Showing posts with label pear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pear. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Swiss Chard, Pear & Gruyere Tart

Sorry I skipped out on posting a St Patrick's day recipe yesterday. It's actually one of those holidays that just pass me by. I don't go for green beer and I'm not particularly fond of corned beef. The boyfriend and I went to the local diner last night and had eggs and toast. Nothing was green and it was terribly un-festive! If you feel like I really dropped the ball, here is a recipe I made a few years ago for March 17th...

Moving on to something that I am a huge fan of... Tarts! 

I love how you can throw just about anything into a tart and call it dinner. This one takes advantage of those delicious pears that are out in the markets right now. The filling is full of vegetables, making this the perfect option for a "Meatless Monday" dinner. Or an everyday meal in my world!

You'll notice that only half of my tart is topped with pears. That's because the boyfriend hates pears. I know, he's insane. In order to ensure that he ate dinner, I just ate the rest of the raw pear myself. No complaining from either side!

The flavors of this tart were amazing. It might have something to do with the copious amounts of gruyere and parmesan cheese that have been shredded over the top! Whatever the reason, I wound up eating a full quarter of the tart for dinner, then another large slice for lunch the next day.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sauteed Chicken with Pears

I have been obsessed with pears recently. I've been adding them to my oatmeal, eating them raw and cooking them into my dinner dishes. It might be because pears are in season in the winter and all other fruits have just about zero flavor right now. I don't know why I buy strawberries in the winter, it's really a lost cause.

Pears however are delicious right now! I went with Anjou pears in this dish because they caramelize really well and hold their texture a bit better than Bartlett pears.

If you have everything chopped and ready to go, this dinner comes together very quickly. Brown the chicken, brown the pears, make the sauce. It's the perfect meal to make after a long day at work.

One Year Ago: Chocolate Heart Cookies
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Yogurt Popsicles
Three Years Ago: Dutch Cheese Pancakes
Four Years Ago: Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Bread

Sauteed Chicken with Pears
A Wilde Original

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Anjou pears, peeled, cored and cut into 16 wedges
3 small shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh sage
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Place chicken in a bowl, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss to coat. Season with kosher salt and pepper.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to the pan and saute until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side (or less, if your chicken is thinner than 1 inch). Transfer chicken to a plate and wrap with foil to keep warm.

Set another skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add pear wedges and saute until golden, turn once and cook until softened.

While the pears are sauteing, come back to the first skillet and reduce heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and add shallots and sage.  Saute for 2 minutes, until shallots are softened. Add sherry vinegar and white wine. Stir shallots and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let bubble and reduce for about 3 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together chicken stock, dijon mustard and cornstarch. Add to the skillet and whisk until everything is combined. Cook until bubbly, about 2 minutes. Whisk in cream and remove from the heat.

Slice chicken on a diagonal, add pears and spoon sauce over the top. Enjoy with these root vegetables!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Keeping it Simple

Is it me, or has this been the longest week ever?  Usually I'm pretty excited once Wednesday rolls around.  After lunch on Wednesday, I'm cheerful and happy to be on my way out of the work week.  How different this is from my thoughts just a year and a half ago!  When I first got my job, I was just so happy to have weekends off, the work week flew by.  How quickly you get used to things!

I think this week has felt super long because nothing has been going right!  Reaction after reaction failed this week.  Thankfully I was able to figure out what was going wrong late last night.  Here's hoping I can parlay that bit of good science into more success today and tomorrow.

Today I've made you something super simple and delicious.  Roquefort potatoes!  Fingerling potatoes, Roquefort cheese and Bartlett pears.  Add a a little salt and pepper and you've got an amazing side!  Just be sure to watch your fingers when working with a mandoline.  My thumb is a little worse off after making these potatoes!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pear-Raspberry Soda

I'm not quite sure if I still have legs right now.  I mean, I see them and they did carry me home from the gym last night, but they don't really seem to be attached to my body.  I blame Crossfit.

Yep, that's right, I joined the Crossfit cult.  Although I'm not really sure if I'm ready to drink the Kool-aid.  I spent four years participating in and teaching BodyPump  - a totally different type of weight lifting class.  BodyPump is all about repetition until you reach muscle failure.  Crossfit is an Olympic style lifting class that seems to try and make your legs fall off with excessive rowing.

So much rowing!  My poor shins are tired!

There are a few reasons I decided to give Crossfit a try...

1. I have been doing BodyPump for five years and was looking for something a little different.
2. Many of my friends have been going to Crossfit and RAVE about, constantly.
3. The Crossfit gym is literally a block away from my apartment and they have 8pm classes.

Sold.  I'm signed up to go twice a week and I'm ready to burn!  First, I had to spend two weeks taking a Fundamentals class - learning the bar moves so I won't hurt myself during class.  I've been to three classes in the past week and I'm enjoying it, though my legs are wishing we'd cut it with the rowing.

You're wondering what an average Crossfit workout looks like?  Here's what we did yesterday...

Strength work
Bench Press - warm-up & 2x5reps at max weight, 3rd set - go until muscle failure

Conditioning Work
225 jump ropes (or 75 double-unders... which I haven't mastered yet)
50 Ball squats (you first do a squat, then you toss a heavy ball in the air)
25 Knees to elbows (hanging from a pull-up bar, you lift your knees as high as you can!)
Row 1500 meters (So much rowing)

I came home and ate a whole bunch of Girl Scout cookies.  Yum.

I'll keep you posted with the workouts and whether I see myself getting stronger and leaner.  Leaner probably won't happen if I continue finishing my workouts with a row of Peanut Butter patties...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gorgonzola and Leek Risotto

I'm counting down the days of work left this week.  Why do I only have three days left?  The reason is simple, come Friday at 8:00 am boyfriend and I will be winging our way to Seattle!  After a five hour flight from JFK to the west coast, we'll be heading to the port and boarding another cruise ship!

It's like 2012 is the year of the cruise vacation for us.  I'm thinking of booking us a Greek Isles cruise in the fall just to round out the year of sailing.  This time, boyfriend and I are heading north into the chilly waters off the coast of Alaska.  We will be floating through iceberg infested water, sailing with humpback whales and watching glaciers slowly creep toward the sea.  I'm looking forward to hearing my first glacier calf, does it really sound like thunder?

We are almost ready to go.  This weekend I went out and bought a winter coat.  With the blanket-jacket retired and sent to Goodwill and only my plum-colored wool coat hanging in the closet, I really needed something that would keep me warm and dry in the Alaskan summer.  While the middle of summer isn't the best time to search for a great winter jacket, I managed a great find at Century 21!  A sleek lime green, waterproof, hooded parka!

Now, if I could only decide what else to pack...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Why Bother? - Homemade Jam

Back in the early eighties, my mom tried her hand at making jams and jellies.  Unfortunately my dad dubbed the products "Not like my mom's jams."  The canning materials went into the basement where they gathered dust for the next twenty-five years, until I went poking around.  Which is why last year, I inherited a large canning pot and three boxes of vintage Ball mason jars. 

I have fuzzy memories of my grandmothers basement.  It was dark, dusty and scary for an eight-year old.  It was full from front to back with old furniture, boxes of Christmas decorations and musty vintage clothing.  One corner also held a make-shift shelving unit, built into the stud of the walls, that was filled from floor to ceiling with dusty mason jars.  From what I remember, they were all filled with peaches.  I have no idea why.  My grandmothers house was in Upstate New York, where there are a dearth of peach trees.  If she had jars of jam in her basement, they looked like peaches to my young, frightened of the dark, eyes.

This weeks challenge was to channel my jam-making grandmother, using my moms vintage canning supplies and churn out modern preserves.  There are so many varieties of jams, jellies and preserves available in the grocery store and at the farmers market, I didn't want to make a plain, single fruit jam.  Why make plain strawberry jam when I can buy fresh, locally made strawberry jam at the farmers market right around the corner from my house?

There are a few reasons why you could make all of your own jam.  1. Using fresh, in season, organic fruits gives the most flavorful product possible.  2. Jam-making and canning is a simple process.  3. Make a batch of homemade jam - you have presents for everyone!

For my canning-fest, I chose two very different flavor combos.  First - fresh and bright Strawberry-Lemon preserves.  Next - tangy ginger-pear preserves.  Yes, I decided to go with preserves for both of my jams.  Personally, I like a bit of chunky texture to my spreads and therefore I'm not really a jelly fan.  I also didn't want to go with any tricky recipes that required added pectin from apples or the baking aisle. Maybe I'll give jelly a go once we finish these jars of jam!

Results - the strawberry-lemon jam was bright and fresh.  The recipe was super simple to follow and the jam came together very quickly.  This was exceptional on my morning English muffin and I will have no problem finishing the two jars that I made.  The ginger-pear preserves took a bit longer to make because the pears were very juicy.  Once complete, this jam made a striking change in a traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

When it comes to jams, jellies and preserves I have two suggestions - Head to the farmers market or "Pick your own" farm and stock up on local, in season produce.  And, when making your own jams, try something a little different, you can get strawberry jam anywhere.

One Year Ago: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Cream

Important!  When it comes to canning, you want to be sure to follow canning rules to ensure a safe product.  To sterilize your jar and lids - Bring a large pot of water to a boil, it will probably take between 15-30 minutes for your water to boil.  Get it ready in advance.  Add your jars to the pot and boil them for 10 minutes.  Remove with tongs and pour out the water.  Let jars cool on the counter top on a kitchen towel.  Place lids in a heat-proof container and pour a few ladles of boiling water over them.  Try not to touch the inside of the lids with your fingers.

Once the jars are full, return them to the water bath and process for the required amount of time.  Remove them from the water bath and set them on a kitchen towel.  Let the jars sit at room temperature for 12 hours.  You should hear the jar lids pop closed after a few minutes.  If the lids haven't sealed in an hour, put those jars in the fridge.

Strawberry-Lemon Preserves
Adapted from Canning for a New Generation

2 pints strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
2 lemons, washed
1 cup sugar

Cut the ends off of the lemons.  Cut lemons in quarters and remove the seeds.  Slice lemons very thinly, about 1/8-inch thick.  Gently toss strawberries, lemons and sugar in a large bowl.  Cover and put in the fridge overnight.

Prepare 2-3 1/2-pint jars and their lids.  Combine fruit with 1/3 cup water in a large saucepan with high sides.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  Pour fruit into a colander and collect the liquids in a bowl below.

Return liquids to the pan and bring to a boil.  Cook for 15 minutes until the liquids are reduced to a syrup.  Return fruit to the pan and bring to a simmer.  Stir frequently and cook for about 20-25 minutes.  The strawberries should hold their shape, but be shiny and glossy.

Remove jars from the water bath and ladle hot water over the lids.  Add preserves to the jars.  Wipe the lip of the jars clean with a wet paper towel.  Place lids on the jars and screw on collars.  The lids should just be finger-tightened.  Process in the water bath for 5 minutes with the lid on the water bath.  Remove jars from the bath and let sit on a kitchen towel.  Do not disturb for 12 hours.

You can store the jam in the pantry.  Store opened jars in the fridge and eat within a few weeks.

Ginger-Pear Preserves
Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

6 pears (choose your favorite type), peeled, cored and chopped
Zest of 3 limes
Juice of 3 limes
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 tbsp grated gingerroot

Prepare 3-4 1/2-pint jars in a water bath.  Place 3 spoons in the freezer.

In a large, non-reactive, saucepan, combine pears, lime zest, lime juice, sugar and ginger.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Stir frequently and cook for 15 minutes. 

Test the gel - Take one of your frozen spoons and scoop up some of the liquid from the pan.  If the liquid drips off in small drops, the gel is not ready.  Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly and test again.  If the liquid falls off the spoon in a sheet, it it ready to can. 

Remove jars from the water bath and ladle jar into the jars.  Wipe off the lip of the jars with a wet paper towel.  Place lids on the jars and screw on the collars.  Process jars in the water bath for 10 minutes the the bath lid on.  Remove the lid and let boil for 5 more minutes.  Remove jars from the bath and place on a kitchen towel.  After 1 hour, check to see if the lids have sealed (the tops should not pop when pressed down).   If any jars have not sealed, place them in the fridge immediately.  Do not disturb the sealed jars for 12 hours. 

Sealed jars can be stored in the pantry.  Opened jars should be stored in the fridge.  Try this with peanut butter for a new take on your classic PB&J!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gorgonzola Soup

Ever since the time I moved in with boyfriend, he has been asking me to make him gorgonzola cheese soup.  For months and months he has been giving me this idea, telling me to add it to the weeks menu.  I asked where this suggestion came from?  Boyfriend says he had a gorgonzola soup at a restaurant in Buffalo.

I asked "What else was in the soup?" 

The response I got was "I don't know, it had gorgonzola cheese!" 

"Well, was it a brothy soup or a creamy soup?"

"Creamy and cheesy!"

"Were there any vegetables in it?  What was the base of the soup?"

"I don't know, cheese?"

So, you can tell that boyfriend, while he enjoys a good soup, loves gorgonzola cheese.  He is also not one to taste the mild flavors in a meal.  Especially when cheese is involved.

I knew right from the start that this soup could not possibly be just broth and gorgonzola cheese.  That would be disgusting.  I knew that it had to have been a vegetable based soup, finished off with gorgonzola cheese.  Gorgonzola is a very pungent cheese and you don't need a lot of it for flavor.

I settled on a potato-leek soup base and finished it off with some caramelized pears.  The verdict?  The soup is just what boyfriend wanted.  I got back a bowl of caramelized pears, sitting in an otherwise empty bowl.  Someone doesn't like fruit.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Baked Pears & Salad

This whole, Working in the real world, thing is taking some getting used to!  Between the corporate and academic worlds there seems to be an inverse relationship between working hours and meetings.  That relationship has been very apparent this week and it's only Tuesday.  Let me explain.

While I was working in academia I spent the majority of my hours in the lab.  I have friends who worked for professors with set work hours of 9am - 11pm, with an hour break for dinner of course!  Yet, when it came to meetings, they were almost non-existant.  We had once-weekly group meetings for an hour or two every Monday.  During the summer we didn't have any meetings!  Summer was the time to get lots of work done in the lab, not time to sit in the conference room!

Working in the corporate world, my hours have been cut in half.  Sadly, my time in the lab has been reduced by at least 60% too.  I like working in the lab, I like making stuff.  With this decrease in working hours has come an increase in meetings.  In the 16 work hours so far this week, I've spent half of them in meetings.  My butt has been falling asleep a lot, I need to bring my office chair with me to these five hour meetings.

I've been told to get used to all the meetings, because my schedule is only going to get more full as I've worked there longer.  At least I'm learning lots of new and exciting things at these meetings!  Sounds like my working hours are going to increase a little more as I get a fuller schedule, luckily I was given a laptop at my new job!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pork, Cranberry and Pear Salad

Oh boy! I just had the best dinner! In order to properly feed myself, and make my mom happy, I decided to make a real dinner. My mom is slightly concerned with my wacky eating habits of late. Let’s just say yesterday for breakfast I had a slice of chocolate tart. For breakfast this morning I had some cookies. Several nights last week dinner consisted of lettuce.

Now it’s not that I’m a bad eater, it’s just that there was no food in my house! I returned from my thanksgiving vacation Monday afternoon to a slice of bread and some far-past expiration milk. There were a few onions and maybe some mustard. It was a sad state of affairs. This is how things usually are when I return from a trip, except this time I came back with a cold. It slowly took over and made me lazier and lazier. I managed to buy some milk and cereal from the Dollar General across the street, but beyond that, I had eggs.

After some concern from my mom (talking about protein and nutrients) I decided I should probably go to the grocery store. Armed with this recipe, I bought my ingredients, substituting here and there for what was one sale (I’m cheap too!). I was not disappointed; this was the best meal I had in a while. Please enjoy, and eat your vegetables!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 - Stuffing Cupcakes

I saved the best, and my favorite, for last. Stuffing may not be the most healthy thing in the world, but it is what reminds me of thanksgiving the most. It’s not the smell of roasted turkey or the pumpkin pie, it’s the stuffing. Although I don’t know if you call this stuffing, since it’s not stuffed inside a turkey. Does that make this dressing? Whatever, it’s delicious.

This year I’ve taken my traditional stuffing and portioned it out in handy cupcake form! It’s a Cupcake 24-7/Thanksgiving 2010 post! Don’t fall out of your chair. Also, I want you to get some more nutrients, so this stuffing is packed with fruits and whole grains. And a half a stick of butter. What? It was necessary! Just eat it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pear Cake with Pine Nuts

If you haven’t noticed by now, breakfast is my favorite meal. I think that I could eat pastries, French toast or pancakes for every meal of the day. I try to make my breakfasts somewhat healthy by eating some fruit alongside my carbohydrates and drinking a glass of skim milk. I’m a bit strange in another manner, I don’t like to eat eggs for breakfast. Yuk. If you find me eating sunny-side up eggs, it is most likely nine at night, not nine in the morning. For some reason eggs at night are a meal, whereas eggs in the morning are gross. Ooo, unless they are on a sandwich, with some bacon.

Luckily today we are getting our fruit baked right into our breakfast pastry. This means that you can save time and be out the door in a snap! The fruit of the moment? Pears! I love pears because you can eat just about the whole thing. Many years ago I realized that you can just rip out the stem of a pear and then you can eat the whole top of the fruit. This also makes it super easy to slice pears into easy discs. Slice circles off of the pear until you hit the seeds. You can cut around the outside of the pear or just move onto another piece of fruit. (I suggest you just eat the bottom third)

So simple to make, this pastry is perfect for a lazy weekend morning. A simple coffee cake, fancied up with pears and pine nuts, this is just perfect. The leftovers (if there are any) can be kept in the fridge until tomorrow. Reheating is simple. Cut yourself a slice, heat in the microwave for 1 minute on half power. Once you learn to use the power settings in your microwave you will be amazed at what it can do. Play around, it’s fun! You can get non-rubbery pasta leftovers, perfectly thawed bread slices and even scrambled eggs.

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