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Sunday, November 20, 2011

pear soup with blue cheese and bacon

it seems that one of the first things i get excited about when fall rolls around are savory fruit soups. i like the flavors, i like the blended texture, and soup feels so nourishing, especially when it's full of yummy fruit. this one is a pear soup with bacon and blue cheese. (the original recipe called for pancetta, to which i tend to say to-may-to, to-mah-to, primarily because i love the bacon of skagit river ranch so much.) 

the soup alone is delicious, but the bacon and blue cheese elevate it to a richer level. rich enough, really, that it's probably better off as a start to a meal than a main course. i'll type out the recipe as i made it, though should note that next time i'll probably add a little more stock to thin it out just a tad. 

pear soup with bacon and blue cheese
adapted from fiveandspice on

4 slices bacon, chopped into pieces
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 small clove garlic, chopped
1/4 pound potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small carrot, chopped
1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1 inch chunks
1/4 tsp chopped fresh thyme
pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
1 1/2 + cups vegetable or chicken stock (i'd be hesitant to use store-bought chicken stock here--the salt level would probably overwhelm the pear)
couple of tablespoons of greek yogurt (original recipe calls for creme fraiche)
salt and pepper to taste
crumbled blue cheese

in a large soup pot, cook the bacon until crispy. remove with slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. 

pour off all but about a tablespoon of the bacon fat and add a little olive oil to the pot and heat to medium/medium low. add the onion and cook until softened but not browned. stir in the garlic, potato, and carrot and cook, covered, about 10 minutes. add pear, syrup, thyme, and nutmeg and cook a few minutes, stirring, to coat the vegetables in the syrup mixture. 

add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, until potatoes, carrots and pears are soft, about 15 minutes. 

blend until smooth. you can blend in batches in the blender, but this is where an immersion blender comes in really handy. 

bacon from skagit river ranch
pears, i can't remember! someone at the u district farmers market!
potatoes from olsen farms
onion and garlic from willie green's organics
chicken stock made from stokesberry chicken

Saturday, November 19, 2011

roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and maple syrup

i'm no stranger to getting into a rut when it comes to cooking. as much as i enjoy both cooking and eating, i do sometimes get, well, bored. reason #2455 for eating with the seasons: it's exciting! when the weather changes and new crops start to show up on tables at the farmers market, it wakes me right up. welcome, fall, and every delightful fruit and veggie that comes with you!

i look forward to seeing brussels sprouts show up at the markets. to me, they are one of the world's perfect foods. they are adorable, they are packed with healthy goodness, and they have a delicious flavor that is aggressive enough to hold up to all kinds of ingredients and preparations. roasting is my favorite. we tried a  recipe for roasted sprouts with bacon and maple from this week, wondering if it would unseat our previous favorite, a dish of roasted sprouts with dijon and cream from edible seattle. it did not. still, even though the other recipe wins a spot at this year's thanksgiving table, these sprouts were absolutely delicious. it sounds a little strange, maple syrup on brussels sprouts, but trust me, bacon is the perfect bridge between the two. 

roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and maple syrup

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved, small ones left whole
2 tablespoons olive oil 
2 tablespoons maple syrup 
3 slices of bacon, cut into1/2-inch pieces 
Salt and pepper, to taste 1.

preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

in large casserole dish, toss sprouts with olive oil, syrup, and salt and freshly ground pepper. (go easy on the salt, since the bacon will be salty.) sprinkle bacon over the top.

roast, stirring a time or two, 25-35 minutes, or until sprouts are caramelized and the bacon is crisp. 

bacon from skagit river ranch