Pear and Fig Stuffing

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here we are again with our old pal stuffing.  I love stuffing so much, I just wish it was a little prettier to look at.

Are you all ready for the big day this week? I am literally counting down the minutes- nay seconds- until I am on my plane back to Houston.  Back to my family, a big kitchen with lots of counter space, and lots of good food.  My stretchy pants are poised and ready to go into action this Thursday.

If you are still planning your Thanksgiving meal (or if you love to eat stuffing any time of the year), this is a unique but delicious recipe for stuffing.  Not your traditional stuffing fare that typically has mushrooms, celery, or sausage.  Instead, you get sweet pears, chewy figs, and salty cheese.  And it was divine.  I made this late at night for dinner the next day, and I physically could not stop myself from eating little pieces at midnight.

By the way, using Hawaiian rolls for stuffing is an idea that I wish I had thought of years ago.  Especially in this recipe, you will love it.  It tastes even better at in the hours from 12 AM – 1 AM.  Thanksgiving late night snack anyone?

PEAR AND FIG STUFFING
Adapted from Fake Food Free

INGREDIENTS

2-3 tablespoons butter
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 pears, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons dried sage
8 cups torn bread (like Hawaiian rolls)
3/4 cup dried figs, chopped
1 1/2-2 cups chicken broth
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cubed Asadero cheese

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch baking pan.

In a large skillet, melt better.  Cook red onion until tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.  Add pear, salt, pepper, and sage.  Cook until pear is tender, about 5-7 minutes.

In a bowl, stir together bread, pear mixture, and figs.  Stir in chicken broth until you reach your desired stuffing consistency.  Stir in egg.  Spread in prepared baking pan.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, sprinkle cheese on top.  Cook until cheese is melted, about 5-10 minutes.

Individual Pear and Biscoff Crumble

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I just want to saw two words to you. Just two words. Are you listening? Cookie butter.

Cookie Butter.

Oh my.  Peanut butter and Nutella better move aside to make some room in the pantry because cookie butter has officially arrived in this house. My spoons better get ready because now there is another treat to devour straight from the jar.  My jeans should also probably prepare because my hips are going to be testing their strength.

The idea of processing cookies into a paste that can be spread on things is a genius conception. It’s up there with the invention penicillin, removable parts, and the Internet. But Al Gore had nothing to do with this great dessert (poor Al Gore will never live that down no mater how much he talks about global warming).

Here is another great idea: making individual pear crumbles right on top of pear halves. Another even greater idea: incorporating cookie butter into an individual pear crisp. The topping is crisp, sweet, and full of cookie butter deliciousness. The pears are tender and sweet. And it’s all done within 25 minutes.

The best idea: eating this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

INDIVIDUAL PEAR AND BISCOFF CRUMBLE
Adapted from Country Cleaver

INGREDIENTS

4 firm red pears
2/3 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup oats
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons Biscoff spread/cookie butter

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Slice the pears in half. Remove the stems and seeds. Slice a small piece on the outside of each pear half so it will sit flat. Layer pear slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

In a small bowl combine flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until incorporated. Mix in Biscoff spread. The topping should stick together mostly but still crumble. Evenly distributed crumble among the pear halves. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crumble is golden brown and the pears are tender.

Makes 4 individual pear crumbles.

Roasted Pear and Cabbage Salad

Let’s talk about the best time of the year.  Sure, summer is great because you can get vacation from school (if you’re lucky), and you hit the beaches.   But then you sweat when you go outside- no thank you.  Spring brings pretty flours and fresh produce.  And spring break.  Flowers are overrated.  My favorite time of year is the beginning of fall and the early transition into winter.
I love this time of year.  Starting about mid-October, I begin to get that feeling.  I can’t describe it exactly, but it’s that feeling that comes with the holidays coming up.   I love all the holiday cheer and preparation.  When I walk into Walmart and see Halloween treats in September and Christmas cheer in October, I don’t complain.  Sometimes when I am driving or walking outside, and I see decorations and multicolored leaves, I just feel happy.  I soak it all up, cherishing it while it lasts.  And then the rest of the year I whine about how I wish it was fall or winter.
This salad is a simple way to utilize the produce of the season.  Sweet pear, heart cabbage, creamy cheese, and crunchy nuts.  So simple but so good and much more interesting that your typical salad with lettuce and veggies.  Healthy for you but still has great flavor.  This is a super winter salad right here.  Enjoy this time of year with me and put this on the schedule for lunch or dinner.
ROASTED PEAR AND CABBAGE SALAD
Slightly Adapted from The Sweets Life
INGREDIENTS

1 small head cabbage, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt
2 brown pears, chopped
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/3-1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
2 ounces cashews

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Toss cabbage with olive oil.  Spread cabbage and pears on a rimmed baking sheet and season with a pinch of salt.  Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning at least once.  Stir in white balsamic vinegar (transfer to bowl or skillet if baking sheet won’t hold liquid).  Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles and cashews.

Serves 2-3

Pear and Sour Cream Pizza

It is no secret that I love some wacky pizza toppings (like blueberry jam).  Fruit especially is one of my favorite toppings.  While the pizza bakes, the fruit gets warm, soft, and sweeter than their raw counterpart, adding a great natural sweetness to any pizza (and I love me some sweetness with dinner).  This particular pizza focuses solely on that sweet factor with a sweetened sour cream, pears, currants, and nuts. Really, this is a dessert masquerading as dinner.

The combination of pear and the sour cream topping is ahhhhh-mazing.  Sweet sour cream may not sound like the most appetizing thing to put on top of your pizza, but trust me, it is delicious: sweet and tangy.  The pears get sweet and soft while you bake, and the currants add an extra bite of sweetness.  Although forgotten on this batch pictured above, nuts (walnuts or pecans- candied nuts even if you dare) add a great crunch.

Trust me when I say that you will want to make the entire pizza just for yourself.  You will eat it all and love it.  And you will love life because any life with pear and sour cream pizza in it is great.

PEAR AND SOUR CREAM PIZZA
Slightly Adapted from Heat Oven to 350


INGREDIENTS

For the Crust:
1 package active yeast
1/2 cup water, at 110°F
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Pizza:
1 pear, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 cup walnuts, pecans, or candied walnuts
1/4 cup currants

DIRECTIONS
For the Crust:
Preheat oven to 450°F.


In in small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water with granulated sugar.  Let sit about 10 minutes, until foamy.  In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.  Pour dissolved yeast over flour.  Stir together with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms.

On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for about 10-15 minutes, until dough is soft and no longer sticky.  Transfer dough to an lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with a towel.  Let sit in a warm place and rise for at least 1 hour, until dough doubles in size
For the Pizza:

Prepare your pizza stone or baking sheet. Roll dough out to desired consistency.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, honey, and brown sugar. Spread a layer of the sour cream topping on pizza dough, leaving an edge for the crust. Fold pear slices in half and place in an overlapping layer on top of sour cream mixture. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Sprinkle with currants and nuts on top. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crust is golden brown, and the edges of the pears begin to brown.

Serves 2-3.

Pear and Blue Cheese Pizza

It’s no secret that I love pizza. Once upon a time, I was a cheese-only pizza girl.  On the rare occasion I’d add sausage or extra cheese if I was feeling particularly adventurous, but topping such as pineapple? Ham? Pesto? Fruit? No way.  Then, as I grew older, I found myself craving different types of toppings for my pizza.  Dare I say it, but I was slowly evolving into a foodie.

This pizza is inspired by the dish that I would label as my landmark meal for my transition into a foodie.  Having pears on pizza is something I would have never liked before, but I tell you it’s life changing.  The pears become soft and sweet after cooking, the blue cheese is salty, and the pecans add crunch.  And do not skip the arugula salad on top- it cuts through all the rich toppings and adds a nice depth to the flavor profile (look at me and my fancy food talk now!)

PEAR AND BLUE CHEESE PIZZA
From Cinnamon Freud, Inspired by The Cheesecake Factory
INGREDIENTS

For the Crust:
1 package active yeast
1/2 cup water, at 110°F
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Pizza

Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 pear, thinly sliced
1/3-1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
Handful of arugula
Vinaigrette (such as Raspberry or Balsamic)
1/4-1/2 cup toasted pecan halves

DIRECTIONS

For the Crust:

Preheat oven to 475°F.

In in small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, stirring in granulated sugar. Let sit about 10 minutes, until foamy. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Pour dissolved yeast mixture over flour. Stir together with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms.

On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for about 10 minutes. Let sit in a warm place and rise for at least 1 hour until doubled in size.

For the Pizza:

In a small pan over medium heat, cook red onion in a little olive oil (about 1/2 tablespoon) for 15-20 minutes, until slightly caramelized. Set aside and let cool slightly.

Prepare your pizza stone or baking sheet. Roll dough out to desired consistency. Brush crust with olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread pears in a single layer across pizza. Brush with lightly with olive oil. Spread onions and sprinkle blue cheese crumbles on top of pears. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crust is golden brown and pears are cooked through. Meanwhile, toss arugula with vinaigrette (About 1-2 tablespoons). Remove pizza from oven an top with arugula salad and toasted pecans. Cut into slices and serve.

Serves 2-3.