Pear and Roasted Carrot Vinaigrette

Pear and Roasted Carrot Vinaigrette 1 sm

I often see salad recipes that include pears in their ingredient lists, but it’s rare to see a salad dressing that uses fresh pears. I created this dressing as a way to utilize ripe pears and to bring sweetness to a salad dressing without any added sugar. The roasted carrots give this dressing a nice, rich flavor, and the champagne vinegar balances the sweetness from the pears perfectly.

This vinaigrette is very versatile—I first served it over a simple green salad of garden lettuces and fresh pears. The next day I tossed some of the leftover dressing with a mixture of cooked and cooled brown rice, canned black beans, and spinach for a quick lunch. The last few tablespoons made the perfect dipping sauce for simple barbecued chicken. I’ll be making this recipe again as soon as the pears on my counter are ripe!

Ingredients
1 medium carrot, cut into ½-inch pieces (to make 1 cup of chopped carrot)
2 teaspoons plus 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 ripe USA Pear, such as Green or Red Bartlett
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup cold water

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the carrot chunks into a small baking dish and toss with 2 teaspoons of grapeseed oil. Roast the carrots for 25-30 minutes until soft and beginning to brown. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Once the carrots are cool enough to handle, place them into a blender with all of the remaining ingredients except the oil. Puree the mixture until well combined. Lastly, add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a slow, thin stream through the hole in the blender’s lid. Store the dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

prep time: 35 minutes
yield: 1 ½ cups of dressing

Caramel Pear Galette

caramel-pear-galette-SQsm

Easier than pie! This free form fruit tart is terrific with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of crème fraiche. 

Ingredients
1 refrigerated pie crust (9-inch)
3 tablespoons of caramel sauce, divided
3 ripe Red or Green Anjou USA Pears
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon granulated or turbinado sugar

Directions 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bring pie crust to room temperature as directed on package. Unroll the pie crust on a non-stick or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Spread one tablespoon of caramel topping on the crust, leaving a 1 ½-inch border.

Peel, quarter and core the pears. Slice each quarter lengthwise into 4 even slices. Place pear slices in a bowl and toss with cinnamon and flour. Starting in the center, arrange the slices on the dough in a spoke pattern, in overlapping layers as necessary to fit and leaving a 1 ½-inch border. Drizzle the pear slices with 1 tablespoon of caramel topping. Fold the edge of the crust over the tart. Brush the top of the crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 30 minutes or until crust is lightly brown. Let galette cool 10 minutes. Drizzle top of the fruit with the remaining tablespoon of caramel topping before serving.

prep time: About 15 minutes
cooking time: 30 minutes
yield: Serves 6

Recipe developed by Amy Sherman.

Grilled Pork Chops with Pears and Rosemary Butter

Grilled-Pork-Chops-with-Pears-and-Rosemary-Butter

Here is a satisfying recipe that can be made outside on the grill in under thirty minutes. The pork, pears, and rosemary butter are all wrapped up into foil packets, which results in an incredibly tender pork chop that creates its own amazing sauce while it cooks. These grilled pork chops with pears would make a great summer dinner on a hot day alongside some grilled corn on the cob, but they will also make for an equally amazing meal this fall with roasted squash on the side.

Ingredients
3 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, plus four sprigs for garnish
4 bone-in pork chops, about 6 ounces each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium red onion, sliced into ⅛ inch rings
2 firm ripe USA Pears, such as Anjou, sliced into ¼ inch pieces

Directions
Stir the softened butter together with the minced fresh rosemary and place in the refrigerator to firm up. Preheat your grill to medium heat. Place each pork chop onto its own rectangle of aluminum foil. Season the chops generously with salt and pepper on both sides. On top of each chop, layer a slice of onion followed by three or four pear slices. Add another layer of onion and then more pear slices on top.

Divide the rosemary butter between the chops, placing it on top of the onion and pear so it will melt down onto the pork. Top each stack with a sprig of rosemary. Carefully wrap the foil up around each chop and seal at the top. Place the packets onto the grill and cook for 15-18 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through. Transfer the chops to plates and pour over any liquid that remains in the foil packet.

prep time: 30 minutes
yield: 4 servings

 

Baked Stuffed Pears

Baked-Stuffed-Pears-smSQ

Tangy cranberries, walnuts, ginger, and cinnamon complement the sweet and spicy Bosc pear. Perfect for baking, Bosc pears hold their elegant shape.

Ingredients              
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
3 Bosc USA Pears
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 teaspoon minced crystallized ginger
¼ cup honey
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Cut each pear lengthwise, scoop out the core with a melon baller, and expand the opening to about 1 ½ inches.

In a small bowl, blend the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Mix in the walnuts, cranberries, and ginger. Spoon the filling into the centers of the pears. Place the filled pears in a baking pan just large enough to hold them snugly.

In a small bowl whisk together the honey, water, and lemon juice. Pour around the pears in the baking dish.

Bake until the pears are tender when pierced, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool and serve with the pan juices.

prep time: About 20 minutes
cooking time: 30 minutes
yield: Serves 6

Recipe developed by Amy Sherman.

Pear-Stuffed French Toast

pear_stuffed_french_toast-sm-SQButtery Comice pears are generally not used in cooking, but create a custardy rich filling in this luscious stuffed French toast. Using cinnamon swirl bread adds plenty of spice and a hint of sweetness. Recipe developed by Amy Sherman.

Ingredients
4 slices cinnamon swirl bread, 1 inch thick
1 ripe Comice USA Pear
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
Maple syrup or powdered sugar

Directions 
Using a sharp bread knife, cut a pocket in one end of each slice of bread. The pocket should leave a border of about one inch from the sides of the bread.

Peel the pears, cut in half and core them. Working over bowl, use a knife or the vegetable peeler to cut the pear into very thin strips. Spread open the pocket in the bread and fill it with pear slices using a butter knife.

Transfer stuffed bread to a baking dish large enough to hold all the slices in a single layer. In a medium bowl, beat together milk and eggs and pour over the bread. After 5 minutes, flip the bread and using a fork, prick the bread to help it absorb the liquid. Repeat. Allow the bread to absorb all the liquid, about 15 minutes.

Melt butter on non-stick griddle or skillet over medium heat. Fry the French toast in two batches until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with maple syrup or dust with powdered sugar.

prep time: About 20 minutes
cooking time: 6 minutes
yield: Serves 4

Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Pears and Sweet Onion

Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Pears and Sweet Onion SM

These delicious and juicy burgers are perfect for a summer cookout. Firm-ripe USA Pears, sweet onion, ground turkey, and fresh thyme come together to make a quick and easy dinner. Creamy goat cheese and more pear slices top these fresh and light turkey burgers for a nice change of pace from a traditional beef burger. Throw some zucchini and red peppers on the grill, and the meal is complete! Make a double batch of these burgers and freeze the uncooked patties between sheets of waxed paper for a quick dinner down the road.

Ingredients
¾ pound ground white turkey
¾ pound ground dark turkey
1 firm-ripe USA Pear, such as Bartlett or Anjou, medium dice
½ a medium sweet onion, medium dice
½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for brushing
For serving
4 burger buns of your choice
Whole grain mustard
6 ounces chevre (goat cheese), at room temperature
1 ripe USA Pear, such as Bartlett or Anjou
Leaf lettuce

Directions
In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, diced pear, onion, thyme, salt, and pepper. Mix gently with your hands until combined. Form the mixture into 4 patties. Brush the patties lightly with olive oil to prevent sticking. You can refrigerate the burgers at this point until ready to grill.

When you’re ready to cook the burgers, preheat your grill to medium heat. Once hot, grill the burgers for 5-6 minutes per side, or until just cooked through. Spread the bottom bun with mustard and place a burger on top. Top each burger with a lettuce leaf and ¼ of a pear, sliced. Spread each of the bun tops with ¼ of the soft goat cheese and assemble to complete the burger.

Fun (and Safe) in the Sun!

girls with fruit

It’s warm, you’re outside more – maybe playing sand volleyball or enjoying a cocktail on the patio. Who doesn’t love summer? But beware: too much fun in the sun can lead to a serious problem. When it’s warm, we sweat to keep cool; excess sweat can lead to too much fluid and electrolyte loss. This means we need to consume more! But what the heck are electrolytes and where do I find them?

Electrolytes are charged minerals, specifically sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, phosphate, and calcium. Those of greatest import during warm weather or activity are sodium and potassium because they are lost through sweat. In the body they are kept in cells and blood and used to communicate; they carry impulses that stimulate nerve and muscle contractions. When you sweat too much or don’t consume enough, your body becomes deficient and this can lead to dire consequences, such as dehydration, cramping, shaking, and even death! So how do you protect yourself? Drink your fluids, eat your fruits and veggies – appropriate sources of electrolytes, and avoid excessive alcohol consumption that causes excess fluid and electrolyte loss. So what’s the perfect summertime snack? Try a glass of water and a sliced pear topped with one ounce of cheddar cheese. Yummy!

(Provides approximately 214 calories, 234mg potassium, 176mg sodium, and 204mg calcium.)

Mahan, L. Kathleen., Escott-Stump, Sylvia., Raymond, Janice L.Krause, Marie V. (Eds.) (2012) Krause’s food & the nutrition care process St. Louis, Mo. : Elsevier/Saunders.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/9?fg=&format=&offset=&sort=

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2401?fg=&man=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=&qlookup=pear

Pear Clafouti

pear_clafouti-sm-SQ

You can make this custardy French dessert using only the blender and a toaster oven. A splash of rum or brandy accentuates the flavors of the pears.

Ingredients
Bartlett USA Pears, peeled and cut in half
2 tablespoons rum or brandy
¼ cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup cream
½ cup milk
⅓ cup flour
Powdered sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the core and the stem from each pear half. Cut each in lengthwise slices ¼- to ½-inch thick and fan the slices out, keeping them attached at the stem end. Arrange the sliced pear halves in a non-stick or greased 9-inch pie plate with the stem ends pointing toward the center of the pan. Pour the rum or brandy over the pears.

In a blender, combine the sugar, eggs, cream, milk, and flour and blend until smooth. Let batter rest for 10 minutes then tipping the pie pan slightly, drain the liquor into the batter and stir. Place the pie plate on a cookie sheet to catch any spills, and pour the batter over the pears. Carefully transfer to the oven and bake until the clafouti is puffed and brown in the center, about 45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and dust with powdered sugar before serving.

prep time: About 20 minutes
cooking time: 45 minutes
yield: Serves 8

Recipe developed by Amy Sherman.

Pear Piña Colada

pear pina colada 1

I’ve been waiting patiently for the warmer weather to arrive to try out my idea for a Pear Piña Colada, and the results are deliciously successful! I love the creamy texture that the pureed pears lend to this cocktail, and using them allows you to cut down on the amount of coconut cream used in a typical recipe without compromising any flavor. The pears also lend a sweet, honey flavor to the cocktail that pairs beautifully with the tangy, fresh pineapple. I added a little unsweetened shredded coconut to my version as well because I love the texture it gives to this drink. Sip on this pear cocktail on a sunny afternoon and you’ll be transported to a tropical paradise!

Ingredients
2 ripe USA Pears, such as Bartlett or Anjou, cut into big chunks
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
¼ cup coconut cream (Coco Lopez brand is typically easy to find)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
8 ice cubes
3 ounces aged white rum

Directions
Place all of the ingredients into a blender and puree on high speed until smooth and creamy. Divide between two cocktail glasses and garnish with a pear ring and a slice of lime.

prep time: 10 minutes
yield: 2 servings

Please enjoy responsibly.

You Can Do It!

VictoryBite

Those of you who know me know I started my health journey 70 pounds heavier than I am now. I’ve completed seven half marathons, but never experienced the exhilaration of completing a full… until now. I ran my first full marathon this past weekend! Although the training was a chore (to be quite honest, it was sometimes boring), it was worth the toil when I ran across the finish line. If I can do it, anyone can! A goal is something to be accomplished, no matter what it is.

Looking back to when I was unhealthy, I think about how little I exercised, the processed junk I ate, and how horrible I felt. Life was different then: I slept a lot more, craved junk food, and didn’t even try fruits, vegetables, or exercise. Now, I have more energy, enjoy working out (…most of the time!), and take pride in my health. Plus, I love eating fresh food: Fruits and vegetables are the foundation of a healthy diet. I know the difference between watching life and living life! This life feels really, really good.

What is your goal? What’s your motivation? You can do it, too!