Thursday, October 24, 2013

Poached Pears for Creative Cooking Crew Cooking with Spirits

Definitely poached pears are one top drawer dessert, and without a doubt it is one of the easiest desserts you could ever make. Poached pears with a red wine caramel and creme anglaise only takes time to make it nice. You will read a lot of recipes that will tell you to poach the pears for about 15 minutes or so but to really get them tender and tasty I suggest no less than 45 minutes at a nice steady simmer.
So how do you make these? Easy. Get some bosc pears and peel them and cut the bottom so they standup. Fill up a nice flat bottomed pot with red wine and about a 1/4 ratio of water to wine to cover the pears - so for example: one bottle of wine and a 1/4 bottle of water. Season the liquid with orange peel, lemon peel, cinnamon, star anise, clove, a bay leaf and some sugar - you need to taste the liquid to make sure it is tasty but dont go crazy tasting this delicious elixer or you wont have anything to poach the pears in. Simmer pears in this liquid for 45 minutes then let them cool in the poaching liquid over night.
The next day gently remove the pears and reduce the liquid until it is a nice thick caramel and let the pears come up to room temperature.
This is a pear in the unreduced liquid.
Make a creme anglaise, which is a nice vanilla sauce made with milk, cream, egg yolks and vanilla bean.   Put some of the wine caramel on a plate, put some creme anglaise on a plate and put a pear on top of the sauces and garnish with a mint leaf and you are good to go.
Invite 35 of your best friends over to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Poached pears will be on your menus - I guarantee it! Dont forget to check out what the others are doing!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Frei Brothers Reserve. “Places Worth Preserving” - Campos Garden

I was so flattered and excited to be asked to participate in Kitchen PLAY's partnership with Frei Brothers Reserve that will showcase recipes and photos in support of the Frei Brothers Reserve current Facebook photo contest. We all have favorite places and we all have favorite places that need to be saved, whether thats a park, a forest or in my case a community garden.
Campos Community Garden has been a little oasis in a land of bricks and concrete here in New York City for a lot of people in my neighborhood. We garden, socialize and teach in this little plot of land. Gardens like these can take two routes: 1) they can get grandfathered in and be recognized as part of the Parks Department or 2) they can be bought and developed and turned into a rent generator. Campos Community Garden, luckily, has been recognized as part of the Parks Department but even that status can change with each and every new mayor.
It is a little late in the growing season to actually enjoy the bounty that the garden offers but I was able to pull some radish and some carrots and some mint to use as garnish on my aged prime rib dinner.

Aged Prime Rib Dinner with Red Bliss Smashed Potatoes 
Wine and Mushroom Sauce and Mint Peas -
Paired with Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot

Per person:

12 ounce aged steak (I aged mine on a rack in the back part of my fridge for two days)
2 small red bliss potatoes boiled
1/3 cup sour cream
2 TBS butter
1/2 cup peas with shredded mint
shaved carrots and radish for ganish
Salt and Pepper to taste


3 large button mushrooms diced
3 TBS corn starch
2 TBS butter
1/2 cup red wine (I used some of the Frei Brothers Merlot)


Heat your grill or grill pan to about 600 degrees.    Sauté mushrooms in butter until soft, add corn starch and wine and whisk until silky. Warm your peas then toss with mint. Smash 2 potatoes per person adding butter and sour cream and salt and pepper to taste. Grill your steak for two to three minutes per side or until its at your preferred doneness - let rest.

Place your potatoes on your plate, spoon over the peas then place your perfectly grilled steak on top of the peas and potatoes spooning over your velvety wine and mushroom sauce and top with your shredded radish and carrots. Enjoy with Frei Brothers Merlot.
You will find the subtle vanilla and chocolate notes of this wine complement the mint and mushrooms and enhance the delicate aged beef giving each and every bite a full bouquet of flavor with an incredibly soft mouth feel. Frei Brothers Reserve is committed to crafting award winning wines through sustainable practices. Get involved and submit your photo of a place worth preserving at Frei Brothers Reserve current Facebook photo contest, a new winner every month and a grand prize trip to Frei Ranch and Yosemite National Park.

This post is sponsored by Frei Brothers Reserve in partnership with Kitchen PLAY - all opinions are my own.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin