Monday, October 20, 2008

Fruits of autumn

This weekend, our neighbors gave us a big bag of pears from their tree, in various states of ripeness, so I spent a portion of Sunday afternoon coring and peeling the most almost-ripe of them to make pear-apple-sauce:

6 small-to-mediumish pears
4 small apples (I used granny smith)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves

Peel and core the fruits, chop into smallish pieces. Combine with other ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, then mash with a potato masher. If overly watery, turn up the heat a bit and cook uncovered until reduced to applesauce-ish consistency. Remove cinnamon stick and cloves.

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I was in a crepe-y mood on Sunday, I guess — I made regular, sweet crepes for breakfast and then savory buckwheat crepes for dinner (using the recipes in my prized 1997 edition Joy of Cooking). For the kids, I made "crepesadillas" — crepes folded in half and filled with cheddar cheese, baked in a griddle until the cheese melted.

Also over the weekend, I decided to go through the freezer and pull out everything I'd frozen from the, ahem, 2007 growing season (some vegetable soups, frozen pumpkin puree, etc.). I also found a couple of chicken livers, tossed in the freezer when I'd roasted a whole chicken but not had time or inclination to cook the livers. Not enough to justify making paté — so to fill the crepes (for the adults) I kind of deconstructed my paté recipe:

Chicken Liver and Apple Filling for Buckwheat Crepes

1 apple
2-3 chicken livers
several fresh sage leaves
butter (about 2 TBSP)
flour, salt and pepper for dredging
splash of brandy
cream (I think I used about 1/4 cup)

Chop chicken livers into smallish pieces and dredge in combination of flour, salt and pepper.

Heat about 1 TBSP butter in small sauté pan and cook apples until soft. Remove to a bowl.

Add a little more butter to the pan, then sauté chicken livers and sage leaves (choppped) for 1-2 minutes, until browned on all sides.

Deglaze pan with a little brandy, then add cream. Cook for 30-60 seconds, remove livers to bowl with apples, and reduce cream to sauce-like consistency (another 1-2 minutes)

Add a little of the sauce to the apples and livers, toss well, and fill 4 crepes with the mixture. Drizzle remaining sauce over crepes.

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For desert, I reheated about half of the pear-apple-sauce in a small saucepan with a splash of vanilla extract and a generous chunk of butter; when warm and the butter melted, I served plain to the kids and with a dollop of whole-milk yogurt and garnished with 1 raspberry apiece (the last from our garden this season) for the adults.

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