Staff Recipe Picks: Two Quick & Easy Thanksgiving Favorites from Eileen Perkins

Eileen Perkins, Fresh Department Manager, is used to thinking on her feet about creative and tasty recipes--her department is always busy preparing the growing number of deli items we offer. In this post, Eileen walks us through two of her favorite simple recipes as we head into the holidays. 

The pace of my life speeds up, with the holiday season, just as the desire to spend time sharing food  crescendos. That’s when I am glad that I know the truth of the words, “simple is better” and pull some tried and true favorites from up my sleeve, knowing that I am not denying my loved ones a smidgen of fuel or fun.

Try these on for size:

Pear Sauce

This recipe works fine with pears that are ripe to over-ripe and is so simple that you can let the quantity you make be dictated by the number of pears you have.

1. Combine peeled, cored, and “chunked” pears, water to cover and a healthy dash of ground cardamom in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low, simmering and stirring occasionally, until pears have softened completely, about 25-35 minutes. If there is still water in the pan, when the fruit is done cooking, gently boil it away.

2. Cool pears and then puree or mash, depending how chunky you like your sauce.

3. Taste and sweeten, if you think it is necessary. If the sauce seems too sweet (pears have a surprising naturally sweet flavor, when concentrated this way), a little lemon juice will balance that.

Pear sauce is lovely served warm or cold, as a topping for desserts, an accompaniment for cookies, and is elegant enough to stand alone. For a sophisticated touch, add a garnish of chopped crystallized ginger, or orange zest.

Fig and Onion Celebration Cutlets

This is a very easy, festive vegetarian entrée for family and friends. Kathy Peters, Center Store Manager, made this for store samples, a couple years ago, and I was captivated by it. One roast makes enough to provide 2-4 modest entrées.

Simply take a thawed Field Day Celebration Roast, cut it into even slices and fry gently in a little oil, as instructed on the packaging. Coat each slice with Mt Vikos Onion & Fig Jam* (which contains honey, by the way, so if serving to vegans make sure that is allowable). Heat cutlets gently in the oven for a few minutes to warm. Chicken breast meat will work well with this application, too, but it should be seasoned, perhaps with sage, granulated garlic, salt and thyme. I recommend pounding them into thin, even cutlets before sautéing.

I think the cutlets and sauce combine well with a simple baked potato topped with real butter and cheese (or toasted pumpkin seeds and crispy-cooked Light life Fakin’ Bacon for vegan style), roasted, shaved brussel sprouts, romaine hearts and radicchio salad with a simple shallot vinaigrette, and corn or cranberry nut muffins. Serve your pear sauce or a cinnamon baked apple for desert with local whipped cream or vanilla soy yogurt. What could be an easier, festive meal this season?

* Both Field Day Celebration Roast and Mt. Vikos Onion and Fig Jam are available in our freezer section.

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