Monday, December 9, 2013

Spreading the Love--Roasted Pear, Blue cheese and Cranberry Salad


My family celebrates with gusto. Life, love and special birthdays...always with much amusement and the ever-present cornucopia of food! ... Milestones are regularly documented with a sporting activity, imbibing and feasting. So we head to sunny Florida to raise our glasses to John R and John P. Both dear friends. Both have birthdays a week apart. The sport of choice is golf!!  And the lucky men are treated to offerings of bagels and beer on the 10th hole! They lunch on tongue sandwiches and Kerala beef frankies. All this frenetic activity usually leads to afternoon snoozes. Their evenings end with the requisite glasses of amber-colored liquids followed by decadent dinners. 

I make dinner one night. Truffle cheese with crackers. A roasted eggplant and feta dip with pretzel chips.

We crack open several bottles of wine. The sit-down portion starts with a roasted pear salad, followed by herbed lamb chops, Boursin mashed potatoes, sautéed snap peas and tomatoes with garlic.

A caramel apple pecan pie ends the meal. A simplified dinner considering I don't work in my kitchen. The Florida house has one I love to work in, making all things food-related a breeze! For me planning the meal is always half the fun. I  daydream of meat and veggie combinations. I would like to make something I haven't cooked before. And yet that thread of trepidation unravels.... What if the meat doesn't taste the way it should? What if I cannot grill the lamb chops? It a new recipe. One I haven't tried before. Will they like the salad? I mentally will my expected company to be excitable lab rats!!!!! Into the deep end it is. I blend. I chop. I get set to travel with marinated meat and a head full of experiments.

The roasted pear salad is an abbreviated version of Ina Garten's roasted pear salad. But I make the adjustments for ease and convenience. And those cuts work out just fine. So here goes!

Makes 6 servings

3 almost ripe Pears
1 Lemon, sliced in half
1 cup Blue cheese crumbles
1/2 cup dried Cranberries
3 cups Mesclun or Baby greens
1/3 cup Olive oil
3 tablespoons Lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black pepper

Heat the oven to 350F.

Slice pears in half. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits.

Cut a small slice off the bottom of each half pear so it sits without wobbling.

Brush the pears with cut lemon, squeezing as you brush. This way the pears will not turn brown.

Place them in baking dish so they sit separated. The size of the baking dish depends on the pears. Pears should not be crowded in but have some breathing room. 

Mix blue cheese crumbles and cranberries in a bowl.

Mound pears with blue cheese mixture. 

Place in oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until the tops are light brown and crusty.

Make a vinaigrette using the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. 

Just before you serve, toss greens in vinaigrette.

Plate a large handful of dressed green in shallow bowl. 

Arrange a roasted pear on greens and serve.


 The roasted pears could be made earlier in the day. How you serve them is your temperature or warm from the oven. Both taste really good.

Any pear could be used. I use Bosc or Anjou.
Please substitute canned pear halves if you have fresh fruit allergies. Drain well and pat dry before you top them with blue cheese mix. Bake for 15 minutes. 

I used blue cheese crumbles but feel free to substitute any flavorful blue cheese and make your own crumbles.

Salad is a hit!! Oohs and aahs resound. I know the rest of the meal will please too! After all it is a spread of love and happiness!!!