Sometimes I find a recipe that is so easy and so lovely that I want to make it many times for lots of different people. That is how I feel about this poached pear recipe. There is something festive about pears in the late autumn and winter time. So much of the fruit has gone out of season and does not keep well, but pears and citrus keep well and travel well, and are a welcome burst of color and flavor in these cold months. Of course pears have lots of health benefits too, as they contain lots of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and antioxidants. I mentioned in a previous post that I am reading a book called Beyond the Mediterranean Diet by Layne Lieberman. The poached pear recipe below comes from that book. The only variation I added was that I drizzled chocolate sauce over the pears when I served them. I can rarely resist a chance to add chocolate to something. Sorbet or ice cream would also be a nice accompaniment. But they tasted completely delicious without the chocolate sauce too. The white wine and maple syrup go together so nicely and give the pears a delicately sweet, sparkling flavor. And truly, this is one of the easiest desserts I have ever made. All you need are just a small amount of basic ingredients and about 35 minutes, most of which is baking time. During this busy time of year, it can be a blessing to find something easy and light. If you are looking for something healthy, quick, natural, and uplifting for dessert, I would recommend trying this.
4 firm-ripe pears, cored and sliced in half (I sometimes peel the pears and sometimes don’t, depending on how nice the skin looks and depending on who is eating them–some people prefer fruit peeled and some don’t)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup white wine (sweet or dry) or sparkling cider
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, combine the pears, water, and white wine. Add the maple syrup and cinnamon, and stir until the pears are evenly coated. Spoon the pears into an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the pears are tender. Serve warm, on their own, or drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired. Add ice cream or sorbet on the side, if desired. Enjoy!
This recipe is adapted from Beyond the Mediterranean Diet by Layne Lieberman
I guess I am in a bit of a soup mode right now. What better way to cut the damp chill in the air than to make a pot of hot, steaming, vegetable-filled soup. What better way to soothe a sore throat and nourish a loved one back to health. A couple of us in my house had some kind of a mild illness last week, and homemade soups served us very well. Even without a sore throat, my husband has benefited from the warmth and vitality of the vegetables. At the risk of posting too many soups in a row (my daughter, who isn’t really a soup fan, warned me of this–I think she just wants me to make a dessert), I am sharing a delightful variation of the soup I posted a few days ago. This particular soup has no meat, and it has a smooth, buttery taste, though it also has no butter. The butternut squash gives it just the right creaminess. This soup is chock-full of nutrients with the potatoes, cabbage,onions, and squash. I added some Parmesan cheese to my bowl when I served it, and that gave it an extra amount of richness. Aside from chopping some vegetables, this soup takes almost no effort to make, and can be done all in one pot. You can serve it with some crusty bread, crackers and cheese, a green salad, or sandwiches. Or you can simply sip it on its own for a little comfort and revival of your energy. I’m going to take a couple of bowls over to the the Fiesta Friday link-up party at Angie’s blog, the novice gardener, where there are lots of other delicious dishes to check out!
Golden Potato Soup with Cabbage and Butternut Squash
6 cups chicken broth–I love Better than Bouillon chicken base because it gives soups a rich texture (if you wish, you can use vegetable broth)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup milk
dried or fresh dill for garnish
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Wash and chop the onion, cabbage, and potatoes. Wash, peel, and chop the butternut squash. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion and the cabbage for about 5-7 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the potatoes and squash. Then add the broth, a teaspoon of salt, and a 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Bring the broth just to a boil, and then lower the heat to simmer (medium-low). Simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes and squash are tender. Add the milk and more salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Top with a teaspoon or so of dill, if desired. When serving the soup, add some Parmesan cheese to the bowls, if you wish. Serve with bread, cheese and crackers, a green salad, or sandwiches. Enjoy!
I call this Rainy Day soup for a couple of reasons. First, because it is a warm, nourishing soup to have on a cold, rainy day. (And we seem to be having a few of those lately). Also, this soup is not an expensive soup. It makes me think of the saying, “save it for a rainy day.” During this time of year, many of us spend more money than we maybe should (or maybe I’m just speaking of myself!) on holiday preparations. To make an inexpensive meal during this time helps balance the spending. Cabbage is one of the cheapest vegetables around–and it keeps for quite awhile in the refrigerator. Potatoes are also inexpensive and keep well (though less inexpensive if you buy organic, which I do, since we ate all our garden potatoes; still, they are economical). And kielbasa, even the higher quality kind, is reasonable. So I like to save this soup for a rainy day when I want to cut back on my food spending, but still create a good meal. Variations of cabbage and potato soups abound, and I have played around with lots of different versions, depending on what ingredients I have on hand. This is just one of many experiments that I like, but this recipe is so simple, tasty and filling, that I have written it down, and want to share it on my blog. For me, cabbage was an under-appreciated vegetable until the last few months. Now I like to use it in soups as often as I can. It helps that my son, who loves soup, likes cabbage too. I know he is getting vitamins A and C, minerals, and fiber when he eats cabbage. If you are looking for a way to warm up on a rainy day, get good nutrition, and be frugal without giving up taste, give this soup a try.
6 cups chicken broth (I like to use the Better than Bouillon chicken base mixed with water–it is delicious)
8 ounces kielbasa, fully cooked and thinly sliced
Wash and chop the onion, potatoes, and cabbage. Thinly slice the kielbasa. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion for 5-7 minutes, until soft. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. When the broth is boiling, gently add the chopped potatoes. Bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the potatoes for about 12 minutes, until fork-tender. Add the cabbage. Gently simmer for about 20 more minutes. Add the sliced kielbasa and cook until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve with rustic bread. Enjoy!