Tag Archive for cooking

Recipe for Poached Pears

POACHED PEARSRecipe for Poached Pears

Desserts are the best, aren’t they? Recipes for desserts are overly abundant because of the variety you can find in a dessert. Chocolatey or fruity, velvety or crunchy, decadent or light, sweet or tart. The possibilities are endless. And complicated. And overwhelming. How about some simple poached pears?

My Story

poached pearsI recently got some Korean Pears for Christmas. These things are huge! And extremely meaty. I didn’t know what I was gong to do with them. I stared and stared at them. They weren’t speaking to me in their natural state. They were being very quiet and illusive.

I started thinking about a tart I made once in a cooking class with poached pears. But a whole tart for just me? That was way too much. I started researching the recipe for poached pears and what can be done with just that simple fruit. It’s amazing how many different recipes there are, but I went with the one I’d tried before.

Desserts Everywhere!

I have always loved desserts. That was the first thing I taught myself how to cook. (FYI, simple desserts are a great way to start learning). If you saw me, you’d be able to tell right away I love sweets. Chocolate is my big weakness. But sometimes I want something a little different.

I really am not into pies (I’m not a big fan of pie crusts), but I like certain types of fruit. Most berries. Plums. Peaches, Applies and pears if I slice them up first.

Crumbles I really like, because that houses the kind of crust I like, the brown sugar and butter crunch type. Is there anything better? Like Julia Child said “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.” She really liked butter.

Cookies aren’t really considered a dessert, but they sure do look pretty on a plate.

Ice cream for dessert anyone? Oh my goodness! David Lebovitz is the king of ice cream. He is a professional chef and baker (the best of both worlds). This professional baker wrote a whole book on ice cream, called The Perfect Scoop, and you can buy it here. In addition, he wrote several other books (stories!) about his move to Paris, and all his books contain recipes.

Cakes. Candies. Puddings and custards. Fruits.

I’ve recently discovered fruit as the star of a dessert. Let’s talk about that.

Fruits are Elegant

Everyone thinks of a pie or crumble with fruit. But there is so much more that you can do! A topping for ice cream. Or even better, place the fruit in a bowl and top with a scoop of ice cream. A crepe filling perhaps? They will make a nice addition to a cheese plate. What about cut fruit drizzled with chocolate syrup?

Any diy home goddess should have one simple yet elegant fruit recipe in their repertoire. And poached pears are the perfect ticket. Simple. Elegant. Impressive. Do I dare say any more?

Poached Pear Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sweet white winepoached pears
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • The juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 3 firm, ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced

Poached pearsInstructions:

  1. Add all ingredients except the pears into a 4-quart sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, usually number 6 or 7 on the stovetop.
  3. Boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Lower heat to a simmer (about number 3) and add the pears.
  5. Cook for 30 minutes, or until a knife can pierce a pear easily. I usually just leave it in for 30 minutes.poached pears
  6. Pull out of the saucepan and slightly cool.
  7. Serve in a bowl with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Hints

  • You can poach apples or peaches. Any firm, meaty fruit will do.
  • If you don’t have a lemon handy, pull out that cut plastic container of lemon juice. 2 Tablespoons lemon juice equal the juice of 1 lemon.
  • Make sure your pears are totally covered with the liquid. If not, make two different batches.
  • And yes, you can freeze them.

Voila!

poached pearsA simple recipe anyone can make. You don’t need any certificates, culinary education, or lots of practice. A perfect recipe. Poached pears for you, the diy home goddess. And you can print out the recipe here.

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Spice Blends – It’s All About the Flavors!

spice blendsSpice Blends- It’s all about the Flavors!

Why do I need spice blends, you are asking. My dear diy home goddesses! Ethnic cuisines have a specific flair to them. It’s not always based on the foods being made, it’s more to deal with the spices that go with it.

Yeah, people say Greek, and this diy home goddess instantly thinks of lamb and feta cheese. But, it’s also prevalent in Middle Eastern, Aussie, some French and Italian dishes. And it’s an alternative in America to ham at Easter.

A stew can host a lot of ethnic varieties, such as American, Hungarian, French, Spanish, German, Caribbean, Italian… you get the point.

Sometimes, flavor depends on the ingredients used. But the best way to bring ethnic flair to a meal is through spice blends. And it’s easy peasy to do that with staple spices you probably already have in your kitchen.

Many recipes have a list of spice ingredients. But let’s say you are a true diy home goddess, and are just throwing ingredients together to make up your own dish. Or let’s say you want rice or chicken or steak, and you want a kick instead of the same old boring, plain dish. Here’s where you can make your own spice blends and put them to good use.

If you want, you can buy packets of the spice blend or jars of it, ready to use. Or you can be a true diy home goddess and throw the combinations together with what you have in your spice rack. That way you can make the spice blend as needed. And it saves money!  Read more

Recipe Change and Substitutions

Recipe changeRecipe Change and Substitutions

My Story

Sometimes I have to do a recipe change up. Not for any specific reason other than because I want to.

I wanted a crumble, but I wanted strawberries, not apples. Could I do that?

There are times the mood strikes me to make something, and I get started. That’s when I find out I don’t have all the necessary ingredients. Half way through the preparation. It’s too late to go to the store then. So I punt and do a recipe change up.

Or the recipe has something in there I just don’t like. Or there was too much of something and not enough of something else. So I changed it.

Yes, my diy home goddesses, a recipe is not set in stone. At least for the most part. Baking, yeah, that’s a little harder to do, except for flavor profiles. But most recipes you can do what you want. Do a recipe change up!

Why Talk About Changing Recipes?

Well, let me give you the scoop. Read more

Spices – Top Chef University Lesson 16

SpicesIntroduction to Spices

My Story

And now for the second part of the fun stuff, SPICES! Spices were originally a trading commodity, hence the term “the spice route”. But that’s a whole other story. Here’s the quick history, for those who want to be in the know.

Spices were originally considered not essential, but considered a luxury item. They were very expensive. Rumor has it in the old days, the executive chef tasted the food you, as a sous chef, line cook, etc, made before adding any spices. If the food wasn’t up to his standards, the food got thrown out and you had to start over again. That way the expensive spices weren’t wasted. Imagine making a dish without any flavor other than the food and deciding by that taste alone to see if it was good enough to put the additional flavor of spice in?

The Lesson

Carla did an exceptional job on this lesson. I was literally stopping every three seconds to take notes. I wished it was longer, because I wanted to know more. And more! She was a little dramatic in this lesson, as there was no dryness in her tone at all, but then spices can do that to you. She was very excited about the topic, and I could tell she was trying to get the audience excited about it too. “Peacock” she was shouting. Read more