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Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

I’m a big fan of underdogs.  Give me Seabiscuit, Daniel-san, or Watts (come on, you know you had a mad crush on Eric Stoltz, too) over Goliath any day.  Or more recently, for all you baseball fans out there, the San Francisco Giants, my ‘home’ team, winning the World Series.  (Though admittedly, I use the term ‘home’ rather loosely since being from Chicago, I’m forever a Cubs fan at heart — but after 100 year losing streak, a girl sometimes takes what she can get).  Regardless, home team or not, you can count on me to root unabashedly for the unassuming, unlikely hero every day of the week, and twice on Sundays.

Today, I am proud to add to this honorable list.  Allow me to introduce the one, the only — Watermelon Radish.  TA-DA!  These babies have become my newest ally intended to bulk up my arsenal for the looming entertaining season.  Serve these purty little gems along side a warm crusty baguette, good homemade butter and a sprinkle of sea salt as your ultimate appetizer.  Simple, elegant, uncanningly delicious and ready to plate and serve in a matter of minutes.  I promise you, this one’s got Underdog of the Year written all over it.  My herrrroooo.

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T-minus 24 hours.  The countdown has begun to Thanksgiving dinner.  The one day of the year when all of America sits down for a nice meal together.  We’ve just returned home after being in NYC for the past week, so needless to say, I’m behind.  Very, very behind.  Besides a bag of pears, the fridge sits strikingly empty—as does my grocery list.  I’m in trouble.  BIG TIME.  Given the circumstances, I’d normally be in a full-state of unabashed panic by now.  But instead, I’m calm.  I even surprise myself.  It might have something to do with what I saw in NYC.

I love NYC.  After countless trips over the years, I’d never made it out to see Lady Liberty.  I’d much rather wander the streets of the West Village and eat to my heart’s content.  This time, we finally go.  Laying eyes on Her for the first time strikes a chord in me I hadn’t expected.  Maybe because She symbolizes what’s so good about this country.  Freedom. Liberty.  Maybe because She’s the very first sight millions  of immigrants see as they enter America.  I wasn’t born here.  My husband wasn’t born here.  But this country welcomed us both with open arms and boundless optimism.  As corny as it may sound, we love this country.  I’m calm because I’m thankful for so many things, but Lady Liberty reminded us how truly lucky we are to live in a country like this one.  How lucky we are to call it homeTogether.

Wherever home is for you, I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving!

Oh, almost forgotHarvest Pears Poached in Beaujolais make for the prrrrfect seasonal, festive, not-too-sweet ending.  Besides being a superb alternative to pumpkin pie, I’d make this elegant and light dessert again strictly for the intoxicating aroma and warmth that engulfed the house.  Oh boy.  Heavenly.  This one’s a keeper.  The holiday season is here.  Enjoy!

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HARVEST PEARS POACHED IN BEAUJOLAIS
Tweaked from NY Times, yields 6 servings

If you don’t have Beaujolais on hand, any fruity red wine will work just fine.  A lush Zinfandel would be a good choice.

Music Pairing: The Beatles, Thank You Girl

Ingredients
6 firm but ripe pears, such as Comice or Bartlett
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 bottle Beaujolais
1/2 cup mild flavored honey, such as clover
2 tablespoons peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick

Method

Fill a bowl with water, and add the lemon juice. Peel the pears, taking care to leave the stem intact, and place in the bowl of water.

Tie the peppercorns and cinnamon stick into a cheesecloth pouch, and place in a large saucepan. Add the wine and honey, and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer 10 minutes. Drain the pears and carefully add to the wine. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow the pears to cool in the liquid. Discard the cheesecloth bag.

Place the pears in serving dishes. Return the wine to the saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce by half of its volume. Spoon over the pears. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.

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