The d’Anjou is a truly all-purpose pear. They are juicy when ripe, and their subtle sweetness hints at a refreshing lemon-lime flavor. Their dense flesh holds up well in heated applications like baking, poaching, roasting, or grilling and they are delicious when sliced fresh in salads or eaten as an out-of-hand snack. The most important thing to know about d’Anjou pears is that they do not change color as they ripen, unlike Bartlett pears, whose skin color changes to yellow during ripening. Check the neck for ripeness by gently pressing your thumb near the stem end of the pear. When it gives slightly, the pear is ripe.
These edible fungi are great raw on salads but they are absolutely fabulous when sautéed. There really isn’t a better ingredient around that works just as well in a breakfast, lunch or dinner plate. To sauté, heat oil or butter in a skillet on medium high heat. Clean and slice mushrooms in half inch pieces. When oil is hot add them to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. I like to sauté mine with onion and or garlic. Season with salt pepper to taste.
Artichokes can be steamed, boiled, baked or grilled. I’ve had to play around with these to find how I like to cook them best. Boiling them whole is fast and easy in the beginning but can be messier to prep afterwards while they’re hot and soft. Plus, I’m always impatient and don’t want to wait around for them to cool off. My preferred method is to get them all prepped first and then bake them. That way they’re ready to eat as soon as I take them out of the oven.
To prepare, first have a lemon handy. Cut about an inch off the stem and top of the artichoke. Then cut in half and remove the fuzzy part in the center with a spoon. Rub the cut side with a half a lemon, squeezing some juice into the fold and the middle. Drizzle with olive oil, trying to get it between the folds, sprinkle with salt, pepper and freshly minced garlic. Bake on a cookie sheet for about 25 minutes at 425°. Mayonnaise mixed with a little balsamic vinegar is commonly used for a dip, or try using some olive oil or salad dressing mixed with mustard and balsamic vinegar. Play around with it. Your pantry is the limit!
Fresh Spring Rolls
If you’ve had this fancy Thai appetizer before, you may be surprised how easy they are to make at home. Try it out and see what you think!
Ingredients: (Put whatever veggies you’d like in these)
½ cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
1 carrot, Julienned
1 avocado, sliced
½ bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 green onions, diced
Lettuce, cut small
Rice paper, 8+ inch rounds
A protein (I like using grilled chicken but seafood is often used here)
Mix 1 part crunchy peanut butter with 2 parts hoisin sauce, or store bought Asian dipping sauce.
Preparation: 20-30 min
1. Cut up all the veggies and put in bowls or separate piles for easy access.
2. Fill a large salad bowl with hot water from the faucet. Place a single piece of rice paper under the water for a couple seconds. As soon as it becomes soft and pliable (about 5 seconds) remove from the bowl and place on a smooth plastic cutting board.
3. Arrange some of each ingredient on the rice paper in a row close to the center.
4. Roll rice paper by folding the shorter piece over first then wrapping the top and bottom down ends down. Finish by rolling the remainder from the middle out, keeping as tight as possible. Repeat