This year’s pears


This year’s pears

We have two espaliered pear trees – one grows Anjou (the green, chubby and very self-confident variety on the plate above) and the other grows Bartletts (also known as Williams and they are a slender, blushing, more reserved type).

I have been waiting for them to ripen when my husband pointed out that the Bartletts were rotting on the tree! I picked several and he was right – they were like mush in my hands, so the chickens got an unexpected feast. I read up a bit and learned that they should be picked when still relatively hard, and allowed to ripen for seven to ten days inside. Hmmmm…

So, I picked what we had left and thought I’d share a few great recipes that I love to make with our (surviving) pears this time of year.

First of all, my dear friend and fellow farm-gal, Gail gave me the recipe for Pear Chutney. I make it every year and my husband just shovels it on to roast pork, or BBQ pork tenderloin. And, because I make pork for Thanksgiving (instead of turkey), it gets gobbled up by family and guests. It also makes a wonderful gift.

Pear Chutney

3 cups cider vinegar
2 lbs brown sugar (it’s good for you because of the molasses, right????)
6 lbs firm pears, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cups golden raisins
3 TB fresh ginger, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1tsp cayenne pepper
4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
4 tsp mustard

Bring vinegar and sugar to boil in a large kettle. Add remaining incredients. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, over very low heat. It will take at least 1 1/2 hours to cook down and the mixture should be thick. Pour into sterilized jars and seal. Store in a cool place.

Deborah is a WONDERFUL home chef and incredible gardener who lives in town with her charming husband. They had us over for dinner a while ago and served this pie. It blew my socks off. I’ve made it since and topped it with ice cream. Deborah said she’s made the pie with and without a bag and there was no real difference. I did it without the bag and thought it was great. I’ll give the recipe with the bag, in case you’d like to give it a try. Let me know what you think either way!

Brown Bag Apple Pear Pie

3 apples, pared, cored and sliced
3 pears, pared, cored and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
4 TB flour
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
dash of ground cinnamon
1 unbaked 9″ pastry shell
one large paper bag

Combine flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon; cut in butter until mixture is smooth. 

 Heat oven to 400 degrees. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine apples, pears, sugar, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon. Turn into prepared pastry shell.

Prepare brown sugar topping and spread over fruit slices. 

Brown Sugar Topping

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar 
dash cinnamon
1/4 lb butter

 Slide unbaked pie into the paper bag and fold ends over and secure with paper clips. Bake 45 minutes; remove pie from bag and continue to bake 30 minutes longer or until apples are tender OR if you do not use the bag, cover the pie with foil (shiny side down) and bake for an extra 15 minutes. 

Let me know what you think if you try either recipe.

A few links for you to enjoy:

When we first planted our two-acre vineyard, I thought we’d probably get about 5 cases of wine. What did I know? The 2012 vintage is still in barrels, but we expect to get about 400 cases! Here’s a great article that helps explain, on average, how much wine you get per vine! We won’t ever be quite as prolific because we’ve spaced our plants a little farther apart than normal (eight feet from center to center of each plant, and six feet between each row), and they are head pruned, which can improve quality, but lowers yield.

I love people who make their clothes into a personal style statement. Especially men. Most guys would look like clowns in this outfit, but this guy pulls it off. How does that happen?

Are you watching Breaking Bad? Have you seen Jimmy Fallon’s parody? Here it is.

Several nights ago, my hubby was out of town and I heard some sort of otherworldly, horrible scream. The dog went wild, which of course freaked me out. I wound up calling 911, and three officers appeared. I described what I’d heard. They couldn’t find anything. I figured it out. Check out this link and listen to the brief video titled “scream of the red fox.”  Yup – that’s what I heard. I feel like an idiot.

I LOVE this plan to save unwanted dogs. Claim each pound puppy as a unique breed and build a campaign around the idea, “when you adopt a mutt, you adopt a unique breed.” Change the world.

Tell me what you’re baking these days.  I love hearing your stories.


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