a perfect pear

i haven’t posted a recipe in ages.  ages and ages.

i made this for the girls this morning and mae’s typical i’m-six-and-i-whine-about-eating-anything-new moment was cut short by these babies hitting the plate.

this recipe makes 5-7 small pockets

FILLING:

1 Red D’anjou Pear

1 Asian Pear (also known as an apple pear)

1/4 c honey

2 tbsp light brown sugar

1 tbsp flour (+ for flouring surface)

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

CRUST:

this is seriously the best go-to crust for any sweets.

ETC:

parchment paper

cookie sheet

GET TO IT:

Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees

while the crust is chilling, dice pears into 1/2” chunks and place in a small mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well

remove crust from refrigerator and place on a well floured surface. press around the edge of the dough with your fingers to reduce splitting, then lightly flour and begin rolling out into a very thin sheet - about 1/8”

cut the dough into (10-14) 4” squares (the size of your pears and how thin you’re able to roll out the dough will determine how many)

spoon about 1-2 tbsp of the filling into the center of 5 (or 7) squares, lightly wet the edges with a dab of water on your fingers, and place a second square of dough on top.  press the sides together using your fingers (a fork with pierce the delicate dough)  then, use a knife to slit the top of each pocket.

place the pockets onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, place in the oven and reduce the temperature to 425 degrees.  bake 20 minutes, reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake an additional 5 minutes.  

remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

you can also make a tart if you’d prefer - i mean, pockets are fun and all but sometimes you just want to throw it all in a pan and be done with it!

p.s. double the recipe (filling and crust) to make a two-crust pie to die for!!!

the choke

artichokes have been the unexpected comfort food of my life. in third grade we all had to tell the class what our favorite food was and after 23 pizza/hamburger/candy answers, i stood up, face flushed, and muttered “artichoke” but for a split second i wanted to change my answer to nachos to avoid the blank stares and gasps. the teacher’s eyes lit up and with a big toothy grin and hands clasped at her chest, she asked me to tell the class what an artichoke is. oh, the horror.

it’s funny to think about things like that - to remember what it’s like to be a kid and how vividly certain things stick to our brains.

however, artichokes have graced our family table for as long as i can remember. they were “special occasion” foods or sunday dinner because of the long prep and cooking times. my husband thinks they’re ridiculous. all that work for such a small bit of food… but it’s a process. the process is what is so filling - so fulfilling. as i got older and ventured into fixing chokes myself, i used the same recipe my mother and grandmother used. i slowly began adding and subtracting and tweaking to my own tastes and have come up with my very own recipe. my mom has been trying to get all the girls together for an artichoke cooking day (to teach my step-sister & sister-in-law about the family food) and it prompted me to consider getting my recipe on paper and into the hands of fellow artichoke lovers.

this recipe is for two large artichokes

aren’t they lovely?

to begin… dunk the chokes in a sink of cold water or a bowl large enough. we like ‘em clean.

next, the trimming.

with a very sharp knife, hold the artichoke firmly on it’s side with one hand and slice about 1 1/2” off the top, removing most of the prickly ends. next, using kitchen shears, clip the remaining leaf tips to remove the pricks. (these veggies are dangerous!)

slice the stem off using a sharp knife and either discard, or trim. my mother loves artichoke stems - and you might, too!

now, for the filling. grab your cheese, garlic salt, breadcrumbs, and garlic (quantities listed below), dump them into a mixing bowl and toss with your hands.

see how you can pull the leaf forward? it’s a good pocket for stuffing.

grab just a pinch of the filling and stuff into the leaf pockets about two leaf rows from the bottom. those bottom leaves are gonna see water for cooking and your filling will end up in the pot. make your way all the way around stuffing all the thick green leaves.

drizzle 1 tbsp of melted butter on top of each, focusing on the center where there isn’t any stuffing & grind some fresh black pepper on there, too.

i have this giant pan gifted to me years ago that happens to house up to four chokes at once. the key here is width, and if you can get a lid on - bonus. if not? tent in foil for cooking. you must bring the water to a simmer and leave it there for 2-4 hours depending on your artichokes. some of them can be a little tough and need more cook time. to check for done-ness, pull a leaf from the choke near the bottom. it should nearly fall off in your hand (oh, and taste it of course. i’m sure you’re starved.)

 

here is the knitty gritty:

2 large artichokes (washed & trimmed)

1 1/2 c seasoned breadcrumbs

1 c shredded cheese of your choice. i’ve used everything! asiago, parmesan, cheddar, mozzerella… what ever suits your taste

1 tsp garlic salt

4 cloves chopped garlic

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper (or to taste)

2 tbsp butter

2 c water

(foil if needed)

in a bowl, combine breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic salt, & chopped garlic. mix with hands.

stuff the mixture into the leaves as described above

drizzle 1 tbs butter over un-stuffed center portion of each artichoke - finish with fresh ground pepper

place chokes in a wide pan with water and simmer covered for 2-4 hours until tender

 

so, now you know how to fix them. but, how do you eat them?

:) xo

two things

first off, i’m introducing the newest member of the spainhower tribe

she mostly does this:

and you may notice som knitting under her little head.  yes, yes!  i’ll be posting about that gem on wednesday.  

so, this new kid, marlowe… she’s mae’s speed for sure and follows her all around outside and when mae squats to dig in the dirt marlowe sits next to her and watches intently.  she follows big brother captain like a shadow & mimics his every move.  captain mostly just knocks her out of the way and snarls at her because, ya know, little sisters are sort of annoying.  i’m coming to terms with house training another dog which is by far my least favorite part of pooch ownership.  i’m also coming to terms with her fleas which we’ve never, ever had in this house before.  she’s had her bath and her flea combing and i’m using a natural spray that repels the little buggers and feeling very exhausted by the whole thing.  but, it is what it is.

i really enjoy watching her come out of her little shell more and more each day.  we can tell she had been mis-treated, but already she responds to her name and comes running to our whistles.  i think she’ll be a great addition (when she stops tinkling on my floor)!

and for part two i thought i’d share this smoothie alizah and i made last night.  it was SO, SO good that even hubs gulped it up.

BLUEBERRY GINGER LIME SMOOTHIE

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup ice

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

juice from 1/2 a lime

1/2” piece of fresh ginger

lime slice for garnish

to make the smoothie, toss everything in the blender (except your garnish of course) and blend until smooth.  simple enough.

i will warn that because of the milk & lime combo, if you leave your smoothies out for a while they will “set” like a key lime pie!  they get sort of jelly-ish.  they still taste delicious, but i’d recommend enjoying promptly.

happy monday, friends.  see you wednesday with some knitting! xo