Caramelized Pear Salad

picture229

I adore pears of all varieties, for they are both delicious and amazingly nutritious.  Pears are high in fiber, low in calories, and are a good source of Vitamin C.  Further, pears contain a class of phytonutrients, or natural  plant-based chemicals, called “flavonols.”  Flavonols have anti-inflammatory properties, function as antioxidants in the human body, and have even been associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  Sounds good to me.

picture223 (2)For this simple, ten minute salad, I used a few cute little Seckel pears.  Seckels have a yellow-green color with occasional streaks of pink or red, are juicy and sweet when ripe, and are about the size of a kiwifruit.  Feel free to use whatever variety of pear you prefer!

~

Ingredients (makes 2 entrée size salads)

6 cups fresh baby spinach, washed and dried

2 large or 4 small ripe pears, any variety, sliced

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons chopped raw almonds

4 ounces chevre goat cheese

picture224Directions

Step 1) Melt butter in sauté pan over low heat.  Add brown sugar.  Stir over low heat for one minute.

Step 2) Add pears.  Begin caramelizing over medium heat, loosening the pears often with a nonstick spatula.

picture225Step 3) After two minutes, add almonds to sauté pan.  Cook one additional minute, then turn off heat.

Step 4) Divide spinach between two plates.  Top each plate with half of the caramelized pears.  Drizzle pan drippings (delicious!) over each plate.

picture226Step 5) Divide goat cheese in half.  Spoon bite size pieces evenly onto each salad.

Done!

The creamy tanginess of goat cheese pairs wonderfully with both the sweetness of caramelized pears and the crunch of almonds.  Enjoy!

Spiced Almond Meringues

picture199

What can I say, I woke up with a sweet tooth today!  When cooking for wellness, satisfying a sweet tooth requires a bit of mindfulness.  With a bit of thought, it’s possible to indulge in something deliciously sweet without ingesting the loads of saturated fat that are lurking in many traditional dessert recipes.  For me, meringues are just the thing… delightful when I feel like a bit of sugar without inviting butter (or worse, shortening) along for the ride.

Ingredients (makes 48 meringues)

3 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup white sugar

Directions

picture194Step 1) In  scrupulously clean bowl, beat egg whites, almond extract, and cream of tartar at high speed for 2 – 3 minutes until soft peaks form.  It’s OK if the peaks fall over at this point, when you lift the beater out of the mixture.

~

picture195Step 2)  Add white sugar and ground cloves – 1 tablespoon at a time – to egg white mixture.  Beat at high speed for 3 – 5 minutes until mixture is glossy and stiff peaks form.  When you lift the beater out of the mixture now, the peaks should stand up straight.

~

picture196Step 3)  Drop tablespoonsful of the meringue mixture onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving 1 – 2 inches between meringues.  Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Cool on a cooking rack and Enjoy!