Cucumber-Pear Smoothie

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When I received small pickling cucumbers in my Boston Organics produce delivery, I knew I wouldn’t be making any vinegar-soaked, acidic pickles. Cucumbers aren’t my favorite salad addition, either. But they add a surprising flavor to smoothies without being strong enough to overpower the sweetness of the fruit.

This is one of the more unusual smoothie combinations I’ve tried. Since pineapples and most berries are too low in pH for the low-acid diet, I have to get creative! The cinnamon and ginger were a nice touch here, and the unexpected flavor combo worked for me. Try adding a spoonful of almond butter if you’re looking for a more filling, protein-packed snack.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pickling cucumber (or 1/3 of a normal cucumber)
  • 1 ripe Bartlett pear, cored
  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground ginger

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Peel the cucumber, and use a small spoon to remove the seeds. Roughly chop the cucumber flesh.
  2. Add the cucumber, pear, banana, and milk to a blender or mini-chop. Blend for about a minute until smooth.
  3. Add cinnamon and ginger to taste. Pulse to combine and serve.
Serves 1. Active and total time 5 minutes. Adapted from http://www.queenofquinoa.me/2012/06/cucumber-pear-smoothie/
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Sweet & Spicy Pear Smoothie

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Since making a divine ginger-pear butter, I’ve been looking for more ways to cook with this flavor combination. It tastes like fall, which shouldn’t be an attractive quality since I’m hanging on to the last few days of summer—but I love this recipe!

This smoothie has lots of sweetness from the pear and banana. The spinach adds nutrition, but you truly can’t taste it. Use 1/2 tsp ginger if you want an interesting flavor in the background, or use the full 1 tsp for a spicy punch to wake you up. This makes a satisfying breakfast with a slice of toasted whole-grain bread.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ripe pear, cored
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup skim or soy milk
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup packed baby spinach

DIRECTIONS

  1. Roughly chop the pear and banana. Add to food processor with milk and ginger and blend until smooth.
  2. Add baby spinach and blend until mixture reaches desired consistency.

Ginger-Pear Butter

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I didn’t know how much I loved jam until I had to stop eating it. Berries, citrus, and added acids make jams and jellies a tart, uncomfortable experience for those with heartburn. But alas, dry toast with breakfast is a sad way to start the morning.

I set out to make jam from the list of safe fruits, zeroing in on pears because they go so well with ginger (a superfood for digestive health). I didn’t have the pectin that would create a true jelly, so I made a blended jam that’s close in consistency to apple butter. The first bite tastes sort of like apples, but then the ginger kicks in. It’s a sweet and zingy experience that makes toast a heck of a lot more interesting.

This spread is easy to prepare, but it takes time. If you haven’t tried to peel a pear, well, you’re in for some detail work. But it’s worth it to feel like a chemist, stirring the pot and watching a pile of fruit transform into a completely new substance.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ripe Bartlett pears
  • 1 heaping tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash, core, and peel the pears. Dice them into very small pieces. Add to a medium pot (not nonstick) with the ginger, water, brown sugar, and salt.IMG_4383
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and boil uncovered, stirring often, until the liquid is greatly reduced, 15 to 18 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from heat and carefully use an immersion blender to smooth out the remaining chunks of pear.IMG_4388
  4. Store in a glass container in the refrigerator (up to 2 weeks) or the freezer.
Makes approximately 2 cups. Adapated from http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/pear-ginger-sauce-recipe.htm

Almond-Pear Tea Cake

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When baking a birthday cake for a gluten-free friend, I found myself purchasing grocery items I hadn’t known existed. I’m grateful that I tried this recipe because almond meal is my new favorite ingredient for desserts. Its flavor is so complex and rich that some people asked if this cake was spiked with alcohol.

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This combination of pear, vanilla, and almond has a refined air that would make this cake at home in a high tea spread. It doesn’t look like much, but the flavor is fantastic! The cake is also incredibly moist, which I’m told is rare in gluten-free baking.

The only downside of this fabulous texture is difficulty removing the cake from the pan. Be sure to let it cool completely (at least 6 hours) before even trying. Then work a nonstick spatula around the edges and toward the bottom. Overturn the pan and gently wiggle out the cake. You can also line the pan with parchment paper if you absolutely need to serve this dessert in one piece.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (make sure the label specifies gluten-free if that matters to you)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 ripe Bartlett pears, finely diced

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix olive oil, applesauce, syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl.
  2. Add almond meal, oat flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until a batter forms. Stir in pears.
  3. Pour batter into a nonstick loaf pan that has been rubbed with a paper towel dipped in olive oil (or lined with parchment paper; see earlier in the post).
  4. Bake for 40 minutes, until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan. Store loosely covered at room temperature.
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