Thursday, October 2, 2008

My love is like a red, red...

Beet? Apparently. Check out my latest piece for Rural Intelligence, right here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pear and Ginger Crisp, courtesy of Bobby Flay

It's anything goes on the weekly recipe round-up over at A Way to Garden and Dinner Tonight, and since lovely Margaret said she was going for pears, I'm going for copycat. (Hey, imitation, flattery, and all that, right?)

This is a recipe I've been making forever (really) based on one that was first published in New York magazine nearly 20 years ago (see? Forever.) It came from Bobby Flay, long before the Food Network was even a glimmer in a media exec's eye, back in the days when Martha was still catering weddings in Connecticut.

This is a great dessert for a party buffet this time of year. It's lovely straight from the oven, but equally good at room temperature or cold from the fridge for breakfast the next morning. Alongside, serve some sweetened whipped cream into which you've stirred a pinch of cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and ground (dried) ginger.

I was in charge of desserts for a fundraising dinner for a local arts organization earlier this fall, and this is what I chose for the event's harvest theme. It was devoured. You'll thank me (and Bobby, too.)

Pear and Ginger Crisp
serves 10-12

Don't think of substituting anything for the grated fresh ginger: neither the jarred stuff nor the dried will achieve the same flavor. I find it easiest to grate the ginger on a Microplane.

3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
5 T sugar
pinch cinnamon
kosher salt
9 T unsalted butter, room temperature (softened)
2 T fresh ginger, peeled and grated--about a four inch long piece, give or take
juice of 2 lemons
10 medium pears, peeled, cored and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Make topping: toast pecans in a small saute pan over medium heat until they become fragrant--just a few minutes. Don't let them burn! Mix flour, brown sugar, 2 T sugar, the cinnamon, and salt together in a small bowl. Using a spoon, slowly stir in butter--the mixture will be crumbly and bumpy--and then stir in pecans.

In another larger bowl, gently stir together ginger, lemon juice, 3 T sugar, another pinch of salt and the sliced pears. Turn the fruit into a baking dish, and cover with the topping mixture. Bake until topping is crisp, about 50 minutes.