Saturday, February 28, 2009

Baked Pears In Cream

I think I prefer baked pears to baked apples. The taste is a little more delicate. Lighter. I know I like my pear crisp better than apple crisp. And yes I will make it, but another time seeing as I only have 2 pears on hand. This is from one of the Silver Palate cookbooks, either the red or the white one, regular or Good Times, I can't remember because I tore out what I liked best and tossed the rest. I saved a lot so really I may as well have just kept the books then I could even tell you which book.

And now I can't find the actual recipe but I think I have it right. Why did I throw out those books again? Oh regrets, I've had a few, but then again too few too mention...yes it's from Frank.

Okay this is so simple, so fattening but light, and oh so good. Which means yay, who cares, and yum.
4 ingredients.

And do use d'anjou pears, they really work the best, not too firm, not too mush, and great flavor. These are nice because the most work is peeling and coring the pears so it doesn't take much time away from family or friends and they really are nice enough for company.

From the Silver Palate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

D'anjou pears, ripe, 1 per person
Cream, yes the good stuff - heavy

Peel the pears, cut in half and core them.
Place them in a single layer, cut side down, in a baking dish to fit how many you are making.
Sprinkle 1 T sugar per pear on top.
Add 1 T butter per pear to pan.
Bake for 20 minutes, basting a few times.
Remove from oven and add 2 T cream per pear.
Bake for 15-20 minutes more, basting again, until the cream is bubbling and thick.
Set pears on serving plates.
Use an immersion blender or regular blender to smooth the sauce if you like, then pour sauce over pears.

If your pears are large or you would like this a little sweeter or more sauce then double the sugar, butter and cream amounts.
You could add a little scraped vanilla bean or vanilla sugar, or a little cinnamon if you like in the beginning.
If you want the cream thicker, remove the pears to serving plates and put the cream back in the oven for a few minutes.
The pears are perfect on their own and don't need ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate, rasberries or caramel etc. but who am I to put limits on you?

Show me love now.

Oh yeah. When it is just me, I lick the sauce.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Scone, Scon, Scoon


"Have you ever noticed, Amber, that the only difference between "think" and "thank" is one letter?

I haven't decided what that means, but it's got to be absolutely HUGE.
Tallyho, The Universe

Two words you just don't want to leave home without, Amber."


I have been receiving these emails for a few years now and I adore them. They arrive M-F and have put a smile on my face so many times. They are free, so if you like this, here is the link and they do keep your info private.

I think I will be thankful today.

I have a half pint of heavy cream in the refrigerator with todays date and I have the day off and the sun is shining. 3 things to be thankful for at this very moment, wow. So what to make with heavy cream? Scones of course. Duh.

This came from Design Crush which got it from yumsugar which evidently modified it from Baking Bites. There. I think I covered everyone. Anyway, of course it is February in the North Hemi and not much is in season so I used dried apricots instead of fresh figs or strawberries in the recipe and of course heavy cream instead of milk. Again...Duh.

Yumsugar had the best title for scones..."Everybody must get Scones". Imagine Bob Dylan singing at your breakfast table. That would be way too cool.
'But I would not be so all alone. Everybody must get sconed'.
Ha ha.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
4-6 t sugar
1/3 c butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 c heavy cream, 1/2 & 1/2 or milk
1/2 c crumbled goat cheese
3/4 c dried apricots, chopped

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the crumbled goat cheese in the freezer, this keeps it from becoming too mushed and blended when mixed in.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
Gently add in butter and toss to coat.
Place the flour/butter mixture in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Using your finger tips, crush the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles crumbles.
Add about 1/2 cup cream and stir gently, adding additional cream if necessary, until dough comes together into a slightly sticky ball.
Mix the apricots and goat cheese in gently by hand.

For a more traditional scone shape, place dough on prepared baking sheet and press down into a disc that is about 1-inch thick.
Lightly brush the top with cream.
Use a sharp knife to cut dough into 6 or 8 triangles.

Separate slightly on the parchment covered baking pan, giving them room to spread, and place pan in the oven.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until scones are light gold on top.
Let cool on a wire rack before serving.
Scones can be served warm or at room temperature.
Or...For a drop biscuit-like form, make 2-inch balls of dough, placed on the cookie and flattened to 1-inch thickness.
Makes 12 drop-style scones.

I only made 1/2 the above recipe because it is just me, and yes I could eat the whole thing butt... yes that is how I meant to spell it.

Thankful for...

3 children
3 sisters
1 brother, finally
1 dad
2 moms
sunshine, storms, stars, moonlight, light, dark, wind, stillness, clouds, air, water
days off, a job

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dinner For One (me)

Cooking for one. It is a reminder that I am alone.

Nobody loves me.
Everybody hates me.
Might as well just eat worms.
Long thin skinny ones.
Big fat juicy ones.

How is that for self pity?
But ha ha. I have control of the remote.
Actually, Sophie thinks I am cooking for her. Yes, slow cooked roast pork for one fat fluffy dog, and maybe a few little bits for the lady who pays the bills.

I miss cooking for a family, sitting at the table together, talking about the day. Of course that was before they were teenagers and their eyes were on a bungee cord roll to the back of their heads. I don't know, maybe they weren't being disrespectful, may all 3 of my children had seizures starting at age 13, and Turrets too obviously from what came out of their mouths. Okay, I don't miss that part of being a family so much. Just when they were younger and sweet and thought I was wonderful. I was wonderful. Who but a mom works all day, comes home, handles homework, laundry, baths, cooks a warm dinner and still loves to read bedtime stories?
To all of you who are raising a family...God bless you for all you do with selfless love and through utter exhaustion. One day your teenagers will love you again.

Now, what's for dinner?
Slow roasted pork shoulder with carrots, onions, celery and garlic.
Then it becomes pork ragout with soft polenta. Mmmm.
The basic recipe came from Fine Cooking, but 7 lbs of meat is a bit much and I didn't have any wine. "Gasp"some of you are thinking. Or garlic. Now I am gasping. So slow roast pork ala Amber.

This is soooo good. It takes a little time, but it isn't difficult at all. The ragout and polenta are for 2, which leaves plenty of roast pork for other things.


325 degrees for 3 hours
2 lb pork loin with some fat
lots of salt and fresh ground pepper and whatever dried herbs sound good

Then cut meat into 4 hunks
Add around the meat
cut in 1/2" - 1" pieces, 1 carrot, 2 celery stalks, 1/2 yellow onion, 3 cloves garlic
roast 1 hour more

Break up meat with forks (not shredded)
6 large mushrooms cut in 1/2" - 1" pieces
1 c chicken stalk
place meat on top to keep juices in vegies
roast 30 minutes more

Done! Carmelized, brown and tender with vegetables that are just done.

Okay, now the good part.


in a medium sauce pan, bring to a boil on med-hi heat
1 c milk

1 c water

3/4 t salt

whisk in slowly until it begins to thicken, 1-3 minutes
1/2 c polenta
Reduce heat to low so the polenta slowly bubbles, cook until tender and no longer gritty, 20 minutes, whisking and adding a little milk or stock to keep it soft as desired

1/8-1/4 c Rarmigiano Reggiano grated
1/2 T butter

season with salt to taste

While this is simmering, make the Ragout


In a saute pan over medium heat add
1 T olive oil

Then add and cook 3-5 minutes
1 tomato, diced
1 clove of garlic, chopped

Add and cook until sauce is reduced by half
3 c roasted pork and vegetables
1 c chicken broth

Add and toss
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T butter
1/4 c chopped fresh italian parsley

To plate
Spoon 1/2 of cooked polenta onto plate
Then top with ragout

Warm and yummy and comforting!