I’ve been waiting for October to start before I buy any chrysanthemum plants. September just seems too early, and then it got warm again, and did not feel autumnal. As the leaves reluctantly change color I have been out in the backyard, cutting the last bedraggled hydrangea blossoms and bringing them inside. I want a little cheerful color in the kitchen before resorting to grocery store flowers. And it’s still just too early to buy pumpkins.
Which is why I have filled a bowl with an assortment of colorful pears. They have saturated autumnal colors, and are a tasty treat along about three o’clock when I would love to take a nap. There is nothing like getting a little sugar rush from a sweet pear, as the juice runs down your chin, when you snatch a ten minute break from the COVID-19 solitary confinement to read a book standing at the kitchen counter. (I’m reading Laura Lippman’s new book of essays, My Life as a Villainess, in case you need a timely distraction.)
Pears are another fruit that I feel sure is perfect on its own, eaten raw and not baked, stewed, poached or quivering in extra sugar. But they are many folks who enjoy a nice pear tart, or a pear cake. And as pears are easily bruised, it is always prudent to have a smoothie recipe as a back up plan. Remember our mantra: waste not, want not.
There are nights when I think I will just scream if I have to make another green salad. Apples and pears pair very nicely. Apple Pear Fruit Salad: https://www.stemilt.com/recipes/apple-pear-fruit-salad/
Try pears, Brie and prosciutto for your next Zoom cocktail party – your friends from college will be impressed that you have finally moved away from Nacho Cheese Doritos. Pear, Prosciutto and Brie Panini: https://www.stemilt.com/recipes/pear-prosciutto-and-brie-panini/ The Room Rater will now gauge your kitchen skills as you flip hot panini while drinking wine and bantering about your misspent youth.
Or you can flaunt your middle-aged sophistication by pivoting away from the cheap white wine of your past, and progress to a pear martini. Just one per Zoom cocktail hour, please. Your college friends who never forget any of your foolishness are just looking for fresh fodder: https://www.thespruceeats.com/french-pear-martini-recipe-761054
Our friends at Food52 always have excellent ideas. I love it when they do the heavy lifting, and I just follow along, garnering Mr. Friday’s admiration. This is simple and it is a dessert he loves, even if it isn’t chocolate. (I always try to keep some vanilla ice cream on hand, for dressing up humble desserts.) Simple Pear Tart: https://food52.com/blog/23294-simple-pear-tarte-tatin-recipe-comfort-baking
This cake does have chocolate, but I still like to add a little whipped cream or ice cream. Spiced Chocolate Pear pie: https://food52.com/recipes/14339-spiced-chocolate-pear-cake
If you are going to mask up and go out to run off these desserts, you can try this healthy smoothie: https://www.runningtothekitchen.com/pear-banana-cinnamon-smoothie/. This must be extremely healthy, because they mention “collagen peptides”. Not in my kitchen!
Have you started to think about Thanksgiving? This could be a tasty alternative to apple pie: https://everydayannie.com/2012/11/16/pear-crumble-pie/
And here is a clever way to use up that leftover Thanksgiving turkey: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/radicchio-salad-turkey-pear-pomegranate
Pears will ease us into autumn. They are vivid before the leaves change color and fall. They are the colorful cynosure of our Zoom-y kitchen, while we wait for frosts, pumpkins, and dinner. And old friends to lead us to laughter.
“It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption.”
– Edward Bunyard