Tag: pear

Green Goddess Smoothie

Green Goddess Smoothie

green juice

 

I’m new to the world of juicing. I still don’t have a juicer, just a very powerful blender that looks at fruits and vegetables, laughs and then promptly liquefies them. I’ve never understood taking all of the fiber out as a juicer does. The blender method ensures you have a thick, smooth fiber filled drink that has the goodness and benefit of the whole fruit and veg. You might be thinking, “Spinach? No thanks.” But honestly, it’s basically flavorless. What really rings through in this recipe is the lemon and ginger making it a fresh, bright tasting drink that gives you the benefit of a big salad plus fruit, add chia seeds and you’ve got some protein too. It’s fresh and light and a great way to start your morning or to fill the gap between meals.  (more…)

Carrot Cake Juice Smoothie

carrot cake juice

Fall is right around the corner here, folks. Even the sunniest days in the last couple of weeks have taken on that thinner, more golden, end of summer light. The nights are downright chilly and pumpkin spice everything has made its annual invasion. I love cooking in the summer – all the freshness and vibrant produce, BBQ’d everything and the general low maintenance approach to food and its preparation. I do, however, really enjoy cooking in the fall when things get a bit more roasted, slower, deeper flavors and more robust ingredients. I like the feeling of “harvest time” and I look forward to the change in temperature and palate.

When a friendly rep from Williams-Sonoma reached out to me to ask if I’d like to participate in their Juice Week, I was in immediately. Juicing isn’t something I do a ton of but I do make smoothies most mornings for breakfast and they become my fruit quota for the day. (more…)

Spinach and Radicchio Salad with Pear and Gorgonzola

 

It’s happened: winter has descended upon Vancouver. Tonight is our first snow. And not just a whisper of snow. No hard, minuscule bits of freezing rain here; this is the snow of storybooks: fat, gauzy flakes that fall slowly and steadily giving everything a delicate down of winter sparkle. Sadly, it’s unlikely to last the night. Winter in Vancouver is fickle, as the 2010 Olympics proved. So often it is mild and wet, dense and grey, with rain that comes at you from every angle. But then there are winters that make us feel like we’re part of the rest of the country, uniting us with ‘The Great White North’, with sunny, clear, cold days and enough snow to make almost anyone feel like a kid again. They never last the season, but even a week of brightness and glinting snow (even if it turns to blackened, grimy slush) is revitalizing. The local mountains are snow capped and outfitted for world class skiing all winter, but down in the city, the balmy coast keeps things decidedly lush and mostly frost-free. I shouldn’t complain: we get flowers in February, and you don’t have to shovel rain. It is always nice though, a couple times a decade, to have a white Christmas or walk through newly fallen snow and enjoy the insulating hush it gives the city. Snow falling through the glow of a streetlamp? Be still, my silly heart.

Whatever the weather where you are, I hope you enjoy this quick and simple winter salad. It’s easy to make, gives you a burst of freshness on a wintry day and goes beautifully with all things warm, roasted and slow cooked. Stay warm and enjoy!

 Spinach and Radicchio Salad with Pear and Gorgonzola

No one really measures salad, so use your common sense when assembling this salad. My general guesstimate is 2 large handfuls of greens per person. Consider this a recipe for 4 people (as a side, not as a main). 

enough carefully washed and dried greens for4 people – 3/4 baby spinach, 1/4 sliced radicchio

1 ripe but still firm pear, cored and quartered, each quarter thinly sliced

1/2 C crumbled Gorgonzola or other ripe, pungent cheese

1/4 toasted pumpkin seeds (or pecans, walnuts, etc. – whatever you have on hand to give it some crunch)

Toss the greens together and top with cheese, nuts/seeds and pear slices. Dress at the last moment, or at the table with Apple Sesame Dressing.

Apple Sesame Salad Dressing

Whisk together in a small bowl, or shake together in a glass:

6 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp apple juice

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp sesame oil

pinch of salt and pepper

 

Pear and Cardamom Bundt Cake

This recipe came about as the result of a conversation concerning a certain muffin (I actually think they call them ‘baby cakes’) from local Vancouver mini-chain, Terra Breads. The confection in question is something that can only be described as a symphony of apple and cardamom. Baked in charming brown paper sleeves and delicately perfumed with the alluring musk of cardamom, they are a real treat.

If you aren’t familiar with cardamom, here it is:

It’s sort of an ugly little pod, but quite delicious. It’s related to the ginger family and has a somewhat similar pungency to it. Wikipedia has a lot to say about it here. You can easily find both green or black (shown here) varieties. I am less familiar with the black cardamom so I thought I’d try it this time. In hindsight, I’d say that the two are very, very similar, but the black variety is less floral, and more smoky. It’s one of those flavours that once you have it, you won’t forget it, but it’s almost impossible to describe. Either way, it is the perfect match for the soft pears in this cake and of course, the almost magical muffins from Terra Breads.

So why not just go get one? Well, you certainly could. I certainly could have, but I enjoy the challenge of recreating and reinventing recipes. The reinvention here is threefold:  1) It’s a cake, not muffins 2) I used pear not apple 3) I used a trio of spices, one of which was cardamom, so this is less of a punch to the face in terms of cardamom flavour.  All that said, this is a quick and easy cake to make (I didn’t even pull out the mixer! Mixed by hand, imagine that!) and requires no frosting or adornment besides a pretty dusting of powdered sugar  — but you’d be forgiven if you plopped a cloud of whipped cream on it, or even a drizzle of caramel.

I won’t tell. Your secrets are safe with me.

Pear & Cardamom Bundt Cake

Inspired by the Apple and Cardamom Baby-Cake from Terra Breads

preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Core and chop 3 large, ripe pears (about 3 cups of fruit)

Set aside.

Sift together:

2 Cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. ground cardamom

Set aside.

In a second bowl, cream together

2/3 C. butter – softened to room temperature

1 1/2 C. sugar

Once creamed, beat in

2 whole eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. milk

Add the dry ingredients to the butter, egg and sugar mix.

Stir in the chopped pear.

Scrape (the batter will be thick) into a greased and floured bundt pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until risen brown and a skewer or toothpick inserted into it comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Invert the pan onto the rack and the cake should drop out. Allow to cool fully before cutting.