Thursday, October 21, 2010

pear recipes, canadian t-day, a cleanse & jury duty...what?

it is pear week at fall fest...and once again i am a bit late with my post. it has been quite a week! sunday was our napa "canadian thanksgiving" dinner. i am not canadian...and the actual holiday was a week earlier...but hey...what can i say? we celebrated! long time readers know that this tradition started a few years ago. some friends moved to napa from canada for work and we all wanted to ensure they were not homesick during this holiday. canadian thanksgiving is very similar to ours...a celebration of harvest...but without the pilgrims. read three thanksgivings and a recipe for pb&j cookies to learn a bit more about this annual napa event.
this year we started with a book club meeting at laura and jay's for the eight book club members...then family and friends arrived for dinner growing the attendees to 30 people. the meal was superb...turkey, dressing and all the trimmings (i contributed marinated eggplant and a roasted green been & garlic another time), dessert and...being napa after all...massive quantities of amazing wine. this was also a bit of a "last supper" because many of us were starting a "cleanse" the next day.
so sunday: canadian thanksgiving. monday: the start of a thirty day "community cleanse". my friend laura (and the hostess for canadian thanksgiving) is a cancer survivor. she attributes part of her recovery to an extremely healthy diet. in her words: "In the end, hard-core nutrition, positive thinking, emotional corrections, and a new-found faith in myself and the unknown, resulted (finally) in the disappearance of two tumors from my chest. (I prefer the word tumor – it sounds less scary than the word cancer). " so laura started a blog called the healthy junkie where she launched a thirty day community cleanse. community because she felt it would be more fun, and the odds of success greater, if individuals had the support of other "cleansers". the cleanse involves eliminating white flour, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, dairy, white rice/grains and processed or hydrogenated foods from your diet. she purposely picked monday, the day after canadian t-day, to start because the four weeks end just in time for american thanksgiving and she knew everyone would fail if it continued through that week. read laura's blog for more info on this cleanse. of course i will be blogging about my experience during the next month of posts and it is never too late to join us. tell me in the comments section of this post if you decide to participate. i would love to hear your stories.

now i eat pretty healthily most of the the components of the cleanse do not seem too hard with one exception. giving up coffee...this scares me to death. i drink coffee every day of my life...just in the morning...but numerous cups. we are allowed one cup of green tea each day on the cleanse...but, frankly, this has not made a difference. today is thursday...4 days into the cleanse...and i have had a massive headache each day. monday was the worst and to top off my week, i also started serving on jury duty on monday. of course i was picked...i ALWAYS get picked. so, to recap, monday morning at 8:00 am i reported to service without any coffee. see what i mean about having a tough week? the other side effect of the cleanse...which laura assures us is normal and means that it is that i have been really tired. this means my body has started to "detox".

all of this leads me back to my original point (very long winded path, i know)...why my pear post is here it is: i love pears...especially at this time of year. in honor of the cleanse, i am adding sliced pears to my salads and poaching pears in apple juice with lots of fresh ginger and cinnamon for a cleanse friendly dessert. i continue to produce our fresh pear & vanilla preserves and watch my husband eat some on toast each morning for breakfast...alas, there is organic sugar in the recipe so none for me. for my non-cleansing readers i am adding a recipe i originally published a couple of years ago fresh pear cupcakes with chocolate glaze, a favorite of my family & friends. and, because nothing about them is "cleanse friendly", please enjoy one for me. i have to count down the days until i can enjoy cupcakes. (but honestly...despite my whining...this cleanse is really worth it)

fresh pear cupcakes with chocolate glaze
(these taste even better if made with organic ingredients)
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 pure vanilla extract

chocolate glaze1 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 a non toxic, organic 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.

now it is your turn to participate in fall fest. simply leave your pear tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below, and then go visit the collaborators listed on the blog away to garden and do the same.

the cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. yes, copy and paste them everywhere! that way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.

always...much thanks to margaret roach and deb puchalla for coordinating fall fest 2010. as always...its been a blast.

best and happy cooking!

diane padoven
napa farmhouse 1885™
"live a green life of style™ "do you like us? really like us? then please join our facebook fan page& follow us on twitterto receive special offers only available to our preferred customers, please sign up for the mailing list on the right hand side of this post...


thehealthyjunkie said...

You're so funny. I love your post. I'm sorry you're suffering from not drinking coffee. I was too for the first three days - so tired. But I'm feeling much better now (not even drinking a green tea). I can't wait to try your cup cake recipe once The Community Cleanse is over. They sound super delicious!!!
Laura Levesque-Page
aka: The Healthy Junkie

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hey feeling better today too..i even starting drinking the "pero" coffee substitute so no green tea, no caffeine at all!

still a bit more tired than usual..but otherwise ready for week two!