so again, what do you do with 30 pounds of pears..two days before the labor day holiday..when you have friends scheduled to visit each day of the weekend..and you have already planned all the menus? if you are like me, you begin adjusting fast..because a gift like this is too amazing to go to waste.
now..did you notice that earlier i described the fruit as small, round and yellow/orange? not the usual description for pears.. these are asian pears which are a bit crisper than their european counterparts..kind of a cross between a pear and an apple...and they are perfect for many types of recipes. i love them in salads..and alternated between two versions during the weekend..i do not really follow recipes for salads..just use the amount you like of each ingredient..but the basics are as follows:
fresh pear with romaine & parmesan
diced fresh pear
thinly sliced red onion
shaved parmesan cheese
toss together all ingredients with vinaigrette...
1/2 c lemon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup champagne or sparkling wine vinegar
freshly cracked pepper
combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar and shake well. lightly coat salad with dressing..leftover vinaigrette may be kept in the refrigerator..use within a few days for best taste.
another version is to substitute the walnuts for pine nuts and the parmesan for blue cheese. i use a balsamic vinegar vinaigrette on this one..same proportions..just use regular e.v.o.o. and balsamic vinegar...
i spent the weekend experimenting with pear recipes..poached them in wine, grilled them and served with fruit balsamic vinegars, made a pear tart..pear compote..pear cobbler..you name it. for inspiration i asked my twitter pals for their favorite recipes. now, if you are not familiar with twitter, i describe it as an on-line social network..where you answer the question "what are you doing?" in 140 characters. fellow twitterers sign up to "follow" you..and you sign up to follow people that interest you. one day soon i will write a post about twitter..i find it very interesting..and incredibly educational... the folks i follow are primarily foodies..chefs, food bloggers, home cooks, and people involved in green, eco-friendly lifestyles. they are an extremely knowledgeable bunch of people..and very, very generous with their help, tips and advice. suggestions for my pears came pouring in..i have so many recipes to try i can write another pear story..pear vinegar, pear brandy, roasted pears, pear appetizers..you name it... my absolute favorite came from @davina. she lives in italy and has sent me a number of delicious sounding recipes. her pear idea is for raviolis filled with sheep ricotta, grated parmesan, a bit of brie and tiny cubes of peeled pears... the raviolis are served topped with dots of butter and a parmesan cheese sauce...how great does that sound?? i plan to make this dish soon and promise to post the actual recipe once i figure it out..she just sent me the ingredients. for those of you on twitter, i invite you to follow me. ..and check out the people i follow..they are terrific..
so back to my richard story..we were talking about the pears and he suggested i add some pear items to my list of gourmet food items i will soon be making and selling on my website. i told him that only produce grown at the farmhouse could be used...so, what did he do? the next day, i came home to find a pear tree on my front porch..he actually bought me a pear tree! who does that? i told you..my world after corporate life is more interesting then i could ever have imagined...
now..after planting a pear tree this weekend (!!)..and experimenting with countless pear recipes..i realized that it is fruit week at the food fests for everyday food and away to garden..how timely is that? i decided to post the recipe that garnered the most raves this weekend.... i love combining pears with chocolate..so i created a recipe for spiced pear cupcakes with a chocolate glaze...this is the kind of recipe that..based on the quantity eaten..you know is a hit... friends and family ate multiple cupcakes..and asked for more to take home...yes..i baked a lot this weekend..but it was so worth it..give the cupcakes a try..and please let me know what you think...and don't forget to check out the everyday food and away to garden blogs this week for tons of terrific fruit recipes..
fresh pear cupcakes with chocolate glaze
4 cups fresh pears (cored and roughly chopped)
1 cup walnuts (chopped)
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp melted butter
3-4 tbsp boiling water
1/8 tsp instant coffee crystals
combine pear, white and brown sugar and walnuts in a medium sized bowl. let stand about an hour. (do not skip this step..this adds to the incredible moistness of these cupcakes).
preheat oven to 350 degrees. spray cupcake pan with cooking spray..add paper cupcake liners and spray again.
meanwhile, in a separate bowl, sift together the remaining dry ingredients. add to the pear mixture and stir until just combined. add the eggs, oil, and vanilla and stir until combined. **note, i use a wooden spoon..not a mixer for the recipe..if you use a mixer, be careful not to over beat***
fill cupcake sections until even with the top. bake 30-35 minutes until tester inserted in center of cupcakes comes out clean. remove from pan and cool on rack. whisk together all chocolate glaze ingredients in small bowl until glaze is smooth and shiny. place a dollop of chocolate glaze on the top of each cupcake.
so..one last time..what do you do with 30 pounds of pears..and more on their way? happily..i love the process of figuring out the answer to the question..but i could use your help..please add your favorite pear recipes to the comments section of this post...i will keep adding additional recipes too...so check back often..
napa farmhouse 1885™
"live a green life of style"™