Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook
Sharing Fabulous Food and Art
First for the 'sharing', indulge yourself in a bit of opera at a Spanish Farmers Market in Valencia. Well, little ol' me was so impressed when we had a lone violinist at the Annapolis FreshFarm Market. It was a special sight since I found out she hopped off a boat and played just for the market. We'll make it to opera someday.
Future Harvest and learning from our Farmers
Stay tuned for our Future Harvest Conference at the marvelous National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia-January 15 and 16, 2010. In this reunion we connect with the leaders involved in all aspects of our local food system from 'the trade' to consumers who want an inside peek on how cheese is made or innovative farm-to-school programs. I'll be giving a presentation on Spreading the Good Food Movement Through the Garden and Table and will share the scoop with you right here on the Homestead Gardens Blog.
Your Basically Perfect Caramel Apples and Pears
With the height of celebrations upon us, it's fun to simply relax and create some tasty festivities by making use of some sturdy winter produce-apples and pears, of course. Pears, swathed in caramel may be a new idea to you, but trust me they are fabulous. Firm ripe fruit does best such as Granny Smith, Fuji or Mutsu apples or Bosc pears.
Be sure to get organic fruit to steer away from any pesticides and then you don't have to worry about peeling. Note that a candy thermometer is necessary for this recipe.
- 8 medium apples or pears or a combination
- 2 cups sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 cups light corn syrup
- 1 2/3 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- toasted coconut, chopped nuts or chopped cranberries for coating.
Remove the stems from the apples and/or pears and scrub them under warm
Combine the sugar, salt, butter and corn syrup in a heavy straight sided saucepan.
Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Add the cream slowly; candy should remain at a boil. Cook, without stirring, to 250 degrees on a candy thermometer or to the firm-ball stage. When the caramel has cooled slightly stir in the vanilla.
Tilt the pan to the side and one at a time, dunk each apple into the caramel, covering it completely, tipping the pan or spooning the caramel as necessary to cover the fruit. Lift the apple from the caramel and turn upside down for a few seconds to smooth the caramel, then place, bottom-side-down, on the parchment-covered baking sheet.
If you are using the coatings, sprinkle over each caramel coated fruit while still sticky. Let the caramel firm completely before digging in.