Bacon, Egg, Pear, Parm Sandwich with Caramelized Onions & Apricot Cabbage Slaw

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I don’t know what got into me today, but I was about to make a roast pork and slaw sandwich and I thought about all the pears I need to eat and ended up making the most delicious sandwich ever.  It began with the Apricot Cabbage Slaw I was going to make for the sandwich.

I got ambitious and decided to make slow caramelized onions. To do that, I thinly sliced 1/2 an onion on a mandoline. I heated a cast iron skillet to medium high (7 of 10), added 1 TBSP of saved bacon drippings (but you could use olive oil or butter) and melted it. I added the onions and cooked quickly, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes until browned, then I lowered the heat to medium-low (3 of 10) and let cook slowly while I prepared the Apricot Cabbage Slaw. Be patient, the longer the onions cook, the more tender sweet they are, almost like a jam.

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Turn the broiler on before the onions are done to heat up.

When the onions were done, I removed them and set them in a small bowl. Any leftover onions can be used in a sauce or another sandwich.

I then cooked two slices of bacon in the same pan, rendering the fat and saving it for another day. I removed the bacon and set it aside.

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While the bacon was cooking I broiled 2 slices of bread on one side for about 2 to 3 minutes. Just to get some strength from drying, it did not get toasted. Between broiling on one side and then on the other, it was time to cook the egg.

I wiped the fry pan clean of any bacon, and put a dab of butter in the middle of medium hot pan and cooked one sunnyside up egg, adding some salt and pepper.

While the egg was cooking, I broiled the other side of the bread.  On one piece, I shaved parmesan cheese. On the other piece, I layered thin slices of pear to caramelize sightly. I put them back under the broiler for a few more minutes until the parm was melted.

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Assembly

On the side with the melted part, I stack the two slices of bacon, cut into 4 pieces. I added the sunny side up egg. On the side with the pears, I stacked caramelized onions, and the Apricot Cabbage Slaw. Then I put the two pieces together with a bit of hard push to break the egg yolk so it spread through the sandwich and sliced it in half.
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Believe me, this is worth spending 40 minutes to make. The pear and caramelized onions are dream. And of course, bacon, eggs, and parmesan are delicious. A good sweet/sour slaw is a perfect balance to the sweetness and the creamy egg marries everything together. This is the most delicious sandwich I have ever concocted. This made one sandwich, but I have some caramelized onions and slaw left over. I had thought to make a vinaigrette with the onions, but now I think I will be making this sandwich for supper.

Pear & Delicata Squash Soup

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I have an abundance of pears so I decided on making a pear soup. One of my favorite soups is Pear & Parsnip Soup but I didn’t have any parsnips. I had a delicata squash though and thought it looked promising.

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Delicata squash
  • 3 small pears or 2 large pears
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 32 oz. or 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • kosher salt

I put my soup kettle on a low medium with the olive oil. I added the diced onions and dried thyme, letting them slowly cook until transparent.

Meanwhile, I peeled and chopped up the squash, reserving the seeds. It made about 2 cups of chopped up squash, perhaps a little bit over.  Adding the squash to the pot, I stirred and let cook for 3 to 5 minutes. While they cooked, I peeled and chopped up the pears and added them to the pot and let it cook a couple more minutes before tossing in the wine and the broth. I turned up the heat so it began to simmer and let cook for about 20 minutes.

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While the soup was cooking, I rinsed the seeds in water and cleaned away the stringy pulp. Pushing the pulp against the strainer mesh helped in cleaning it away. I then heated a cast iron skillet in a dry pan with no oil to a notch above medium. I tossed the seeds in and toasted them with some kosher salt until toasty brown, stirring frequently so they did not burn. These I set aside for garnish.

I let the soup cook until the squash was tender and puréed with an immersion blender. Serving with a few squash seeds on top, it was a delicious soup. The flavor of the wine comes through without overpowering the soup. The sweetness of the pears and the squash make it lush and slightly sweet. It is a light and refreshing soup. This makes six servings.

 

Pear, Brie, and Hazelnut Yufka

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This was the fruit and cheese course in the six course Christmas dinner yesterday, a collaboration between my best friend and me. We had a lot of pears so it made sense to use them. I remembered this extraordinary Brie she had at Thanksgiving which I thought would make a great accompaniment. Googling for pear and brie recipes brought up lots of for a tart of crostini. With everything else, it made sense to go for something lighter, with less bread, a naan or pita, perhaps. Then I remembered a recipe in the fabulous Soframiz cookbook I reviewed earlier this year for Yufka, a flatbread that is a tiny bit richer than pita, light and delicate, but not a pastry.  It really worked perfectly.

Yufka Dough:

  • 1 2/3 cup of flour
  • 1 tsp of kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

Mix the salt and flour in a bowl, make a well and add the water and olive oil. Mix with your fingers until well blended. Then knead for a good three minutes. I counted to 180 kneading. Lightly brush with olive oil, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest 4 hours or more. I let it rest overnight.

When you’re ready to cook, divide into 2 oz portions. I used a scale. I expected it to come out to 6 pieces, but it came out to 7. Bonus! Roll it out as thin as you can, use plenty of flour to keep it from sticking. It should be thinner than a tortilla and about 8 inches round.

Heat a skillet or griddle to medium high. Do not grease. Cook on one side until it bubbles, then flip and cook on the other. About 2 minutes each side. These are partially cooked yufka that finish cooking whenever you do what you do with them.

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The Pear, Brie, and Hazelnut Yufka

  • Pears
  • Brie
  • Olive oil
  • Dried Thyme
  • Toasted Hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 400°. Slice three pears and 12 oz of brie. Lay the yufka on a baking sheet, lay down the layer of pears, add the brie, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle dried thyme over it. Put it in the oven to bake, just until the cheese browns very lightly.

Meanwhile, toast a cup of chopped hazelnuts in a dry pan.

Place each yufka on a plate, sprinkle with the hazelnuts and serve warm.

This was so delicious, rich and flavorful without being overly rich. Makes 6.

 

Pear Quick Bread with Buckwheat Honey, Apricots & Pecans

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I had three pears that were so ripe that eating them would have been a mess, so I peeled and mashed them with a fork and decided to try making a pear-based quick bread. I decided the molasses that I usually use for quick bread would overpower the pears and decided to use buckwheat honey instead. I also thought dried cranberries would not work well and opted for dried apricots, a milder flavor.  This takes no special equipment other than a bread pan.

  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed pears
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat honey
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots (chopped small)
  • 1.3 cup chopped pecan

Preheat to 300°

First cream 1/2 cup of butter with 1 cup of sugar. I use a whisk, but if you have a mixer, use it. I used room temperature butter, but you can take cold butter, cut it into pieces and then cream it with the whisk. Once the sugar and butter is light and creamy, fluffy even if you have the energy, add the eggs, one at a time, whisking them into the batter.

In a bowl, mix the mashed pears and buckwheat honey together. If you don’t have buckwheat honey, use regular honey, but use a little less. Buckwheat honey is not as sweet tasting.

In another bowl, mix the flour and spices.

Add the pear mixture and the flour mixture about 1/3 at a time, so you blend thoroughly, first the pears, then the flour, pears, flour, pears, and flour.

Finally gently fold in the pecans and the dried apricots.

Pour the batter in the greased bread pan and bake for about 90 minutes. Test with a knife after an hour or so and see if it comes out dry. My bread pan is one of those very thick insulated ones, so I need 90 minutes, but a thin bread pan will cook faster.

Apple, Celery & Celeriac Puree

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Since this will be pureed, there is no need to dice or chop finely. Big chunks are just fine, so long as they can cook evenly and will fit in blender or Magic Bullet.

Heat 3 TBSP of butter (or olive oil for vegan option) at medium low (4 on a 10 point electric dial) in a large stock pot. Add 2 yellow onions and a bunch of celery, all chopped. Add salt and pepper. Cook until the onions have sweat and are translucent.

While that’s cooking, chop up 4 large or 6 small apples. I used some Galas and a Pink Lady. Eating apples, not cooking apples because we are not adding any sugar. Crush and peel 3 cloves of garlic. Add the apples and garlic to the stock pot. Add tsp of thyme. Add salt and pepper. Put the lid on a let cook about five minutes.

Meanwhile peel and chunk the celeriac. Add to the crock pot with 1 quart of vegetable broth. Add salt and pepper.  Bring heat up to medium. When everything is tender, remove from heat and let cool.

After it’s cooled down, puree with an immersion blender, blender or Magic Bullet. Serve hot with a bit of chopped parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds and, if you’re feeling ambitious, some thinly sliced pear grilled on a hot burner. I accidentally spilled enough pumpkins seeds to two servings in this picture. They were delicious, though.

The soup is a smooth, mildly tart puree with a delicious, rich flavor. There’s a nice bit of bitter heartiness from the celery that is lightened and balanced by the apples, the onions adding some bright notes and of course, celeriac is always delicious.

This makes about 8 servings, but it also tastes better as leftovers. In fact, it’s so much better the next day that I didn’t eat it the day I made it but let it wait overnight. Unlike most celeriac purees, I don’t add any cream so it will keep several days and can also be frozen.

 

 

Grilled Pear Sandwich

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  • 1 pear, sliced and grilled
  • small handful of chopped cilantro
  • 2 slices of multi-grain bread
  • cream cheese

 

I went to Harvest Share, an Oregon Food Bank project, at Impact NW on Friday morning. it takes place the fourth Friday of the month and Harvest Share programs are more likely to have fresh fruits and vegetables. This month there were sacks of potatoes, onions and pears. I think my sack of Bosc pears is about 10 pounds. They aren’t quite ripe, but you know pears, once they ripen, your window of perfection is short.

I thought cooking the pears would be a good option for using them while I wait for them to ripen, so I experimented with grilling the pears for a sandwich. I heated my cast iron griddle on medium heat, put no oil or butter on it, leaving it completely dry. I sliced the pears and let them heat. They were softening, but I wanted a caramelized pear, so I turned up one of the electric burners on the stove up to high. I turned on the  fan and opened the door and windows. When the pears were nearly done on the griddle, I laid them directly on the hot burner for a few seconds to give them the charred look and caramelized flavor I wanted. Just a few second, because you don’t wan them to catch fire. My fire alarm still went off for a bit, so it’s a good thing I didn’t make these when I woke up at 6 a.m.

I set them back on the griddle to stay warm while i toasted two slices of multigrain bread (also from Food Bank) and chopped a handful of cilantro. I spread the bread with cream cheese, laid the cilantro on top and then added the pear slices.

This makes one serving. It was delicious, the cream cheese and cilantro complement the sweetness of the pears beautifully. I can’t think of anything to make it more delicious except maybe chèvre or crème fraîche instead of cream cheese. Cream cheese fits my budget better, though.

 

Pork, Pear and Grape Vinaigrette Slaw Sandwich

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One of the things I brought home from the Food Bank is a package of great sandwich rolls. They were a bit old, so I lightly toasted them to freshen, just laying them unbuttered on a cast iron griddle to toast lightly.

Meanwhile, I sliced about a half cup of cabbage and mixed it in a bowl with the Roasted Grape Vinaigrette I made last night. I chopped up the top of one fennel frond and mixed it in

After the bread was toasted, I spread some mayo on both halves. On one side, I placed several slices of Earl Grey Roast Pork. On the other side, I spread some slices of Bosc pear and the impromptu cabbage slaw.

This was delicious, there’s the savory pork, the sweet pear and the vibrant, tangy slaw all coming together. I will definitely make this again.

Salad with Earl Grey Pork Roast, Pears, Celery, Cabbage and Cherries

Earl Grey Pork Roast Salad with Pears, Cherries

I have some leftover Earl Grey’s Roast Pork in the fridge. Yes, I did roast pork despite the heat wave; I just got up at 5:30 A.M. yesterday and roasted it in the early morning while the world was cool. I was thinking of what to fix for lunch and thought that with all that flavor, it must be delicious in a salad. I started thinking of what might work with it and just pulled stuff from the fridge and started chopping. The result was delicious, so rich in flavor and fragrance and worthy of several remakes. In fact, when I finished, I thought about making it again right away.

  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 Bosc pear, sliced thinly and cut in thirds
  • 1/2 cup of finely cut cabbage
  • 1/2 cup of celery, cut on the diagonal
  • 1/2 cup of Earl Grey’s pork roast, sliced thinly and cut in thirds
  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup fresh cherries, pitted and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese

So, I started out chopping green onion, adding the pear, cabbage, celery and roast pork. I squeezed the juice from one lemon, stirred, added some salt and pepper and tasted. I thought it needed a bit more sweetness, the pear not strong enough to counter the lemon’s tartness. So I added some cherries. I tasted again and it was tasty, but thought just the little bit of rich fatty flavor from the feta would ground it so I sprinkled in some feta and a bit more salt and pepper. It was perfect.

The flavor and fragrance of Earl Grey is delicious and subtle. I was doubtful when I first tried roasting it and was amazed by how delicious it made the pork roast, tastier than any pork roast I have ever had. It seemed possible that it could work in a salad if there were enough subtly flavored ingredients (cabbage, celery, pears) to absorb and reflect the flavor of the tea.

That is what is so fun about cooking, taking an idea, running with it to see if it might work and then fine-tuning it to get a fabulous dish.

This made one serving. But it is so good, you will want to eat two, so consider doubling the recipe.

Curried Parsnip Pear Soup

Curried Parsnip Pear Soup

I had a craving for some curried parsnip pear soup and decided to make it for lunch. It tastes and looks like it is hard work, but it is a simple recipe that only takes patience, not hard work.

To start I minced 1 TBSP of fresh garlic (3 small cloves) and 1 TBSP of fresh ginger (a piece about the length of a thumb) and added them to 2 TBSP of butter on medium heat in my soup kettle. While they cooked, I chopped up a yellow onion and put 1/2 cup of yellow onion in with the garlic and ginger. I added 1 TBSP of curry powder, stirred, added some salt and pepper and let sauté until tender.

While that was sautéing, I peeled 3 parsnips and cut them into chunks about 1 inch square or so. The exact size matters less than trying to make them all uniform in size. I added them to the pot and added water to cover plus 1/2 inch. A bit of salt and pepper was added to taste.

I cut up two Bosc pears. I did not bother peeling because this will be pureed and the pear skin is not tough and woody like parsnip peelings. I added the pears and put the lid on the kettle and turned the heat up to medium-high, bringing it to a slow boil. Then I let it continue to cook at a low boil until the parsnips were tender.

Removing it from the heat, I removed the lid to help it cool faster and let it sit and rest until it cooled enough I could put it in my Magic Bullet. You can use a blender or an immersion blender. I pureed until smooth.

I spooned some into a bowl, added a dollop of sour cream and 3 thin slices of pear. This happens to be Bartlett, but any ripe and tender pear would do.

This could easily be made vegan by substituting olive oil for the butter at the beginning and leaving out the sour cream garnish. The soup itself is a delicious blend of the tart parsnip with the sweet pear. The bit of heat from the curry works well with those flavors. It is so delicious you might find yourself using a spatula to get ever last bite of soup out of the bowl.

This makes 8 servings.

 

 

Salad with Chicken, Grapes and Pear with Tarragon Pear Vinaigrette

Pear & Chicken Salad

I made the vinaigrette while chopping the ingredients for the salad.

In a small sauce pan, I added 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1/2 of a medium yellow onion, diced. I let the onions sauté until they were tender. Meanwhile, I cleaned and chopped 4 leaves of romaine lettuce, 1 small stalk of celery, a handful of green grapes (1/2 or so) and about 1/2 cup of cooked chicken (removed from a roast I made earlier in the week).

I also chopped up a Bosc pear. It had ripened unevenly, so only a portion was ripe and the rest was not. This happened to inspire the dish. I had planned to just chop the pear up on the salad and add some oil and balsamic vinegar. But now I needed to do something with the stubbornly unripened part of the pear. I put the ripe chunks of pear on the salad. The rest I reserved for the salad dressing. I added a bit of pepper and finished up the vinaigrette.

So now my onions are nice and soft. I added the stripped off leaves from two tarragon stems. Then I added the chopped up pieces of pear. I let them sauté for a bit before adding the fresh-squeezed juice from 1 lemon and a bit of salt. I continued to let them simmer until tender and then mashed the pears up with my fork. I thought about pureeing the mix, but was too hungry to get my Magic Bullet out and puree. So, i just mashed a bit with a fork and added 2 TBSP of white wine vinegar – I went by taste more than volume, adding until it was light and fresh. Then, just for a bit of color and earthiness, i added about 1 tsp of finely chopped fresh parsley.

This is a subtly flavored vinaigrette. The pear adds a mellow sweetness, the onion a bit of heat, the lemon brightens it up and the tarragon is just heaven brought down to earth and infuse in a plant. The white wine vinegar just marries all those flavors into a wonderfully light vinaigrette. This made enough for 4 large salads, so i dressed the salad I made and stored the remaining vinaigrette for some more lovely salads.