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Pears will lend sweet fall accent

One of my favorite childhood foodie memories was the plate of sliced pears and cheese that my mom had waiting for me after a long day at grade school.

I so loved the concept of sharing a healthy snack and continued the tradition with my boys. Finding out that not only were they lactose-intolerant but allergic to pears (and bananas and a few other fruits I’d been giving them on a regular basis), put a kink in my good mom armor.

Needless to say they ate other stuff after school, and I ate my pears all by myself. My boys are now men and have moved on to other locations to feed themselves, so I’ve decided to bring back the pear with a vengeance.

Pears are a super-delicious fall fruit that are related to apples and can often be substituted for them.

The following recipes are all yummy and can be used to introduce your youngsters to the joy of pears, as well as reminding you that sometimes a simple plate of cheese and fruit is all you need to bring back the best of your childhood.

Caramel Coated Pears

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup water

2 teaspoons butter or margarine

2 medium firm ripe pears

Sweetened whipped cream

2 teaspoons sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small sauce pan combine sugar, water and butter. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove the caramel mixture from heat and set aside. Peel and core pears, cutting in half lengthwise. Arrange pear halves, cut sides up, in a baking dish and drizzle the caramel mixture over the top of the pears. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes or until tender. Place pear halves in dessert dishes; spoon 2 tablespoons of caramel mixture evenly over pears. Top with whipped cream and almonds. Serves 2 to 4.

Pear, Mango and Cabbage Slaw

3 ripe pears, cubed

2 cups fresh mango peeled and cubed

4 cups green cabbage sliced very thin

1/2 cup sunflower seed

3/4 cup oil

6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

4 teaspoons sugar

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Dash of salt

In a large salad bowl combine the pears, mangos and cabbage. Toss to combine. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinegar, oil, soy sauce, sugar, garlic powder and salt. Shake to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle the seeds over the top and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

Chicken with Sauteed Pears and Rosemary Sauce

3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 cups apple juice

1/2 cup red wine

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons dried rosemary

1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Pinch of dried crushed red pepper

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 Bosc pear, quartered, cored, thinly sliced

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves

1/4 cup Marsala

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add apple juice, red wine, vinegar, rosemary, thyme and crushed red pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until mixture is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Strain mixture into small saucepan; discard solids. Add cream and simmer until reduced to sauce consistency, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile heat 2 teaspoons oil in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add pear slices; sauté until tender and golden brown, about 8 minutes. (Sauce and pears can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate. Rewarm pears over medium-low heat before serving.)

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add to skillet and sauté until cooked through and golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Add Marsala and bring to boil. Stir in reserved sauce, turning chicken once to coat. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes longer.

Divide chicken among 4 plates. Spoon some sauce around chicken on each plate. Garnish with pear slices.

– Modified from Bon Appétit, April 1997 Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at ztlog@verizon.net or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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