Monday, September 30, 2013

Death by Chocolate

You know it's going to be a good party when an invitation like this one arrives!


Hosted by Brenda and Carrie, they went all out with the decorations for our "Death by Chocolate" gourmet club night.  Brenda made these terrific vinyl designs and then decorated the walls of Carrie's living room and dining room with them. 

Since brown is one of my favorite colors, of course I loved this décor!  The cute shaped menus were so fun, too.  Everything about the table settings was classy and rich.



Appetizers were a huge hit.  Chocolate!  Life is short they say.  Eat dessert first, right?  Fresh fruit and chocolate is a perfect combination along with cheese and chocolate baguette and mole stuffed peppers.

This was a delicious chocolate citrus green salad!  So pretty, too.





Our hostesses! In their fun aprons made by Carrie's husband Derek.  He was also their kitchen assistant for the evening.  (Thank you Derek!!)



Chocolate milk.  A classic.

Raspberry and White Chocolate Italian Soda

Roast Beef with Chocolate and Rosemary, Roasted Asparagus and White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes
Back: Tori, Nola, Alisha
Middle: Corinne, Brenda, Brittany, Mandy
Front: Holly, Tanya, Alyssa, Carrie, Emily

LOVE these awesome, inspiring, good women!


The chocolate cake!  I do believe they sampled at least 6 recipes in their quest to find the perfect chocolate cake for us.  I didn't try the runners-up, but this one was a winner for sure for me!


Now that's a chocolate chocolate chocolate cake.

And maybe sometimes in life you may wonder if there is something that can be the answer to every question:




Chocolate.  Chocolate is the answer to every question. 









The take home gifts were so fun!  A box full of the most amazing, delicious chocolate cookies--several different types, some almond roca chocolates (YUM!), the cute chocolate sign, and our chocolate name place holders. (My little kids keep trying to eat the candle, thinking it's candy.)  I loved all of the chocolate wisdom they shared on the walls, the signs, and the take home containers.  Yes indeed, chocolate is the answer to every question.

This was such a beautiful, fun, decadent, delicious evening!  Thank you Brenda and Carrie!


White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes
recipe adapted by me , but found at The City Sisters
 

6 to 8 extra large potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
1-1/2 cups white chocolate, melted (look for pure white chocolate)
1-1/2 cups milk, heated

Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cool water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Drain in a colander set in the sink.

Return the potatoes to a large mixing bowl and begin mixing. Add in heated milk (not cold) and continue mixing. Add in the melted white chocolate to the still-hot potatoes; stir until the mixture is very creamy. (no butter is needed, the white chocolate takes the place) Serve Hot!

Roasted Asparagus
Bon Appétit, June 2006
2 pounds green asparagus, trimmed
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
Preheat oven to 450°F.  Brush large rimmed baking sheet with 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Arrange all asparagus on prepared baking sheet.  Whisk remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, shallots, and lemon zest in small bowl; pour over asparagus and toss gently to coat.  Spread asparagus in single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast until asparagus is tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.
Can be made 2 hours ahead.  Let stand at room temperature.  If desired, rewarm in 450°F oven 5 minutes before continuing.  Add parsley and toss gently.  Transfer to platter and serve warm or at room temperature.

Roast Beef with Chocolate & Rosemary
Adapted from Bon Appétit, January 2006
1/4 cup diced pancetta (about 1 1/2 ounces)
6 pounds roast beef/pot roast
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cranberry juice
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 cups chopped drained canned diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons shaved or grated bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
Heat heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add pancetta and saute until crisp.  Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain.  Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper.  Brown the pot roast in drippings in pot over medium-high heat until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch.  Transfer to plate.  Add onions and next 4 ingredients to pot.  Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Add cranberry juice.  Boil uncovered until liquid is reduced by half, scraping up browned bits, about 5 minutes.  Add broth, tomatoes, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and pancetta.  Return ribs to pot, cover partially, and simmer 1 1/2 hours.  Uncover and simmer until rib meat is tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours longer.
Transfer meat to plate; discard bay leaf and thyme stems (herbs will have fallen off stems during cooking process).  Spoon fat from surface of sauce.  Boil sauce until beginning to thicken, about 8 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add chocolate, cocoa powder, and rosemary; stir until chocolate melts.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Return meat to pot.  Simmer to re-warm, about 5 minutes. 
Serves 6 to 8.

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
1          ingredients
2          1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature)
3          1 1/4 cups firmly-packed brown sugar
4          1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
5          1 large egg
6          1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
7          1/2 tsp salt
8          3/4 tsp baking soda
9          1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 6-oz. package)
10       3 tsp coarse sea salt or Kosher salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
Beat together using a whisk, electric mixer or stand-up mixer the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and egg until fluffy.
Mix together the flour, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl.
Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture, taking care not to over-mix. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Working in batches, drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet, making sure there are at least 2 inches between each dough ball.
Bake for approx 8 minutes, until the cookies have begun to brown on the bottom but are still soft on top. Put a small pinch of the coarse salt on top of each cookie and press down gently, to embed them slightly. Bake for another 4-6 minutes, or until cookies are golden-brown.
Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Makes about 30 cookies.
Outrageous Chocolate Cookies
INGREDIENTS

           8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
           4 tablespoons unsalted butter
           2/3 cup all-purpose flour
           1/2 teaspoon baking powder
           1/2 teaspoon salt
           2 large eggs
           3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
           1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
           1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks
COOK'S NOTE
Don't worry if the batter seems thin. It should look more like a brownie batter than a cookie dough.
DIRECTIONS
1.     STEP 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring between each, until almost melted; do not overheat. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
2.     STEP 2 In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.
3.     STEP 3 Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
SOURCE
Everyday Food, September 2003



 Spicy Chocolate Crackled Cookies

12 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, divided
3/4 cup flour
 or McCormick® Gourmet Collection Roasted Saigon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt 8 ounces of the chocolate as directed on package. Set aside. Coarsely chop remaining 4 ounces chocolate. Mix flour, roasted cinnamon, ancho chile pepper, baking powder and salt in small bowl.

2. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add melted chocolate; beat until well blended. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Stir in chopped chocolate. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons or medium cookie scoop 1 1/2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

3.   Bake about 10 minutes or just until cookies are set and slightly cracked on top. Transfer cookies on parchment paper to wire rack; cool completely.


 Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Almost a candy, these are chewy, not too sweet, but very chocolaty

14oz can sweetened condensed milk
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup pecan pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 300F. Grease cookie sheets very well. Heat the sweetened condensed milk and the chocolate together in a small bowl over simmering water until the chocolate has melted. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Arrange by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheets and baking for about 15 minutes, taking care that bottoms do not burn.  You can also add a pecan to the top immediately after taking out of the oven.


Peppers for Appetizer

8/16oz of Cream Cheese
Mole Sauce  (store bought mole with added wildtree guacamole seasoning, wildtree jalapeno Pepper blend, Salt)
Mini peppers

Heat/prepare mole sauce and blend in small amounts with the cream cheese to taste.  Wash peppers, cut top off and de-seed. Fill peppers with cream cheese mixture, making sure the mixture reaches the bottom of the pepper. Set peppers in individual muffin tins and bake at 350 for approximately 13 minutes so that the peppers are warm, slightly soft, but still crunchy. Drizzle with extra mole sauce if desired.


Cheese and Chocolate Baguette

1 baguette
Dark chocolate bar, broken/cut into small pieces
a mild cheese, sliced

Bake in 350 degree oven until just beginning to melt/warm/toasted


Chocolate Citrus Salad

1/2 cup baby spinach/mixed greens
fresh mandarin oranges
1 oz glazed walnuts (make your own or store bought)
1/2 oz crumbled chevrai
1/2 tablespoon dark chocolate chunks
1/2 tablespoon Orange Poppyseed Dressing (we used private selection from Fred Meyer)


"PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" Chocolate Cake


Ingredients


2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup  Cocoa( not dutch processed)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk warmed


Directions


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling buttermilk (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "Frost with chocolate cream cheese frosting. 10 to 12 servings.


VARIATIONS:ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.


Cream cheese frosting
1 8oz package creamcheese
1 cube better
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 to 1/2 cup cocoa powder
5 cups powdered sugar
Mix all ingredients well. Beeat on high for at least 5 min. 10 will give you better consistency



Saturday, September 28, 2013

Stake Relief Society Dinner


Pork Tenderloins
photo and recipe from the Foodie Sisters

1 package of pork tenderloins (2 tenderloins total about 2-2.5lbs)
4 garlic cloves, quartered/sliced/slivered
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon country dijon mustard (whole grain mustard)
4 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or Herbs de Provence
freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Take tenderloins out of package. Rinse and pat dry. Spray a 9x13 baking dish and place tenderloins inside.
Use a paring knife and poke holes on the top side of the tenderloins, about an inch deep. Place a garlic piece into each hole.
(Sorry I forgot to get a picture, but you can see Monica's.)
Make the marinade next. In a measuring cup or bowl, whisk together everything except for olive oil. Then slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking.  Pour marindade over pork and b
ake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, basting once halfway through cooking process.
Once removed from the oven, let pork rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes before cutting in.
Don't forget to pour the sauce over it. The sauce is heavenly!


Apple, Walnut, and Mixed Greens Salad


Ingredients
1 salad bowl full of Mixed Greens
3 pcs small radish, thinly sliced
1 pc large red apple, cubed
2/3 cup Walnuts, cut in half
3 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
4 tbsp crispy fried bacon pieces

Method
1. Place all ingredients in a salad bowl except the feta cheese and bacon pieces.
2. Drizzle with Brianna's Poppyseed Dressing
3. Sprinkle feta cheese and bacon pieces on top then serve.


Seasoned Rosemary Potatoes

Ingredients (I never measure anything)
Potatoes
Olive Oil
Rosemary (fresh minced, or dried)
Garlic Salt

Slice potatoes into small thin pieces and place in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil on top. Sprinkle with rosemary and garlic salt. Toss until all potatoes are coated with oil, rosemary, and garlic salt.

Place into 8x11 pyrex dish. Broil on high for about 25 minutes (until potatoes are soft and browned to your liking). Turn every 5-10 minutes to prevent burning and cook evenly.





Sweet Potato Souffle
6 cups sweet potatoes mashed (I use 2-29 oz cans princella brand, can use fresh)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup melted butter
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup evaporated milk
Mix first three ingredients in a mixer, add the next 3 and mix until blended. Pour in a 9x13 casserole dish
Topping:
2/3 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup flour
Melt butter in microwave, add the rest of ingredients and mix well..will look like wet sand. I use my hands to sprinkle evenly over the top. Bake at 350 for 35-40 min. Should not be soupy...if the top is browning too much, cover with foil.
Enjoy!



Ganache Brownie Bites

a box of brownies, mixed according to package directions
bake in mini muffin pan

Ganache
1/2 c whipping cream, bring just to a boil over med heat, remove from heat
1 c chocolate chips, dump into warm cream
let sit 10 minutes
stir with a whisk
spoon over cooled brownies






PEAR CARDAMOM CRISP

Filling:
8-10 medium pears, peeled and chopped
3 Tbs lemon juice or 1 lemon juiced
1/4 c sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Topping:
1/2 c flour
1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
8 Tbs butter

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Put pears in large bowl. Add the remaining filling ingredients. Gently stir. Add pears into 6 8-oz jars leaving 1/4 headspace. 
2. In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Add butter and use fork to blend until crumbly. 
3. Spoon topping over pears to cover. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until pears are cooked through and the topping is light brown.




Pumpkin Bread Pudding

15 oz. pumpkin puree, I use Libby's canned pumpkin
12 oz. evaporated milk
24 oz. coconut milk
8 large eggs
3 cups dark brown sugar
2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp salt
1 lb french bread loaf
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup golden raisins                     *** I have never put in the chocolate chips or raisins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl combine the pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, coconut milk and eggs together and mix well.  In another bowl combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger and salt together and mix well.  Combine the puree mixture and brown sugar mixture together and blend well.  Set aside until needed.  You may leave mixture at room temperature for up to 2 hours.

Prepare a 9x13 baking dish with spray grease.  Cut the French bread in to 1/2" cubes and put them into the pumpkin mix very gently toss to help the bread absorb all the liquid.  Pour into the baking dish.  If you are doing the chips and raisins, sprinkle them over the top and gently press them into the bread.

Bake for 45-50 minutes.  If you stick a butter knife into the center of the pudding and it pulls out mostly clean, then it is done.  It is recommended to let it sit for about 45 minutes to cool.  It falls apart completely if you dish it up right away.  It is delicious warm with a fair amount of carmel sauce drizzled over each serving, and then topped with freshly, sweetened Whipping Cream.

Carmel Sauce
4 Tbsp. butter
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white corn syrup
3/4 cup cream, half and half or canned milk (I usually use half and half)

Melt butter, add syrup and sugar.  Cook till forms very soft ball stage (takes just a few minutes - I just wait for it to bubble)  Then, add the cream, and gently stir in till well blended.  

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: http://atdownunder.com/2012/06/29/small-bites/):
Pear and Blue Cheese on  Baguette(Makes 6-8 toasts)
Slice Baguette and add the Garnish to the top 

Garnish:
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
Ingredients
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
Directions:
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 

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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
Cheese
Pears sliced
Ham
Spinach

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:

Strawberry
Pear chunk
Whipped topping (recipe below):

Whip:
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
    Ingredients
  • cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • eggs
  • cups whipped cream, pudding, or ice cream
  •                            
Directions
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

Filing

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

Caramelized Pear Streusel Bread
Pears 
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced pears
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Batter
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.