Another season is upon us and with that comes another selection of fruits and veggies along with some of my husband's wonderful friends at work having quite a surplus of end of season style stuff. Not long ago it was zucchini, then after that was fresh figs. Of course there were also a couple of squashes in there too but I am not (yet) overly found of squash so I didn't take any or do anything with any of them. Although I do hope this fall/winter to get my hands on some acorn squash, those I have a weakness for seeing as they were something I grew up with my mother making and it just reminds me of some nice times with her such as making a big Thanks Giving meal with them on the side *happy sighs* . And now just last night came a half dozen VERY large quince pears.
I've NEVER had a quince pear before and don't know the first thing about doing anything with them. My husband has shown me a few web sites and I have been reading up on them. The first thing is that they are 100% a COOKING pear! They are very tart and very hard. So hard in fact that people all over the web warn you to be very careful when preparing/peeling/coring and what not as it is not hard at all for a knife to slip when doing this. So if you go with me on my journey into this unknown realm of quince pears in the near future, I will do the same, BE CAREFUL WHEN CUTTING THEM! I know I know, 'but you haven't even prepared them yet, how can you be sure we need to be that careful??'. I have them in hand already without any photos yet as I just took them out of their bag a couple of hours ago plus I want to wait until I start to pre-pare them tomorrow to take my photos but I can tell you now, only 6 large ones of these pears weigh almost 3kilo (about 6 1/2pounds) easily and the fact that I can feel how hard they are without even getting close to cutting it tells me that it could be dangerous with sharp knives.
So, my first intentions are to go about pouching them. From what I've read so far, even though the flesh starts out as white as most pears, something that is in this pear when it is cooked causes them to turn very pink... the longer the cooking, the deeper they become. I'm looking forward to photographing this part of it! What I will do with them after is a whole nother story though. I do have plans though to make some of them into a chutney with some fresh cranberries that I bought yesterday to go with a duck breast that I have stored carefully away in my freezer for this weekend.
You see this weekend is my husband's birthday... well actually Friday is. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that it's impossible to buy for your mate when they don't give you any ideas what you should get them or even what they 'might' want. So this year, with my new oven in place, I decided I would cook yummy things never made before all throughout the weekend. Not only does it give him something wonderful to give him comfort over the change in weather that comes with his birthday but I know I'm cooking 100% gluten free and 100% good for you foods. The start of that was last night with the new soup posted before, tonight will be a new fish pie recipe that calls for a mashed potato topping along with a crab/corn chowder for a soup side and some fresh steamed cauliflower to go with it for veggies. And I suppose to a typical Belgian (not sure on that one yet) my husband in all my cooking abilities and glory has requested eggs, fries and pea/carrot mix for his actual 'birthday meal'.... so eggs it shale be but the then Saturday comes right after
(gives off that evil witch type laugh) and then I plan to make duck fajitas with the home-made quince/cranberry chutney and home-made (my style) tortilla shells. I'm pondering on if I should just make a simple rice dish to go along with it or if I should think about something more rich like an au-gratin potatoes or mac & cheese, not sure yet. And of course I can't forget that there is Sunday to think about something to make too.
Some where in between all the 'main meal' type things, I've also planned some breakfast items if I manage to get my lazy butt out of bed in time to make them but I have french toast planned (made with a gluten free bread that I found that has some hold to it) and at least some home-made waffles made in the still brand new still in it's box completely unopened waffle maker that I got at least 3months or more ago... *sigh* where did my summer go??
So that is my most recent cooking challenges and plans for this coming next few days at least....
~ Exploreing/cooking/pouching/creating things with Quince Pears
~ Quince & Cranberry chutney
~ Duck Fajitas with home-made GF tortillas
~ Au-Gratin Potatoes or maybe white cheddar mac & cheese or new basmati rice dish
~ Posh Fish Pie with mashed potato top made with white cheddar for it's cheese part
~ figure something else to do with the other part of the pouched quince pears
~ French Toast (easy one as the bread is already cooked!)
~ Waffles (a bit more of a task but I LOVE waffles! I'm starting to wonder how warm quince pear jam/jelly might taste on them too)
Geee's what a weekend hey? And still have to make sure some where in between that I do up all those dishes I'll end up making a mess out of while I do this! The things us woman do for our loved ones isn't it? But hey, at least I know he's getting good food, good for him, no 'added' crap to it all and made with the all the love in my heart for his special weekend. This will be 10years of his birthdays we'll spend together.... it has to be special. In fact this year brings a lot of 10year occasions... my birthday, our anniversary, christmas, new years.... aaa so many wonderful winter ideas coming to me! And I'm sure some where in there, a night or 2 will be spent with candle light dinners to top it all off.... I think especially with the duck dinner.
Oh and BTW some of those other 'winter' ideas...
~ apple/cinnamon sauce
~ spiced apple cider (non alcoholic)
~ apple butter (think I found a 'smaller' recipe then 4pounds worth of apples... I'd be eating apple butter til next winter if I did that)
~ attempting to make granola without oats but with buck wheat & quinoa flakes along with all sorts of other yummy/good for you stuffs like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and more