red wine pears simmering
red wine pears
Once upon a time, in early fall, pears were on sale for 29 cents a pound. TWENTY-NINE CENTS, you heard me. What to do? Oh yes, at first, you buy pounds of pears. And it is pear time, all the time. Pears with cheese. Pears by themselves. And then the pears threaten to go bad! How can I save these pears, so that their goodness can be captured? Why, poach them in red wine.
It’s that easy.
- 6 very ripe Bartlett pears;
- one bottle of red wine; (I use the infamous Trader Joe’s 2 buck chuck)
- splash of vanilla;
- 1/4 cup of honey;
- 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon;
- 2 sprigs of thyme (somewhat optional – I’ve done fine without the thyme);
- 2 quart sauce pot.
- Pour the red wine into pot and begin low simmer.
- Peel the pears. Slice in half if you like, or leave whole.
- Add ground cinnamon, honey/sugar, thyme and vanilla to the pot.
- Melt everything together.
- Add pears.
- Allow pears to simmer until just tender – this means, start checking on it no later than like 10 minutes after you’ve added the pears. Depending upon ripeness, these pears might be ready quite soon.
- Let sauce continue to simmer until it is reduced to half of its original size. This is not a hard-and-fast rule – the idea is to intensify the flavors.
They are simply wonderful as-is. Even better with ice cream/frozen yogurt / nondairy frozen treat. Served that way, any international spy of superior caliber will start weeping like a child with joy. I saw it with my own eyes!
I am falling in love with kanten all over again. Summer = = cool, fruity desserts. Like mango kanten! Sometimes mango kanten comes out like this:
And that’s fine. It’s actually quite pudding-like. But, I kinda like it to be firmer, more like yokan.*
- 1 can of sweetened mango puree ($3.49 for 30 oz – I used Ashoka, a brand sold in Indian markets);
- 2 cups of water;
- 4 grams of powdered kanten (about $.50 worth);
- sugar to taste (optional); and
- lime slices (optional).
Boil the water. Add the puree. Mix, mix, mix. Once the temperature rises again to barely a simmer, add the powder. Mix, mix, mix. You want to avoid lumping! Taste it. Add sugar/sweetener if necessary. Pour into a 9″ pie plate (it will just barely fit). Let it cool to room temperature. Then cover with wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Cut it into squares and serve. Makes a lot…at least eight or nine servings (turns out to be about $.50 per serving or less). Squeeze a bit of lime if you have it – I kinda like the contrast with the dense mango flavor.
*One of these days, I will have to make a tea-flavored yokan (photo displayed here by kind permission of ya ma):
P.S. I had no idea that people prepare kanten in Mumbai…interesting!
P.P.S. Here is some gratuitous food porn, of castella (fantabulous Japanese dessert by way of the Portuguese):
It’s something you can enjoy even if it’s cold and gloomy out!
I love sweets, but, I don’t make very many…I guess I’m trying to be more daring about my desserts! So, here are some other recipes I’ve blogged about that are perfect for you if you are a novice like me:
Tagged $1.00 or LESS, 30 minutes or less, agar agar, british columbia, cooking, dairy-free, dessert, foodporn, frugal, japanese, japanese dessert, japanese food, japanese recipes, kanten, one dollar meals, recipes, vegan, vegetarian, wagashi
Kanten…so many reasons I love it:
- it’s a naturally ZERO calorie food. That’s right. I said, ZERO!
- it’s filling and yet not wiggly-jiggly (unlike gelatin);
- even the laziest prep yields yummilicious results; and
- I grew up eating it!
Below is a picture of agar agar in stick form.
At any Asian market you can find premixed packets of almond kanten for less than 2 or 3 dollars – really tasty with even the least interesting fruit cocktail. Growing up, we had that all the time. Perfect summertime dessert. Nice and cool! But avoid buying agar agar at Whole Foods. I have seen the Eden versions for almost 6 dollars!!! You should be able to buy the stick agar agar for $2.00 or less per 10 grams (.35 oz). the urban vegan recommends buying the stick format and sticking the sticks into the food processor to make flakes.* I’m used to the stick forms, but, I think this is a great tip for people accustomed to the flake format. Also, people can get quite glamorous with agar agar (also known as kanten in Japanese). I am stockpiling ideas for what do with it. And coffee kanten is a classic (kohi = coffee in Japanese). So here it is!
Mom’s Kohi Kanten
- 2 cups of boiling coffee – sweeten to taste (pennies);
- 5 grams of powdered agar agar (about 1/2 of a stick of agar agar – about $.50 worth); and
- coconut milk – this is optional (about 10 teaspoons – roughly 1/4th of a 13 oz can – $1.59 = $.40 cents worth).
Dissolve the agar agar in the boiling hot coffee in a saucepot. Mix mix mix. Add your sweetener. Mix. Pour the piping hot mixture into a pie plate. Alright, just cover and chill it for about 2 hours. Done. It’s traditional to cut it into squares (as you see above). Splash on a teaspoon of coconut milk per serving. If you have them around, put a roasted coffee bean on top. Makes eight~ ten servings, depending on the size (less than $.10 per serving – half of that if you do not use the coconut milk of course). Be sure to have this with some lovely tea!
(you can also cool it into cute little cups for individual servings)
* the urban vegan’s post is actually VERY helpful for gaining a good understanding of agar agar. Read it and let the erudition flow!
P.S. I don’t really follow diet news, so, maybe someone can tell me if there are any standards for what is “low-carb”? My very casual research shows me that the FDA hasn’t made a decision yet, but, I’m guessing that might not be the latest info.
Update: VegCookingBlog, thanks for linking to this post! My stats are blowing up 🙂 !!!! I’ve also written a post on making Mango Kanten.
(1) I’ve added a “Tips” page to the blog to park handy things I learn about (and/or blog about). For example, last week, limes went on sale – 10 for a dollar. So…I’m not going to use ten in a given week…and they don’t last forever…but they can last longer if you slice them and freeze them. Like so:
Might be better to peel skin off – haven’t tried it that way yet. Works grrrrreat in iced tea. (This is a tip contributed by my mom.)
(2) Not sure why, but Feedburner sent off an old post (from April ’07) on May 10. It wasn’t my doing! I’ll try to find out why that happened.
Posted in $1.00 or LESS, cooking, dairy-free, dessert, food porn, frugal, japanese food, one dollar meals, recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged $1.00 or LESS, 30 min or LESS, cooking, dairy-free, dessert, food porn, frugal, japanese food, one dollar meals, recipes, vegan, vegetarian