New Year, New Look

December 27, 2008 at 6:54 pm 14 comments

Juniper Scented Pears in Red Wine

So what do you think?  Like the makeover?   I had a hard time letting go of the fresh green theme that had been the face of SFTF for nearly two years now.  But it’s all about the pictures.  When I started the blog, I wasn’t nearly the photographer I am now.  Back then, I choose the color and header to catch new readers’ eyes.  Today, the artistry of food photography is just as much a part of SFTF as the emphasis on farm fresh produce.  As such, I decided to go for a sleeker design that wouldn’t clash so much with the photos.  I hope you like it!  If anyone’s terribly attached to the old chartreuse, leave a comment and we’ll find a compromise.


Well, now that the new digs have been explained, let’s have a delicious dish to celebrate the new look and the New Year.   How about some Juniper Scented Pears in Red Wine?  Pears are one of those fruits that stores so nicely through the first half of the winter.  It’s about time to use up the last of them though.  These particular pears came from the old gnarly pear tree that my grandfather planted long before I was born. 

juniper berries

It’s incredible how long a fruit tree will continue to produce as long as it is maintained on occasion with some pruning and fertilizing with compost.  If you have much of a yard, be it in the city, suburbs or the country, consider planting a fruit tree (after some careful research and a talk with a reputable nurseryman) to have your own fruit for years to come.  Many fruit trees are compact and beautiful, fitting in nicely in the home landscape. 

Naked pears

These poached pears are a beautiful – yet sweetly simple – dessert for a festive occasion such as a holiday dinner party.  They can be made up to a day ahead and taste just as good warm or cold.  I enjoyed mine most with a spoonful of thick sweetened whipped cream on the side to balance out the nip of the juniper in the sauce.  You may need to adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe according to the sweetness of the pears you are using. 

Red Wine

Oh, and how rude of me, I almost forgot to ask.  How were your holidays?  Lots of family time?  More importantly, how was the food?  What was the best thing you ate at a holiday affair this year?  I have to say my grandmother’s potato salad is still tops on my list, year after year.  My mom made a new candy though that was to-die-for: she made homemade peanut butter fudge, then coated it in homemade caramel and finally dipped it all into milk chocolate.  Yup.  It was as good as it sounds, just like these pears! 

Pair of pears

Juniper Scented Pears in Red Wine
Adapted from Four Ingredient Cooking

2 T. juniper berries
2/3 C. sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
2 ½ C. red wine
4-6 firm, but ripe, pears

Peel the pears, leaving them whole and with their stems intact.  Set aside.

Lightly crush the juniper berries using a rolling pin and plastic bag.  Put the berries in a pan with the sugar, wine and vanilla bean and gently heat until the sugar dissolves.  Add peeled pears and cover the pan to simmer gently for about 25 minutes.  Turn the pears occasionally to make sure each side gets time in the syrup. 

Use a slotted spoon to remove the pears.  Boil the syrup hard for a few minutes until it thickens.  Place the pears on a serving dish and spoon syrup over them.  Serve warm or chilled. 

(serves 4-6)


Entry filed under: Recipes, Sweet Treats. Tags: , , , , .

Happy Holidays & A Give Away! Frosty Festive Treat

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Amy  |  December 27, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    I love your blog and the new look! It’s wonderful!

  • 2. Jennie  |  December 27, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks, Amy! 🙂

  • 3. Faith  |  December 28, 2008 at 3:06 am

    I think it was a great change, looks gorgeous in here!

  • 4. Stacey  |  December 28, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Hey Jennie! The site looks beautiful, and so do your photos, as always!

  • 5. Rebecca  |  December 28, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Fantastic update! Clean, colorful, and fresh. Good job!

  • 6. Jennie  |  December 28, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks, Faith, Stacey, and Rebecca! Glad you like it as much as I do!

  • 7. Mary  |  December 28, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    I think the new look is fresh and clean and pretty and just right!

  • 8. Jason Sandeman  |  December 29, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Very nice look to your site, refreshing. The photos are stunning, and bring to life a recipe that is standard fare. I love the final picture, but feel it may need a little tweaking to get the right highlights of the sauce. Now, I can post process, but cannot even remotely take the photos you do.

    What is your set up?

    • 9. Jennie  |  December 29, 2008 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Jason. My setup for photography is rather crude, really. I take pictures on the deep window sill in my living room with various backdrops that I find in the scrapebook and fabric remnant sections of the craft store. I have been shooting with only natural light up to this point, but I have just ordered some lights since the dark winter months are really cramping my shooting. Hopefully the lights will allow me the luxury of establishing a more permanant studio space in my house. I have a Canon Digital Rebel XTi 10.1 MP DSLR with a Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens. I shoot most often on a tripod with the ISO set at 100 using the AV setting.

  • 10. brilynn  |  December 30, 2008 at 12:41 am

    Those pears are gorgeous, great colour! I recently did poached pears with white wine and have been wanting to give it a try with red.

  • 11. Madeline  |  December 30, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    I did love the old look but the new look is fantastic! Fresh, simple, clean. Nice work. Oh, the pears look delicious as well 😉 Happy New Year!

  • 12. Tammy  |  January 8, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Love the new digs. Very chic.
    Happy New Year.

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