Nowadays, everybody’s keen on pears

It’s fall, and lot of people are doing a lot of wonderful things with pears right now.  Even though USA Pears are available nearly year-round, a lot of people still think of them as a “fall fruit.”  So if people like to cook with the seasons, and believe that pears are a fall fruit, it’s no surprise that the internet is EXPLODING with creative, delicious-looking pear recipes.

We have our very own USA Pears recipe collection, with time-tested (not to mention professionally-tested) appetizer, beverage, entree, dessert, and kid-friendly recipes, but we also like to pay attention to what’s going on out there in your kitchens.  Food blogs are all aflutter with incredible pear creations this fall, and I’ve rounded up a few of my faves for your enjoyment:

scarlet-poached-pear3

Scarlet Poached Pears from the blog “Zested” (http://zested.wordpress.com/)  This was sent to me from a fan in Washington State (ok, it was my sister) who happened upon this recipe that calls for 2 medium beets in addition to a cheap, robust red wine to create that amazing color.  Personally, I find that cool.  Another cool thing about this recipe is that it’s inspired by art- a stained glass Tiffany window at the Met.   Click here to read the post.

manque7webMini Manqué pear cakes with blackberry jam from the blog “Citron & Vanille” (www.citronetvanille.com/blog/)
The main thing I like about this lady is that she suggests you eat these cakes for breakfast!  Click here to read the post.

 

 

tart1Balsamic Goat Cheese and Pear Tart from the blog “Salt & Chocolate” (http://saltandchocolate.com/)
Katie, the genius behind Salt & Chocolate, is sort of a Michael Jordan of food blogging.  She gets nominated for awards and stuff, and I can definitely see why.  Does this look good or what?  Click here to read the post.

Which brings us to my final pick, also from Salt and Chocolate!

 

untitled-32Vanilla Cardamom Pear Turnovers by “Salt & Chocolate” (http://saltandchocolate.com/)

The best part about this post, besides the simple yet delectable recipe, is the comment from someone named Jen (not me).  It says, “I’ve been on a total puff pastry and cardamon kick, so I will definitely be trying this recipe.”  A total puff pastry and cardamom kick?  Jen, who are you and why don’t you have your own blog?

I feel it’s fair to say that if you’re not daydreaming about inventing your own creative pear dessert right now, you might want to start.  After all, it is fall.

A Pear in Provence

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This month, while traveling through the Provence region of France, specifically the Côtes du Rhône wine region, I had the opportunity to taste magnificent food, delicate wines, and absorb the gourmet culture of the French countryside. There, the French have a particular way of enjoying life: fresh fruits and vegetables from open air markets, a healthy dose of wine, and a slower pace. The climate is perfect for growing Mediterranean fruits – warm, fairly dry, and sun-baked. Provençal wines are frequently paired with fruits grown in the region – pears, melons, apricots, etc. Pairing fruit with wine has been a worldwide tradition for centuries; pears, for instance, are a nice combination with red, white, or rosé wines, and are exceptionally pleasant matched with dessert wines.

In addition to the benefit for your palate, a moderate amount of wine has particular health benefits that complement the health benefits of pears. One such benefit is that wine is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are protective agents that play roles in fending off different cancers, prevention of cardiovascular disease that leads to heart attack and stroke, and they likely have other yet-undiscovered benefits. Likewise, pears are rich in antioxidants, the antioxidant vitamin (vitamin C), and fiber – a heart-healthy component that helps clear the blood vessels. This is just one reason that fruits and moderate amounts of wine are components of the Mediterranean diet. Thus, one could say that combining pears with wine for dessert or an aperitif is part of a therapeutic diet. So go ahead, indulge in a creamy, ripe pear and perhaps a light-bodied wine, and enjoy life Provençal style. Bon appétit!

Score a Touchdown With Pears!

bosc-football2It’s September – school has started, fall is just around the corner, and the football crowd is gearing up for weekend showdowns. This means that football parties are in full swing, and so is the football fare. Over this past weekend, I attended a party to watch two local college rivals battle it out, but the real battle was between me and the snack table! If you’re like me, you want to be social, but have a hard time staying away from the large quantities of buffalo wings, chips and dip, sausages, pizza, cookies, beer, and other calorie-laden football fare.

Rooting for your favorite team doesn’t have to mean overeating fatty snacks. Plan ahead and follow a few simple tricks to satisfy the crowd while staying on track. First, eat a small, filling meal ahead of time so that you aren’t ravenous during the game. Second, bring a dish to the party, and make it a lighter version of a football favorite or a simple snack tray loaded with filling choices. Finally, if you bring a snack, strategically place it nearby so that you reach for your snack instead of the fattier football fare.

cheese-and-pearsFor an easy, pleasing dish, try making a tasty fruit plate. Cut pears are a great base, and easily pair with a light fruit dip or cheese and crackers. For the game, I brought a snack tray loaded with multi-grain crackers, warmed brie, cool goat cheese, and sliced pears. I placed the tray on the coffee table in front of the television, so that I could reach for my delicious snack rather than the fattier choices on the buffet table. It was delicious, the crowd was pleased, and by half-time the tray was empty!

Pearing Up with Good Day Oregon

The Good Day Oregon Van in front of Foster and Dobbs

andy-and-cameraman1

On February 4, Andy Carson hung out with us at Portland specialty cheese and wine shop Foster and Dobbs, and showed thousands of viewers a few of the marvelous things pears pair well with. Beginning at 4:30 a.m. (eek!), pears were featured on Fox 12’s Good Day Oregon. Here’s a recap of some of mouth-watering pairings created by Foster and Dobbs’ own Luan Schooler:

bosc-and-blue-cheeseBosc Pears + Rogue River Blue Cheese

If you’re a blue cheese lover and this is the first time you’re learning of Rogue River Blue…you’re welcome. Each exquisite wheel is hand wrapped in grape leaves that have been bathed in, drum roll please, pear brandy. This cheese tasted incredible with the sweetness and subtle spice of Bosc pears, even at 4:30 in the morning!

luan-making-fondueRed and Green Anjou + Swiss and Gruyere Fondue

Here’s a shot of Luan whipping up some fondue. She used Swiss Emmental and Appenzeller Gruyere, and added Clear Creek Distillery Pear Brandy (notice a pattern with the pear brandy?), Erath Pinot Gris, lemon juice, and nutmeg. I’m no stranger to fondue, and this was by far the best fondue I’ve ever tasted. I hope this wasn’t a top secret recipe, Luan!

goat-cheeseGreen Anjou + Cypress Grove Fromage Blanc

Folks, amongst all of this deliciousness, this was my favorite pairing of the day. Cypress Grove Fromage Blanc is every bit as fresh and creamy as the company’s website suggests, and this goat cheese went PEARfectly with a nice, ripe Green Anjou pear.

There were many pairings that fateful morning, but the last one I’ll share with you involves chocolate. Normally I tend to shy away from chocolate sauces that involve any sort of alcohol. I’m not really sure why, but it may have had something to do with too much liqueur chocolates at some point in my early adulthood. Anyway, this pairing changed all of that for me. Luan fed us a dark chocolate Cognac sauce by Robert Lambert, who is an award winning cookbook author and chef, paired with a crisp Bosc pear. Microwave this sauce for 10-15 seconds and serve with any variety of pears and you’ll be the hit of any party. Granted, I have only used this sauce at parties in which I am the host and only attendee, but I stand by my “hit of any party” statement and firmly believe it will work in traditional party-like situations in which there is more than one guest in attendance. Try it for yourself and find out!