New Year, New Look
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.