Festive Pear Crostini

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I am taking part in the “USA Pears Blogger Recipe Challenge”. This is my first entry into the appetizer category.

It’s holiday time and that means partying with USA Pears. At their peak of freshness right now, pears are a beautiful versatile fruit that need little embellishment. Sliced on a cheeseboard or tossed into a salad pears are an easy addition to every festive table. Come on now. They come in both red and green Christmas colors! If that doesn’t just get you excited about cooking with USA Pears during the holidays then the flavor will.

Here is a crowd pleasing appetizer recipe for holiday entertaining. With a few flavorful ingredients you will WOW your guests with this delicious pear bite. The sweetness of the pears complements the nutty cheese and balances out that little pop of pomegranate.

Roasted Pear Crostini with Manchego & Pomegranate

  • Servings: 8 to 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 bunch fresh thyme

2 USA Pears, (1 red like Anjou and 1 green like Bartlett), cored, halved, and cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 large baguette, cut on an angle into ½-inch slices (I like a whole grain loaf)

 4 tablespoons butter, divided

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

½ cup shredded mild Spanish Manchego cheese

Freshly ground black pepper, optional

¼ cup fresh pomegranate seeds


Heat oven 375F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Spread several thyme sprigs over bottom of one baking sheet. Fan pear slices over top of thyme. Using two tablespoons of butter, spread butter lightly over 1 side of each bread slice and place butter-side-up on other baking sheet. Melt remaining butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add sugar and swirl until melted and starting to brown. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.  Spoon mixture evenly over sliced pears. Bake pears and bread for 10 minutes. Arrange baked pears on top of crostini. Sprinkle each with some cheese. Return crostini to oven and bake for 5 to 6 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with pepper, if desired and top with pomegranate seeds and fresh thyme leaves. Serves 8 to 10.

For more information and delicious recipes check out the website www.usapears.org and their social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram) @usapears

Victory Is In The Kitchen

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My daughter bought me this poster at the Churchhill Museum in London. I love how she instantly thought of me when she first eyed it. Of course, as a competitive home cook, my version of victory in the kitchen and the intent of the poster are quite different. Imagine the war struggle and women on the home front struggling to make ends meet and keep a household running. A message like this was meant to motivate a commitment to the war effort. With increasing shortages of food women tended vegetable gardens and used their creativity to put substantial meals on the table with what little they had. They were portrayed as of equal importance in the winning of the war as that of the fighting soldiers.

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Maybe when it comes to creativity and a few ingredients I am not so much different from the women in the early 1900’s since winning in my kitchen has been a common occurrence lately. These mushroom lettuce wraps just took the grand prize in the Mad About Mushrooms recipe contest. Inspired by the olympics (Yay Team USA) and ingredients found in a local Korean market these meaty mushrooms soak up the sweet and spicy bulgogi marinade and are a light vegetarian option. Do you like lettuce wraps? What’s your favorite filling?

Korean Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

1 firm ripe Asian or bosc pear, peeled, cored, julienned

1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 pound assorted fresh mushrooms, washed, sliced (stemmed shitake, cremini, oyster)

1/3 cup Korean bulgogi style marinade (bottled or homemade)*

1 teaspoon Korean sweet & spicy sauce (gochujang) *

2 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

pinch kosher salt

2 heads butter lettuce, leaves separated into cups

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

In bowl, gently toss pear and rice vinegar; set aside. Heat a large, non-stick, skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and garlic; cook 30 seconds or until garlic just begins to turn color. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring for 8 to 10 minutes or until mushrooms release their liquid and begin to brown. Add Korean marinade and gochujang; cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes or until mushrooms are glazed. Turn off heat. Stir in green onions. Season mushrooms with salt. Spoon mushrooms into lettuce cups. Top with pickled pears. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Makes 12 appetizers or can serve 4 to 6 as an entree.

*located in the ethnic section of grocery store or any Asian market

Here is my first video demonstrating how to build another version of a lettuce wrap. Pretty excited that I have taught myself another new trick. Victory is in the kitchen in more ways than one.

 

Another Inspired Recipe Wins

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Inspired by places I’ve been and people I love another winning recipe comes to life. Do you think the judges can tell a recipe that comes from the heart? That recipe embedded in your memories just waiting to be created given the challenge? Gloria Ferrer can.

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Cape Cod 1991

How did the judges know how much summer fun so many years ago my kids had at the Cape or how much we still enjoy a fresh lobster roll? Or this glorious lobster bite my daughter made while we vacationed in Nantucket just a few years ago? How could they know the love and the memories that inspire the food that brings my people together?

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I doubt they know anything about those wintery President’s Day long weekends we spent at the Boston science museum or the times we huddled on the Freedom Trail eating a comforting bowl of “chowdah”, but somehow it came through in my recipe.

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Bill, William & Cait ~1989

I am often asked how to create a winning recipe. The answer is always the same: “No gimmicks…just cook YOUR food.” Thank you Gloria Ferrer for choosing my recipe as a regional finalist. With every win I am honored and surprised and just feeling very lucky. I am so looking forward to cooking from my heart for those attending the event in Boston on Tuesday. Click this link if you would like to attend and watch me cook: Glorious Bites Semi-Final

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Cait & William ~1992

Jumping for joy. These two will always inspire me. I am grateful for how much they have loved ebelskivers any time of the day or night. Stuffed with lobster and corn they are the perfect package for my glorious bite and fill my heart with the most wonderful memories. Serve with Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut. CHEERS!

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In case you missed it here is the recipe

Lobster Corn Chowdah Cakes (ebelskivers) with Sriracha Aioli

1 cup cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs, separated

1 cup milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided

1 cooked lobster tail, finely chopped

¼ cup fresh cooked or frozen corn kernals, thawed

2 tablespoons finely chopped celery

1 green onion, finely chopped including the lighter green parts

1 teaspoon minced jalapeno

Sriracha Aioli (recipe follows)

Garnish: fresh green chives for garnish and lemon slices

In large bowl, whisk cake flour, baking powder, sugar, lemon zest, salt and pepper; set aside. In small bowl, whisk egg yolks, milk and 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients; whisk until blended. Beat egg whites until just stiff peaks form. Fold half the egg whites into the batter to lighten it. Fold in remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain. Fold in lobster, corn, celery, green onions and jalapeno. Brush the wells of an ebelskiver pan with some of remaining melted butter and place over medium heat. Fill each well to the top with batter, about 2 tablespoons per well. Cook cakes for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly brown and crisp on the bottom. Using 2 wooden skewers, turn cakes and cook on other side, about 2 or 3 minutes more. Transfer to platter; keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm with Sriracha Aioli. Garnish with chives and lemon.

Sriracha Aioli

½ cup quality mayonnaise

¼ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons sriracha

1 teaspoon honey

pinch of white pepper

Combine all ingredients in small bowl; blend well. /]

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making memories with my future inspiration ~2017