Winter Fruit Spotlight: Pears

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During the winter, nutrient-rich fresh pears reach their seasonal prime late January through February. While they are a treat to eat on their own, pears, with their perfect colors and unique texture, can give a sweet flavor to a variety of dishes. When you select your pears, make sure to check the “neck”, when mean to apply gently pressure to the next of the pear with your thumb. If the flesh of the neck yields to pressure, then it is ripe. Always store unripe pears at room temperature to ripen fully.

Anjou

Flavor Profile: The most abundant pear in the United States. Anjou Pears are short anjou red and greennecked and come in green and red varieties. They are incredible juicy and have a firm texture with a flavor that is sweet and citrusy.

In the Kitchen: Anjou pears are excellent for light snacking. They are also great for baking, poaching or roasting. Add Anjou pears to a salad, or cheese plate or even to a meat entree that has chick or pork as it main dish for a bit of variety in your weekly diet.

Asian
asian pear

Flavor Profile: Shaped like an apple, Asian pears are known for their creamy flesh, crunchy texture and melon like flavor.

In the Kitchen: Asian pears are best eaten raw or diced in salads or julienned and added to slaws. You can juice Asian pears into a morning juice blend or puree into a sauce or dressing that can be used as marinade for chicken and pork.

Bosc

Flavor Profile: Bosc Pears are sweet juicy and aromatic and have elongated neck with abosc distinctive brown skin.

In the Kitchen: Bosc pears are prized by chefs and home cooks alike because they can hold the shape beautifully when cooked, making them the best choice for grilling, poaching or baking. Gorgonzola cheese and chopped walnuts are the best pairing for this variety of pair when adding in other ingredients.

Bartlett

Flavor Profile: Bartlett pears is the most commonly found pear in most grocery stores and supermarkets. What makes the Bartlett pear unique is that is bright4409-03ens as they ripen which does not happen for most pear varieties. When fully rip, Bartlett pears are green, crunchy, juicy, sweet and slightly buttery.

In the Kitchen: When the slightest of heat is applied, Bartlett pears tend to loose their shape immediately, which makes them great for baking. They can be used in pies, tarts, quick breads, preserves, syrups or chutney with relative ease.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Vegetable Medley

brussels
Photo Credit: Cooktop Cove, 2016

I absolutely L-O-V-E Brussels sprouts!

Most people do not and the lovely little vegetable has a bad reputation for being the least tasty among pick eaters. But I have found that when you find the right way to cook them they are actually incredibly delicious!

Traditionally Brussels sprouts have been boiled, since time in memorial and crispy-balsamic-brussels-sprouts-2this method of cooking diminishes their flavor, making them soggy and without texture. So I roast mine instead and this method of cooking totally elevates the lowly sprout to new heights. Yes! Roasting them gives the sprouts a delicious crispy texture and an awesome flavor. They are a very savory vegetable though, which is why in this recipe they were paired with red apples to give them with a little sweetness and baby Yukon Gold potatoes so that you have a wonderful range of flavors with each fork full.

This recipe is just in time for during the winter doldrums!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 pound Brussels sprouts, cut in half
1 pound baby Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in half*
2 Red Delicious apples, medium diced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons ginger, minced into a paste
7 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, small diced
1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1½ teaspoons salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
Drizzle of olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, for garnish
1/2 cup cashews, roasted and roughly chopped, for garnish (optional)

 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400º F.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together except, parsley and cashews.

Line a baking dish with parchment paper. Spread the Brussels sprouts mixture on top. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the Brussels sprouts are browned in spots and the other vegetables are tender and crispy around the edges.

Remove the Brussels sprouts from oven and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish the vegetables with a sprinkling of parsley and cashews, if desired and serve immediately.

 

Cook’s Notes:
*You can use any full sized potatoes that you desire, just cut them into a medium sized diced.

 

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