Hi folks! There appears to be a plethora of pears arriving in our weekly shares now, so I thought maybe it was time for another dessert indulgence using this bounty! What's nice about this particular recipe is that it works well with (specifically) slightly underripe pears (because you want them to stay intact when cooked). Consequently, you can use the pears early if you don't want to wait a few days for them to ripen. I know we don't get raspberries or mint in our shares, but they are just a suggested garnish. Feel free to innovate (how 'bout a sprinkling of finely chopped nuts... or tiny little crystallized ginger dice)! And the second recipe this week was one I got verbally from Tom some time ago (and I wrote it down 'casuse I really liked the sound of it), but I've been waiting for him to have both beets and arugula in our share boxes to post it. This is the week! - debbie
Poached Pears in Cabernet Chocolate Sauce
6 slightly underripe pears, halved lengthwise and peeled
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 strips of orange peel
1/2 C sugar
3 C cabernet wine (1 bottle)
6-8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
fresh raspberries, for garnish
fresh mint sprigs, for garnish also
Arrange pear halves in a non-reactive pan. Tuck in orange peel and cinnamon stick and sprinkle sugar over all. Pour in wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour, or until pears are tender. Remove pears to non-reactive pan (this is important! The pears will discolor AND pick up an unpleasant metallic taste. I cover a cookie sheet with plastic wrap and rest the pears on this), cover and refrigerate. Remove cinnamon stick and orange peel from wine, then boil gently until liquid is reduced by two-thirds and is syrupy. Melt the chocolate. I do this in the microwave -- only be careful!! Chocolate burns easily! And burnt chocolate stiiiinnnnks...eeeewww! (Can you tell I am speaking from experience?) It doesn't melt down into a puddle like you'd think; for some reason, in a microwave, it tends to hold its shape. So nuke it a minute at a time and check it -- poke it. Stir it. When chocolate is completely melted, pour wine-syrup into it and blend thoroughly. To serve: Spread an even layer of warmed sauce on each plate. Place two pear halves on each plate, on top of the sauce. Lightly spoon a small amount of sauce on top of the pears. Garnish each plate with a few berries and a mint sprig. Yum!
Beet Arugula Salad
diced cooked beets
feta cheese, crumbled
This 'recipe' came with no quantities or instructions, but it was the interesting combination of ingredients that tempted my taste buds. So I'll give you a general idea of how I'd prepare it (which I haven't done yet, but I intend to... when I get this week's ingredients!). Cook the beets any way you like -- boil, peel and dice, or roast, peel and dice. Plump the bulghur by pouring boiling water and a bit of salt over it (2C water per 1C bulghur) in a bowl; let stand, covered, about 30 minutes until water is absorbed and grain is nice and chewy (drain off any water that remains). Stir in the beets and feta, toss in the arugula. Although Tom did not say that this salad had any sort of dressing, my gut feeling is that it probably does, so I might dress it with a simple blend of fresh lemon juice and olive oil (you shouldn't need salt 'cause the feta is salty). A pretty presentation would be to serve a mound of this colorful salad on a nice big lettuce leaf.
If you're looking for some ideas on quantities and proportions... let's say for a salad for about four people, I'd use 1 cup of bulghur (remember, it almost triples in volume when 'plumped') 3 medium or 4-5 small beets, 1/4 - 1/3 cup crumbled feta, and a large handful of rinsed/dried arugula, torn or chopped up a bit (not real fine though). Dressing... about 2 tbsp. lemon juice to 3 tbsp. olive oil. A nut oil, such as walnut oil, would be a nice addition, only don't substitute it for the full amount of the salad oil. Only for about 1/3 of it.