Posts Tagged ‘pear’

FRESHFARM Week: Meet Toigo Orchards

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Farm two in our FRESHFARM Markets Week is Toigo Orchards of Shippensburg, Pa. Of all our local market vendors, Toigo is probably most likely to be a household name. Not only do they appear at a dozen markets around town, their produce is on the menu at Clyde’s and other restaurants and you can find their applesauce, pear butter and bloody mary mix — even fresh produce, in season — at local MOMs and Whole Foods grocery stores.

toigo at whole foods

I first met Mark Toigo at a Slow Food DC dinner in 2008, but the Toigo family has been farming at Toigo since 1972. They practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which emphasizes natural and eco-friendly pest prevention. With over 21,000 apple trees (450 acres of fruit), they offer plenty of variety each fall and my foodie tots have always enjoyed their generous samples at market as they select their apples each week.

toigo orchards tasting table

In addition to the apples, peaches and tomatoes Toigo is known and loved for, you can also find extra special items like quince and chestnuts, in season. And cherries, stone fruit, pears, the cutest pickling cucumbers, honey and more.

toigo at slow food

Try our peach tomato panzanella with some of Toigo’s fresh fruit this summer — you won’t be disappointed. Or, try Clyde’s Peach Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuit Topping or Emeril’s Roasted Toigo Pears with Honey and Goat Cheese.

quince from toigo orchards

Find Toigo Orchards at FRESHFARM markets at Crystal City, Dupont Circle, Penn Quarter, and the White House, and the Del Ray, Arlington, Falls Church, Glover Park, Reston, Bethesda Central, Columbia Pike or Takoma Park farmers markets.

Spiced Pecan, Pear and Pomegranate Salad

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

This is my favorite holiday salad — fresh pomegranate arils sparkle like little jewels to make any meal festive. It was my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner (at my brother and sister-in-law’s new home), and will likely make a repeat appearance on Christmas Eve as well. If you have time, roasting the pears makes it even better.

Recipe: Spiced Pecan, Pear and Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 hearts of Romaine lettuce
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 pears
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils (about 1/4 to 1/3 of the arils from a fresh pomegranate)
  • spiced pecans (see below)
  • French dressingFor the Spiced Pecans:
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions: Thinly slice the onion and cook in a skillet or saute pan over medium low heat, with a drizzle of olive oil, until golden brown. Meanwhile, in another saute pan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the sugar, salt and seasonings and stir to combine. Stir in the pecans. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pecans have darkened. Remove to a wax paper or parchment lined plate to cool.

To assemble salad, tear the Romaine lettuce into small pieces and place in your salad bowl. Top with onions, sliced pears, pecans and pomegranate arils. Serve with French dressing. Makes 6-8 servings.

Note: I use the under-water technique to seed a pomegranate, as seen at Steamy Kitchen.

P.S. FoodieTots is joining other bloggers to host a holiday progressive feast for Share our Strength – sharing a virtual meal to raise awareness and funds to fight childhood hunger. Check back Friday for our official contribution, or go straight to the menu at SOS to find today’s salad dishes.

Pear Ricotta Sausage Pizza (and Curious Chef product review)

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

I’ve written a lot about apples this fall, but I’d be remiss not to mention that other star of late autumn fruit stands: the pear. From crisp Asian pears, perfect for salads, to sweet Bartlett pears, poached for dessert, and the boy’s favorite, toddler-hand-sized Seckels, we’d be hard pressed to take sides in a pear-apple face-off. We always enjoy the samples offered by Papa’s Orchard at the West End Alexandria farmers market, and the boy has been known to devour a Seckel (or two) before finishing our stroll through the market.

These sweet and savory pizzas also feature two other of my local farmers market favorites, grassfed lamb sausage from Valentine’s Country Meats and fresh ricotta from Keswick Creamery. The pizza crust was made from frozen dough I picked up from the Italian Store for pizza-making emergencies. Of course you could make your own, if you prefer. There are few better ways to get kids into the kitchen than with make-your-own-pizza night. Thanks to the kid-sized tools from Curious Chef (see below), the boy was able to help with rolling out the dough, slicing the pears, and of course, decorating the pies.

Recipe: Pear Ricotta Sausage Pizza

Ingredients:

  • pizza crust for 2 pizzas
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lamb sausage
  • 8 ounces fresh ricotta
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 sweet pears, thinly sliced
  • several fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • sea salt and black pepper

Instructions: In a skillet, crumble the sausage and cook over medium heat until browned. Drain excess drippings and set aside. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out pizza crusts and place on baking sheet or pizza peel, if you have one. Spread several tablespoons of ricotta over the crusts, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, each. (If your ricotta is particularly moist, use less oil.) Spread pears and onions around, sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper, and scatter sausage over the top. Drop a few more spoonfuls of ricotta over the pears. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake 15-20 minutes, until crust is lightly browned. Makes 2 pizzas. Enjoy!

curious chef pizza kitCurious Chef Product Review: We received the Curious Chef pizza kit to try out, as seen in the photos above. The boy was beyond trilled to have “my very own!” knife and rolling pin. The knife is made of sturdy plastic that actually can cut through an apple or pear, without fear of slicing off finger tips. Ever since our pizza making fun, when he sees me slicing something he gets out his own knife from his kitchen drawer and demands to help. The easy-grip handles make the tools perfect for small hands, and it’s nice to be able to set him up with his own cutting board and knife to keep him busy while I’m prepping the rest of the meal. Needless to say, Curious Chef gets a big thumbs up from the Foodie Tot. (My only complaint is that the white plastic isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but it’s more kid-appropriate than stocking up on fancier, and more breakable, items from somewhere like Williams-Sonoma.) View the full product line (and safety information) at CuriousChef.com.

*Disclaimer: all reviews are the opinion solely of myself and my son, and are not financially compensated in any way.*

At Market: Watermelon Radish, Red Pear and Cashel Blue Salad

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

This Sunday the toddler and I donned our rain coats and braved the winter monsoon to visit the Dupont Circle Market. I’m like a kid loose in the candy store whenever I get to Dupont, even at the end of November, and this week was no exception. In the market basket: Cibola Farms buffalo stew meat, Brussels sprouts (on the stalk), red Anjou and seckel pears, quince, Stayman apples, watermelon radish, baby carrots, sunchokes, leek, Maitake mushrooms, Keswick ricotta, Atwater’s peasant wheat bread and a drinkable pumpkin yogurt (which the toddler chugged 2/3 of on the drive home!).

Market Menus: Sunday evening we had buffalo chili and Farmer John’s cornbread, along with parmesan Brussels sprouts. (Toddler tasted but rejected the sprouts, while the chili was dubbed, “Touchdown! chili” and devoured two nights in a row.) I’m planning to make a soup with the sunchokes and leek. And this salad was just for me, as the toddler deemed the radish too spicy and I’m the only blue cheese lover in the family (so far). You can omit the radish for a sweeter variation, but more adventurous taste buds will appreciate the balance of tangy and sweet flavors that play off the Irish blue cheese.

Recipe: Watermelon Radish, Red Pear and Cashel Blue Salad

Watermelon radishes are white on the outside, slightly larger than your typical radish but otherwise unsurprising, until you slice into them and get a peak at their deep fuschia interior. Sliced, they look like watermelon slices, hence the name. They have a sharp bite, which plays nicely off the sweet pears and touch of honey in this vinaigrette.

Ingredients:

  • 1 red Anjou pear
  • 1 watermelon radish
  • 2 ounces Cashel Irish blue cheese

Vinaigrette:

  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey

Instructions: Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together and set aside. Peel the radish and thinly slice both the radish and the pear. (Optional, serve over arugula or mesclun greens.) Serves 2. Enjoy!

P.S. Have I mentioned my cheese project? Read my review of Cashel Irish Blue, and if you’re on twitter, be sure to follow @100cheeses for updates and the latest in curd news and cheese recipes.