Pears, Brown Sugar, Rum and Cardamom Scented Galette

Fresh pears in a brown sugared-whole wheat crust, baked until caramelized with just a splash of dark rum and a hint of cardamom might provide some comfort and solace for this week in winter, January 2021. The kitchen is where I find I can take a deep breath and bring forth something delicious and comforting. That is a good thing and I need that right now.

Fresh USA Pears from The Fruit Company, ripened to perfection, golden and red and juicy, sliced and wrapped in a buttery cardamom crust.

A “Pear, Brown Sugar, Rum and Cardamom Galette” with caramelized edges to die for.

Seek solace where you can find it. Be well. Be kind.

Pears, Brown Sugar, Rum and Cardamom Scented Galette

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 sticks/1/2 cup chilled butter, but into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 large, ripe, but somewhat firm pears – cored, cut in half and thinly sliced, keeping slices together
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cream to brush edges of crust
  • 1-2 tablespoons raw or Demerara sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. In a food processor combine whole wheat flour, granulated sugar, salt and cardamom. Pulse to mix. Add butter pieces and process until mixture is crumbly looking. Add egg and 1 teaspoon milk to processor and pulse until a dough forms. Add more milk if needed. Dough will be a bit moist.
  2. Form dough into a ball, press out flat into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Let dough sit out for 10 minutes.
  4. Mix together cornstarch, brown sugar, rum and vanilla extract until well blended.
  5. On floured surface roll dough disc out to make a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Edges will be jagged and that is okay. Place dough on parchment paper lined sheet pan. Gently place sliced pear halves, cut side down, on dough circle nestling them close together, leaving an edge of dough all around to fold over fruit. Fold dough edges up and over the sliced pears, leaving the center open.
  6. Drizzle cornstarch mixture over and down between the pears. Brush edges of the crust with the cream and sprinkle the raw sugar over all.
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until galette is golden brown and bubbly. Let cool on the baking sheet. Serve in wedges. Great with whipped or ice cream.

The Politics of Minestrone

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It has been mentioned and implied to me in passing that perhaps a food blog is not a place for politics. I say food is one of the most political things in the world based on the abundance or lack of,  trade agreements between countries, crops and the ability to farm or not farm,  all affected by conflicts, weather, whims and cultures. Every food we eat or drink is influenced by governments here and abroad. Food is something that many have too much of and many more have too little of. If that is not political I am not sure what is. How do you feel about this?

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The greens in this soup recipe were picked and packaged by workers in Southern California, the canned beans and tomatoes, the Parmigiano came from Italy as well as the word “minestrone” meaning ” a thick vegetable soup with or without pasta”.  The white bowl in my photo was made in Portugal, the pepper grinder from France and the salt pot from a ceramicist in Nashville….oh yeah, the sea salt from England. The quality and safety of each is determined by rules and laws set down by local and federal governments. Trade agreements allow us access to these items.. All directly depend on the politics of where they come from and where they are going to end up. Such is the “politics of minestrone”.

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The rinds of Parmigiano Reggiano add a unique flavor to a pot of minestrone. So don’t toss them when you have grated down to the rind, save for soup.

Hearty, easy and comforting. We can all use a little comfort…no?

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This is an interesting website with lots of interesting videos about food that might make you think about all kinds of food and life in some new ways.

March Minestrone Soup

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Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped small
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped small
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 large bunch of Swiss Chard, trimmed & rough chopped
  • 1/2 head of Savoy Cabbage, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh baby Spinach leaves
  • One 28oz. can of whole tomatoes with juice
  • 1 quart low-fat chicken broth
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 2 pieces of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind
  • 2 cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a stock pot heat olive oil and add chopped onion and celery and saute until softened, about 8-10 minutes.  Stir in smashed garlic and cook another 5 minutes.
  2. To pot add tomatoes with juice, breaking up whole tomatoes as you add them to the pot with your hands. Stir in the chicken broth and water.
  3. Toss in the Parmigiano rind and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add the cut up cabbage and spinach leaves and cook on low for about 30 minutes.
  5. Add chard leaves and beans and cook another 15 minutes on a low simmer.
  6. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Discard Parmigiano rinds before serving.

Note: This soup is often served with a cooked, small pasta such as mini shells or ditalini. Trying to cut calories wherever I can we just ate as is.

Teresa Blackburn      www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com   http://www.foodonfifth.com

Cannellini Bean-Vegetable Soup Au Pistou and Black Pepper-Thyme Corn Sticks

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Comfort food in a world of chaos and uncertainty is what many of us home cooks create to ease the tensions of daily life. Few foods are more comforting than soups. The ease of preparation and ingredients, the simple cooking methods…these are things we can control when there is so much going on around us that we cannot.

My version of the classic French “Soup au Pistou” is one of my comfort foods on these November days when darkness comes early and there is a chill in the air and in a small place in my heart.

Pistou is somewhat like pesto but without pine nuts. Just a blend of fresh basil leaves, garlic and olive oil all smashed together either in a mortar and pestle, or as I did in a food processor. Pistou is a sauce or condiment from the Provence region of France and you will find it simple and easy to make.

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Do you ever add the rinds of Parmesan cheese to your pot when making hearty soups? Try it if you have not. It is a good way to use those flavorful rinds and will make your finished soup even more delicious.

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I love cornbread so these crispy “Black Pepper-Thyme Cornbread Sticks” are good to serve with this soup. Baked in a sheet pan and then cut into sticks make them great “dippers”.

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Eat well. Be kind to yourself and others.

Cannellini Bean-Vegetable Soup with Pistou and Black Pepper Cornbread Sticks

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print

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Ingredients for Soup:

  • Splash of olive oil
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2 leeks thinly sliced, white and pale green parts
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 zucchini squash, sliced & cut into half moons
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced and cut into half moons
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • one piece of Parmesan rind
  • 2 cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Ingredients for Cornbread Sticks:

  • 1 package of your favorite yellow corn bread mix (I use Bob’s Red Mill) + ingredients called for on package directions)
  • 1 Tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)

Ingredients for Pistou:

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves smashed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. For Soup: Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat & add the anchovies. Use a wooden spoon to stir and cook until the anchovies break up and dissolve.
  2. Toss leeks and celery into the pan. Saute for 10 minutes or until vegetables soften and begin to brown. Add a pinch of sea salt & freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Add zucchini and yellow squash, chicken broth and Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Add beans to pan, stir and turn heat to lowest setting to keep hot while you make cornbread and pistou.
  4. For Cornbread: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix cornbread mix according to package directions adding the cracked black pepper, Parmesan and thyme leaves to the batter. Spread batter into a rimmed baking sheet sprayed with vegetable oil spray. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove pan from oven to cool on a wire rack.
  5. For Pistou: Put basil leaves and garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse a few times. Drizzle in olive oil just until mixture is a pesto-like consistency. I like a less oily pistou. If you prefer more oil then continue adding until it is to your liking.
  6. To: Serve. Cut cornbread into “sticks”. Ladle soup into bowls and add a dollop of the pistou to stir into the soup. Serve remaining pistou on the side. Enjoy.

Teresa Blackburn      www.teresablackburnfoodstying.com    www.foodonfifth.com