Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Perfect Pear

In mid-May, Brittany delivered to each of us Gourmet Gals these darling pear invitations.  The brown tags went well with the chocolate/nuts on the pear.  Nicely done, Brittany!  Looks great, tastes great, too.
Brittany and GG were our "pear"-fect hosts for a lovely early summer gourmet dinner! 

When we arrived they escorted us all out to the back deck.

They hosted their dinner last year outdoors, too, at GG's parents' house.  This year we were outdoors at Brittany's fun new house.  Her backyard is beautiful, intimate, and perfect.  We all loved the atmosphere.  GG and Brittany added just the right touches for simple yet lovely décor.  Mother Nature does good work, too, especially that time of year in Oregon.   Everything was green!
Fresh flowers and candles with an occasional pear made for a fun fancy yet casual centerpiece.  The lime green table runners added a nice touch and brought it all together, too. Brown, burlap, twine, and green.  These colors tied right in with their pear theme.  I love how they spray-painted the pears with gold food spray!  The three bigger pears in the middle they borrowed from Alisha.  She bought them a couple of years ago from the Red Store on the corner of 282nd and Powell, which we all hope will re-open someday!!
Our place setting cards matched the invitations, except the pears were dipped in sugar this time instead of chocolate.  These were delicious, too!
The menu was printed on kraft paper holding the silverware and napkin altogether.  It looked like something right off of Pinterest!  Beautifully done.  The little white flower tucked by the knife was typical of their many sweet, pretty touches throughout the evening.
For appetizers we had a pear smoothie, chicken skewers, and sourdough toast topped with roasted pears and melted cheese.

Such a pretty tri-pear salad!  It tasted great, too.  Everything was tasty.  It's hard to go wrong with pears.
For the main entrée they served us grilled cheese & pear sandwiches, the most amazing butternut squash soup, and pear chips.  All of three of these recipes are going to be family favorites for many of us!
I think this is our best group picture yet!  Mother Nature was doing her good work again, helping us out with great natural lighting and a pretty backdrop.  And it's almost like people planned to "coordinate their outfits" with lots of stripes, shades of grey/black, and pops of bright pink and blue.  I love it when that happens!

Front row: Mandy (standing), Alisha, Katie, Holly, Tanya
Middle row: Brenda, Brittany, Carrie, Corinne, Alyssa
Back row: GG, Tori, Emily

The desserts were all amazing, too.  I personally loved the cream puff best. But the caramelized pear ice cream in a chocolate bowl was a close second.
For our take home gift they sent us with delicious pear bread and the best pear-scented hand soap ever!

After this evening was over Carrie started a chain of heart-felt thanks to everyone for being such talented, kind, inspiring friends.  We all love each other and we all love our gourmet club group!  It's nice to be part of something wonderful like this. 

Thank you to GG and Brittany for creating such a warm, comfortable, relaxing, beautiful and fun evening for us.

Green Smoothie (Sorry it was not measured, this is approximate. I would make a much smaller batch than this as well.)

1 cup Strawberries (Fresh Hoods :))
1 cup Frozen Mango
1 cup Frozen Peaches
1/2 cup Pear
8 oz green spinach (a lot)
Abt 4 cups Simply Orange with banana (Enough to over the fruit and about half of the spinach)

Blend until smooth.

Sourdough Toast (Nola please edit)

Adapted from this recipe (source:
Pear and Blue Cheese on  Baguette(Makes 6-8 toasts)
Slice Baguette and add the Garnish to the top 

1-2 pears finely sliced, sprinkled with lemon juice.
1 tbsp of crème fraîche per toast
60-80 gr blue cheese, crumbled

Garnish each toast with cream, pear slices and blue cheese on top. Bake 400 for 5 minutes or until the blue cheese is melted.

These were a bit soft, an overnight marinade is probably too much. 1 hour would have been better.
Makes 4 servings
1 pound chicken breast (cut into bite sized pieces)
3 cloves garlic (grated)
1 inch ginger (grated)
1/2 small onion (grated)
1/2 Asian pear (grated)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 green onions (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Mix everything in a freezer bag and marinate for at least an hour.
Skewer the chicken on wet skewers and set aside.
Strain the solids from the marinade and simmer the marinade until it thickens and becomes saucy, about 5-10 minutes.
Grill the chicken until cooked, about 5 minutes per side basting it with the marinade as you go.

Tri Pear Salad 

(We learned that if the pears are wobbly, it works to cut a tiny slice off 


4 smooth skinned pears
2-3 cups watercress
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
vinaigrette dressing
honey for drizzling
lemon juice


Cut pears horizontally into 3 or 4 slices depending on the size of your pears. Use a paring knife to cut out the cores. The pieces should look like O's. Leave the stem on the pop piece. Brush slices of pear with lemon juice to keep it from browning.
Toss watercress, pecans, and blue cheese with dressing until coated.
Reassemble the pear, vertically, with the watercress salad in between each slice. Once assembled, drizzle with honey, and serve!

Butternut Squash Soup

 Acorn or Butternut Squash Soup

1 large acorn or butternut squash (or 2 small)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 tbsp ginger, diced
3 cups carrots, chopped
2 1/2 cups celery, chopped
2 cups cauliflower, chopped
1 packet knorr homestyle stock, chicken boulion cube, or substitute some of the water with chicken broth.
2-3 pears 
10 cups water (approximate, add until it covers vegetables)
1 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
coconut milk to garnish

Preheat oven to 400.
Slice squash in half and remove seeds and bake for 20-30 minutes. (until soft)
Allow to cool enough to handle and then remove skin and chop.
Saute onions, garlic, & ginger in olive oil.
Add carrots, celery, cauliflower, water, and 1 packet knorr homestyle stock.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes
Add pear and squash and simmer until all vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes)
Pour into a heat safe blender and mix until smooth.
Garnish with coconut milk. 

Note: This soup freezes well! Make a huge batch and freeze the extras. 

Grilled Cheese Pear

Assemble and grill:

Two slices of buttered bread
Pears sliced

Note: We were going to do this with a grooved cast iron pan to make beautiful grill marks. To save time we tried the george foreman and the effect was not the same. 

Pear Chips (I think these are better if you just simply dehydrate a pear, nothing more)
  •  2 cups (440g) granulated sugar
  •  2 sensational pears, thinly sliced
  Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F). Place the sugar on a plate and press the pear slices into it. Place the slices on baking trays lined with baking paper and bake for 15 minutes, turn and cook for a further 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks until crisp. I did this and then dehydrated them.  I wonder if it would not have been better to just bake them and let them cool for several days on the racks. 

Strawberry Pear Kabobs

On a skewer assemble:

Pear chunk
Whipped topping (recipe below):

1 cup heavy whipping cream
6tbs powdered sugar
1/2 cup marshmallow cream

Pear Ice Cream:

  • 2 small ripe pears
  • 3.5 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch coarse sea salt
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • 200 milliliters heavy cream
  • 50 milliliters full-fat milk
  1. Peel pears, de-core them and dice them into small cubes.
  2. In a cast-iron pan (or another solid pan) heat sugar.
  3. Wait for it liquefy, stirring not at first, only when you see patches of liquid sugar. Stir until smooth and amber colored. This should just take a few minutes.
  4. Add the pears. The caramel will seize up and solidify, but keep on stirring and boiling the mixture. Try to dissolve and clumps. this will take around 10 minutes.
  5. Then remove from heat, add milk, lemon juice and salt.
  6. Stir in the cream.
  7. Blend in food processor, until smooth.
  8. Chill, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to your manufacturer's instructions.                  
Chocolate Bowl (not recommended)
Melt chocolate on a balloon. Pop balloon when hardened. (The balloon sticks and is hard to get off).

Pear Cream Puff:

Nola's Mom made.  I acculy made these it is a very easy recipe
Cream Puffs
  • cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • eggs
  • cups whipped cream, pudding, or ice cream
1. In a medium saucepan combine water, butter, and salt. Bring to boiling. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Cool for 10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition.
2. Drop 12 heaping tablespoons of dough onto a greased baking sheet. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden. Transfer cream puffs to a wire rack; cool.
3. Cut tops from puffs; remove soft dough from inside (see photo x, xxxxx). Fill with whipped cream, pudding, or ice cream. Replace tops. If desired, sift powdered sugar over tops. Makes 12 cream puffs


Whipped cream add sugar to liking, at the end fold in fine chopped paars

Caramelized Pear Streusel Bread
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced pears
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Streusel Topping
1/4 cup rolled oats
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, diced
Preheat oven to 350°F and place a baking sheet in oven; spray 3 mini (5 3/4″ x 3 3/4″) loaf pans with nonstick spray. For the pears, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pears and brown sugar; sauté until tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Combine buttermilk, egg, vegetable oil, brown sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl; add to flour mixture and stir just until combined. Gently fold in pears.
For the streusel topping, whisk together oats, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; use a pastry cutter to cut in butter until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Divide batter evenly between loaf pans; top with streusel.
Place pans on preheated baking sheet and bake, rotating pans halfway through, for 23 to 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely. Wrap breads well and store in the refrigerator up to 2 days. Warm before serving.
Yield – 3 loaves, 6 servings per loaf (serving size: 1 slice)
Calories – 115
Carbs – 18

Watermelon Strawberry Drink

8 cups cubed and seeded watermelon
1 cup strawberries, halved
1/4 cup pear puree
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups water

Heat the sugar, water, lemon juice and pear.
Add to watermellon and strawberries in a blender (probably in 2 batches)
puree until smooth.

You can also just combine and puree but the sugar might now dissolve well.

No comments:

Post a Comment