YUM YUM YUM
Are you ready for something really yummy? As some of you (who follow me on Instagram) already know, I have been using my art supplies and working on pears lately. Pears are such a good subject to try and paint because they teach you the basics of form (i.e.. value.) The way light, whether natural or from a lightbulb, caresses those pears, lets you work on your painting skills at your own pace. Going at your own pace is critical to getting your head wrapped around the crazy thing you are doing - which is using mark making tools to fool your eye into believing that your two dimensional surface contains real three dimensional objects.
Well, the very same thing holds true when you are learning how to cook; you need to start with something foolproof. I chose pears, to work on for my progress in art for a reason - I have an AWESOME recipe for pear and cranberry crisp that will knock your socks off. Not only is it over-the-top delicious, but it could not be an easier recipe to pull off even if your cooking skills are at the absolute beginner stage. If you cook already, your kids could make this for you as long as they can handle working with a knife to peel the pears with.
Gather your ingredients and let the show begin! This recipe is so easy, and fast. Perfect for a chilly evening treat, and great timing in the fall or wintertime when both pears and cranberries are cheap and plentiful. You will need a package of cranberries. In the US, they come in a 12 oz. package at the supermarket; and one package is all you will need to make this dish. This time of year, you don't have to look far for them as most folks are busy making cranberry sauce for the holidays with them, but, soon, the cranberries that the market does not sell, will go into their freezer (look for them there if the fresh ones are gone from the produce section.) Once they are gone, that's it until next October or November. I buy a few bags and put them in my freezer until I need them. For this recipe, I don't thaw them. They go into the baking dish frozen rock solid... and the recipe works great.
You are going to need 3 or 4 pears - get the bartlett pears. In the photo, below, they are the greenish yellow ones. The brown (Bosc) pears, in the back of the photo, are great for eating sliced with a good stilton cheese, but aren't the ones for this recipe. When you buy the pears, buy them green... they will turn a beautiful golden yellow in a few days time. If you want them to ripen faster, put them next to bananas on your counter. The bananas will cut the ripening time by a day or so.
Don't wait too long before you use them. Once the skin begins to feel leathery to the touch, the pear will be mealy and not good for eating. Your pears will be perfect when they are golden. As you can see from the very first photo in this post, a few of mine had a bit of blushing red going on. This just makes them worth painting, don't you think?
Once you have peeled your pears, slice them, avoiding the core which gets tossed out. These cut pieces of pear don't have to be all the same, or even bite-sized, as after baking they will give easily to the slightest pressure from your spoon. The roasting pan I used is roughly 8 x 13 inches. A cookie sheet won't do, as you need higher sides to hold it all in there in a good 2 inch layer. If you only have a bigger baking pan, you need to adjust the recipe to fill your larger pan. Mix the pears with the cranberries, and also add the juice of a lemon and the maple syrup. give it a slight mix with a spoon.
Then mix the oats and brown sugar with the the melted butter with a couple of tablespoons of all purpose flour:
Pile this oatmeal mixture on top of the pears and cranberries. You are almost done. The hardest part of cooking this recipe is remembering the next step: that is to put in a preheated oven set to bake at 400° fahrenheit for 10 minutes, THEN lower your oven to 350° and continue to bake for another 25 minutes. That is it. I have made this exact recipe at sea level, at 7000' above sea level, and several altitudes inbetween. It works... deliciously. If your having guests over, your biggest dilemma will be not dipping your spoon into it before they arrive.
To print a copy of my recipe for this delicious dish, click on:
you are going to L-O-V-E it. I wish I could be in your kitchen to hear you swoon when you put a spoonful of the crisp into your mouth. YUM!
Here is my latest little painting:
Four Pears. 2016, 8 x 10 gouache on board
I painted it using gouache - an opaque water based paint that, like watercolor reactivates if, after drying, it gets touched with water. Acrylic paint, which is a water-based paint does not reactivate after it dries because it has so much plastic in it. I am new to gouache, but I am trying to figure it out. My hope is that I figure out how to layer colors well enough so that I can go out and paint en plain air with a minimum of stuff to schlep, yet still be opaque. The trick is getting your gouache to look luminous. Practice, practice, practice.
Let me know if you make the crisp... and if you shared it with anyone else!!
Until next time,