So here is another couple of recipes that I made using wonderful products from FromTheFarm.com who will be sponsoring a Foodie Blogroll Giveaway during March and April!

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I received some lovely pears from EW Brandt & Sons. The Brandt family has been a part of Washington state agriculture since 1907. Located just south of Yakima, WA they grow, pack and ship premium pears, apples and stone fruit. This farming family strives to deliver the most flavorful and unique products that can be grown in their region. Through the years, they’ve added acreage, new packing facilities, and a nursery program that allows them to better coordinate their own tree development to diversify into various tree fruit varieties. And these are some beautiful and tasty pears. I really have never seen such lovely ones before – not a blemish on them, super smooth outer skin. Just gorgeous- and the taste? Like a pear should be – crisp and delicious!

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The first thing I did when I got a case of pears from EW Brandt & Sons was start asking around for wine poached pear recipes – something I had always wanted to make. So I went on Twitter and asked around. My good friend Peter, from Kalofagas had two recipes to share with me, (hereand here) and so I kind of took the method of how he did his and added my own twist to it.

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I had leftover mulling spices from the Gløgg I made for our Winter Solstice Cocktail Party and so I decided to use that in lieu of cloves, cinnamon sticks and star anise. I used Pumpkin Blossom Honey and Blackberry Honey Creme from Honey Ridge Farms to make the wine syrup.

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Honey Ridge Farms is a really fantastic company. When I read the materials they sent me with the package I was really happy to read this statement: “We are a long time bee keeping family (5 generations) who believe that honey is nature’s best sweetener”. I would have to agree. I am a huge fan of honey, and maple syrup – if I could figure out how to bake with them, that is all I would ever use…sounds like another good project for me…Anyway their artisan honey is minimally processed, gently warmed and strained, but not filtered. This retains all the complex flavors this honey has to offer. The Pumpkin Blossom honey we got has a sweet and spicy robust flavor – and the color is beautiful.

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I also received 3 Honey Cremes, and decided to use the Blackberry Creme in this recipe as it would compliment the berry notes in the Shiraz-Grenache wine I was using. Their honey cremes are blended with the finest fruits and spices and are never cooked – again retaining the natural goodness of the honey. It is delicious stuff and there is so much you could do with them – topping for ice cream, yogurt, on hot cereal, even spread on toast.

Anyway, I also decided to make a vanilla – maple cream to go with the pears – you can see the recipe after the cut.

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We got another interesting product from Honey Ridge Farms – Balsamic Honey Vinegar. I know, I wondered what it was too when I saw the bottle. So I got to reading labels and literature to figure out what it was. It is a balsamic type vinegar made entirely from 100% honey! This makes it sulfite free and really does have the flavor of balsamic vinegar. You can use it in place of grape balsamic in salads, marinades and sauces. Plus, Honey Ridge Farms donates a percentage of their profits on this product to fund research for maintaining bee colony health – which is very important.

Strawberries are in season here in Florida right now. I am not a huge fan of them, but I do enjoy them when they are soaked in balsamic vinegar. If you have never tried this, it may sound weird, but I promise you that the flavors work together like magic! The vinegar brings out the sweetness of the berries. So I chopped up some strawberries and added 1/3 cup of Honey Balsamic over the top. I also mixed in about a TBS of the Clover Honey Creme (also from Honey Ridge). I let that all sit in the fridge for about an hour or two – you could do it over night, if you can wait that long! It was really delicious over vanilla ice cream! I am also looking forward to having some over yogurt.

Please check out this post and The Foodie Blogroll’s Contests and Giveaways Page to see how you can be eligible to win one of our awesome giveaways we have going on.

Wine Poached Pears with Vanilla Maple Cream

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INGREDIENTS:

4 pears
1 bottle of red wine – shiraz or grenache works great
2 TBS of mulling spices
1 TBS Pumpkin Blossom Honey
2 TBS Blackberry Creme

2 c. whole milk
4 TBS pure maple syrup
3 TBS non-GMO cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

METHOD:

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Peel the skins from and core the pears (from the bottom). In a large pot add bottle of wine and mulling spices. I would suggest using a cheesecloth. I didn’t and it was a mistake. Also add the honey and honey creme. Bring mixture to a slow boil. Add the pears upright, and bring liquid to a boil. Lower heat to lowest setting, place lid on pot and simmer for about 45 minutes or until pears are tender.

In the meanwhile, make the vanilla maple cream. Place milk in a medium saucepan and scald over medium high heat. In a small bowl mix together the cornstarch and salt. When milk is scalded add the dry ingredients to the milk and whisk for about 5-10 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken. Once mixture coats the back of a spoon, add the maple, vanilla and cinnamon, stir in and remove pot from the heat. Reserve.

Remove pears from the spiced wine and set aside. Turn heat up on wine and let boil. Reduce down until it has become a syrup.

To plate, place a pool of maple vanilla cream, place pear on top and drizzle it with wine syrup and more maple vanilla cream.