Tag Archives: pear

Turkey Breast Roulade with Wild Rice Pear Stuffing

Get Stuffed!

Turkey dinner has to be one of my favorite ways to get my comfort on and eat my feelings. I know, that’s probably an uber-unhealthy confession, but in this life you love what you love. And for me, I pledge my adoration to the restorative properties of turkey and stuffing.

This particular recipe, though, is extra special in that it utilizes some of my beloved ingredients in the pantry to create a flavor profile that is so refined, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t prepared turkey this way earlier. Fragrant fennel pollen turns bland turkey into a fantastic bite, wild rice adds texture and nuttiness to ordinary stuffing, and the saltiness of the pancetta “wrapping” plays off the sweetness of roasted pear. This fetching combination of comfort and refinement is well worth tucking into your recipe book for days when you are looking for a little magic on your dinner plate. Continue reading Turkey Breast Roulade with Wild Rice Pear Stuffing

Bistro Menu for Beginners

Just like those cheesy radio ads for ‘bama night clubs on the late-night R&B stations, this menu is for the “grown and sexy…” *giggle* Actually, kidding aside, it’s for anyone looking for a romantic meal with a heavy wow factor and very little actual labor involved.  The kind of dinner you want to throw together when your anniversary falls on a weeknight and you can’t jet your loved one off to Paris mid-week.  Or if you’re looking to treat a foodie friend to something impressive, but are a little nervous wielding a knife in front of them.  This menu is as confident as you’ll be puttering around the kitchen, attending to perfectly seasoned dishes for the steamiest of affairs.  And it’s up to you whether you choose to play Coltrane or Chaka Khan in the background – that’s for you and your date du jour to figure out. Continue reading Bistro Menu for Beginners

Sparkling Rosé Sangria

Sparkling Rosé Sangria © Photo by Angela GunderI’m a fan of boozy fruit in the summertime.  I have fond memories of sitting in the back yard with my fam, drinking homemade sangria from plastic tiki cups full of the freshest fruit available.  Sometimes the fruit even came from the bounty my dad would bring back from the farmers at the market, gifts for keeping them entertained with a little blues every Saturday.  Sangria reminds me of the “Party in my Tummy” song from Yo Gabba Gabba (yes, I took it there)…can mangos come to the party in the sangria?  Can apples come to the party in the sangria?  Yes and yes!  Most every fresh fruit can have a place in the sangria pitcher.

I love this version in that it’s a slight departure from the usual red wine concoction.  Sangria is incredibly EEO with wine color – red, white, champagne and even port can become lovely versions of this Spanish sipper.  For a tropical touch, I combine rose sparkling wine (Spanish cava Cristalino, to keep things authentic) with mango, raspberries, pears and citrus.  Brandy becomes a soaking tub for the fruit before it’s blended up with the cava and sprite into bubbly awesomeness.  Dandy as candy.  Or should I quote Gene Wilder as Willie Wonka with “candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.”  Or maybe no more childhood references in a post about booze.

Recipe for

Sparkling Rosé Sangria

1/2 c. of brandy (preferably not cheap crap)
1 pear, cored and diced
1 mango, pitted and diced
1 orange, diced peel and all
1 lime, diced peel and all
1 pint of raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 bottle of sprite
1 bottle of rosé cava (or other sparkling rosé)

Mix diced pear, mango, orange, lime and raspberries with the brandy in a small bowl.  Refrigerate for a half an hour.

Fill a gallon pitcher with a few cups of ice.  Scoop out the fruit and add to the pitcher.  Pour in the cava and top with sprite.  Serve immediately.

Sparkling Pear Martini

Champagne hasn’t been my friend for a long time.  I go from bubbly to drunk to very hungover and unhappy in a matter of sips, and it’s a major thumbs down in that I adore a fizzy tipple once in a while.  Although I like to occasionally dance with danger and partake a troublesome glass or two, I vastly prefer anything that’ll give me the same sensation without all the pain.  Given that vodka and I are copacetic, I adore this incredibly simple martini that garners its bubbles from non-alcoholic pear cider.  But not to worry, my off-the-wagon friends.  This sparkler combines the ripe flavor of luscious pear vodka and floral St. Germain into a sweet, but strong (good and strong!) martini of the most delightful nature.  I sip away with no regrets or apprehension, knowing that I’ll be staving off a vicious hangover.  Well, assuming that I don’t drink five of these in a row without a second thought.  Let’s pretend that’s never happened before, ok? Continue reading Sparkling Pear Martini

Porchetta with Wild Boar Stuffing

Can I just take a second to swoon?  Fennel pollen is a dream.  I officially have a crush on the stuff and I am not even a bit ashamed. It’s floral and complex and imparts the delicious flavor of fennel in the most perfect way.  Why have I not been tossing this stuff on everything?  Fennel pollen cheerios?  Fennel pollen Haagen Daas? Yes, please.

Ok, maybe fennel pollen and ice cream isn’t the perfect marriage, but as part of the marinade for porchetta, it’s deliciousness personified.  Authentic porchetta is a celebration of pork – a tender roast is marinated in olive oil, fennel and garlic, wrapped in pork skin, trussed and rotisseried over an open flame.  The outside becomes super crispy while the inside of the roast stays moist.  In Italy, this is street food at its best – tender slices are tucked into crusty bread to form an addictive panino.  This version leverages a couple of different cuts to make the grade – a sirloin roast of pork is butterflied and stuffed with ground wild boar and pears.  The entire baby is wrapped up like a package with peppery pancetta and roasted until crispy.  I’d be lying if I said that it’s not a brilliant combo.  Nay, a genius combo.

For a little extra sustenance, I roast the porchetta over a bed of herbs and onions.  I also toss some quartered yukon golds with rosemary and olive oil into the oven and allow them to roast along side of the roast.  It’s about as good a Tuscan feast as I can get, and for those blissful tastes of roasted pork and fennel pollen, I’m cheesing ear to ear.

Recipe for

Porchetta with Wild Boar Stuffing

1 pork roast, preferably sirloin and about 5 lbs.
1 tbs. of fennel pollen
2 tsp. of telicherry pepper (black pepper)
2 tbs. of kosher salt
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed and minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 c. of olive oil

1 lb. of ground wild boar (or ground pork)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. of fennel seeds
1/8 tsp. of fennel pollen
1 tbs. of paprika
1 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
4 tbs. of chopped parsley
1 tbs. of olive oil
1/2 stick of butter
1 stalk of celery, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
1 pear, cored and chopped
1 tbs. of fresh sage, chopped
1 tbs. of fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/8 tsp. of white pepper
4 eggs, beaten

16 oz. of pancetta
handful of sage leaves
handful of thyme leaves
handful of rosemary leaves
1 large onion, sliced
2 c. of chicken stock
1 c. of white wine

2 lbs. of yukon gold potatoes
1/2 c. of olive oil
bunch of rosemary
kosher salt and black pepper

Begin by butterflying the roast (or have your butcher do it for you).  Mix the fennel pollen, black pepper, garlic, rosemary, red pepper, salt and olive oil into a paste.  Rub the roast with the paste and then place in a tupperware.  Refrigerate overnight.

In a large skillet, warm the olive oil.  Add the shallots, garlic, celery and pears and cook until tender.  Next add the ground wild boar, fennel pollen, fennel seeds, paprika, salt, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne, sage and thyme.  Cook until meat is no longer pink.  Add the butter to the pan and turn off the heat.  Once butter melts, stir in the fresh bread crumbs.  Let the mixture cool a bit and then stir in the eggs.  Set the stuffing aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Set up a roasting pan with a rack, lining the pan with the rosemary, thyme and sage.  Top with the onions and pour the chicken broth and wine over the herbs and onions.  Set aside.

On a cutting board, line up slices of pancetta to form a base for the roast.  Place the butterflied roast on top of the pancetta and fill the center with the stuffing.  You may have more stuffing than you can use, but this can be saved for another dish, to include stuffing turkey breasts or mushrooms.  Wrap the two sides of the roast over the stuffing to form a cylinder.  Continue to cover the roast with slices of pancetta, leaving no gaps.  Grab a length of kitchen twine and gently slide it under the roast.  Tie a tight knot, holding the length of the roast together.  Continue to tie rounds of twine around the roast perpendicular to the first tie.  Once the roast is tightly trussed, set on the rack in the roasting pan.  Pop the roast in the oven, cooking for about 90 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center of the roast reads 150°.

After you put the roast in the oven, wash and quarter the yukon golds.  Chuck in a baking pan with the rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake in the oven with the roast, making sure to shake the pan around every 30 minutes to loosen the potatoes and crisp them on all sides.

Once the roast is finished, let it rest for 15 minutes to keep it moist and allow the juices to redistribute.  Slice the roast and serve with potatoes and the wonderfully melted onions and juices on the bottom of the roasting pan.  And last but not least, add fennel pollen to the list of beneficiaries on your will for it is deserving of that much love.