Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vanilla. Roasted. Pears.

This recipe came from Smitten Kitchen!  I only used one pear and I didn't have any vanilla beans handy so I used bottled vanilla.  I eyeballed her recipe and cut down the amounts, but not very precisely.  Even if you don't like pears, this is sure to please. Drizzle the sauce over whipped cream.

Here is her recipe:

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/2 pounds slightly-under-ripe, fragrant, medium pears, peeled if desired, halved though the stem and cored
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the sugar in a small bowl. With a thin, sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and scrape out the seeds. Stir the seeds into the sugar.

Arrange the pears in a large baking dish, cut-side up. Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over the fruit, then sprinkle with the sugar. Nestle the vanilla pod among the fruit. Pour the water into the dish. Dot each pear with some butter.

Roast the pears 30 minutes brushing them occasionally with the pan juices. Turn the pears over and continue roasting, basting once or twice, until tender and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes longer (if the pears are small, test for doneness after 35 or 40 minutes of cooking; a paring knife poked into the thickest part of one should meet with no resistance).

Sunday, December 12, 2010


To anyone who may be reading...  I am calling defeat for 2010.  Conceding.  Giving it up.

As the name of my blog might hint, I am trying to cook 52 brand new meals in one year.  One year - not every year, just one bloody year.  Is that too hard?  Apparently it is.  I started this little endeavor in 2008 if memory serves, and each year I bump up against 20 and that is it.  This year, I will hit twenty-six.  So I guess that is progress. 

Please don't think that because I cannot do this, that I am a sylph-like rail, or that I have a whirlwind social life.  Neither is the case.  My excuse runs along the lines of "I don't plan very well, and I work just late enough that a grocery store run gets me home too late to actually feel like being creative."  I think planning is the more important part because if I just planned something easy I'd be able to do it.  Or maybe I am just lazy.  That is probably it, actually. 

I started the year so well!  I was just about on track until late April (suspiciously, the season when it's lighter later and things warm up...) and then I fell behind.  And more behind.  And then eye surgery.  Then some travel.  And more travel.  Wah wah wah. 

So here it is, December.  I have to write my Xmas cards, and go shopping, and do all those Xmasy things.  And the page will turn, and it will be January 1, again, and I will try yet again to hit 52.  Lest you think all is lost, there are some positives here.  I eat better than I did 3 years ago - this entire year I have had Kraft Mac and Cheese TWICE only.  Fresher foods, fewer searches for the can opener.  Oh wait, did you think I didn't cook at all?  No no no no no.  I just gravitate to the same things - easy things I've picked up over the past few years...  ah.  Maybe this was worth it after all. 

Here are some photos of what I DID do this year.  Enjoy.

January:  Nags Head

February: SNOW!

March:  Florida with family (parents, brother, niece/nephew)

April:  Meadowlark Gardens

May:  Learning how to sail using the old screwdriver/card/wine glass technique.  First and only lesson!

June:  They call him the Rap, Rap, Rap, Rap, Raptor!

July:  Swiss Bliss (also Italy).  AKA Dad hikes hard-core trails in Switzerland 4 months after a broken hip.  Mom poses at one of her favorite places on earth...

August:  I got a really bad jellyfish sting, and it turned into cellulitis.  It's too gross to show here, so, I will show you a photo of my new shoes instead.

September:  Visitied Mom and Dad over Labor Day weekend.  Kiddos are running across lawn.

October:  Visited Big Sur/Monterey Peninsula, also, hiked Machu Picchu (two photos here).

November:  Vienna

December:  Nothing online yet!  So here is a photo of us toasting Venice.

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