About Brittany

Hi! I’m Brittany Wilmes, program coordinator at Pear Bureau Northwest. As half of the Communications and PR department at the Pear Bureau, I write about pear pop culture for The Pear Dish—sharing everything pear, from fresh recipes to community involvement to fun décor ideas. Have an article or idea to share? Feel free to email me! In addition to blogging, I’m busy sharing the pear love on behalf of the Pear Bureau Northwest…and eating USA Pears!

Three Cheers for the Concorde

The National Pear Month fun continues with the crisp Concorde pear. Vanilla-sweet and elegant, this green-skinned blend of the Comice and Conference varieties miiight be a favorite variety of many USA Pears employees…if we played favorites.

4x7 Concorde

The Concorde pear’s firm texture makes it a great fit for baked goods, desserts, and roasting, but it’s also delicious eaten fresh or in salads, like this Autumn Concorde Pear Salad with celery root and fennel.

Concorde Pear Salad

Whirl a Concorde pear into a green smoothie for natural sweetness and smooth texture.

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Sweet Concorde pears make a perfect partner for tangy goat cheese and savory herbs in this Pear and Thyme Crisp.

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However you decide to enjoy your Concorde pears, make sure to check the neck for ripeness. If your pear gives to gentle pressure near the stem end, it’s ripe and sweet.

Check in with our friends at One Sweet Appetite, Love and Olive Oil, and The Little Epicurean for more delicious pear treats and dishes in celebration of National Pear Month!

Befriend the Forelle

Next up in the National Pear Month lineup: the fun, freckled Forelle!

Forelle USA pear

Forelle means “trout” in German, and you can see where this variety gets its name—it’s easily spotted by its spots! Smaller than the average pear, the Forelle has a crisp texture and a slightly tangy flavor.

The Forelle shines in a classic salad, like this Pear and Watercress Salad with Goat Cheese, Gouda, and Walnuts.

Pear Watercress SaladLooking for something more upscale? Put pears on your holiday menu along with some seasonal seafood, like this King Crab with Pear Tabbouleh Salad.

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Polish it all off with these adorable little bundled Forelle Pears Baked in Pastry. They’re like mini pies, but with twice the filling.

forelles baked in pastry

If you need ripe Forelle pears for your recipes or a quick snack, just check the neck. If your pear gives to gentle pressure near the neck, it’s ripe and sweet! Store your Forelle pears in the refrigerator if you need to slow ripening.

Don’t forget to check out our Instagram account this week—we’re running a contest for the first ten days of December! Tell us your #PearfectPairing and you could win a box of fresh pears delivered straight to your doorstep!

Celebrating the Sweet Seckel

Break out the party poppers! National Pear Month is here, and we’re celebrating during December by introducing you to all ten varieties of Northwest-grown pears.

Did you know our favorite fruit comes in a bite-sized variety? Meet the Seckel: crisp, sweet, and petite. Olive green with a maroon blush, the Seckel is ideal pickled, as a picture-perfect garnish for holiday entrees, or eaten fresh out of hand! Sized for small hands, it’s a popular lunchbox pick.

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Adorn your holiday ham with roasted Seckel pears…or get exotic with this Spiced Squab Breast with Seckels.

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Make a peck of pickled pears, wrap a ribbon around the jar, and put it under the tree. Voila! This simple gift from your kitchen will have everyone asking for more.

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Everyone’s going with the grain (salad) this year. You can sweeten your table with this Pear, Roasted Carrot, and Ginger Quinoa Pilaf.

pear quinoa pilaf

Don’t forget to check the neck for ripeness, even on your little Seckels. If your pear gives to gentle pressure near the neck, it’s ripe and ready to eat. Get your snack on!

Behold the Red Bartlett

December is National Pear Month, and we’re celebrating all ten varieties of USA Pears during these first ten days, along with our friends at Love and Olive Oil, One Sweet Appetite, and The Little Epicurean.

Today, we’re all about the Red Bartlett, a lesser-known sister of the quintessential pear variety, the Bartlett. We love the soft, juicy, and sweet Red Bartlett pear for its bright pop of color and its mellow flavor in recipes. The Red Bartlett can be identified by its soft red skin, classic pear shape, and vertical stripes of color.

Red Bartlett-hero

Red Bartlett pears shine atop savory entrees, like these Grilled Pizzettas with Pears, Shaved Ham, and Fresh Basil.

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Raise a glass to the peak of pear season with Red Bartlett pears in this festive White Sangria with Cranberry Syrup.

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File this one away for warmer days: a pitch-perfect summer salad with first-of-the-season Red Bartlett pears, sweet corn, and strawberries.

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Red Bartlett pears change from a dark red to a bright, rich red as they ripen. Make sure to keep them at room temperature and check the neck for ripeness. If your pear gives to gentle pressure near the stem, it’s ripe and ready to eat. Only store pears in the refrigerator to slow ripening.

Cheers to National Pear Month!

Walnut Pesto Toast with Sliced Pears and Gorgonzola Cheese

daves-killer-bread-walnut-pesto3

This recipe, courtesy of Dave’s Killer Bread and Lauren Kelly Nutrition, will expand your toast horizons. Perfect for breakfast or an after-school snack, this simple pear toast is anything but boring.

Ingredients
Pesto
4 ounces extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons walnuts
¼ cup parmesan cheese
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Sandwich
½ USA Pear, sliced
¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Sliced walnuts for topping
4 slices of Dave’s Killer Bread

Instructions
Add ingredients to make the pesto to high speed blender or food processor in the order displayed. Blend until smooth. Toast bread until light brown. Spread pesto on toasts. Add sliced pears and top with cheese and walnuts. Serve immediately.

yield: 4 servings

Pear and Red Potato Gratin

Pear Potato Gratin

This savory pairing of Pacific Northwest potatoes and pears makes a great side dish for roast pork or barbecued chicken. For a reduced fat approach, substitute chicken stock for half the cream.

Ingredients
2 pounds Anjou USA Pears, cored
2 pounds Northwest-grown red potatoes
2 teaspoons salt, to taste
½ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup Gruyère cheese, grated
½ cup Rogue Creamery Oregonzola or Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Directions
Thinly slice pears into rings using a mandoline or knife. Slice potatoes to the same thickness as pears.

In a saucepan, mix seasonings together with cream and carefully bring to a brief boil.

Layer a third of the potato and pear slices in the bottom of a 10 x 2 round baking dish, alternating pears and potatoes. Sprinkle ⅓ of the Gruyere and Oregonzola on potatoes and pears. Repeat layers until complete. Pour cream sauce atop.

Cover baking dish with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until tender. Remove foil and bake until golden brown and bubbly. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

yield: Serves 8

Pear, Fig, and Salami Salad

pear fig salami salad

This salad of pears, figs, greens, salami, and cheese is full of subtle flavors that celebrate transition from summer to fall in the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy it with simple pork chops cooked on the grill or a lovely fillet of roasted salmon.

Ingredients
Dressing
¼ cup fresh orange juice (from about half an orange)
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon toasted almond oil
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Salad
4 cups baby arugula, packed
2 heads Belgian endive, halved lengthwise and sliced into ½ inch strips
10 – 12 fresh figs, halved or quartered
2 ripe USA Pears, such as Red Bartlett or Starkrimson, sliced
3 oz. mild salami, cut into ¼ inch cubes (or salami slices, cut into strips)
¼ cup ricotta salata cheese, crumbled

Directions
For the dressing: Combine the first four ingredients in a blender. Combine both the oils in a measuring cup and with the blender running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream to emulsify the dressing. Set aside until ready to use.

For the salad: In a large bowl, combine the arugula and sliced endive and toss with about ⅔ of the dressing. Transfer the greens to a platter and place the figs and pears decoratively on and around the greens. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the fruit. Top the salad with the salami, followed by the crumbled cheese.

prep time: 20 minutes
yield: 4 – 6 servings

Autumn Concorde Pear Salad

Concorde Pear Salad

This salad, created by Chef Jody Adams of Rialto Restaurant in Boston, spotlights the distinct vanilla flavor in Concorde pears against savory fennel and celery root to refresh the tried-and-true combo of greens, nuts, and cheese.

Ingredients
Vinaigrette
¼ cup moscato vinegar or champagne vinegar
1-½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ shallot, finely minced
¾ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salad
2 Concorde USA Pears, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced
½ small celery root, peeled, thinly sliced
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 head endive, halved, then cut in ¼-inch thick slices on bias
1 cup watercress
¼ cup blue cheese
¼ cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions
Whisk the vinegar, mustard and shallot together. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Gently toss the sliced celery root and fennel with the endive. Add the sliced pears and watercress and gently toss again, to evenly distribute the ingredients. Crumble the blue cheese over the top, add the walnuts and ¼ cup of vinaigrette and toss gently to coat all of the ingredients.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide between 6–8 plates and serve immediately.

yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

Pear Pecorino Ravioli

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The sweetness of the pears complements the salty and creamy cheese filling of these easy ravioli. Serve with a crisp white wine.

Ingredients              
1 Bartlett USA Pear, peeled and cored
⅔ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon minced fresh sage
Freshly ground pepper
1 package medium wonton wrappers
Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons shredded fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped raw, peeled pistachios

Directions 
Grate the pear into a bowl using a box grater. Using your hands, squeeze out and discard any accumulated pear juice. Add the pecorino, mascarpone, yolk, minced fresh sage and a few grinds of pepper to the pear pulp and stir until thoroughly combined with a spatula or wooden spoon.

Place 10 wonton wrappers on a work surface and put a teaspoon of the filling in the center of each wrapper. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, moisten the wrapper around the filling. Top each wrapper and filling with another wonton wrapper and gently press and shape the top wrapper around the mound of filling, working out to the sides and pushing out any air. Repeat until all wrappers are filled.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add half of the ravioli and cook until they float, about 2 minutes. Using a skimmer, transfer the ravioli to a plate, making sure the ravioli are slightly spread apart. Repeat to cook the remaining ravioli.

In a large skillet, melt the butter. When the butter is foaming, add the sage and cook until it stops sizzling and butter begins to turn brown. Turn off the heat and add the pistachios. Transfer the ravioli and brown butter sauce to a large mixing bowl and gently toss until coated. Serve immediately.

prep time: About 20 minutes
cooking time: 10 minutes
yield: Serves 4

Recipe developed by Amy Sherman.

Korean Barbecue Beef

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Pear juice adds sweetness and helps to tenderize the beef in this bulgogi dish that is traditionally cooked over a grill. You can serve it with rice, in a lettuce wrap or try it fusion style in a taco or burrito.

Ingredients              
1 pound lean stir-fry beef, such as flank steak or sirloin cut across the grain, very thinly sliced
1 ripe Bartlett USA Pear, peeled and cored
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 chopped green onions
3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Garnish
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
2 sliced green onions

Directions 
Grate the pear in a large bowl or if it’s soft enough, mash it. Add the garlic, ginger, green onions, soy sauce, brown sugar, toasted sesame oil, and black pepper. Stir to combine and add the beef, coating it completely. Cover the bowl and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. Drain the beef from the marinade using a strainer or colander.

Heat a large no-stick or cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat until it is hot. Add enough beef to cover in one layer and stir fry, until the meat is completely cooked through, about 3 minutes; transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining beef.

Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions before serving.

prep time: About 10 minutes
cooking time: 6 minutes
yield: Serves 4

Recipe developed by Amy Sherman.