Posts Tagged With: pears

Dave & Kim’s wedding shower!

I just realized that it has been eleven days since my last post. A week and a half!

How did this happen?

Well, I’ve been busy.

First off, I’m on day sixteen of the eighteen-day Red Clay Writing Project Summer Institute, which meets from 8:30am to 4:00pm Monday through Friday. And, as I mentioned before, this thing is intense! I’ve been writing up a storm, pretty much all day every day, even well into the evenings. I’ve written pages and pages and pages of material…just, nothing for the blog.

(I’ll be back with you full time in just a couple more days, so please–stick around! I’ve got a really exciting project to share with you. :))

This past weekend was the AthFest Music & Arts Festival. Micah and I had our very first date at AthFest 2006–we walked around downtown Athens together all night, got drenched in a summer storm, laughed over crispy fried okra and creamy feta dip at The Grill in the late evening, and shared our first kiss in a crowded club to the twangy tunes of an Athens band called the Bearfoot Hookers. It was a magical evening, and we love revisiting that magic every year by going back to AthFest, bar-hopping, hearing awesome local music, and (of course) eating at some of our favorite downtown restaurants.

The weekend before that, Micah and I had his entire family (his parents, his three siblings and their plus-ones, and all eight of their children–whew!) over to our house for a cookout, so we of course went a little crazy cleaning the house and cooking way too much food.

And the weekend before that is what I’m going to share with you today. Like I told you a couple of weeks ago, my brother Dave is marrying his fiance Kim in just a few short weeks! Dress fiasco aside, being a bridesmaid in this wedding has been nothing short of fabulous.

The other three maids are Chelsea, Amanda, and Shannon, none of whom I knew very well until very recently, but the four of us have been working together to plan Dave and Kim’s French-themed shower since April.

The end result was simply lovely! The weather was gorgeous, Memorial Park was a beautiful venue for our summery shindig, the decorations and flowers were simple and pretty, and the food…well, the food was amazing.

I am glad the shower turned out so beautiful. I wouldn’t have wanted anything less for my little brother and his bride-to-be! ♥

*   *   *   *   *

And now…the food!

Amanda brought crackers, a delicious assortment of cheeses, fresh fruits and veggies, and an array of yummy dips to go with them. Simple, refreshing, perfect.

Feast your eyes:

the full spread

Besides being in charge of tablecloths and all of the plates, napkins, cups, etc., Shannon also made macaroons and creme puffs, which were lovely, delicate, and tasty:

pretty pastels

Chelsea rocked our tastebuds with these fantastic dishes:

sweet little beignets

fluffy croissants filled with chicken salad

savory, cheesy, perfectly puffed gougères

If any of these wonderful ladies sends me the recipes they used, I will make sure to pass those recipes on to you! Their food was fantastic.

I brought flowers, paper fans and lanterns, and yes, even more food. 🙂

not quite croque-monsieurs

Micah actually constructed these guys from soft white dinner rolls from the Earth Fare bakery, some excellent uncured deli ham (sliced paper-thin), slices of double-creme brie, and my own homemade grainy mustard.

originally, I planned to make a pear tarte tatin, but
these rustic little guys are what I ended up with instead

These were also super easy:

  • Thaw two packages of frozen puff pastry for a couple of hours, then cut the dough into two dozen little rectangles.
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  • Roll up the edges of the rectangles so you have a little pastry boat.
  • Pre-bake the boats for about 25 minutes or until they are puffy and just starting to brown. (They’ll deflate a little when you take them out.)
  • Dice six or seven fresh pears. Saute the pears in a large skillet with a couple of tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of dried marjoram. Cook them until the liquid is reduced to a nice, thick syrup.
  • Pull your pastry boats out of the oven, top each one with some pear filling, and stick them back in to bake for another 15 minutes or so.

Last, but not least:

leek, chanterelle, and chevre mini quiches

I don’t mean to brag, y’all, but these little quiches were great.

Here’s the recipe:

What’s in it:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ounce dried chanterelle mushrooms, rehydrated in warm water for 30 minutes (or use 8 ounces fresh)
  • 3-5 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (about 1 cup total)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces shredded parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces crumbled goat cheese

Step-by-step:

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F and get two 12-cup muffin pans ready with cooking spray or paper liners.
  • In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, leeks, salt, pepper, and thyme, and cook for about 10 minutes or until the mushrooms and leeks are tender.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, and flour.
  • Fill your 24 muffin cups in this order:
    • Cover the bottom of each cup with a layer of shredded parmesan.
    • Add about two tablespoons of leek and mushroom filling.
    • Add about 1-1/2 tablespoons of egg filling.
    • Top with crumbled goat cheese.
  • Bake the quiches for about 15-20 minutes or until the eggs are set and the goat cheese is a little gooey.

These were delicious right out of the oven the night before the shower (yes, Micah and I had to sample one!), but they were also yummy at the shower the next afternoon (where they were served at room temperature), and reheated later in the week (because we were lucky enough to have leftovers).

To sum up: we enjoyed delicious food, a gorgeous day, and a celebration of love with two of my very favorite people.

Categories: people, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

muffins for Monday – 4.30.12 – pears galore!

Pears are tricky.

Like bananas, pears are at their best for a very specific window of time. Try to eat one before it’s ready, and your teeth and tongue will fight a losing battle against that tart, hard rock of a fruit.

Let your unyielding pear sit out on your counter for a few days to mellow, and mellow it will. If you catch that pear at the peak of its ripening, you’ll be rewarded with bite after juicy bite of pear perfection. Your hands and face will be rendered a moist mess with every nibble of that soft, sweet fruit, and you’ll gnaw away every little scrap of pear until all you have left in your hands is a sticky, skinny core.

Let that perfectly ripe pear sit out on your counter for a few more days, and….well, you’ll have a mess.

My pear problem started three weeks ago when the Athens Earth Fare emailed me a coupon for one free pound of organic red Bartlett pears with a five dollar purchase. I printed two, one for me and one for Micah, and our regular grocery trip later that week earned us two free pounds of rock-hard pears.

Another week passed, and those babies were perfect. I took some to school the next week, which made for a delicious (albeit sticky) addition to my lunchbox.

And then we were out of town all last weekend for Jessica’s wedding, so the last four pears sat on our kitchen counter for about a week longer than they really should’ve.

When we came home, one moldy pear got a one-way ticket to our compost pile. The other three were pretty mushy–too soft to pack in a lunchbox, or slice for a snack, or bake into a pie–but not quite rotten yet.

What to do with too-far-gone fruit? Make muffins, of course! (Good timing, too, since we were about to eat our last two crumbly granola bars. :))

pears + dates + oats + pecans + a touch of cinnamon = mmmm…..

What’s in it: 

  • For the muffins: 
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 cup rolled oats
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 3 overripe pears, mashed
    • 3 dates, pitted and finely chopped
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (I actually used 5 egg whites that I had leftover from making pastry cream)
  • For the topping:
    • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
    • 3-4 tablespoons rolled oats (I tackled mine with the mini-chopper, just to make them a little finer)
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Step-by-step:

  • Preheat your oven to 425°F and get a 12-cup muffin pan ready with cooking spray or paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 1 cup oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and 1/4 cup brown sugar.
  • Add the pears, dates, and eggs. Stir until just combined.
  • Divide the batter among your 12 muffin cups.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the pecans, oats, and brown sugar for your topping.
  • Sprinkle the topping evenly over the muffins. You’ll probably have enough to pretty much completely cover each muffin. (At this point, I also lightly pressed the topping into the batter to hopefully prevent it from all falling off.)
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, then let cool.
  • Enjoy!

Not only are they extra moist and juicy from all that fruit, but because I mashed the pears instead of pureeing them, the muffins also have some nice chunks of fruit inside them. The cinnamon and dates give these sweet treats a warm, cozy flavor, and the oats and nuts in the topping are nice and toasty and crunchy.

This is definitely one of my favorite batches of muffins so far!

Categories: recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

happy pi day!

Click here (or on the photo) to read more about it and get the recipe for my bourbon thyme pear pie. 🙂

Categories: links, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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