How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways.

shakespeare in love

My apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  While thinking about love poems the other night, her sonnet was the first that came to mind.  Except that I was thinking Shakespeare wrote it.

How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways. 
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height 
My soul can reach….

I did get this sonnet by Shakespeare attributed correctly (#116):

Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken….

Then I remembered the gorgeous and sad and possibly-too-relevant love poem “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold:

Ah, love, let us be true 
To one another! for the world, which seems 
To lie before us like a land of dreams, 
So various, so beautiful, so new….

Why love poems?  After all, Valentine’s Day is a long ways off.  Well, come late fall I’m feeling more than a little sad about the absence of delicious peaches and nectarines, plums and strawberries, blackberries, melons and even blueberries.  And only two things relieve that sadness: the appearance of pomegranates and persimmons in the markets.  I LOVE them!  I should write a poem about them!

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It’s November; no plums in the markets.  Thanks, Sara D, for the photo.

Actually, I don’t need to write a pomegranate poem.  Kahlil Gibran has already written the perfect piece about the fruit.  Bear with me (as the pomegranate tree doth bear her fruit :)) – and take time to read his essay.  It’s thought-provoking, relevant, and will make you smile.  I may start looking into quince.

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Thanks, again,  Sara D,  for the nice pomegranate photo!

The Pomegranate

Once when I was living in the heart of a pomegranate, I heard a seed
saying, “Someday I shall become a tree, and the wind will sing in
my branches, and the sun will dance on my leaves, and I shall be
strong and beautiful through all the seasons.”

Then another seed spoke and said, “When I was as young as you, I
too held such views; but now that I can weigh and measure things,
I see that my hopes were vain.”

And a third seed spoke also, “I see in us nothing that promises so
great a future.”

And a fourth said, “But what a mockery our life would be, without
a greater future!”

Said a fifth, “Why dispute what we shall be, when we know not even
what we are.”

But a sixth replied, “Whatever we are, that we shall continue to

And a seventh said, “I have such a clear idea how everything will
be, but I cannot put it into words.”

Then an eight spoke—and a ninth—and a tenth—and then many—until
all were speaking, and I could distinguish nothing for the many

And so I moved that very day into the heart of a quince, where the
seeds are few and almost silent.

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Quiet Time with Quince


I believe that Gibran’s little essay might be the perfect topic for a Thanksgiving dinner discussion.  Andy believes he has the perfect solution for transporting Thanksgiving pies and staying out of jail (see today’s Andy’s Corner).

And now to the recipes.

While it’s obvious that pomegranate seeds are beautiful as a topping for almost any salad – and even meat and vegetable dishes, they’re also wonderful incorporated into a dish.

If you haven’t already figured out the one-and-only easy way to de-seed the pomegranate, check out Jamie Oliver’s 1 minute video.

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Barley and Pomegranate Salad

Barley and Pomegranate Salad

Recipe adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty

  • 1 cup pearl  barley
  • 6 celery stalks (leaves picked and reserved, stalks cut into small dice)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 -3/4 tsp ground allspice (to taste)
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped dill
  • seeds of 2 pomegranates (this may seem like a lot – but it’s the right amount)

Rinse the barley then place in a medium pan, cover with water (about 2″ above the barley) and cook until tender, 30 – 35 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Drain barley and transfer to a bowl. While it is still hot, add celery, oil, vinegar, garlic, allspice, salt and pepper and mix well. Let cool, then add herbs and pomegranate seeds. Taste and adjust seasoning.

This salad, refrigerated, will keep nicely for a couple of days.  Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.



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Sweet Potato and Pomegranate Salad

Sweet Potato and Pomegranate Salad

We suggest using this gorgeous salad to shake up the holiday menu routine. Why do sweet potatoes always have to be baked in a casserole – and with marshmallows?!  Adapted from

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 c pepitas (pumpkin seeds); I use store-bought roasted & salted seeds
  • 1/2 c feta cheese, crumbled


  • 1 T pomegranate juice (from seeding the pomegranate – but can be omitted)
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T pomegranate molasses – or honey
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt – or to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss until sweet potatoes are well coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Remove from oven.

Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Add pomegranate seeds, pepitas, and feta cheese.

In a small bowl, whisk together pomegranate juice, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses,(or honey), olive oil, and salt. Drizzle dressing over sweet potato salad. Gently toss. Serve immediately.

If you’re not serving the salad right away, wait until dinner time to toss it all together and add the dressing. Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.
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“P is for Persimmon Tree” from An Alphabet by Walter Anderson, one of our favorite artists

When buying persimmons be sure you know which variety you’re getting.  Fuyu are good raw (and they’re flatter and generally lighter orange) and Hachiya are more acorn shaped, darker, and must be totally mushy soft before they’re used – and are an acquired taste raw – and gelatinous –  but are fabulous in baked goods, such as steamed persimmon pudding (recipe to come one day).

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Lovely photo of Hachiya persimmons advertised on our local Facebook Marketplace


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Fuyu persimmons

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Persimmon and Arugula Salad

Persimmon and Arugula Salad

Whatever nuts you use might be enhanced by the roasting, but don’t fret if you don’t have time.  Just chop up the nuts – and use them fresh.

  • 2/3 c hazelnuts (or pecans), coarsely chopped (if you skip the toasting of the nuts, life will go on)
  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
    1/3 c apple cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2 small Fuyu persimmons, peeled and thinly sliced
  • about 8 oz arugula (or kale, chopped and massaged with 1 T olive oil)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until they smell nutty and are lightly browned. When the nuts have cooled, chop them coarsely.

Place the shallots, vinegar, honey, mustard and salt in a bowl and let sit 5 minutes.  Remove the shallots from the marinade.  Whisk the olive oil into the marinade. In a large salad bowl, toss the persimmons and marinated shallots with the dressing, adding a little at a time until the taste is right.  Mix in the arugula and taste for seasoning. Arrange the salad on a platter and scatter the hazelnuts over the top.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.
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Pomegranate and Fuyu Persimmon Salad

Pomegranate and Fuyu Persimmon Salad

A simple, beautiful, and delicious fall and winter dish! Recipe adapted from Russ Parsons, former long-time food editor for the Los Angeles Times.

  • 2 pounds Fuyu persimmons, peeled (optional) and sliced into wedges
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 serrano chile, seeded and minced (add gradually due to the varying degrees of hotness found in chiles)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 T walnut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/4 c pomegranate seeds
  • 3 T chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 T chopped cilantro

Combine the lime juice, cumin, about half of the chile, a dash of salt and the walnut oil. Tightly cover and shake hard to mix well. Taste the dressing on a small piece of persimmon.

Combine the persimmons and the dressing in a bowl and toss to coat well. Turn the salad out into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds, walnuts and cilantro. Taste and add more salt or lime juice if necessary.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.




    1. David Ewing says:

      Our young pomegranate tree began producing this year–what a blessing!

      Mole de Granada
      (Pomegranate Mole), por David Ewing
      3 golf ball-sized tomatillos
      ½ medium yellow onion
      3 cloves garlic
      6 ancho chiles
      6 guajillo chiles
      ½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
      ¼ cup pomegranate molasses [recipe: 1 quart pomegranate juice and 2/3 cup sugar, boiled until reduced to 1 cup. I cannot imagine juicing the pomegranates–buy a bottle of the stuff at Sprouts, for chrissake.]
      ¼ cup grated Mexican chocolate tablet (the kind with a little canela and piloncillo in it, like I got from Rancho Gordo—but probably Abuelita’s or even Hershey’s cocoa powder would work)
      1 tbsp Better than Bullion® roasted chicken base
      3 allspice berries, 1½ tsp cumin seeds, ¾ tsp coriander seeds, 2 cloves, ½ cinnamon stick, 8 black peppercorns, salt

      Peel and wash the tomatillos and cut in half.
      Peel the onion and cut into ½ inch rounds.
      Broil the tomatillos, onion and unpeeled garlic or cook on the comal until charred pretty good.
      Wash and devein the chiles, then toast 30 sec on a hot comal (or dry skillet). [If you have a megablender, you don’t have to be too fastidious about getting all the seeds out.]
      Toast the pumpkin seeds if they are not already toasted.
      Cover the chiles with a couple of cups of boiling water and let soak until soft, about 15 minutes.
      Put everything in the megablender (including the chile soaking water) and liquefy the bejeezus out of it–add enough water to give a texture that suits you.
      Fry/boil the sauce for ten or fifteen minutes. [This means pour it into a hot cook’s pan with a couple tablespoons of hot oil in it so that it splatters all over your stove top and shirt, then let it simmer. I’m not sure why this is done, but Mexicans always seem to do it.]

      Ooops. Forgot to peel the roasted garlic. No matter, the megablender covers all sins.
      Use the sauce for enchiladas or chiles rellenos or what have you, and then garnish with a bunch of raw pomegranate arils. (Pomegranates don’t have seeds; they have arils. Who knew?)

      Use the sauce for enchiladas or chiles rellenos or chicken or what have you, and then garnish with a bunch of raw pomegranate arils. (Pomegranates don’t have seeds; they have arils. Who knew?)


    2. I’ve always liked this one despite its absence of pomegranate imagery. It reminds me of a beloved former girlfriend.

      Sonnet 30: When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought

      When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
      I summon up remembrance of things past,
      I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
      And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
      Then can I drown an eye, unus’d to flow,
      For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
      And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe,
      And moan th’ expense of many a vanish’d sight;
      Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
      And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
      The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
      Which I new pay as if not paid before.
      But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
      All losses are restor’d, and sorrows end.

      ––William Shakespeare


      • theRaggedys says:

        Thanks for the very appropriate and beautiful passage. Incidentally, Shakespeare was born on the same day of the year as was I (that should count for something). Also, somewhat ironically, I just finished reading Julie Schumacher’s The Shakespeare Requirement, a very funny satire of the trend in academia to squeeze out the humanities in favor of the “harder” sciences.


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