pomegranate: 4 posts

Pomegranate and Orange Blossom

Along with blood oranges, quince and yuzu, pomegranates make me anticipate winter. Their season starts in the autumn and continues even when our northern European lands enter the somber grey days of February. Most of the pomegranates in Belgium come from Turkey, but I’ve discovered that Spanish and Californian fruit has the best taste, a rich melange of sour, sweet and mildly tannic notes that calls to mind red wine and Cornelian cherries.

To select a good pomegranate, look for a glossy, heavy fruit that doesn’t have soft spots. Different varieties of pomegranates range from dark red to pale pink, so pick the richest colored fruit from the batch. Opening a pomegranate holds a sense of suspense–what will it hold inside its leathery skin? The moment when the orb breaks open to reveal the segments full of garnet beads is a small wonder. I’ve opened hundreds of pomegranates in my life, but this giddy delight never lessens.

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Spinach with Pomegranate Molasses, Honey and Caramelized Onions

While we’re at the tail end of our cold spring days–or so I hope, I still crave warm, rich flavors. On hot summer days, I often steam spinach and then dress it lightly with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, but when I arrive home soaked with rain, I want something more comforting. That’s how spinach ends up married to pomegranate molasses and honey in my kitchen. It’s a light dish, but its flavor is bold and lush.

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Pomegranate molasses is a trendy ingredient right now with chefs, but it’s a traditional ingredient in Eastern countries, from Turkey to Iran. I first tried it at the table of my Azeri relatives, and I’ve been in love ever since. In Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic on the Caspian Sea, this tart condiment is commonly served as a dipping sauce and in numerous vegetable preparations. In the Ukraine of my childhood, where mayonnaise was the most exotic condiment, it seemed like something out of One Thousand and One Nights. But before long it became as ubiquitous in my pantry as mustard.
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Autumnal Scents and Tastes

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The enjoyment of delicious food and beautiful scents are among life’s most wonderful pleasures, and in fact, these pleasures are tightly linked. Imagine holding a ripe yellow pear in your hand. Bring it to your nose and inhale the scent of its skin. The rush of fruity notes with their lemon and banana nuances will hit you almost immediately. Now take a bite. As you swallow, the caramel and milky notes become more evident. Finally, you might even notice some lingering almond nougat sweetness. Voilà, a fragrance pyramid on the tip of your tongue! To celebrate such simple pleasures, I would like to share some highlights of autumnal scents and flavors, seasonal delights that make me forget shortened days, colder nights and rainy mornings. Whether these pleasures include a luscious chestnut montblanc, quince stewed till it turns ambery-red, decadent persimmon jelly, julienned turnips tossed with pomegranate seeds or a slice of pumpkin flan, they are as much about fragrance as about flavor. I hope that this list along with suggested flavor affinities (some of which I found during my perfumery raw material training) will provide some inspiration to explore new pairings.

Quinces

I find quince to be the most marvelously perfumed fruit, rivaling fresh strawberries and peaches. Its fragrance is a combination of violet, rose, caramel, apricot, and licorice with a hint of vanilla, sandalwood and jasmine. While it cannot be eaten raw, cooked quince, which turns from ivory to ruby red, offers plenty of culinary possibilities. Toss peeled halves in lemon juice, cover with a scented sugar syrup (1 cup sugar, 2 cups water, 2 cloves, vanilla, which is enough for 4 quinces) and either simmer it gently or bake it at 300F till the fruit softens. Let it cool in its juices and store in the fridge. Prepared this way, quince can be eaten Turkish style garnished with clotted cream and chopped walnuts. It is also delicious used in pies, crumbles, and sorbets; served along with cheese, yogurt or ice cream, roast duck or lamb.

Flavor affinities: sweet spices (cinnamon, clove, vanilla, nutmeg, star anise), cardamom, bay leaf, dried figs, apples, sheep milk cheese, rosewater, brown sugar, caramel, brandy, pistachios, walnuts.

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Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir and Calvin Klein Euphoria : Perfume Reviews

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Pomegranate_2

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

The most autumnal of visions are the pyramids of pomegranates arranged at the markets beginning in September. I would find myself drawn to the stalls filled with red orbs reflecting shimmering light of a chilly golden morning. Each tiny ruby jewel contained within tough leathery skin is an explosion of tart flavor that is reminiscent of grapes crossed with plums. Therefore, the appearance of pomegranate notes in the fall releases is quite appropriate given the autumnal nature of the fruit. The scent of pomegranate is subtle, yet distinct, twisting the green powdery fragrance of its skin around the sweet-tart and winey aroma of the seeds. Two recent releases focus on the pomegranate notes, with Jo Malone offering a dry minimalist variant and Calvin Klein providing a more exotic and creamier arrangement. ….

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