November 19, 2010

Saffron Pears

These pears are the first part of two posts.  I decided to create these so that I could pull of a very quick and elegant dessert at the holidays and later in the year.  I decided to go with Seckel pears since they would be small enough to fit into the jar whole.

That said just by themselves they are great.  You really cant go wrong with saffron, wine, sugar and pears.

 Saffron Seckel Pears

12 seckel pears
1 bottle white wine, preferably Late Harvest Riesling or Gew├╝rztraminer
1 C sugar or honey
2 pinches saffron

Place the saffron in 4 tablespoons of boiling water.  Allow the saffron to hydrate for at least 15 mins.  Meanwhile place the wine and sweetener in a large pot.  Bring to a low simmer.  While simmering peel your pears.  You can peel completely or in a spiral pattern.  With a melon baller remove the seeds and most of the core.  With Seckel pears you will need to use the smallest baller you can find.  Place the peeled pears and the saffron in the sweetened wine mixture. Simmer for 10 mins making sure that the liquid covers them. Remove the pears and place in your jars.  I used quarts but pints would work as well.  Process for 20 min in pints; 25 for quarts. Enjoy

November 15, 2010

Winter Posting

I am going to be shifting the focus of the blog for the winter.  I will be posting more about how to use up the preserves that I have (both posted on this site and not).  I will still be doing some canning projects but since the main harvest season is over I will definitely be slowing down. 

November 12, 2010

Spiced Asian Pear Sauce

There are benefits to having multiple random ingredients on hand.  The day I created this recipe had intended to make a batch of beet chutney. Unfortunately I was under a time constraint so the timing for that recipe wasn't going to work.  Looking around my space I spotted asian pears, ginger and vanilla.

I decided to make a sauce that could serve as a topping for pancakes or on top of ice cream.  With asian pears tendency to not break down as you cook them the sauce turned out syrupy and chunky.  Just what I was looking for.

Spiced Asian Pear Sauce

6 Asian pears, chopped
1 vanilla bean
1 inch ginger
1 C sugar/1.5C honey
2 C water

Take the ginger and peel it. The easiest way to do this I have found is with a spoon. The spoon removes the skin quickly and without taking off excessive amounts of the ginger itself.  Slice the ginger.

Place the sweetener and water in a small cook pot. Add the sliced ginger and the vanilla bean.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 mins.  Remove the ginger and vanilla bean.  Split the vanilla bean and scrap the seeds into the syrup.  Chop the ginger and place in the syrup.  If you want a milder sauce use less of the chopped ginger or even none.  This will allow you to get the flavor of the ginger without biting down into a chunk of ginger.

Bring the syrup to a simmer and add the pears.  Cook until the syrup thickens and the pears soften. Approximately 20 mins.  Place in sterile jar and process for 10 mins.  Enjoy

November 3, 2010

Spicy Quince Pickles -

The inspiration for this recipe was all of the Spanish cooking that I have been doing for the last month (my community kitchen class).  I had a few quince left over from making the Membrillo. Since that is such a sweet preserve I decided to balance out with this spicy pickle.

5 medium size quince, sliced
2 onion, sliced
3 whole star anise
3-7 assorted chiles
4 c cider vinegar
2 c water
2 T salt
1/2 c brown sugar

Place the vinegar, water, salt, sugar and star anise in a large pot.  Bring to a boil.  When the sugar and salt are dissolved add the quince, onion and chiles.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until the quince is tender.  Place the quince, onions and chiles in pint jars.  Divide up the star anise so that there is at least 2 segments in each jar.  Cover with the brine and process for 15 mins.  Enjoy

Yield ~ 4 pints