Writing a Cookbook: Sauteed Persimmons

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

-Something without pasta. Thank god.-

Writing a cookbook is an interesting venture. Things are often unpredictable, which is both exhilarating and somewhat exhausting.

Take, for example, the speed at which things move in the publishing world. Sometimes things go achingly slow like the near year it took to cobble together a proposal that Stephanie and I were proud to put our names to. At other times things move at breakneck speed like when we actually sold the book during a hurricane three-day publisher bidding war that literally kept me tied to my phone and e-mail for a good 72 hours.

Details are insane. I'm learning publishing slang. I'm doing my best to go over each recipe with a fine tooth comb only to come back the next day and find new details I forgot to include. I'm familiarizing myself with copyright laws. The contracts are so long and confusing they practically cause vertigo and require steady footing, not to mention reliable people at your back to prop you up and hold a magnifying glass for that print under the dotted line you're so eager to sign. Lucky, the peeps at Little, Brown and Company and my agent, Janis Donnaud, are all kick ass people who I know have my back.

Organization is key. Numerous spreadsheets have been crafted, accounts created, and documents shared. There are notebooks. Literally notebooks. Plural. To keep things in check.

In fact, this organization has been crazy especially when it comes to the many and beloved testers I am so happy to be working with. When Stephanie and I put out a call for volunteer testers we expected a humble number of emails to eek their way to us.

We definitely did not expect 300+ volunteers.

-Words cannot express my shock and gratitude.-

To all the testers out there who are currently testing or waiting to test a recipe, know that we adore you. You guys are the heroes of this book. The organization is stressful but worth it as I've had an amazing privilege to get to know many of you personally as you share stories with me and we converse about cooking, cheese, and our families. We love every typo you find, every recipe quirk, and we adore the great feedback were getting (almost all of it positive).

I know many of you have sent e-mails to us wanting to test a recipe and are still waiting for a response! I beg your patience. Between blogging, my day job, moving, the wedding, and cooking and testing it's been hard to get through the deluge of e-mails I have coming in like a digital tsunami. Know that it's a current I am slowly swimming against and that I will address each and every one in the coming weeks.

And the testing itself!? What a whirlwind! There have been some amazing things coming out of this kitchen. Ingredients like persimmons, truffle oil, arugula, vanilla beans, shallots, and guanciale have all had a place here and each one warmly admitted to the fold like a new member marrying into the family (Ack! The wedding similes are creeping in!).

Admittedly, there has been one or two recipes that have given off an indolent thud as they hit the bottom of the trash can, never to see the light of day. The good with the bad and all that noise.

Oh, but the cheeses. *Sigh* The cheeses...

Sure, my cheese bill may have been more than my rent this month, but it is so worth it. Dolcelatte, Keen's Cheddar, Abbaye del Be'loc, Feta, Nicasio Square, Gruyere, Point Reyes, and chalk-white slabs of Monte Enebro have all had a chance to dance on my plate.

All this cooking has shown me one thing. Our proposal, agent, publisher, and even Steph and I were wrong. This won't be a great cookbook. It'll be one hell of a cookbook; one that won't just provide recipes, but also educate, surprise, and entertain.

-It will also raise your children for you!-

Of course, there is a downside to all of this cheese cookery.

Eating tons and tons of cheese. I mean, yeah, it sounds really awesome to be eating cheese-based dishes every other night. Usually it is.

But four nights a week? And having the leftovers for lunch the next day? That much pasta and cheese begins to weigh down on you a bit. Literally.

Given, we try to have company over to help us eat. It's open invite in my corner of Sacramento. Hungry? Come on over! I'll be here cooking. As usual. Sadly, I can't always get help.

Some nights, honestly, I just want some fruits and vegetables. Something light and simple. Something without carbs or b├ęchamel.

Today that amounted to persimmons, lightly sauteed in a bit of olive oil and thyme. I did top it all off with a bit of cheese. I do have scads of it, after all. It was satiating, simple, and delightfully well rounded. A perfect side dish or relaxing midday meal.

Tomorrow it's back to the book.

If you're interested in keeping up with what's going on with the book I encourage you to go to the book's new Facebook Page and Like it. Stephanie and I (and our publisher) will love you forever for it.

Lastly, the winners for the Maple Syrup Sampler Package from The Federadtion of Quebec Maple Farmers are Dee (who runs the blog, Delicious Sweets) and Corrine (aka Wrynne). Please be sure to e-mail me your full name, address, and phone number so we can get your maple syrup samplers to you!

Sauteed Persimmons
3 persimmons, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper
2 ounces hard cheese such as Keen's Cheddar, Piave, or Parmesan

Place the persimmons, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for about 8-12 minute or until the persimmon begins to sear on the sides. Take off heat and shred the cheese over the persimmons. Serve.


  1. Love your blog!

    I'm very excited about this cookbook given my extreme obsession with macaroni and cheese--I've been perfecting my own version for years, keeping detailed notes in my "laboratory manual" when I change up the variety of cheese or pasta, etc.

    Also, thanks for the persimmon posts lately--we are inundated with them at our house and I'm out of ideas to use them. We will definitely have these for dinner tonight.

  2. I've only ever made sweets with persimmons. I'm intrigued to try them savory. Thanks for being one of the few bloggers who is posting persimmon recipes.

    I love the name of the cookbook. I can't wait to see it.

    Also, I'm super psyched to be the winner of the syrups! Woot! Thank you :)

  3. Can't wait to see the cookbook. Your marshmallow recipe for a base has made me an addict...and I took my office down with me :)

    Congrats on the engagement!

  4. Maybe you're just not drinking enough wine to cut through all the cheese. I live in Sac, and would love some cheese and pasta, ahem.

    I found your blog through Hunter Angler etc, I really like the stories you tell. Also, the humor of the picture captions.

    Oh, and congratulations on the engagement!

  5. Cookbook writing has always been a wondrous fantasy of mine but my goodness all the work it must take! It all sounds so exhausting! But at least there's cheese, right?

  6. I love hearing about this whole process. Hard work, no doubt, but so exciting, too!

  7. Just found your blog through Google Plus and bookmarked it right away.

    The cookbook sounds great. What an exciting time. Enjoy it!

  8. Love every minute of it! We are so excited for you!

  9. Never would of thought of persimmons as anything but a dessert, interesting. Thanks for a new recipe to try.

  10. I am in the process of writing a cookbook as well. It is so nice to hear another persons struggles with the whole process. Thanks for the fellowship.

  11. Cookbook writing sounds incredibly stressful! Hopefully you can find more people to help with the cheese, especially as it gets to be comfort food weather... I've found co-workers to be good for pawning off food. ;)

    In regards to the persimmons recipe, would this be best with ripe persimmons or can I cook a couple of the rock-hard ones I just bought and am waiting to ripen?

  12. Yoli: You can use the hard ones, no worries. =)


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