands; whirl or beat with a whisk to use).

In a large bowl, beat eggs with a mixer on high speed until foamy, then stir in persimmon mixture, sugar, 1/2 cup butter, milk, and vanilla; stir to blend. Mix all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; add to batter along with bulgur and nuts; mix well.

Scrape batter into a buttered 8-inch-diameter 2 1/2- or 3-quart souffle dish or casserole. Bake in a 325 |degrees~ oven until center springs back when firmly pressed, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, scooped into bowls. Add whipped cream to taste. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Per serving: 330 cal. (44 percent from fat); 6.1 g protein; 16 g fat (6.4 g sat.); 42 g carbo.; 491 mg sodium; 78 mg chol.

COLESLAW IS OFTEN thought of as a ho-hum kind of dish, the sort of thing offered as a dieter's substitute for french fries on the blue plate special.

No more: Janet Wood gives us Thai coleslaw, which brings the mystery of the East to the humble cabbage. (Not so humble at that; the cabbage is curly Savoy, supplemented by crunchy bok choy and rosy radicchio.) The hot, spicy, tart, and lean dressing has a truly Oriental complexity.

Thai Coleslaw

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup lime juice

1/4 cup drained, red-color slivered pickled ginger

2 small fresh serrano or jalapeno chilies, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped

1 tablespoon Oriental sesame oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)

1/2 teaspoon wasabi (green horseradish) powder

2 teaspoons sesame seed

About 1 pound bok choy

2 medium-size (about 6 oz. total) carrots

1 small (about 1/4-lb.) red onion

8 cups finely slivered Savoy or green cabbage

1 small (about 3-oz.) radicchio, finely slivered

In a small bowl, stir together vinegar, lime juice, pickled ginger, chilies, sesame oil, sugar, fish sauce, and wasabi powder; set aside.

In a 6- to 8-inch frying pan, shake sesame seed over medium heat until golden, about 3 minutes. Pour from pan and save.

Rinse and drain bok choy; discard bruised or wilted leaves. Thinly slice bok choy and carrots. Cut onion in half; thinly slice vertically.

In a large bowl, mix bok choy, carrots, onion, cabbage, radicchio, and vinegar mixture; sprinkle with sesame seed. Makes about 16 cups, 8 to 12 servings.

Per cup: 54 cal. (28 percent from fat); 2.2 g protein; 1.7 g fat (0.2 g sat.); 8.8 g carbo.; 57 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Chefs of the West; recipes
Author:Griffiths, Joan; Dunmire, Richard
Article Type:Column
Date:Oct 1, 1993
Previous Article:Return of spider bread.
Next Article:For snacks, garnishes - fry up "shatter leaves." (recipes)

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