05 Jan Time is ripe to use up pears, apples and oranges
Strike up the band … fruit
by Sydne George
For the Tribune
Santa has come and gone. The packages have been unwrapped, and the last Christmas cookie is but a crumb in the cookie jar.
And while these Christmas goodies are a thing of the past, there’s most likely another treat filling your fridge this time of year — all that band fruit you faithfully bought to support your local music program.
If you find yourself with a fridge full of fruit and your apple-a-day plan has lost its luster or the idea of freshly squeezed orange juice is suddenly unappealing, you’re in luck. Fresh fruit ideas are on their way.
We are big apple eaters in our house so purchasing a case of Galas was a no-brainer. Storing apples in the refrigerator drawer keeps them crisp and fresh, and there seems to be no end to the ways to enjoy them. Finely chopped apples with cinnamon and sugar jazzes up oatmeal for breakfast. Apple slices spread with peanut butter or almond butter makes for a quick and easy lunch or snack. And chopped apples tossed with mixed greens, a light vinaigrette, diced celery, mini marshmallows, pecans and blue cheese become an easy Waldorfstyle salad.
If your crisper’s filled with oranges, your options are open as well. Get out the blender and whip up an Orange Julius using 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice, ½ cup milk, ¼ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 12 ice cubes for a refreshing start to your day.
Alternate thinly sliced oranges with avocados, drizzle with a simple orange vinaigrette (freshly squeezed orange juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper) and top with toasted almonds for a simple side salad.
And for supper, try saucing seared scallops with orange butter (melted butter and freshly squeezed orange juice to taste), garnished with orange zest, sliced scallions and thinly sliced oranges.
Maybe you have got a case of pears waiting to be used. Dicing chopped pears mixed with brown sugar and walnuts makes a nice filling for French toast (use thick bread, cut a horizontal slit, stuff with filling, secure with toothpick, batter and fry on griddle). Or fill cored halved pears with your favorite chicken salad recipe for a quick luncheon entree.
Invite the neighbors over for a glass of wine and serve thinly sliced pears alongside brie (remove top rind) drizzled with honey and brandy, warmed briefly in the microwave.
If you’re still in search of what to do with all those apples, oranges or pears, I give you my Fridge-Full-of-Fruit Rescue Plan with recipes for Apple Onion Confit, Caramelized Orange Rolls and Poached Pears with Pistachios and White Chocolate Drizzle.
1 tbsp. fresh thyme (leaves only)
2 apples, finely chopped
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil and butter until butter melts.
Add onions and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, six to eight minutes.
Increase heat to medium high to brown onions, cooking an additional six minutes and stirring frequently to prevent overbrowning.
Add apples and allow to lightly brown.
Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
Store in covered jar in refrigerator. Rewarm briefly to serve. Serve over baked pork chops or roasted chicken.
Makes one quart
CARAMELIZED ORANGE ROLLS
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. sugar
2 oranges, peeled and sliced thinly
½ cup warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. active dry yeast
2½ cups flour
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter
¾ cup milk
1 tbsp. melted butter
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
Preheat oven to 375°.
Add 2 tablespoons butter to Pyrex pie plate and place in preheated oven to melt.
Sprinkle 2 tablepoons sugar in top of melted butter and layer orange slices on top.
Return to oven and bake until oranges begin to caramelize, checking frequently. Remove from oven when caramelized.
In a small bowl, add 1 tablespoon sugar to the warm water and stir to combine.
Sprinkle yeast over water and stir, allowing yeast to expand and get foamy.
In a small microwavable bowl, heat milk and 1 tablespoon butter in microwave until butter melts. Combine milk and melted butter, flour, salt and yeast mixture in a large bowl and mix thoroughly until mixture forms a ball, adding a bit of additional flour if necessary.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 12-by-14-inch rectangle.
Combine 1 tablespoon melted butter, 2 tablespoons sugar and orange juice and brush over surface of dough just to cover.
Starting at one long end, roll dough up cinnamon-roll style and pinch end to seal the seam.
Cut into 2-inch rolls. Place rolls on top of caramelized oranges.
Let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until rolls are nicely browned on top.
Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes.
Loosen edges of rolls with a table knife and carefully invert onto serving platter.
Serve warm with butter. Makes one Pyrex pie plate of rolls, about 10 rolls.
POACHED PEARS WITH PISTACHIOS AND WHITE CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE
4 cups sweet white wine (I used Gewurztraminer.)
1½ cups sugar
4 cups water
4 pears, not too ripe (I used D-Anjou)
¼ cup chopped pistachios
¼ cup softened butter
1 cup shortbread cookie crumbs
1 tsp. almond extract
¾ cup white chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. hot water
¼ cup chopped pistachios, for garnish
Poach pears: Peel pears and use melon baller to remove core from bottom, leaving stems intact.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine wine, sugar and 2 cups water, stirring to dissolve sugar.
Stand peeled and cored pears upright in saucepan and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, until tender. Test with toothpick.
Remove pears from poaching liquid and let cool.
Using electric mixer, cream ¼ cup softened butter with pistachios, cookie crumbs and almond extract until you have a paste.
Can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.
Make white chocolate drizzle.
In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt white chocolate and 2 tablespoons butter, stirring until completely melted. Add 1 tablespoon hot water and whisk until smooth.
To serve: Using a small spoon, stuff each poached pear with stuffing and stand upright. Make sure pears are cooled or they will melt the butter in the stuffing.
Drizzle white chocolate onto dessert plates and arrange pears on top.
Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and serve. Serves four.
Sydne George is a freelance writer specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .