It's official: fall is here and we've got the pears to prove it!
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: "There are ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is ready to eat."That's hooey. You've got at least an hour. Seriously, pears do go from firm to mush faster than most fruit. This is their season at the market so enjoy them while you can. Buy them often and eat them quickly. But if they do get soft, by all means, make a ginger pear crisp: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2009/11/harvest_pear_crisp_with_candied_ginger
Or, you can poach them in sweet late harvest white wine. Right now, the Orchards of Concklin are bringing in their tiny, tubby Seckel pears which, though delicious out of hand, lend themselves beautifully to poaching. They come extra firm already, but try to avoid those with wizened stems or blackened streaks. The Seckel pear holds best in the coldest part of the fridge where, depending on how ripe it was at purchase, it will keep for two to seven days. To ripen it, leave it at room temperature for two to four days. Try poaching half a dozen lightly peeled Seckels, stems on, in a small glass baking dish with a half cup each of water and late harvest muscat wine mixed in the bottom. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, basting three to four times. Remove to a warm plate, spoon a little pan juice over the pear. Serve with some vanilla bean ice cream.
Want to try something new from our fishmonger? Pura Vida has been bringing blow fish tails to the market the last couple of weeks and everyone who has tried them has loved them. Relax, these are not the tails of poisonous puffer fish from Japan. The Captain suggests you dredge the tails in flour that's been seasoned with S &P then "shallow" fry them in sizzling olive oil for about two minutes a side until golden brown. Serve with a squeeze of lemon. Update: We are still taking donations at the market tent for our beleaguered farmers who lost a ridiculous amount of crops due to flooding from Hurricane Irene. We will be collecting through next Saturday.
State inspectors examined the soggy Morgiewicz fields this week and gave them the crushing news that their entire onion crop was indeed unsellable and needed to be destroyed. Crop insurance will help but won't cover the $500.000 they've lost. They remain positive, have replanted on every patch of dry land available to them and hope to have baby arugula as early as next week. If some of you plan to dine out this weekend please remember that many restaurants in NYC and the Hudson Valley are donating a portion of their proceeds on Sunday the 25th to New York farmers. For more info. on participating restaurants, please go to www.dineoutIrene.com.