Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baked Pears with Cranberries and Walnuts

My 6 year old son has been running around the house in a ninja outfit jumping from our bedroom headboard to the couch and then onto to a chair, all the while swinging his favorite Jedi lightsabor and having himself a good Ol' time.  This is a prime indicator that the holidays are fast approaching.  Halloween has always been the kick off holiday to ring in all the rest.  This mean a 3 month cooking marathon of Fall favorites and Winter delights.

So far this Fall we have cranked out Applesauce, Salsa, Jams, Jelly's, and a few others that escape my memory.  So I have been thinking about something a little different from the normal.  Not something that is WAY off base from our normal fair, but something that is always there through the holidays but not often thought about.  PEARS!!!!  When I worked in a produce department for a locally owned grocery store here in Lander, I recall getting pallet after pallet of pears, peaches, plumbs, and oranges this time of year.  I have to admit every time I have a sore lower back I think about those pallets.  I would often think about what people do with the pears since the bought them by the case rather than per Lb. 

I later, rediscovered them while browsing through my cookbooks.  Well, I think its more accurate to state I rediscovered them a few times, since I have cooked with them before but the recipe never wanted to stay in my memory.  I think that it is because they don't show up in large quantity's till Fall.  Anyway, the point is, Pears go well with many different ingredients.  Savory, Sweet, Tart, and Chocolate are just a few flavors that Pears go well with.

Jamie Oliver once made a dish with pears that was very simple.  Was basically pears baked with Olive oil, Thyme, Salt and pepper.  It was simple, and yet it was a dish with complex in flavor.  He served it with Couscous.  Yummy stuff.

So with all this in my mind I struck out and decided on something a bit holiday, but simple enough for a normal dinner night at the family table.

Baked Pears with Cranberries and Walnuts

3 ripe but firm pears, peeled, cored and quartered
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place quartered pears in a baking dish.
Drizzle pomegranate juice over pears.
Sprinkle cranberries and walnuts over the top.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until pears are tender.
Serve with juices over Ice Cream or Yogurt (My Wife loves yogurt)

You see how simple this is, but yet complex in flavor.  I still believe that you can create OUTSTANDING flavor by just keeping things simple and basic.  I know many people who love to cook but don't want to spend hour after hour in a kitchen fixing complex reduction, infusions, and food chemistry.  We shall leave that too the professionals for now, and maybe in the future we might give it a try.  But until then, we will cook simple, and produce BIG flavors all the while having clean bowls and plates at the end of the meal.


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