It’s been a long time since I last posted (bad blogger, bad!) but while it’s been quiet on the blog, it’s been busy around here.
We took a lovely trip mid September down to Hilton Head and Charleston, South Carolina. Sun, sand, seafood (great food), and good company of both two-legged and four-legged companions made for a rejuvenating and restful break. Definitely need to go back and spend a bit more time in Charleston – lovely city with so much history.
There was also the sourdough experiment in October. I learned that keeping a sourdough starter is like having a second pet – feed the dog, feed the starter, every morning. My timing with the baking was a bit off, since sourdough does not rise as quickly as other breads, a lesson I learned at 1am the day my family was coming for Thanksgiving. Although the bread was pretty good, it wasn’t great, and I got tired of maintaining the starter.
Since then I’ve been busy slicing, cooking and canning – from the last batch of peaches and several baskets of plums in October, I’ve churned out jars of peach slices and over a dozen little jars of lovely Italian plum and star anise jam from Food In Jars (excellent on top of brie and goat cheese)
But mostly, it’s been about the pears.
I thought I was finished with canning for the year until I saw these beauties at the last farmer’s market of the season 3 weeks ago.
A bushel of pears for $25.00! How could I say no?
Note to self for next year: a bushel of pears is a lot of pears! I gave several pounds away and still had a zillion pears left. A zillion. What’s a girl to do?
First this vanilla caramel pear butter, recipe courtesy of All Four Burners. It is delicious, and easy, and cooks down in the slow cooker. Perfect for starting Friday night and canning the next morning.
The following Sunday, fearing the most ripe of the fruit would go bad, I turned down date night for a date featuring pear slices with rum and pears with vanilla bourbon, using this post from Harmonious Homesteading as my escort.
This past Sunday faced with 4 6L baskets of the pears, I made 5 more jars of pear slices and a dozen little 4oz jars of amazing Chocolate Pear Jam from Serious Eats. Add the quick chopping action of a food processor, and the quick set, low sugar Pomona pectin and this is the quickest of the jam recipes I’ve tried this year. It’s absolutely the most luxurious!
Chocolate blends with pears to become little pots of chocolate fondue dipped pears – the kind you can eat with a spoon (not that I would do that or anything, I’m just saying you could).
I’m normally disappointed when one or two jars don’t seal, but not this time. I might be buying croissants for breakfast this coming weekend so I can enjoy this jam myself as soon as possible.
After all that, I still had 9 more pears sitting there! I told you – there were a zillion of them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been fun and I’m very happy with all the jars of goodness that will become Christmas presents, but I was ready to move on.
Frozen puff pastry to the rescue! I’m always so pleased when I remember to keep this stuff in the fridge for emergencies – and yet I rarely remember except around this time of year when holiday parties get started.
2 rolls of puff pastry + 9 pears + a smearing of chocolate pear jam = two lovely tarts – one for us and one for our new next door neighbours (who also happen to be the former owners of our house).
And now I’m done with canning for the year. Really.