roasted

Pears

Here in the Northwest, we are lucky to have so many varieties of scrumptious pears! Red Bartlett’s, Bosc, Seckel, Concorde…each one different and oh-so-delicious!

Pears are known to be sweet and juicy, but did you know they can shine in savory dishes too? I love to cut them into thick wedges and toss with a little olive oil, balsamic, and seasoning. Then roast on a sheet pan in a HOT oven until they are golden delicious. The smoky, sweet flavor pairs perfectly with roast chicken or in my Roasted Pear Crostini with Gorgonzola for an easy appetizer.

But my favorite way to use roasted pears is in my Endive Salad with Roasted Pears, Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese & D’Lish Cranberry Vinaigrette! It’s always a crowd pleaser at my dinner table.

I also love to use them in a quick and easy fresh relish. Simply mix together diced pears, shallot, a touch of honey and a splash of red wine vinegar. Toss it with fresh mint and just like that- you have an amazing addition to curry dishes or grilled lamb.

Grilled pears are also tasty as a base to a sophisticated sundae- topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of salted caramel, red wine syrup and some toasted hazelnuts. Yum- that’s my kind of dessert!

So next time you’re at the grocery store, grab some pears and get creative in your kitchen!
–Kathy

Photo from Kathy Casey’s Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books – Angie Norwood Browne

Roasted Pear Crostini with Gorgonzola
These are extra-delicious topped with chopped toasted nuts, such as hazelnuts or walnuts. Balsamic glaze can be purchased at gourmet and well-stocked grocery stores.

Makes 24

Pears
2 firm red Bartlett or other red-skinned pears
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

24 pieces Herbed Crostini (recipe follows)
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled gorgonzola cheese or thinly sliced Cambozola
2 tablespoons balsamic glaze

For garnishing
Tiny sprigs of fresh thyme

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F.

To roast the pears: Quarter the pears lengthwise, then core. Cut each quarter lengthwise into 6 slices (you should have 24 slices, total). In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, and thyme. Add the pears and toss to coat.

Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Lay out the pears, not touching, on the baking sheet. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden and starting to caramelize on the edges. Pears can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving.

When ready to serve, lay out the crostini on a baking sheet and top each piece with about 1 heaping teaspoon of gorgonzola or a slice of Cambozola, then a slice of pear. Bake until just warmed, about 4 minutes.

Drizzle each piece with about 1/4 teaspoon balsamic glaze, then garnish with thyme.

Herbed Crostini
Crostini are the must-have party basic. Use as a base for assorted toppers, such as creamy cheeses, tapenade, or spreads.

Makes 32 to 40 pieces

1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 long, skinny French baguette, cut into 1/4-inch diagonal slices
Kosher salt for sprinkling

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix the oil, dried herbs, cayenne, and garlic. Lightly brush the baguette slices with the herb oil or, in a large bowl, drizzle the bread with the oil and toss well. Lay out the bread in a single layer on baking sheets, sprinkle with salt, and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, until just crispy.

Crostini can be made in advance, cooled thoroughly, and stored in airtight containers for up to 3 days. If necessary, recrisp them in a hot oven for a couple of minutes.

Recipe from Kathy Casey Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books – www.liquidkitchen.com

Endive Salad with Roasted Pears, Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese & D’Lish Cranberry Vinaigrette
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Pears
2 unpeeled ripe but firm pears
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 head baby frisée
2 heads Belgian endive
1 small head radicchio, sliced (about 2 cups)
4 cups baby arugula
D’Lish Cranberry Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and coarsely chopped

To roast the pears, preheat an oven to 500°F. Cut the pears into eighths lengthwise. Core, then cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, then gently toss the pears in the mixture.

Spread the pears on a rimmed baking sheet lightly sprayed with vegetable-oil cooking spray and roast for 7 to 10 minutes, or until lightly caramelized. You can make the pears up to 1 day in advance. If you do, cool them thoroughly before refrigerating, then bring to room temperature about 1 hour before serving.

To finish the salad, cut the root end and about 1 inch of the top off the frisée. Rinse the frisée thoroughly, separate the head into leaves, and spin dry. Cut the stem ends off the endive, halve the heads lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into thin strips. Toss the frisée and endive in a large, deep bowl with the remaining greens and about 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette.

Divide the greens among large dinner plates. Top each salad with pears, cheese, cranberries, and hazelnuts, dividing evenly. Pass additional dressing.

D’Lish Cranberry Vinaigrette
Makes 1 1/2 cups

2/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup vegetable oil or very light olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine the cranberries, sugar, and vinegar in a small nonreactive saucepan and cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Purée the mixture in a blender, then blend in the mustard and orange juice. With the machine running, gradually drizzle in the oil. The dressing should become smooth and emulsified. Blend in the salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.

Chef’s Note: If you are having a big dinner party during the holidays, the entire recipe can easily be doubled. And, if you are tight on time, you can substitute sliced fresh pears or apples for the roasted pears.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table Cookbook

Posted by Kathy on September 22nd, 2020  |  Comments Off on Pears |  Posted in appetizers, Dishing with Kathy Casey Blog, herbs, Kathy Casey, roasted, salads, seasonings, sides, vegetables

Slow Cooker Comfort

After a busy day there is nothing better than coming home to a delicious, ready-to-eat meal. Yes! It’s time to dust off the crock pot!

When gloomy weather has you feeling a little down, a warm and hearty meal can be so comforting. You can do all the prep in the morning, and dinner can be ready right when you walk in the door! Simply “Set It and Forget It”!

Slow Cookers are wonderful way to utilize tougher cuts of big-flavored meat. Think juicy brisket, flavorful chili, spicy pork, or a delicious lamb curry. My recipe for Curry Chicken Thighs with Apples and Yogurt is a household favorite – it’s bursting with flavor!

And crock pots aren’t just for entrees either – I also love to make a batch of Slow-Cooker Citrus Maple Oatmeal.  Top it with some Greek yogurt, dried fruits, or coconut milk – it’s the perfect way to start off a lazy Sunday morning!

And the best part about these cozy meals? They make incredible leftovers! So turn on your crock pot and let d’liciousness simmer away!
-Kathy

Curry Chicken Thighs with Apples and Yogurt
Makes about 6 servings

1 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons curry powder
4 green cardamom seed pods, crushed
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups plain yogurt
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup dried black currants or raisins
2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and cut in 6 wedges each
1 large red bell pepper, cut in 1-inch dice
Fresh Italian parsley, cilantro and mint, very coarsely chopped or torn
Steamed rice or potatoes as an accompaniment

In a large bowl whisk together the apple juice, cornstarch and flour until smooth. Then whisk in the curry powder, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, chili flakes, salt, sugar and yogurt.

Add the chicken to the marinade and stir to combine. Place the mixture in the slow cooker and add in the following order: onion, celery, currants or raisins, apples and bell pepper. Cover, set cooker to high and cook for about 7 to 8 hours.

Garnish with the fresh herbs. Serve with rice or potatoes.

Recipe created by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Slow-Cooker Citrus Maple Oatmeal
Be sure to use steel cut oats for this preparation. Serve with some fun toppings, like fresh blueberries or sliced bananas—and brown sugar for those who like their oats a touch sweeter.

Makes enough for 6 servings

3 Sunkist® Cara Cara Oranges, juiced
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together orange juice, water, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt. Generously spray inside of a 3-4 quart slow-cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add oats and then pour in liquid mixture; stir. Set cooker to low heat and cook for 7-8 hours.

Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

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