Painting of a Pink Poached Pear

Dream Pears 7″ x 7″ Acrylic on Fabriano  Paper by Suzanne Edminster

Dear Readers and Cooks,

I am pleased to introduce my first guest post on “The Kale Chronicles.” My real-life best friend Suzanne Edminster is a painter who lives in Santa Rosa who teaches popular classes in acrylic painting techniques which you can find on her website, SaltworkStudio. What not everybody knows about Suzanne is that she is a talented hostess who can pull together delicious meals with skill and grace. Just for you, she painted the painting and wrote out the recipe. Enjoy.

Sonoma Pears Poached in White Wine and Blueberries

On an autumn night in Santa Rosa I was contemplating a bag of small Bartlett pears that had been carried too long in the car and were starting to bruise. I was longing for a sweet, elegant way to cook pears without messing with pie crust, cobbler or crumble. I developed this recipe as one that could, in the best of all possible worlds, be cooked with fruit from our garden, though I draw the line at keeping goats for cheese– four chickens are demanding enough.

We have two young pear trees in our urban backyard orchard, both Red D’Anjou. This was a mistake; we were given one of the two trees and was assured it was a Bartlett. Neither is bearing yet, as we’ve had to take young fruit off too-young branches to avoid breakage. Scott, my husband, planted 9 kinds of blueberry bushes in a raised bed, but between chickens, squirrels, raccoons and other poachers, we got a total of about five blueberries from the plants this year, although they are bearing well. Next year, bird netting goes over all and the humans of the house can eat the harvest. Eventually I’ll try this recipe with our own blueberries (self-frozen if need be) and our own pears.

At the end of the summer we had overbought on white wine and had not yet laid in the stock of red. My mother used to serve red warm cinnamon pears—yes, I think she used cinnamon drop candy on them and to make the sauce!– and I really wanted the pears to turn that glorious holiday crimson. What could I do to give the wine a color? We had small frozen organic blueberries that we keep on hand for cereal. I adapted Stacy Slinkard’s recipe for Red Wine Poached Pears that I found in About.com at http://wine.about.com/od/howwineismade/r/poachedpears.htm. The result was delicious, and the color of both sauce and pears, a deep red-purple, divine. Surprisingly, the blueberries held their shape through the longish poaching time. I used fresh lime juice from our lime trees rather than lemon, and I chose soft new Sonoma goat cheese to offset the brilliant sweetness of the pears in the sauce. Scott and I agreed that the white, tangy bite of goat cheese was perfection on the warm red pears. A bonus of this recipe is that the whole house smelled of pear-pourri!


Sonoma Pears Poached in White Wine and Blueberries

Ingredients:

4-6 halved, cored pears (peeling is optional and top stems can be left on)

1½ cups of white wine (your choice)

½ cup of granulated sugar

2 tablespoons of fresh lemon or lime juice, with optional zest

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ to 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Soft plain or new goat cheese

Combine all the ingredients, except pears and goat cheese, and bring to a boil. Let the sugar and wine combine, then add the pears face-down and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, turning once after about 10 minutes. Pears should be tender and easily poked through with a fork, but don’t overcook them. Remove pears and boil the wine/pear sauce until reduced by half. Serve pears warm in bowls with a small dollop of soft goat cheese in the middle of each half. Pour warm sauce over all. It’s excellent cold as well.

Painting Note: This slightly cosmic pear painting shows both the pinkish red of the sauce and the purple of the blueberries. It’s 7” x 7”, acrylic on paper. The pink-purple ranges from Alizarin Crimson to Fluorescent Magenta. You can see more of my paintings at www.saltworkstudio.net . Or visit my blog at http://saltworkstudio.wordpress.com/