Pears


Gaye’s choice for this week was DESSERT!  We haven’t made dessert with Ellie in a while and that’s a shame because her’s are tasty AND healthy!!

I chose to make the Rustic Pear Tart.   Mainly because it’s easy but also because The Man does love pears. 

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This tart is super easy because you make the whole wheat crust and just fill it and fold it up around the pears.  No pie plate.  No trimming.  No patching.

Ellie suggested 3 medium pears but I had some canned pears from the orchard and chose to use those instead.  I had canned them with very little sugar but I cut down on the brown sugar from 3 Tbl to 2 Tbl just in case.  I had also canned some pears with cinnamon but figured I would use the plain instead.  The filling also has cinnamon, cornstarch, brown sugar and lemon juice. I forgot the lemon juice, but….ah, well!!  The tart is brushed with a mix of honey and water after baking to give it a nice sweet taste.

The recipe is from Ellie’s Comfort Food Fix  {page 284} but you can also find it HERE!

Check out more desserts on Divine Desserts at Eating with Ellie.

Phyllo Dough is NOT my friend.  Really NOT my friend! It’s not the phyllo’s fault.  I just have had trouble working with it.  I think it’s because my phyllo had been in my freezer too long.  Some of it was dried out, some of it was doughy.  I think I just need to work with some fresh phyllo.  That being said I won’t hesitate to use it whenever it makes a good dessert better.  Flakier.  Lighter.  Like these turnovers from Ellie.

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Apples, cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg.  All cooked together.  Making my house smell sooooo good.  And so were the turnovers.

The only change I made was to use some pears I canned this summer instead of the apples. The Man does love pears and since I was making these for him….. Served warm with some vanilla ice cream, YES PLEASE!!

And… AND… only 200 calories each!!

The recipe is on page 294 of Ellie’s The Food You Crave and I found it on the FoodNetwork as well.

FIRST I want to thank Peggy for her pick this week. I needed a quick and tasty dessert and this one was just perfect. SECOND – thanks to Donna Hay for the quick sweet treat. SHE is the reason I keep puff pastry in the freezer. It is good for just about anything from desserts to pot pies to savory tidbits.

This is pear season and ours are just beginning to ripen. I picked one, just one, and it was plenty for three galettes.

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I made mine with apple.

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This is super simple to make. Cut your puff pastry into squares. Sprinkle on some ground almonds. Layer some thin pear slices. Brush the whole thing with melted butter and then just bake at 350 until the pastry turns golden brown. No measurements. Put as much or as little of the pears and almonds as you like. This dessert is all about YOU!!

The ‘recipe’, if you want to call it that, is on page 160 of Donna’s off the shelf. I bet the other members of Wednesdays with Donna Hay liked this one, too.

Third Monday in May.

The end result – meeting a new foodie and cooking something or things from their collection of good things. I have found over the years that cooking just one thing is not a good way to learn about what makes a person tick. Or in the case of my ‘assignment’ this month – people. This month I was matched with Feast on the Cheap which is run by Mother and Daughter Duo Mary Ann and Mariel. Mary Ann is caterer and Mariel is writer with extraordinary culinary skills learned at her mother’s side. Between the two of them there is an awesome collection of great recipes.Not only that – the cost of every recipe is laid out for you with the ingredients. Thus the name “FEAST ON THE CHEAP”!! It was great to see how much each dish would cost.

I usually make three different treats. Usually a side and an entree and maybe a sweet treat. But it seems everything I went looking for something I was in need of something sweet. So here are two desserts – unusual for me – and a nice little quinoa dish.

I had a quart jar of pears in the pantry. We have a couple of trees so I put up pears every year. Finding this…

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was perfect. It is easy to make and yummy with the Maple Brown Butter Syrup and Pecans on top. Merial called for walnuts but we aren’t big fans and I always have lots of pecans in the freezer. Another change I made – I subbed out 1/2 of the AP flour for Whole Wheat. This is a grown up {what we used to call} Poke Cake. After the cake is cooked and cooled a bit holes are poked all over which lets the lovely syrup soak into the cake. Oh, Yeah!! Since I used my canned pears I skipped the “boil the pears, cinnamon, and water” part and just heated the pears and their juice with the cinnamon (and a little extra). Make this cake!!

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The next time I wandered through the site I found another sweet treat and since I was completely out of cake I deemed it absolutely necessary to make another. This time…

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Our garden yielded a lot of butternut last year. We could not eat all of them or give all of them away. There is just so much butternut one can eat. So I had cooked up quite a few, scooped out the good part, and froze packages of butternut squash. Lucky me to have found this cake, also from Merial.

This is supposed to be a quick bread but I changed it up just a tad and made ‘brownies’ with them. I poured the batter into a 11″ x 7″ pan and baked them for about 24 minutes. Merial made a Ginger Apple Butter for her bread but I chose not to use a ‘frosting’. But I did use some Sweet Potato Butter on some and they were wonderful!! Slicing these was a cinch since I had Mom’s special brownie pan (she loved gadgets like I do)

P1060546 PRESTO!! 18 perfect snacks!!

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Okay, I just couldn’t make another sweet treat. I HAD to go along another path.
For Lunch:

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Quinoa Salad with Sweet Bell Peppers, Dried Cranberries and Turkey Bacon

    1 cup organic quinoa
    2 cups water or chicken/vegetable stock
    ½ Teaspoon salt
    1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
    1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
    ¾ cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped –
    ¾ cup dried cranberries
    4 scallions (green onions), white and green parts thinly sliced
    5 ozs. Montrachet or plain goat cheese (NOT Feta)
    ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    1/2 lb. bacon, cooked crisply and crumbled

    For the dressing:
    ¼ cup cider vinegar
    1 Teaspoon Turmeric or dry mustard
    1 Teaspoon Cumin
    3 Teaspoons honey
    ¾ cup olive oil
    salt and pepper

If not using organic quinoa, rinse in a fine mesh strainer under cold, running water.

In a 1½ quart lidded saucepan, combine the quinoa, salt, and water or stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking until all of the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff the grain with a fork and set aside. Allow to cool to about room temperature.

In the mean time, prepare the remaining ingredients and dressing. Set the dressing aside.

Toss the peppers, cheese, nuts, cranberries, cucumber, onions, cilantro, and crumbled bacon with the quinoa. Season the Pilaf with salt and pepper. Add the dressing if serving all at once, combining well.

This was definitely a hit with me. The sweet cranberries and pecans mixed with the sweet pepper and green onions was a nice contrast. The tangy sweet dressing brought it all together. I made 1/2 of the recipe and it was plenty for two light lunches (with cake!). And so colorful which means lots of good things in the dish that are good for you.

So many recipes, so little time. I did make the Whole Wheat Parmesan Drop Biscuits. I couldn’t pass those up. Now I want to go back and try

And that’s just my short list.

Visit with Mary Ann and Merial – you WON”T be sorry!!

And visit the rest of the Secret Recipe Club Members and see what they cooked/baked this month.

There is just something about Mark BIttman’s recipes/dishes that keeps calling me back. I know you know the feeling. You find a chef/cook/baker you really like and then you just want to keep making their goodies. I am that way with Madjur Jaffrey, Donna Hay, and Mark Bittman, among others..

So when it came time to do another potluck for I heart Cooking Clubs I went with Bittman – again.

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    8 ripe pears peeled, cored, and roughly chopped into smallish pieces
    1/4 – 1/3 cup sugar
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    8 – 10 sheets whole-wheat phyllo dough, thawed
    4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
    Powdered sugar for dusting

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the pears, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
Set the phyllo on your work surface and cover with a piece of plastic and a damp towel to keep it from drying out. Remove one sheet and put it in front of you, brush it with some butter and fold in 1/2 length wise.

Put about 1/8 of the pear mixture at one end of the phyllo strip and begin folding the filled section of the phyllo to form triangles back and forth along the length of the strip, like folding a flag. Keep folding the triangle back and forth until you reach the end of the sheet.
Transfer the turnover to the prepared baking sheet, seam side down, and brush it with a little more butter. Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets and apple mixture. You should have 8 turnovers.

Bake the turnovers until deeply golden and crisp (it’s okay if they ooze a little juice), 25 to 35 minutes.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar or


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    cinnamon sugar.

These were quick, crispy, flaky, tasty and the perfect light dessert. They are on page 565 of Bittman’s The Food Matters Cook book

For the other Pot Luck picks visit us over at IHCC

Back on November 8, 2008, TWD members made Rice Pudding. I was not one of them because at the time I. Could. Not. Find. Arborio rice. What! What is that? Was the response I got here in Podunk, USA. SHEESH!!! NOW it is everywhere. And I’ve used it quite a bit since I found it, but never did get around to making the Rice Pudding. Have now!!!

And it came out perfectly (I had tried it before and it was a miserable failure.) I made 1/2 of the recipe which gave me two nice helpings. One vanilla and one chocolate. B liked the chocolate and I prefered the vanilla so we were both happy. It is not the most photogenic dessert, at least not the chocolate….

Isabelle chose the recipe that week and you can find the recipe on her blog. It is also on page 412 of BFMHTY.

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November 29, 2011 Normandy Tarts appeared in TWD kitchens.

I made about 1/3 of the filling recipe, used pears instead of apples and ended up with a 4″ mini tart. The pears were at B’s request. Good little tart chosen by my friend Tracey of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. It was her second time to host and her Tart is Gorgeous!! You can also find the recipe in BFMHTY on page 304.

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I did skip one recipe for March back when – Chocolate Pots de Creme. {March 1, 2011}

We had made the Caramel Pots de Creme in May of 2011 and they worked out well so I wasn’t worried about the chocolate. 1/2 of recipe resulted in 4 4″ ramekins of chocolate delight. Thank you Christine of Cats in the Kitchen. LOVED these. Recipe is on her blog and on page 390 of Dorie’s book.

That’s all. I posted the Far Breton {1 November 2011} in September. I still have’t made the Chestnut Cake. Still no chestnuts to be found except in large portions and I am only making mini cakes these days since it is just the two of us. MAYBE by the end of the year I will get it made.

I missed a lot of December picks – six to be exact. I will be busy!!

Think back to January 6, 2009. Do you know what was baking in your oven?
If you were a member of TWD that year, you had THIS lovely tart in there.

    French Pear Tart

This tart was special because Dorie chose it for the group to bake. And hers is beautiful (DUH!!)
The tart calls for one of Dorie’s crusts – either the Sweet Tart or the Sweet Tart with Nuts. I had some shortbread crust left so I used that. It did add extra sweetness but just made the tart even better. The pear halves are sliced thinly and fanned out over the almond cream.

When out of the oven you can either brush with an apple jelly glaze, or, as I did, dust with powdered sugar.

The recipe is on Dorie’s Site so go there. This is so simple to put together you will want to make it EVERY nite!!!

I’m catching up on the TWD treats I missed before joining so you will be seeing still more of Dorie’s treats over the next few weeks.

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