I very much look forward to the appearance of Brussels sprouts in my local markets; they are one of my favorite winter/fall veggies.
They are also seriously nutritious, with lots of vitamin C and Vitamin K.
In order to enjoy Brussels sprouts, though, you really need to cook them correctly. They are prone to both overcooking (not a good thing), as well as uneven cooking (because the outer leaves cook faster than the interiors).
I like to slice them in half before cooking to ensure they cook all the way through, and this recipe for pan roasted Brussels sprouts with pears is one I really enjoy. The recipe does call for bacon (pastured and preservative-free, of course), but if you don’t do bacon, feel free to leave it out and cook the Brussels sprouts in 2 tablespoons of olive oil instead.
Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pears, Bacon and Gorgonzola cheese
*2 slices bacon, preferably pastured and preservative-free
*4 cups Brussels sprouts (about 20-25 medium sized sprouts), local if possible
*1 tablespoons organic brown sugar
*1 sliced pear, local if possible
*1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese
1. Clean and remove any wilted leaves from the Brussels sprouts. Trim the bottoms and slice the Brussels sprouts in half. Set aside.
2. In a cast-iron skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat. When crispy on both sides, remove to drain and cool on a paper towel. Crumble the bacon and set aside.
3. Leave the bacon fat in the pan and add the Brussels sprouts.
4. Allow them to cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring every now and then, so that all the edges start to get crispy. Add the brown sugar, stir it in, and cook for a minute or two more. Taste one to make sure the sprouts are cooked through.
5. Remove from the heat and add the sliced pears.
6. Crumble and add the cheese and then the bacon. Mix everything well. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Here is a simple and delicious pear butter recipe you can make in a crockpot. I enjoy making pear butter this way because you don’t have to worry about watching (or forgetting to watch, and therefore burning) anything on the stove.
This recipe has less sugar than many pear butter recipes- because it’s so concentrated, I really don’t think it needs a lot of extra sweetener. If you find it isn’t sweet enough for you, though, you can always add a bit more brown sugar at the end.
I do not generally add any liquid when using the crockpot; as the pears cook, they will exude their own juices and I find that no additional liquid is necessary. If you don’t have a crockpot and you are making this on the stove though, you should probably add some liquid ( a cup or two) to the pot with the pears- you can use water or try pear juice or cider, if it’s available.
If you prefer more of a pear sauce, just don’t cook it as long; it will thicken and darken, becoming pear butter, the longer it cooks.
Using a food mill to finish up the pear butter means you don’t have to peel the pears before you cook them (you actually don’t have to core them either, but I did). If you don’t have a food mill, you’ll probably want to peel the pears up front, and then pass everything through a mesh strainer at the end.
If you want to put this in the crockpot to cook overnight, I would probably just keep it on the low setting for the duration of the cooking time. If it’s not finished after being on low all night, you can turn it up to high for an hour or so in the morning.
Recipe for Pear Butter with Ginger
Yield: 1 pint
*4 pounds (about 12) pears, sliced away from the core - I used local bosc pears
*1/2 cup crystallized ginger
*1/2 cup organic brown sugar
*1 pint glass "mason" jar with screw top lid
1. Place pears, crystallized ginger, and brown sugar in your crockpot. Turn heat to high and cook for about 2 hours. Reduce heat to low and cook for 8-10 more hours, stirring every now and then. The mixture will thicken as it cooks, and it will keep getting darker the longer you cook it.
2. When it has finished cooking, allow to cool completely before passing through a food mill to remove the skins and what remains of the ginger. You can compost these "remains", or they are quite yummy with yogurt. Pour your pear sauce into your glass jar and store in the refrigerator to enjoy over the next few weeks. It's delicious on toast, in yogurt, and anywhere else you'd use a fruit sauce or butter.
You might also want to check out these yummy looking pear butter recipes:
Pear Butter from Simply Recipes
Pear Butter from Farmgirl Fare
Fall is upon us here in the New York. As I write this, it is cool, raining and miserable outside. It won’t be too long before the really cold weather sets in, so now is the time to think about staying healthy this winter.
These all-natural cold and flu remedies should speed along your recovery from the illnesses that are so common in winter, so make sure you stock up on what you’ll need to take care of yourself or your family members should someone get sick.
How to Treat Colds and the Flu Naturally
At the first sign of illness:
- Rest as much as possible
- Eat lightly- homemade organic chicken soup mixed with some miso and/or coconut milk is excellent. Fresh ginger and a bit of cayenne are wonderful additions. The chicken broth and the coconut milk contain anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, and the miso benefits the digestive and immune system.
- For sore throat: warm ginger tea with lemon and raw honey or Herbal Honey or Garlic Honey Remedy taken by the spoonful several times per day.
- For body aches: a warm bath with Epsom salts or Himalayan crystal salt.
The following may be helpful, but make sure to try these cold and flu remedies as early on as possible:
- Yin Chiao: a Chinese herbal formula used for centuries. Best when taken at the first sign of a cold or flu, or when you feel you may have been or will be exposed to cold or flu (like on an airplane).
- Herbs: astragalus, echinachea, andrographis, cat’s claw, and elder berry have strong immune-boosting and antiviral properties
- Vitamin C: Can be taken in supplement form; rosehips is an excellent natural source
- For nasal congestion: try a Neti Lota pot saline rinse
- Aromatherapy: a few drops of eucalytpus essential oil can be added to the bathtub while you take a hot shower to create a wonderful steam for the sinuses; one drop each of lavender and thyme essential oil can be added to 1 teaspoon of raw honey and drank for a soothing beverage with antiviral/antibacterial action.