Tuesday, October 19, 2010

pear ginger jam

One day a few years ago, I was eating breakfast with my now infamous friend Angela in Halifax. (Best known around here for her apple chutney and yellow split pea dahl.)

We were having toast, and she had a jar of her mom’s pear ginger jam. I buttered my toast, spread a liberal dollop of jam over it, and bit in.

It was pure toast perfection: tart ginger with sweet and soft autumn pears, mingling with melting butter.

I knew I could happily eat this for breakfast for the rest of my days.

Her mother, Mrs. Doucet, shared the recipe with me and now I can have toast perfection any morning I like over here on the other side of the country.

I’ve also discovered that pear ginger jam is a perfect accompaniment for a sharp cheese. In this case, a blue cheddar that my mom brought up from the Okanagan. Dinner was cooking – and taking way too long – but we were happy to nibble on crackers, cheese and jam, and sip our Okanagan wine while we waited. I warn you, though, you might just want to eat this for your whole dinner.

Breakfast or dinner, pear ginger jam will see you through.

pear ginger jam

yields 5 – 6 cups

10 c. pears, peeled, cored and sliced
6 c. sugar
1/2 package (about .86 oz. or 25 g.) Certo pectin crystals
2 lemons, rind grated and juiced
2 tbsp. grated fresh ginger root

Mix pectin into 1/2 c. of the sugar. Place in a canning kettle with pears, lemon juice and lemon rind. Let sit for 2 to 3 hours. (You are not heating it up at this point, just letting it sit on the counter.)

Add ginger and rest of sugar and bring to a boil. Leave uncovered and stir frequently until it’s thick and the pears are clear (about 1 hour).

Ladle into sterilized jars, seal and can for 10 minutes in boiling water.

Serve with toast and butter for breakfast, or with crackers and sharp cheese before dinner.

This post is part of Fall Fest 2010, which is a community food blogging event to write about (and eat!) seasonal produce. For more pear ideas, check out:

Pinch My Salt: Sour Cream Pear Cake
Eating From the Ground Up: Pear and Cheese
San Diego Foodstuff: Pear, Pecan, Parmesan Scones
The Sister Project: A Gingery Pear Crisp
Gilded Fork: Harvest Risotto with Caramelized Pears
White on Rice Couple: Making Pear Galette
A Way to Garden: Of Pears and Cookbooks, a Delicious Giveaway
Cooking Channel: What to Pair With Pears
Food2: 5 Ways to Warm Up to Pears
Healthy Eats: Vanilla Poached Pears, With Variations
Food Network: Baking Up Pear Desserts

Thursday, October 14, 2010

tweet, tweet

Would you like a little bird to let you know when I post a new recipe? You can follow me on twitter @creamdollop. To make it even easier, you can use one of the handy new links on this page. Tweet with you soon!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

finally yummy brussels sprouts

For the first many years of my deprived life, I looked at the dish of cold, watery Brussels sprouts being passed around the Thanksgiving table . . . and wished I didn’t have to be polite and eat a few.

But in early October last year, it was like the media suddenly grew a crop of delicious Brussels sprouts stories and recipes. I read them all, jotting notes in my head, thinking maybe, just maybe, they didn’t have to taste like little cabbage heads that had drowned in a particularly bland sea of ice water.

When the time came for my Thanksgiving challenge (i.e., my mother in law put me in charge of making the little cabbage heads), I rose to it.

I parboiled the Brussels sprouts in salted water to make their hard hearts tender and tasty. Then I rolled the little cabbage heads in a frying pan with pieces of bacon, slices of garlic and apple cider vinegar. Their outer leaves browned happily while I decided to add some pepper and roasted pine nuts in the oven.

They stayed happy – and alive. No cold, drowned Brussels sprouts for us. Instead, we had beautiful little browned cabbage heads with barnacles of bacon, garlic and pine nuts drawing out the Brussels sprouts’ true flavour. Finally: yummy Brussels sprouts to be thankful for.

finally yummy brussels sprouts

serves 4 to 6 as a side dish

4 c. Brussels sprouts
3 thick slices of bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 oz. (60 g.) pine nuts, roasted
1/4 tsp. pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Throw in the Brussels sprouts. Cook the Brussels sprouts until they are almost tender, but not completely cooked, about 6 to 8 minutes.

In the meantime, fry the bacon for 5 minutes in a good frying pan over medium-low heat. (If using thinly-sliced bacon, fry for 1 – 2 minutes.) If the bacon releases a lot of grease, feel free to pour some off.

Add the garlic, apple cider vinegar, parboiled Brussels sprouts and pepper to the bacon in the pan. Sprinkle a bit of salt on top. (Not too much because the bacon is already salty.)

Sauté until the bacon is done and the garlic has softened.

Serve with a generous sprinkling of roasted pine nuts on top.