Tag Archives: pears

Pear and Poppy Seed Bread

As you can see I’ve lost track of what CSA week I’m on. I’m still getting boxes and barely keeping up with using it all (but doing pretty well!). Overall I’ve been really happy with the box contents, especially the recent addition of melon, pears and apples! The only problem with pears is they ripen quickly after they are picked so we had a few heading over the hill before we had a chance to eat them. To solve that problem, I made a triple batch of this bread, which I turned into two loaves and a dozen muffins. Although I liked the loaves, the muffins went like hotcakes so I will probably make more of those next time. Hotcakes? Hmmm… yes.

Pear and Poppy Seed Bread

Pear and Poppy Seed Bread

Pear and Poppy Seed Bread
(slightly adapted from Cooking Light)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped peeled ripe pear
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in pear; make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk and next 5 ingredients (buttermilk through egg) in a bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

For muffins, spray a muffin pan and bake 20 minutes. Remove and cool on a rack or serve warm.

Breakfast of champions.

Breakfast of champions.

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I Pickled Some Beets and Made Many Salads

Many beets came my way this month. I’m not complaining. I’m a fan of the humble beet, although I know there are many who don’t agree. To use a number of these all at once, and to spare the beet haters in my household from having to eat them, I decided to pickle some.

I have not really ventured into the canning realm, so for me, a quick-pickle was the perfect solution. This was a really simple preparation and made a small batch (although it’s easy to double or triple as needed). Plus the added benefit – they are ready to eat in just a few days!

These two salads are pretty typical in my house. I like sweet and sour and salty together and for me, a salad is only dinner if it is not boring. These are far from that. You can make either with simple roasted beets (or even raw ones sliced thinly) but I really enjoy the pickled beets for some extra zip. They pair well with the sweet pears and salty feta for a very satisfying and balanced bite. Since these are pretty strong flavors on their own, opt for a simple dressing of oil and vinegar to bring out the flavor of the ingredients.

Pickled Beets
(adapted slightly from Alton Brown’s recipe)

2 pounds beets, scrubbed
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 cup water
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt

On a large piece of foil, put beets in the center. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, drizzle with olive oil and wrap up. Bake at 400˚ for 40 minutes until tender. Remove from oven, let cool, peel and dice or slice. Fill mason jars (I filled two with the beets I had).

In a saucepan, combine water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil. Boil one minute. Pour liquid over beets in jars. Put lids on and put in the fridge. Let them pickle for 3-7 days before eating. They will last about a month in the fridge.

Beet, Pear and Feta Salad

Beet, Pear and Feta Salad

Beet, Pear and Feta Salad

Mixed salad greens
1 fresh pear
1/2 cup pickled or roasted beets
1-2 oz. feta or goat cheese
2 tbsp. walnuts, toasted
Drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper

Layer ingredients on a plate, drizzle with oil and vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper and dig in!

Or change it up ever so slightly for a more hearty dinner version:

Fall salad with mushrooms, beets and pears.

Fall salad with mushrooms, beets and pears.

Fall Salad with Mushrooms, Beets and Pears

Mixed salad greens
1 fresh pear
1/2 cup pickled or roasted beets
1-2 oz. feta or goat cheese
1/2 cup mushrooms (I used shiitake mushrooms but any kind will work)
A few green or black olives
Drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper.

In a small sauté pan, cook the mushrooms in just a tiny bit of olive oil until slightly softened and warm. Layer the other ingredients on a plate. Top with mushrooms. Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Yum.

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Fruity Salad with Basil Vinaigrette and Roasted Polenta

It’s that time of year again when salad becomes an every other night menu item in my house. This is partially due to the no air conditioning equals minimal cooking policy. And partly because I’m trying to fit into my summer clothes from last year.

In any case, salad doesn’t have to be boring. This one has an easy, bright vinaigrette, fresh fruit and yummy roasted polenta rounds to go with it.

The first time I bought polenta in a tube I was leery to say the least. It’s weird. It doesn’t look appetizing. And good food usually doesn’t come in a tube of any kind. BUT. Polenta is one of those weird foods that you cook and then as it cools it will form whatever shape you happen to put it in. The tubes of polenta generally are minimally processed with no extra ingredients. It’s such a wonderful convenience, especially if you are wanting to fry it up like this. Simply take it out of the tube, slice it up and bake it (or you can pan fry it instead). It’s delicious and soooo easy.

To easily get the seeds out of your pomegranate, score around the center (don’t cut all the way through), pull the two halves apart, turn one half over in your palm and beat on it with a wooden spoon. In about 10-15 seconds, you will have a bowl full of pomegranate seeds. Try not to hit your hand with the spoon. For you visual types, check out this video if you don’t believe me or need to see it before attempting. If you like pomegranates, this will change your life. Seriously.

basilvinaigrettesalad3

Salad with Fresh Basil Vinaigrette and Roasted Polenta

6-8 cups salad greens (I used 1/2 leaf lettuce and 1/2 spinach)
1-2 cups sliced purple cabbage
2 ripe pears, seeded & sliced
1/2 pomegranate
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup walnuts (I lightly toast mine in a skillet but it’s optional)

For the dressing:
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. dijon mustard
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced into thin ribbons or chopped
Salt & pepper

1 tube prepared polenta

Preheat oven to 400˚. Slice polenta in rounds about 1/4 inch thick and spread out on a cookie sheet. Very lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake 20-30 minutes until a lightly browned and a bit crispy on the edges. They will still be tender and chewy in the middle.

Polenta "croutons", disks, rounds...whatever you call them, they are crispy, chewy, wonderful good!

Polenta “croutons”, disks, rounds…whatever you call them, they are crispy, chewy, wonderful good!

In a large salad bowl, combine greens, cabbage, pears and pomegranate.

In a small bowl whisk together dijon, vinegar, salt and pepper. While continuing to whisk, add olive oil very slowly, just a tiny drizzle. Stir in basil, taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Whisk, whisk, whisk to get a dressing that stays together!

Whisk, whisk, whisk!

Add feta, walnuts and dressing to salad bowl and toss gently to combine. Serve with polenta rounds.

If you're going to eat salad, you should definitely eat this one!

If you’re going to eat salad, why not eat this one?

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Roasted Beet and Pear Salad

I have been absolutely loving farmer’s market this year!  This week I bought red and golden beets, blueberries, pears and goat cheese.  Since I couldn’t decide what to eat first, I decided to throw it all together into a yummy salad, perfect for a warm summer evening.

My first big bunch of basil was ready to harvest so I whipped up a batch of pesto this week.  It made the perfect vinaigrette to complement a summery salad. Along with the goat cheese and walnuts, it balances the flavors and keeps it all from being too sweet.

Roasted Beet and Pear Salad

Roasted Beet and Pear Salad

Roasted Beet and Pear Salad

*Note: adjust the quantities of the ingredients for your own tastes.  I used one pear and 2-3 beets for each salad.

Beets – red or golden or a mixture of both
Pears, peeled and sliced
Blueberries
Walnuts
Goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400˚.  Scrub beets and place on a roasting pan.  Roast for 30 minutes or until fork tender (this will depend on the size of your beets, check them after 20).  Peel and slice beets.  Layer beets and pears.  Sprinkle blueberries, walnuts and goat cheese over the top of the salad.  Serve with pesto vinaigrette (see below).

Pesto Vinaigrette:

1 tbsp. basil pesto
2 tbsp. minced red onion
2-3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper

Whisk together all ingredients.

Pesto Vinaigrette.  Drizzle over the top of the salad (or on anything!) or serve on the side.

Pesto Vinaigrette. Drizzle over the top of the salad (or on anything!) or serve on the side.

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Blackberry Pear Crisp

Farmer’s market doesn’t open in my town until next month, but an indoor fruit and veggie market just opened recently down the street from me.  They source almost all of their goods (except for citrus) from the local area, so it’s close enough to a farmer’s market for me, with the added bonus that I don’t get rained on while I shop.

This week when I stopped by the fruit market, I saw a beautiful sight, the first blackberries of the year!  They grow like wildfire around here in the summertime, so seeing them automatically makes me think of blue skies and sunshine.  So far this spring, there has been very little blue skies and sunshine, so I looked at these berries and saw hope!  Hope that summer is actually on its way!

In the height of summer when the berries are extra ripe and sweet, I don’t even add sugar when I make this.  But some of these early berries were a little on the tart side, so I added a little just to soften the bite.  The pears also added a little natural sweetness too.  This dessert has the added benefit of being pretty healthy, at least until you top it off with a big scoop of berry ice cream.

Blackberry Pear Crisp

Blackberry Pear Crisp

1 pound blackberries
3 pears, sliced
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup nuts
4 tbsp. butter, cut up in small pieces

Mix fruit and 1 tbsp. sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch in a baking dish.

In a food processor, add flour, remaining sugar, oats, nuts and butter.  Pulse until it resembles large crumbs.  If you don’t have a food processor, you can do this in a bowl with 2 butter knives.  Sprinkle on top of fruit.  Top with a few more dabs of butter if desired.  Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes (a little longer if needed) until topping begins to brown.  Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Blackberry Pear Crisp a la mode

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