THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

Archive for October 17, 2015

TIP OF THE DAY: Pears At Every Fall Meal

Who doesn’t like to bite into a perfectly ripe pear, soft to the touch, dripping with juice? Whether in a packed lunch or as a grab-and-go snack, pears are one of the delights of fall.

But pears don’t have to be ripe to be delicious. Hard pears can be baked, cooked (especially poached), even grated as a garnish onto cake, pudding, pancakes and yogurt.

Here are suggestions from USA Pears, the national trade association, for incorporating pears into cooked recipes. There are many delicious pear recipes on the organization’s website.

At the least, treat yourself to pear purée, the pear version of applesauce that can be served at any time during the day, as a condiment, side, topping or dessert. You can also use it in pear-accented cocktails. Peartini, anyone?

Here’s a quick recipe to try with a ripe pear. A hard pear can be cooked first.

RECIPE: NO-COOK SIMPLE PEAR PURÉE

Ingredients For 1 Serving

  • 1 ripe pear
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • Optional: cinnamon or added sweetener, to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PEEL and core the pear. You can leave the skin on the pear; it will provide vibrant flecks of color in the purée.

    2. CUT into chunks and purée in a food processor or blender until smooth. The splash of lemon juice helps prevent the purée from browning.

    3. TASTE and adjust for sweetness as needed. Add a dash of cinnamon as desired.

       

    Pear-Butternut Squash Soup

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/pear puree usapears 230

    TOP PHOTO: Pear-Butternut Squash Soup. BOTTOM PHOTO: Pear Purée (like applesauce). Images courtesy USA Pears.

     
    Preparation For Hard Pears

    Poach the pears before pureeing. Pears can be poached in red and white wine, fruit juice, beer, sake, coconut milk or water. Add some spice to your poaching liquid: cloves, cinnamon, salt, black pepper, vanilla bean, orange zest, nutmeg, cardamom.

    1. PEEL THE pears, leaving stem and core intact. Heat the poaching liquid over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue simmering while fully immersing pears into the poaching liquid. Simmer until pears are soft and easily pierced with a fork, 5 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the pear.

    2. REMOVE the pears from liquid and let cool. Core the pears, remove the stems, cut into chunks and purée in a food processor or blender until smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness; add spices as desired.
     
    PEAR RECIPES FOR BRUNCH

  • Cheddar Pear Scones (recipe)
  • German Pancake with Caramelized Pears (recipe)
  • Pear and Maple Breakfast Sausage (recipe)
  • Pear and Quinoa Breakfast Custard (recipe)
  • Pear-Stuffed French Toast (recipe)
  •  
    PEAR RECIPES FOR LUNCH

  • Curried Butternut Squash & Pear Bisque (recipe)
  • Curried Pear & Chicken Salad (recipe)
  • Ham, Brie & Pear Sandwich (recipe)
  • Pear & Cabbage Slaw (recipe)
  • Pear & Quinoa Salad With Greens (recipe)
  • Pear, Sausage & Fontina Calzones (recipe)
  • Pear, Spinach & Parmesan Salad (recipe)
  • Red Wine Poached Pear Salad (recipe)
  • Shaved Pear & Beet Salad (recipe)
  • Shrimp Tacos With Pears & Slaw (recipe)
  • Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Pears and Sweet Onion (recipe)
  •  
    PEAR RECIPES FOR COCKTAILS & HORS D’OUEVRE

  • Feta & Pear Crostini (recipe)
  • Pear, Blue Cheese & Walnut Flatbread (recipe)
  • Pear Hummus (recipe)
  • Pear Martini With Pear Purée (recipe)
  • Walnut Pesto Toast with Sliced Pears and Gorgonzola Cheese (recipe)
  •  

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/pear hummus usapears 230

    poached-pears-in-chocolate-sauce-usapears-230
    TOP PHOTO: Pear hummus. BOTTOM PHOTO: Pears Belle Hélène (poached pears with chocolate sauce). Images courtesy USA Pears.

     

    PEAR RECIPES FOR DINNER

  • Braised Pork with Pears and Sherry Vinegar (recipe)
  • Grilled Pork Chops with Pears and Rosemary Butter (recipe)
  • Korean Barbecue Beef (recipe)
  • Pear Barbecue Sauce (recipe)
  • Pear and Sesame Glazed Beef (recipe)
  • Penne With Roast Pear & Feta (recipe)
  • Pizza With Pears, Shaved Ham and Fresh Basil (recipe)
  • Soba Noodles With Tea-Poached Pears (recipe)
  •  
    PEAR RECIPES FOR SIDE DISHES

  • Anjou Pear and Red Potato Gratin (recipe)
  • Grilled Pears Stuffed With Mascarpone & Bacon (recipe)
  • Braised Cabbage With Pears (recipe)
  • Pear Purée (recipe)
  • Savory-and-Sweet Ham, Pear, and Gruyère Strata (recipe)
  • Quinoa Pilaf With Carrots, Ginger & Pears (recipe)
  •  
    PEAR RECIPES FOR DESSERTS

  • Cider & Bourbon Poached Pear Tart (recipe—note that the recipes says “torte,” but it’s actually a tart. A torte is a cake. Torte means cake in German.)
  • Cider-Poached Pears With Pound Cake (recipe)
  • Pears Belle Hélène (recipe)
  • Pear-Caramel Galette (recipe)
  • Pear Cranberry Bread Pudding (recipe)
  • Pear Sorbet (recipe)
  • Pear & Frangipane Tart (recipe—also delicious with chocolate sauce)
  • Pumpkin Ale-Poached Peas In Caramel Sauce (recipe)
  •  

    THE HISTORY OF PEARS

    Pears are one of the world’s oldest cultivated and beloved fruits. The trees thrive in cool temperate climates, and there is evidence of pears as food since prehistoric times. Many traces of it have been found in Switzerland’s prehistoric lake dwellings. [Source]

    In the pear genus Pyrus, some 3,000 varieties are grown worldwide, The tree is thought to have originated in present-day western China, and to have spread to the north and south along mountain chains. In 5000 B.C.E., one Chinese diplomat was so enamored of them that he resigned his post to develop new varieties.

    In The Odyssey, the Greek poet Homer lauds pears as a “gift of the gods.” Roman farmers documented extensive pear growing and grafting techniques. Pliny’s Natural History recommended stewing them with honey and noted three dozen varieties.

    Seventeenth-century Europe saw a great flourishing of pear cultivation, especially in Belgium and France. Many of the modern varieties began to emerge.

    Early colonists brought the first pear trees to America’s eastern settlements, where they thrived until crop blights proved too severe to continue widespread cultivation. Fortunately, pioneers had brought pear trees brought to Oregon and Washington in the 1800s, where they thrived in the agricultural conditions of the Pacific Northwest. It remains the major pear-growing center of the U.S.

      

    Comments off

    RECIPE: Twice Baked Pumpkin Potatoes

    This recipe for Twice Baked Potatoes offers a new twist by mixing pumpkin in with the scooped-out potato flesh. The result is more complex flavor and more creamy texture—not to mention a bright orange color. There are also a trio of onion varieties: green onions, shallots and yellow onions.

    The recipe is from Taylor Mathis of TaylorTakesATaste.com for GoBoldWithButter.com. He recommends it as “a perfect side for any grilled or roasted pork dish.” Ditto for roast chicken.

    Taylor, a professional food and lifestyle photographer, works with his mother Sally James Mathis, a professional recipe developer. You can bet that everything they create is delicious.

    RECIPE: TWICE BAKED PUMPKIN POTATOES

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and patted dry
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup yellow onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup shallots, chopped
  • 1/3 cup scallions (white and green parts), chopped
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  •    

    twice-baked-pumpkin_taylor-goboldwithbutter-230

    The center is scooped from baked potatoes, mixed with pumpkin, returned to the potato shell and baked again. Photo courtesy Taylor Mathis | Go Bold With Butter.

  • Garnish: pumpkin seeds and additional grated Parmesan Cheese
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 42°F and bake the potatoes: Pierce each raw potato three or four times with a fork. Brush with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place and directly on the oven rack. Roast until the skin is crisp and the body is very soft when squeezed, 50–60 minutes. Lower the heat to 350°F.

    2. SPLIT the baked potatoes in half lengthwise while still warm. Scoop out the insides of each half, taking care not to damage the skins, and place the flesh in a large bowl. The hollowed-out potato skins will be filled later.

    3. MELT the butter in a medium pan. Add the yellow onions, shallots and scallions. Cook, while stirring, until soft. Add the canned pumpkin and milk. Stir until all ingredients are well incorporated.

    4. REDUCE the heat and add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir and remove from the heat. Add the Parmesan and stir. Fold the pumpkin mixture into the large bowl of potatoes.

    5. FILL the empty potato shells with the potato and pumpkin mixture. Garnish with additional Parmesan and pumpkin seeds as desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

     

    russet-beauty-230

    A russet potato with extra slices. Photo courtesy Idaho Potato Commission.

     

    ABOUT RUSSET POTATOES

    Russets are the most common type of potato grown in the U.S. They are the classic baking potato, floury/starchy potatoes that are lower in moisture (drier) and high in starch. The potato is oval and has a brown or russet-colored, net-like skin. The skin typically has just a few shallow eyes.

    The term “Idaho potatoes” is often used interchangeably, but Idaho© Potatoes is a trademark of the Idaho Potato Commission, for russets that are grown in the state of Idaho.

    Floury potatoes do not hold their shape well after cooking due to their low sugar content. They have a crumbly texture that tends to fall apart when boiled. That’s why russets are easier to mash. In addition to baked potatoes, they’re also used for deep-frying (for example, French fries and potato pancakes).

    Russets are bred to be harvested in the warmer months; Idahos are harvested in the cooler months. Idahoan Luther Burbank developed the Russet Burbank potato in 1872, a more disease-resistant version of the Irish russet potato.

     

    There have been additional russet developments since. In the U.S. alone, they include Alturas, BelRus, Centennial Russet, Century Russet, Frontier Russet, Goldrush, Hilite Russet, Krantz, Lemhi Russet, Nooksack, Norgold Russet, Norking Russet, Ranger Russet, Russet Burbank, Russet Norkotah and Russet Nugget. Each is bred for optimal growing in different soils, climates, rainfalls and seasons, and for resistance to pests.

    POTATO HISTORY

    Wild potatoes are indigenous to the Andes Mountains in Peru, where the Incas cultivated many species of potato. They were first domesticated more than 6,000 years ago.

    The name is said to originate from the Spanish patata, a combination of batata (sweet potato) and papa, a word for potato from the Inca Quechua language.

    The Spanish conquered Peru around 1530 and brought potatoes back home to Spain along with tomatoes, also native to Peru. News traveled fast (or what passed as “fast” in the centuries prior to the telegraph), and potatoes quickly reached the rest of Western Europe.

    However, not everyone was enamored of the potato or the tomato. They were feared at first, accused of causing leprosy and being poisonous. They were classified as members of the Nightshade family, Solanaceae, because both contain toxic compounds known as glycoalkaloids. However, the levels in domestic potatoes and tomatoes fall far short of being harmful to people.

    Slowly, more countries realized the power of the potato. It could grow in any climate. It became a major food crop in Ireland, so much so that when the country was hit by a potato blight (Phytophthora infestans) three years in a row, more than a million people died of starvation and disease.

    Potatoes were introduced to America in the 18th century. They were first planted in Idaho in 1836; today the state grows 25% of the nation’s potatoes.

    See the other types of potatoes in our Potato Glossary.

      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2017 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.