Fresh Cranberry-Pear-Orange Relish E.A.T #40

I must confess I have a weakness for that (kinda gross) jellied cranberry sauce in the can. I am sure it has to do with childhood Holiday memories nested deep in my brain.  On the other hand, I really love this cranberry relish that is quick, easy and fresh. It is a little bit sweet, a little bit tart and very special with a baked ham or a roasted chicken or turkey, not to mention roasted vegetables.. All you need is a food processor and about 10 minutes. It will keep in the fridge for a few days in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid so it is an excellent make-ahead.

There really isn’t any need for an official recipe, but I put a quick one at the end just in case.

About 2 cups of fresh cranberries,  2 firm but ripe pears, 1 orange including the peel and a 1/2 cup raw or turbinado sugar are the 4 ingredients needed. All chopped in a processor, jarred and chilled. It really is “easy-as-this”. What a nice jar of this would be for a food-lover on your Holiday List!

Fresh Cranberry, Pear and Orange Relish

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
  • 2  firm, but ripe pears, cored
  • 1 orange, cut into wedges, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup raw or turbinado sugar

Directions:

  1. Medium chop cranberries in a food processor. Scrape into a mixing bowl.
  2. Puree pears and add to mixing bowl.
  3. Medium to finely chop orange wedges and add to mixing bowl.
  4. Add sugar and stir ingredients together. Taste and adjust sugar if needed.
  5. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid for up to 4-5 days.

Note: For gift-giving, add a ribbon or tag with the date made and ingredients in a pretty jar. How easy is that?

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

 

 

 

A Clafoutis with Pears

The name of this extremely easy dessert can be mystifying when first encountered….As in, what the hell is that? Clafoutis, pronounced “kla-foo-tees”, is French and manifique! Clafoutis are traditionally made with cherries, which was how I made my very first version many years ago. I have also made them using summer berries, plums and winter tart apples. No matter what fruit you choose, you will hardly ever make an easier and more loved dessert..

I do hope if you make it you will let me know how you like it. With this post I shall bid adieu to my trio of Fall pear posts. Bon Appetit.

A Clafoutis with Pears

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons very soft butter
  • 3 ripe, but firm pears, thinly sliced
  • 1  1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Smear a 10 inch cast iron skillet all over with softened butter.
  2. In a blender mix together the milk, 1/3 cup of the sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, salt and flour  on high speed until smooth with no lumps.  Pour batter into the prepared skillet.
  3. Top batter with all the pear slices. They will sink down into the batter for the most part. Sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup sugar. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the top is puffy and golden brown.
  4. Serve warm or room temperature with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. Clafoutis are also delicious cold and will keep for days chilled when sliced and removed from skillet.

(Recipe adapted from the New York Times recipe by Julia Moskin “Julia Child’s Berry Clafoutis” on line.)

Teresa Blackburn.        www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

 

Cream Baked Cardamom-Vanilla Bean Pears

 

Pears in poetry, pears in art, pears in history, pears in life. Quintessentially feminine and delicious. Luscious when ripe and baked in cream, pears dusted with sugar, cardamom and vanilla. A simple plate of goodness.

Pears from our pear tree last summer. The tree is already heavy with young, thumb size fruit. The anticipation is dreamy.

Cut, cored and peeled. Baked.

Warm from the oven I can think of few things I like better than the first bite. Market pears will do until fall.

Cream-Baked Cardamom and Vanilla Bean Pears

Ingredients:

  • 4 small ripe, but firm pears, peeled, cut in half and cored
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, room temp, divided
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • beans scraped from one vanilla bean
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Smear bottom of a pie dish with 2 Tablespoons of the butter. Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoons raw sugar.
  3. Mix together in a small bowl the remaining raw sugar, the cardamom and vanilla beans.
  4. Place pear halves, cut side down, in the bottom of the pie dish.
  5. Melt remaining 2 Tablespoons butter and brush over the pears. Sprinkle with the sugar mixture.
  6. Gently pour heavy cream around the pears. Place dish in the oven.
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes or until pears are just tender and the cream has thickened.  Remove dish from oven to cool on a wire rack. Serve pears and cream warm or at room temperature.

Teresa Blackburn   www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

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Pear, Maple and Nutmeg Cornmeal Cake + Kitchen Tools #1

Pear, Maple and Nutmeg Cornmeal Cake all dressed up with a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt is an easy, alternate idea for Holiday celebrations that will be much appreciated by those looking for something naturally sweet without using a lot of granulated sugar. Rich, almost caramelized, pears with nutmeg then generously drizzled with maple syrup while hot out of the oven is good for a few days warm or cold.

I like how the maple syrup pools in the pear.

There is nothing quite like freshly grated nutmeg. Do you have one of these graters, or a nutmeg grinder? They are inexpensive and will become one of your most used kitchen tools if you, like me, find the jarred ground nutmeg somewhat pale in aroma and flavor. Whole nutmeg grated is a much used spice at our house. Wouter adds it to his meatballs and always in his wonderful mashed potatoes. Just a hint is often all that is needed. This cake recipe calls for a generous amount and is just the thing paired with real maple syrup.

Notice how I grated the nutmeg onto a sheet of parchment paper? Parchment is another “kitchen tool” that I use every day for measuring flour onto, lining cake pans or sheet pans so I don’t have to scrub them so much….small pieces are good for using like this instead of another dish to wash! Can you tell washing dishes is not my favorite thing?

Melon ballers in various sizes are great for coring apples and pears, making melon balls of course….or butter balls.  It was so easy to core the pears to create a bowl to hold all that tasty maple syrup using this small melon baller.

See that wee paring knife? It is my go-to knife for so many jobs in the kitchen…I finally bought a good one that has a thin blade that sharpens well. It was not the cheapest nor the costliest, but it fits my hand just perfect and came from E. Dehillerin in Paris. I picked it up at our local Willliams-Sonoma.

So that’s four kitchen tools….nutmeg grater or grinder, parchment paper, melon baller and paring knife….basics…not trendy…forever useful, especially for these days of seasonal baking.

Warm, aromatic cake drizzled with Vanilla flavored Greek Yogurt. Yum.

Pear, Maple and Nutmeg Cornmeal Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 ripe, but firm pears, halved, cored and peeled
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, divided
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup 2 percent milk
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup, divided + extra for serving
  • 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 cups vanilla greek yogurt, whipped for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 9″ round x 2″ deep cake pan with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of the melted butter to a cast iron or other heavy skillet. Set over medium heat. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over the butter.
  3. Place pear halves in a circle in the bottom of the pan, cut side up. Sprinkle cut sides with 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Turn pears over with cut side down. Sprinkle with another 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Cook pears until most of the liquid has evaporated and cut sides are beginning to lightly caramelize, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Place pears, cut sides down, in the prepared 9″ round cake pan.
  6. Quickly whisk together remaining 1/4 ground nutmeg, flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  7. Whisk in milk, 1/4 cup maple syrup, eggs and remaining melted butter just until smooth. Pour mixture over pears and bake until golden brown, for about 20-25 minutes. Test with a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake. Remove from oven and using a skewer make a few random holes over the entire cake surface. Drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup maple syrup. Let cake cool on a wire rack while syrup soaks in for about 15 minutes. Carefully invert onto a serving plate.
  8. Cut cake into 8 wedges with each person getting a pear half, drizzle with another bit of maple syrup and add a dollop of vanilla greek yogurt.  (This cake keeps well for a few days and is deliciously seasoonal either warm or cold.)

(This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Ruth Cousineau from Gourmet Magazine February 2008 that I clipped and saved. I tweaked a few things to make it easier to make. Thanks Ruth for the inspiration.)

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

 

Adios, Adieu, Goodbye for Now, “Pear, Blueberry Jam with St. Germain”

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September crept in right on top of the last days of August…it has been tropical…. rainy and humid and hot, windy with bouts of unusually cool days scattered in between. Most of the local fruit is gone…the peaches, berries…plums and now my pears….adieu, adios and goodbye until next year sweet ones.

In the early dark days of fall and winter I will have my consolations on a shelf in my kitchen. A few jars of preserves…peach and plum. Jars of jam…pear and blueberry with a splash of St. Germain will be there, ready to comfort me.

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Ripe and Ready.

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The evening before I made this jam I cored, peeled and roughly chopped the pears and tossed them in a bowl with some raw sugar and lemon juice, covered the bowl and refrigerated the fruit overnight.  The sugar and lemon juice help to pull some of the juices from the fruit, breaking the fruit down naturally which shortens the cooking process.

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Do you know about “Pomona’s Universal Pectin”? I like to use this brand as the recipes for  jams, jellies & preserves can be made with less sugar. I do not like cloying sweet preserved fruit so this pectin is just right. The instructions are easy to follow and there are plenty of recipes inside the package. It is preservative free, kosher, vegan, gluten-free and non-gmo. I usually buy it a Whole Foods, but it is available online at their site as well. DSC_1363

I had la few cartons of fresh blueberries left over from a photo shoot so I tossed them in with the peeled and chunked pears. The blueberries gave the finished jam a lovely soft color. A generous splash of St. Germain elderflower liqueur added another layer of goodness.

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You always want to “test” your jam or jelly after cooking to make sure it “sets up”. I do this by spooning some of the mixture out onto a chilled plate. Leave it to sit a few minutes and then check the consistency. This batch “jammed” to perfection.

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Every time I begin to can I feel like a novice….no matter how many times I have done it. This is where I am my most careful-self in the kitchen. I read the instructions, reread and double-check before starting. I gather all my canning supplies, pans, jars, ladles before hand and get everything cleaned, sterilized & all lined up ready to go. My best advice is just do what the recipe & canning instructions say…verbatim…all will be well.

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Pears, Blueberries Jam with St. Germain

  • Servings: 6-8 half pints
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 6 cups cored, peeled & chopped pears
  • 3 cups blueberries
  • 2 cups raw/turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup Elderflower Liqueur/St. Germain
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • Pkg of Pomona’s Universal Pectin (or other pectin if you prefer, most have easy, simple canning instructions inside the box. I used the directions for canning pears.
  • Equipment: clean 1/2 pint glass canning jars & lids, canning equipment (or if you prefer you can do this jam for the freezer…no hot water bath canning processing required.)

Directions:

  1. The night before you plan to can, mix the pears, sugar & lemon juice in a mixing bowl, cover & refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day put the pear mixture in a large saucepan. Add 1 cup of water. Bring to a low boil. Add the pectin according to the package directions, turn stove to low simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes stirring often.
  3. The last 10 minutes of cook time add the blueberries & St. Germain. Stir gently.
  4. While fruit is cooking, wash & rinse canning jars in hot water. Set aside to drain on a very clean dish towel. Use new lids & rings. Put these in a pan of hot water until ready to use on low heat. There are many, many methods for hot water bath canning  so use one that works for you.
  5. When jam is almost finished cooking test the jell by spooning some jam mixture onto a chilled saucer, refrigerate for a few minutes. Test to see if the jam is the consistency you prefer. If not continue cooking another 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  6. Fill glass jars with hot jam mixture to within 1/4 inch from the top of the glass rim for hot water bath canning process, 1/2 inch for freezer jam. Wipe each jar rim clean before adding lids. When all jars are filled & wiped clean, top with lid and ring.
  7. For hot water bath place filled jars into your canner rack, lower into the canning pan, cover jars with warm water covering by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, process for 10-15 minutes. Turn heat off. Raise jar rack out of the water bath & place jars on a cooling rack. As jam cools you should hear a soft “pop” as each jar seals. If some jars do not seal then refrigerate to use immediately.
  8. For freezer jam after #6 let jars cool down completely & store in the freezer until ready to eat. Remove jars from freezer a few hours before using.

“Pear Infused Vodka” Holiday Gift Idea / E.A.T. #11

Homemade Pear Infused Vodka

I don’t want to bring this up while you are out shopping for Trick or Treat candy,  but I feel I must. It is getting close to the Holidays…Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa….all those gift-giving celebrations. This week is Halloween, one month from now is Thanksgiving and in two months it will be Christmas. Dios Mios!

For my November & December blog posts I am going to share some of my ideas for making gifts for friends & family who really love all things homemade…comestibles, libations & gifts with a personal touch that are easily made with just a bit of kitchen & crafting know-how. This “Pear Infused Vodka” is an easy one for friends who like to show off their bar tending skills.

If you get started this week you can have bottles capped, labeled & beribboned for gift-giving within 1 month. Subtle hint of pears for martinis, cocktails or over ice…Holiday perfect!

Pear Cocktail Recipe

Pear Infused Vodka over ice

Let’s get busy, it’s as Easy As This……

A large bottle of your favorite Vodka…is this case it matters!

A 1/2 gallon jar with a tight-fitting lid & just enough smallish pears to fill jar. The markets are full of pears right now. (These were the last pears from my backyard tree in August.)

fresh pearsPears & Vodka

Fill jar with rinsed & patted dry pears. Add vodka to cover pears.

Pears in glass jarPears & vodka

Place the lid on the jar, store in a cool place such as closet floor,  and wait…..2 weeks to 1 month will be fine. Label jar with the date you start just to easily keep up with it. Every now and them turn the jar upside down a few times. You will notice the vodka will start to turn a very delicate pale pink color. There may be a bit of sediment in the jar. That is okay as you will strain the vodka right before bottling. This is what it looks like after a month.

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While the vodka is melding with the pears, hunt & gather your bottling needs. You will need small glass bottles which can be ones you have recycled, or you can order from the internet, purchase at craft supply stores, or if you live in Nashville from All Season’s Gardening & Brewing Supply Company. I have talked about their store in other posts where I have shown how to make & bottle Limoncello or Orangecello, which by the way would make fantastic gifts. They are a great source for bottles, caps, inexpensive cappers, corks,  and all things gardening & brewing. My bright red bottle capper is one of my favorite tools for making and storing homemade liqueurs or flavored liquors.

Pear Vodka Bottling

Strain Vodka through a fine mesh sieve into a measuring cup. Toss out pears & sediment. Use a funnel to fill bottles. Cork or cap to seal.

Simple Bottle CapperCapping bottles

You will also want tags/labels, ribbon or twine, decorative stamps or pens for embellishments. Use what you have or make what you need!

Tags, stamps & ink

Keep your Holidays as “Easy As This”.

A Smashing Pumpkin & Pear Pangrattato

I adore the taste of pumpkin in all it’s transformations into pies, breads, roasted, toasted & baked. Pumpkins conjure up images of bonfires & baking, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” & a lifetime of Jack O’Lanterns.

Sunday morning at the Nashville Downtown Farmer’s Market I found myself in the midst of thousands of pumpkins, winter squash & gourds of every color tone, size & shape…from perfectly perfect to the fantastically gnarly…spread out & piled high, all beautiful. I purchased what is marketed as a “pie pumpkin”, about 2 lbs, for $1.00.

 I went to my current favorite cookbook , “Tender/Vol 1” by Nigel Slater (4th Estate London, publisher), which is full of some of the best, most accessible recipes & cozy meanderings throughout his garden life. The photos are so yummy and real. I found a very simple, intriguing recipe entitled “A pumpkin pangrattato with rosemary and orange”.

Pangrattato is Italian for breadcrumbs

My version of this recipe comes with a few changes due to using what I had on hand which did not include parsley and did include a couple of fresh pears picked from my neighbors tree which is still heavy with fruit. Pumpkin, crispy pears, breadcrumbs..a very nice trio.

“A Smashing Pumpkin Pangrattato”

(very much based on Nigel Slater’s version with a few changes & additions)

For this version you will need the following:

2 lb pumpkin

3 cloves garlic

1/4 to 1/3 cup good olive oil

a finger size mild red chili

1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves

the zest of half an orange

1  cup roughly chopped arugula leaves

3 cups fresh white breadcrumbs (I used a gluten-free sandwich bread)

Kerrygold butter (or any very good butter)

Directions:

1. Using a sharp knife cut pumpkin in half, clean out seeds & membrane. Cut pumpkin into bite size chunks and cut away the peel.

2. Place chunks of pumpkin in a steamer basket over boiling water. Steam for about 10 minutes or just until pumpkin is slightly softened. Meanwhile…..

3. Prep other ingredients..mince garlic, thinly slice red chili, finely chop rosemary….

……peel & chop 2 hard crispy pears into bite-size chunks, roughly chop arugula, zest half an orange & toss bread into the food processor to make fresh breadcrumbs.

4. Pour half of the olive oil into a large heavy skillet & turn heat to medium. Add garlic & chili to skillet & cook for a few minutes until garlic just begins to turn golden.

5. Check steaming pumpkin with a knife. When it is barely softened remove from heat. Set aside.

6. Into skillet with garlic & chili add the chopped rosemary, orange zest, chopped arugula & bread crumbs.

7. The goal here to create the perfect “pangrattato/breadcrumbs” is to turn the soft breadcrumbs into beautiful golden brown crispy breadcrumbs without burning them. So leave on medium heat stirring often until ingredients are browned & crispy throughout. This might take about 10 minutes.Remove from heat

8.  To assemble & bake turn the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a casserole dish & add in steamed pumpkin. Scatter chopped pear over the pumpkin.

9. Lastly scatter top of pumpkin-pears with a few pieces of Kerrygold butter. Sprinkle pangrattato/breadcrumbs over top evenly. Drizzle with a bit more of the olive oil & bake for about 30-40 minutes. Top will be very golden brown & the pumpkin & pears will be softened but still holding their shape.

10. This dish can be eaten as a main course or side dish, but for our dinner I cooked up some Quinoa pasta & tossed it with a few tablespoons of olive oil &  black pepper & salt. The serving of pasta was then topped with Pumpkin Pangrattato, a few shreds of freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano along side a glass of slightly chilled Pinot Noir which was one perfect Sunday dinner for a warm October evening in Nashville.

Some Music for October evenings:

“October” (Song & Album, U2) Universal Island Records 2008

“Red Hot Chili Peppers Snow ((Hey OH))”  Warner Bros 2006

“Farm Fresh Onions” (song & album, Robert Earl Keen) 2003 Koch Records

“October Song” (Song/Album”Frank”, Amy Winehouse)

“1979” (Smashing Pumpkins, Smashing Pumpkins Greatest Hits) 2001

“Parsley Sage Rosemary & Thyme” (Album Simon & Garfunkel)1966

A Little Gallery

 

 

boo!