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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Early fall flava's- let's start with DESSERT!

Hello all! I know it's been quite a while since I've updated this blog. Mea Culpa! So, I'm back to it with a few recipes that are likely to be more seasonal than normal. And, I'm going to start with dessert!

I love dessert, but I really don't have it often at home, nor do I make anything sophisticated, normally. But I have cravings, just like everyone else. More importantly I hate seeing food spoil. So when I had some extra pears I had to find something to do with them before they all spoiled. I searched recipe sites, and nothing really sounded good. Then as I dug through my fridge, I saw the Oregon Chai Tea in the back of my fridge! I remembered when I was competing to be an Iron Foodie (no, didn't win, place, nothin'!) I received a consolation prize of some spices- vanilla beans and star anise! Ah, yes... things were adding up in my head, and I wasn't even going to have to go to the store!

So, as a tribute to fall and all the creativity that I lack for decorating, I submit these flavors to transport you and yours (mentally) to a peaceful cabin, with a wood fire going, a thick blanket, the smell of wet pine trees outside... or maybe a view of a stormy lake in front of you... or heck- just a good movie plopped on the couch!

Spiced Chai Tea Poached Pears

Poaching liquid:
5 C water
2 C Chai Tea concentrate (I used Oregon Chai)
1 C Fresh ginger, sliced (less if you don't like ginger)
1/4 C Candied ginger
1/2 C Honey
1-1/2 Vanilla beans (split) or 2 T vanilla extract
2 T Cinnamon
1 Star anise, toasted first (lightly toast in a pan for about 3-4 minutes)
As much as 1/4 C Orange zest or peel, optional

4-6 pears (I used bosc), peeled and cored. (You might just cut these in half, and use a melon baller or spoon to core them. But, I wouldn't go smaller than 1/2's.)

  1. Mix all poaching ingredients in a dutch oven or large pot on the stove top.
  2. Add pears, and heat over medium heat to a boil.
  3. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook at least 1 hour until a sharp knife goes through the pear with almost no resistance.
  4. Remove pears and set aside, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes to reduce.
  5. Strain liquid into storage container along with pears. Discard the solids EXCEPT FOR the vanilla bean, and ginger; put them into the same container.
  6. Once cool, refrigerate!
  7. Serve as is, or over angel food cake, or spiced ice cream!