Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pear Tart

Getting fresh fruit in our CSA was one of the most exciting things of the holiday season. We joined the Utah Farms CSA in late November. They deliver to our door step every Friday and so far, we have been really surprised and excited about what we have received.  I used both asian pears and bartlett pears in this recipe. The aisan pears are the ones in the picture with the darker color. Asian pears, as their name suggests, are grown in China, Japan, and Korea.  These pears have a high water content and a crisp, grainy texture.  They look much like apples and are usually very fragrant and can last for several weeks in a cold, dry place. I ate these fruits from my neighbors backyard before they arrived in our CSA.  They are delicious plain, but this pastry is great with them.  This dessert is delicious warm and with vanilla ice cream (either homemade or store bought).  Hopefully you like this recipe and enjoy this fruit. 


1 12 x 8 rectangle puff pastry, defrosted
2 ripe but firm pears (Utah Farms CSA)
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Defrost puff pastry on the counter for about 1-2 hours (you can make whole wheat, homemade puff pastry but it is really too much work for my busy schedule!).
2. Slice pears and half and then core. Slice pear halves into 1/8-1/4 inch slices.
3. Combine sugars and cinnamon.
4. Unroll puff pastry and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place pear slices on unrolled pastry in a shingle pattern leaving a one inch border all around the sides. Lay the slices as close together as possible.
5. Sprinkle sugar mixture over the pears. Chill tart for 20 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
7. Bake tart at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Turn oven temperature down to 350F and bake another 10-20 minutes or until pastry is a golden brown, fruit is soft and all the sugar has melted. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

French Onion Soup

Hi, this is Bianca's Mom and I am posting a recipe that was one of my husbands favorite, French Onion Soup. Of course, I don't bother with the low-fat cheese that the original recipe called for but used the Unusually Lovely Aged Swiss Cheese from Beehive Cheese that we had received in our weekly CSA share. How anyone can use low-fat cheese is beyond me since all low-fat varieties I have tried are basically tasteless. I would rather do an extra 30 minutes on my exercise bike to allow me a portion of a full-fat, deliciously smooth cheese like the one below. I also went ahead and bought some soup bones from Christensen Farms and made some homemade beef broth and then fed the marrow from the bones to our dogs. I also used some of the beef broth to make our homemade dog biscuits which our dogs, Maggie and Leah Sophia just love!


2 tsp. olive oil
8 cups Walla Walla onion, thinly sliced vertically (Jacob's Cove)
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. Redmond Sea Salt
1/4 cup dry white wine
8 cups homemade beef broth (Christensen Family Farms soup bones)
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch slices (Harmon's bakery), toasted
8 oz. Unusually Lovely Aged Swiss cheese (Beehive Cheese)

1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions to pan and saute for 5 minutes or until tender.
2. Stir in sugar, pepper and salt. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions sweat.
3. Turn heat up to medium-high and saute for 5 minutes or until onions are a golden brown.
4. Stir in wine and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add broth and thyme and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.
6. Ladle one cup soup into 8 oven-broth bowls. Place one toasted bread slice on top of soup and then top each serving with 1 ounce of sliced cheese. Broil 2-3 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.
7. Serve immediately.
adapted from Cooking Light 2005

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Browned Sage Butter

This is another delicious recipe using pumpkin.  I love gnocchi at baseline and if you just want to try gnocchi first before making these, look at my gnocchi recipes I posted earlier this year. It is difficult as we enter the winter season to keep our meals local and this recipe takes advantage of those ingredients you can still buy locally or that you put in winter storage.  If you don't have a sage bush planted in your yard, you need to plant one next year since you can use the leaves for seasoning all year round and the bush itself is a perennial and can survive our cold winters. The pumpkin is a delicious addition to the gnocchi and the browned sage butter just adds a savory touch to the dish. Hope you enjoy these gnocchi!

Finished gnocchi with wilted fresh spinach and shaved parmesan cheese


1 cup homemade ricotta cheese (see earlier post)
1 cup pureed pumpkin (last bought at the Farmers Market)
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (Gold Creek Cheese)
2 large egg yolks (Clifford Family Farm)
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. Redmond Sea Salt
2 cups flour (we use freshly milled)
3 tbls. butter, divided (Winder Farms)
3 tbls. olive oil, divided
12-15 sage leaves (Our herb garden)
optional: fresh spinach (Utah Farms CSA)

1. Combine ricotta, pumpkin, parmesan cheese, egg yolk, lemon zest, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Sprinkle 1 cup of the flour on the pumpkin mixture and gently mix with a spatula a few times to incorporate the flour.  Add additional flour in small amounts and incorporate gently. Don't knead too much or you will end up with a fairly dense, instead of light and fluffy, gnocchi.  Place dough on a clean, lightly floured surface and gently knead with your fingertips. The dough is ready when you press your finger into the dough and it is tacky but clean.
2. Prepare large cookie sheet with parchment paper that is lightly floured.
3. Divide dough into 8 parts. Take one part and roll out with your hands into a 1" diameter log. Using a knife that has been dipped in flour, cut gnocchi into 1" pieces. Place pieces on prepared cookie sheet until all 8 pieces have been cut into gnocchi.
4. Heat a large frying pain with 3 tbl. each of butter and olive oil. When hot, add the fresh sage and cook until the sage is sizzling and brown. Remove the sage and reduce heat to medium. Add a few gnocchi at at time to cover the surface of the pan. Gnocchi should not touch each other. Fry on medium heat for 1-2 minutes, turn and cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until browned. Remove gnocchi and garnish with additional grated parmesan cheese. Keep warm in 250 F oven until all batches are fried.
---add 2 tbls. of good quality balsamic vinegar to the pan after frying all the gnocchi and whisk over low heat.  Pour over the gnocchi.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cinnamon-Honey Roasted Pecans

Have you ever been to a football and/or basketball game where, as you are walking, you suddenly smell cinnamon and sugar? As you get closer, you smell that slight hint of a nut mixed in? Then you see it: that booth that sells those deliciously roasted cinnamon nuts. Well now you can make them! I love those honey-roasted cinnamon nuts so much that when we got our pecans in October, the first thing I told my mom was "Let's make those nuts!"  At first she had no clue what nuts I was talking about, but finally she figured it out.  Two months later, we passed one of the booths and once again I was reminded of those delicious, mouth watering nuts. So, we tried a bunch of different recipes and this is the one we think works best. Not to sweet, not too sticky, not too crunchy but just right.  These nuts are as delicious as those fanfare ones you get at the stadiums, only they are LOCAL!! These make perfect gifts to anyone who loves nuts and/or cinnamon! Save some for yourself and enjoy them!

2 cups pecans (Thompson Family Farms)
1/2 tsp salt (Redmond Sea Salt)
2 tbl. honey (Knight Family Farms)
2 tbl. water
2 tsp. canola oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F

1. Place pecans on cookie sheet in one layer and roast for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, in 350 degree oven. Watch them closely so that they don't burn. Remove from oven.
2.  Heat honey, salt, water, and canola oil in saucepan over low heat. Add pecans and stir, cooking over low heat, until all liquid is absorbed.
3. Mix together sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over cooked pecans and stir until well combined.
4. Place pecans in single layer on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and let cool.

Pumpkin-Snickerdoodle Gelato Sandwiches

Pumpkin.  When you hear this one word what is the first thing you thing of? Well jack'o lanterns would be one but pumpkin pie is another. We think of this often especially around this holiday season, but for those who want another delicious pumpkin dessert, try these.  It might be a little chilly out side but these treats are still perfect for a little sweet at the end of the day, or in the middle! The cookie on the outside are snickerdoodles, which are basically sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar. They perfectly accent the sweet and naturally pumpkin flavor of the gelato.  Creamy and crunchy, this is a perfect combo that should be enjoyed during this holiday season.  As always, feel free to just make the cookies and eat them or vise versa with the gelato.  I hope you have a great Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa and enjoy many great meals. 

Pumpkin Gelato:

1 small sweet pumpkin, halved and seeded
5 large egg yolks (Clifford Family Farm)
1 1/2 cups 2% milk (Winder Farms)
1 cup heavy cream (Winder Farms)
1/3 cup unrefined sugar
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Redmond Sea Salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pumpkin halves in oven-proof casserole with approximately one inch of water, cut sides down. Bake for approx. 45-60 or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from oven, let cool, the scoop out pulp and mash with a fork or puree in a blender. Reserve 3/4 cup of the puree for this recipe and freeze the remainder (or make pumpkin gnocchi).
2.  Meanwhile, warm the milk, cream, spices, brown sugar and salt in a medium saucepan until the edges begin to boil. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Return to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and remove cinnamon stick.
2. Prepare an ice bath; set aside. In a medium size bowl, beat the egg yolks with the unrefined sugar on medium speed of an electric mixer until pale and thick, about 4 minutes.
3. With mixer still running, add hot milk mixture in a slow, steady stream until well mixed. Add 3/4 cup of the pureed pumpkin and the vanilla extract. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl set in the ice bath. At this point, you can refrigerate overnight and then process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions or process immediately if the mixture is cool enough.
4. Freeze for approximately one hour before putting together your sandwiches.

Snickerdoodle Cookies:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 egg (Clifford Family Farms)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (freshly milled)
2 tbls sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Beat the butter with electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add the 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar and beat until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the electric mixer then stir in the remaining by hand. Refrigerate dough for at least one hour.
2. Combine the 2 tbls. sugar and the cinnamon in a small, shallow bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar-cinnamon mixture to coat. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 375 degree oven for 10-11 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
-you can make fairly small cookies and then bit-size gelato sandwiches so everyone can have just a little dessert without feeling like they are over-indulging!
-this recipe also tastes create with gingerbread cookies!
-go out and buy a bunch of pumpkins NOW, cook and then freeze the pulp to make this gelato later in the season or freeze any left over pumpkin puree from this recipe.