persimmon gingersnap flips | a california state of mind

I guess you could say that I finally caught my breath. Just a breath. And it’s totally worth celebrating. It’s taken me nearly two months. Last Friday, I sneaked away for a couple of days and escaped to sunny Newport Beach with my friend, Kelly Pfeiffer. She was there to shoot some recipe videos. I was there to get out of my head and let my thoughts wander.

Kelly finished her shots, thanks to the talented hand of Haley Davis of Brewing Happiness. She truly works magic with the lens, and she’s just plain awesome to be around. We all laughed together at our antics between frames, we devoured every one of Kelly’s creations {a perk of on-site recipe shoots!}, and I took the opportunity to pair and share some wine with them.

The proverbial monkey is at least taking a break off of my back, and I feel somewhat recharged.

I brought a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic, along with me. It’s an intimate glimpse into Elizabeth’s journey through creativity, and through anecdotal stories, Elizabeth shares her tips on lively creatively beyond fear. I’d read it before, but I knew it needed a revisit, since I’d felt so drained and lethargic with respect to anything creative. I seem to flip through its pages whenever I’m on a trip, especially a trip that I’ve declared as a catalyst for change.

Do you ever wake up feeling like any of the ideas you’ve had have been played out? Or do you feel like no one really cares what you’re doing, so why bother posting about it or attempting it? Why learn that new skill you’ve been thinking about for months, when someone else has mastered it beyond your perceived talent?

These are questions that have plagued my mind lately. I’ve been so tired that I haven’t been able to do all that I’ve wanted to do, creatively. I battle the comparison battle, and I beat myself up, when I see others succeeding in their fields. I’m happy and supportive of those friends and acquaintances, and it’s not necessarily jealousy that rears its ugly head for me. It’s self-beratement. I am upset at what I haven’t been able to do. Or what I’ve been unable to get excited about.

It’s a nasty cycle.


“…I finally realized that this was a really weird battle for me to be fighting. Defending my weakness? That’s seriously the hill I wanted to die on?
As the saying goes: ‘Argue for your limitations, and you will get to keep them.
Why would I want to keep my limitations?’
I didn’t, as it turned out.
I don’t want you keeping yours, either.”

— Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic


More on how I’m trying to silence that progression of words and those self-limiting phrases in a moment. First, I’m going to share an unlikely recipe, one that is truly a sum of its parts, a persimmon and gingersnap flip. It was a happy accident. I was originally going to make a persimmon margarita or an Old Fashioned-like tipple, but after I read through Imbibe Magazine‘s latest holiday issue and noticed some egg-based cocktails I dog-eared for later, I changed my vantage point.

Have you ever used persimmons in a cocktail before? The fruit, itself, is a winter arrival that has both a sweet and sour feel, earthy notes, and, depending upon the variety and level of ripeness, textures that vary from under-ripened tomatoes to a velvety bite into a cantaloupe. Due to their astringent nature, it’s better to add plenty of sugar and a lot of spices to them to bring a little balance.

Allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

Those autumnal spices, along with some cane sugar, made their way into a savory-sweet purée that worked magically with the dreamy-thick texture of fresh eggs, the fiery bite of rye whiskey, and the bright, crispness of applejack. I didn’t set out to create a cocktail that tasted almost identically to a gingersnap cookie, but I wasn’t upset about it, either.


persimmon purée


  • 2 persimmons, stems removed and coarsely chopped {I used Fuyu persimmons}
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick, coarsely smashed
  • 1 star anise pod
  1. In a blender {I used my Vitamix}, combine the persimmons, water, sugar, and lemon zest. Process, beginning on the lowest setting and increasing to the highest, for about one minute, until the texture is smooth and free of any large lumps.
  2. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and turn the heat to low.
  3. Add the cinnamon stick bits and the star anise pod and stir, letting the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring along the way, and never allowing the mixture to reach a heavy boil.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  5. Remove the cinnamon sticks and star anise pods and discard.
  6. If desired, run the cooked and cooled mixture through the blender again, in case you left any lumps.
  7. Refrigerate and store in the fridge for up to one week.
  • If you’ve made persimmon purées before, you may have noticed that puréeing them yields an almost gum-like, gelatinous texture. Cooking them down in this manner reduces that texture.
  • There are two varieties of persimmons that pop up at markets this time of year: Fuyu and Hachiya. Fuyus are squat and look more like little tomatoes. They are much less “astringent” or tannic than their Hachiya sisters. If you only have access to the more cone-shaped Hachiyas, that’s fine. Simply let them fully ripen – until they are nearly mushy – so that they are sweet enough to enjoy.

persimmon gingersnap flip


  • 3/4 ounce rye whiskey {I used Redemption Rye}
  • 3/4 ounce applejack {I used Laird’s}
  • 1/2 ounce Cardamaro
  • 1 bar spoon allspice dram {mine is house-made, get the recipe here}
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 1/2 persimmon purée
  • nutmeg, for garnish
  1. In a mixing tin, combine the rye whiskey or bourbon, applejack, Cardamaro, allspice dram, whole egg, and persimmon purée.
  2. Cover and give a hard, dry shake for 30 seconds.
  3. Now add ice and shake another 20 seconds, frothing up the cocktail and chilling it down.
  4. Strain into coupes and dust with a little nutmeg.

I wrote about Gilbert’s book and included some of her most impactful quotes because this cocktail was a lesson in finding creativity in the midst of stress. The moment I let go – in my creative process and on my trip – my stress loosened its grip on my mind. Doing so allowed for more thoughts to pop up and ideas to surge. I allowed them, even if they didn’t seem right, at first.

I also took a cue from my body and “let myself go” this past weekend. I met two new friends and their families, visited a few new-to-me restaurants, watched the super moon rise, got up before dawn to see the sunrise on Newport Beach, went to bed at reasonable hours, listened to someone else’s story, took in the sights on the pier, and found joy in seeing the creative process in action during Kelly and Haley’s shoots.

Despite the stress of the business, despite the headaches, despite the lack of sleep.


“We must risk delight.
We must have the stubbornness
to accept our gladness
in the ruthless furnace of this world.”

—  Jack Gilbert


I hope you give this cocktail a go. I love how it tastes exactly like a gingersnap cookie, bread-like tones and all, and it doesn’t contain all of the components of the cookie, itself. Have a beautiful holiday season! I have some exciting recipes in the works for the next couple of weeks.

Stay well and do your mightiest to dive in to your creative flow!!

XO,

Jayme

PS – A special thanks to Zephyros Farm and Garden here in Paonia, Colorado, for growing such beautiful flowers. I purchased this dried bouquet back at the end of their season, and its gorgeousness is still going strong. If you’re ever in the area, their expansive dahlia-centric garden is not-to-be-missed.

 

6 thoughts on “persimmon gingersnap flips | a california state of mind

  1. Laura

    Your work is beautiful, as is your desire to share the challenges that seem to go hand-in-hand with a creative life. The more compassion you can show yourself, the more you will flourish. Look at that big beautiful super moon—she does not rise every night but, when she does, it’s spectacular! xo

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  2. Joan Steese

    My creative energies have been lacking also, since I have had a virus that has lasted 3 weeks so far! But, I’m heading to CA tomorrow also for Chad’s graduation from Cal Poly!! So, happy you enjoyed your trip. You and Steve have been working SO hard!! Love, Mom

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  3. christine / my natural kitchen

    Jayme! I honestly wanted to just let you know that your work sticks out to me as so creative and so special – you come up with such delicious-sounding, beautiful and inspiring combinations and I’m often left in awe. No cocktail creation I’ve ever come up with can even compare. It seems like a good moment to let you know all of this … your words, and the quote from Elizabeth Gilbert that you shared really resonated with me. I get really frustrated with myself for not having time to post as consistently as I’d like and can work myself into a bit of a hole of “why bother”. I kind of wonder if many of us have these moments, but I’m with you on genuinely being happy for my friends in this blogging world who create such magic and avoiding the comparison games.
    Sending a big hug and a high five that you created this gorgeousness even in the midst of stress/busyness/lack of sleep! xo

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  4. paulathomas2015

    It’s a trying journey to keep oneself from self-dissapointment, but if it is any consolation it is also the road to deeper self-awareness. I share your feeling of despair of a constant struggle with the mind and its constant chatter, which has taken me to some other books like “The Untethered Soul,” by Michael Singer, and the classic “The Artist Way,” by Julia Cameron, even though each book tackles a different subject, both prompt the reader to confront the nagging voice in our heads, to allow us to find our true self.
    From this angle I see your increasing creativity and the beauty you put out to the world, never stop, it doesn’t matter who’s paying attention or not, all it matters is that it makes you happy 🙂

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  5. Pingback: Wallflower Weekly Finds, 144 - Cooking with a Wallflower

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