Friday, September 28, 2012

Pear Custard Pie

Pears, pears, are everywhere! I can't believe it's the end of September. It's frightening how fast time goes by. Sometimes I think I could snap my fingers and I'll be 70...yikes! I'm sure when I'm 70 that's how it will feel. Guess we had better try and enjoy every minute.

I love the Fall. It's probably my favorite season. I just love it when the leaves change to a bright orange color and the weather starts to cool off. It just makes me want to be home, snuggled up on the couch with a good book or movie and a warm fire. I also love to decorate for Fall. I break out all my orange and brown stuff, whether it's pillows for the couch or just a cute orange shirt. I know most people don't get into that kinda of stuff but I love it. I find it so fun and rewarding as well as refreshing to change the look of a house and spice it up for a new season.

My mom and I were in the kitchen together recently and we had a few pears on hand that we needed to use. We decided to experiment with a few new recipes. First we made this Chocolate Pear Tart and then this pear custard. This one is much lighter tasting, buttery and eggy. It's perfect for breakfast or brunch, in fact I ate it for breakfast two days in a row. I obviously liked it. :-)

Pear Custard Pie

2 large or 3 small Bartlett or Comice Pears (not hard but not too soft), peeled, cored and sliced in 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a nine inch cake pan. Layer the pears going around in a circle, slightly overlapping in the bottom of the pan. Add the melted butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, eggs, milk and salt to a blender and blend until combined. Pour batter over the pears. Bake 40-45 minutes or until batter is firm to touch. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.  Serves 4-6.

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Adapted from Everyday Food

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tomato, Pepper and Feta Pasta

I saw a version of this recipe in a magazine when I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner. Being that it's the end of the summer, we had a bunch of banana peppers and tomatoes from the garden. I had some feta in the fridge and a partially used bag of arugula.

That's pretty much how it works with me. I see a recipe that looks good. I think about what I have on hand that might work in the recipe, whether it's the same ingredient or not. Then I just go for it. I mean how bad can it be with all these fresh veggies mixed in. And cheese always makes things taste good.

This recipe will surprise you. You don't think it's going to have a lot of flavor because it's just vegetables but it explodes in your mouth. The richness of the olive oil and the saltiness of the feta really come through. I hope you'll give it a try. I think even your picky eaters will like it.

Tomato, Pepper and Feta Pasta

4 Tablespoon Olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups arugula (can use spinach, swiss chard)
2 cups sliced peppers (can use any kind you like)
1 small onion, sliced
10 oz vermicelli
3 cups chopped tomatoes
5 oz Crumbled feta with Mediterranean herbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saute pan, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and garlic. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn. Pour into a small bowl. Add lemon juice to the bowl and add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper to the dressing.

Add the last tablespoon of olive oil and butter to the saute pan and when hot, add your peppers and onions. Season with salt and pepper. At the same time, heat a large pot of water for your pasta. Stir the peppers frequently and cooked until soft but not mushy.

When water starts to boil, add pasta and follow instructions to cook until al dente. When done, add pasta to a large mixing bowl, saving some of the pasta water. Add the lemon juice dressing to the pasta and mix well. Let it stand for about 2 minutes.

Add the arugula, tomatoes, feta, Parmesan, peppers to the pasta and mix well. Taste for seasoning. Serve and enjoy. Serves 6-8.

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Adapted from Fine Cooking