Pear1-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

12.28.12 The Perfect Pear (and a Winner!)

As I mentioned in this post the other week, one great thing about restaurant food is the diversity of flavor and technique on the plate. I'm always thrilled to get a dessert that combines tastes and textures without being too overwhelming. A simple panna cotta becomes so much more interesting when it comes with a pile of velvety macerated fruit or even just a generous pour of aged balsamic. I remember dining at Aureole way back when it was still in its original townhouse location and ordering a dessert that was a symphony of lemon—fluffy curd in a pastry shell, decadent ice cream, candied peel. This may seem like way too much work to attempt at home, but I recently managed to put together a layered dish with a few elements I had on hand to pretty great effect. The combination of a cinammon-scented roasted pear with a creamy smear of intense blue cheese, a drizzle of cider syrup and the sweet crunch of walnut brittle made a festive (and not too heavy) ending to a holiday meal. Everything was made ahead so it could be quickly plated at the last moment—a must when I'm entertaining.
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Leather-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.14.12 Warm Leatherette

One of the great things about starting this blog has been connecting to kindred spirits near and far, some of them with blogs of their own. Distances collapse in the virtual landscape, rendering us all just a keyboard away. But true connections inevitably materialize in 3-D—as recipients of my caramels discovered—and on occasion this means little packages of pure joy winging their way to me from Julia (quince & sour cherry preserves; grape, fig & walnut conserve); from Rob & David (birch syrup and homemade herbes de Provence); and from Janet (wild lime catsup and Buddha's hand preserves). This last creature is an old pal from 20 years ago. We had long gone our separate ways only to chance upon one another and discover how our paths had neatly converged. Janet is an artist (married to an artist), mother and writer living on a farm. Her newish blog, A Raisin & A Porpoise, is full of her hilariously wry wit, but also poignant insights and recipes for nourishing dishes that I actually want to cook right away, like this divine dip and these gingerbread muffins. And the spicy fruit leather, above, which she kindly presents to you here, in her own words.
 

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