Life has been a whirlwind, I'm sure most of you can relate. Fall showed up way too soon and Old Man Winter has already been knocking at the door with some COLD COLD temperatures and even a bit of snowfall. We had to hustle and get the remaining fruit off our trees at our house in Bend. We've been selling some of the fruit at our farm stand and some of it I kept to preserve and cook with. The fruit I kept has been sitting there on the kitchen island looking at me, when I've been home, that is. Slowly aging, turning color, softening. (Both the fruit and I, it seems.) And beckoning to me, almost to the point of nagging. We don't waste much of anything around here so I finally had to take some time (and some thyme) and get busy.
On Friday I made some Italian plum chutney and plum butter, and even pickled a few plums with rosemary for the first time ever. They have to pickle for a few more days before they can be sampled but I'll let you know how they turn out. We had a few cucumbers we rescued before the freeze as well. Those became a couple of lovely jars of sweet and spicy cucumbers and vinegar (plus onion). Onions make everything all the more flavorful.
The dehydrator has been running all day today with some Asian pear, apple, and bosc pear slices in it, all lightly dusted with a little cinnamon.
Next up, I plan to try pickling some pears. They were mentioned in a recipe for a ham and cheese croute. I watched a video of a chef in Portland making this recipe and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.
While searching for recipes to use the bosc pears in, I ran across a wonderful recipe for skillet cornbread with caramelized onions, pears and thyme. It is gluten-free and vegan friendly but I did not have the different flours needed to make it so I used another cornbread recipe and combined the two together, with a few minor changes. I have to say, it is THE BEST cornbread I have ever had. And it certainly didn't hurt that it was served with some pork chops from our favorite meat market, Primal Cuts. My husband smoked them and seared them, and the combination between the smokey pork and the cornbread was over the top. We raved throughout the meal (yes, we were talking with our mouths full) about how good it all was.
Links to the full original recipes can be found at the bottom of the page.
Here is the version that I made:
Skillet Cornbread with Caramelized Onions, Pears & Thyme
For the onion and pear topping:
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 medium bosc pears, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme, lightly packed
Pinch of fine sea salt and black pepper
For the cornbread:
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
⅔ cup sugar (the recipe calls for white sugar but I used ⅓ cup white and ⅓ cup brown sugar)
1 teaspoon salt
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder (I used between 2 ½ - 3 teaspoons)
1 egg (a Tumalo Chicken Ranch egg would be best. wink wink)
1 cup milk
⅓ cup vegetable oil (I used light olive oil)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
Stir in egg, milk, and vegetable oil just until well combined. Set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion to skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook the onion, stirring every so often, until it is soft and browning slightly (about 3-4 minutes).
Add the sliced pears and 1 ½ teaspoons thyme, and cook, stirring often, for an additional 5-7 minutes or until the pears have softened. Transfer mixture to a bowl.
Fold half of onion and pear mixture into cornbread and transfer batter to hot skillet, topping it with remaining onion and pear mixture. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon fresh thyme.
Bake in preheated oven for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
The original onion and pear topping recipe and instructions came from: http://www.picklesnhoney.com/gluten-free-skillet-cornbread/ and the original Golden Sweet Cornbread recipe came from: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/17891/golden-sweet-cornbread/.