Poires Au Vin Rouge (Pears in Red Wine)

From Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells

  • 4 large pears, peeled with stems intact
  • ½ cup sugar (or vanilla sugar if you are lucky enough to have it)
  • 1 bottle fruity red wine
  • ½ cup crème de cassis
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 black peppercorns

In a deep non-reactive saucepan that will hold the pears snugly, combine all of the ingredients. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn the pears from time to time, so they are evenly coated. Simmer until the pears are cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat; allow to cool. Transfer the pears and liquid to a serving dish. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

Balsamic Strawberries & Cherries

From Two Weeks Later…

Each recipe makes about 1 ½ – 2 cups

Method One – Roasting

½ lb each of strawberries and cherries. You’ll want a yield of about a cup of each once pitted and chopped.

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 TBSP good balsamic (this is a place to pull out the aged stuff)
  • 1/4/ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Preheat over to 375°F. Pit the cherries and slice in half. Quarter the strawberries. Toss with the olive oil, sugar, vinegar and pepper. Put in an oven-proof dish (the fruit should be in one layer), and roast for 15 minutes. Stir and roast an additional 10 minutes or until the juices are thickened to about the consistency of maple syrup. When the fruit comes out of the oven, stir in the lemon juice. Let cool before serving. This is terrific over ricotta, mascarpone or cream cheese on toast, makes a great topping for vanilla ice cream, and is terrific on yogurt for breakfast too.

Calories: about 200 per recipe

 Method Two – Marinating 

  • 1 cup each of chopped strawberries and cherries (about ¼” sized pieces, but you don’t have to be precise.)
  • 1 TBSP chopped basil
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 TBSP good balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil (a peppery one works great here)
  • A pinch of sugar

Toss all of the ingredients together. Let sit for at least an hour at room temperature. Use as a topping over goat cheese on bruchetta, or as a salsa over roast chicken or sliced steak.Calories: about 225 per recipe


Peach Rhubarb Sauce Makes about 2 cups

From Kid, You’ve Got Moxie!

  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 3 peaches, peeled and chopped to total 1 ¼ cups
  • ½ cup sugar (or more to taste)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 peach unpeeled and chopped

Put the first 4 ingredients in a deep microwave safe bowl and mix well. Microwave on high uncovered for 5 minutes. Stir and microwave again for another 5 minutes. Let cool a little and taste for sweetness. I like this on the tarter side, since I’m usually serving it over something sweet, but how much additional sugar you want to add is completely up to you.  Add the remaining chopped unpeeled peach and stir in. Will last 1-2 weeks in a jar in the fridge or you can freeze for up to 2 months. Calories: approximately 100 per ¼ cup.

Linda’s Wine and Cherries Jell-O Mold

From Just give me a dry martini and a pack of Lucky’s: An Ode to Mad Men

I admit it, I don’t actually own a Jell-O mold. Like Tupperware, Jell-O molds are something that separates the married women from the singles, and so I’ll make this in a medium size bowl. It may not be as pretty as Linda’s, but the taste and wobble are the same.

  • 1 large package Black Cherry Jell-O dissolved in 2 cups Hot water
  • 1 can pitted black cherries and one cup of the cherry juice/syrup
  • 1 cup Manischewitz Extra Heavy Malaga wine

Mix all the ingredients together and follow directions for using a jello mold on the package.

Soused Applesauce Makes about 2 1/2 cups

From How do you like THEM apples?

  • 2 lbs apples – I like a combination of sweet and a little tart (just like me…)
  • ½ TBSP butter
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • ¼ cup cognac or brandy

Peal and core the apples and cut into chunks. Add apples, butter, lemon juice and zest, sugar, salt and water to a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, cover, and cook until the apples are soft, about 15-20 minutes. When the apples are ready, uncover and cook another 5 minutes or so, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Turn off the heat and mash with a potato masher or stick blender, but don’t puree completely. It should be a little chunky.

Add in the cognac and stir. Turn back on the heat to medium-low and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled. Calories: 200 per ½ cup serving.

Wine-marinated melon Makes 6 one cup servings

From A perfect summer day

  • 1 medium-sized, ripe, seasonal melon, seeded, rind removed, and scooped out with a melon baller, or cut up into bite-sized chunks (it’s a lot easier). You should have about 6 cups
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Riesling
  • 1/4 cup Grand Mariner or Cointreau
  • 1 large slice fresh ginger (a disk about 1/8 inch thick)
  • A 3-4 inch strip of lemon, orange and lime zest (just the zest, no white pith)
  • 2 TBSP fresh orange juice (from about 1/2 a medium orange)
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh mint (for garnish)

Combine sugar, Riesling, liqueur, ginger, zests, orange juice, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Let the syrup cool completely before continuing. Place melon in a bowl,or a large Ziploc bag. Pour cooled syrup over fruit. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to a day. I like to serve the cold melon in a wine glass with some of the syrup and a little chopped mint. Calories: Approximately 175/cup of melon with syrup.

Melon with lime and salt

This isn’t really a recipe but it is a favorite way to eat ripe watermelon or honeydew.  I just squeeze fresh lime juice over it and sprinkle with a little sea salt. I like to use gray or Malden (something with a bit larger and coarser grain than kosher salt, but that works in a pinch too, pun intended.)


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