Life on Regal-Hill: Sept. 23, 2009

An interesting new development occurred here at Regal-Hill this summer. Allegra, our granddaughter who has been in 4-H almost a year now, entered some vegetables and baking at the county fair. As a 4-H member she is expected to take entries to the fair.
She has her own vegetable garden each year. Among the vegetables she grows are carrots, peppers and pumpkins. She also had some beautiful tomato plants given to her and she set them out but they haven’t done very well. A deer ate the one tomato that did get red before she could pick it. I don’t think anyone’s tomatoes did very well this year. She also tried to grow watermelons and started them in the house where they became nice healthy looking plants but for some reason, after they were transplanted into her garden, they died. However her carrots did especially well and she decided to enter some of her nicest carrots in the competition at the fair.
Allegra also decided to enter brownies in the baking competition. She practiced several times at home and we of course got to sample what she had made. Actually they were rather plain brownies as she didn’t add nuts or frosting to them, so they were not terribly rich brownies.
So the first day of the fair came and Allegra and her mom took her entries to the fair. To my surprise, the judge judged her entries while she was still there, asking her questions about them and trying a brownie after Allegra tried one. When she went back to pick up her entries on Saturday she found that the brownies had been selected for the New York State Fair. We were all excited about that.
As it turned out she got blue ribbons for both her carrots and brownies. Allegra decided not to take any carrots to the state fair. I am not sure why for she still had more to choose from. At the state fair she got another blue ribbon for her excellent brownies. Her ribbons are now displayed on her bulletin board in her room.
I felt proud too for her accomplishment, but also for the fact that the recipe she used was one I had given her. It was given to me by one of my students a number of years ago but I still use it and I shared that recipe with Allegra and her mother. I am so glad I did.
Fresh pears are another fruit available at markets now. If you are tired of just enjoying pears fresh, try these recipes for cooked pears and see if you don’t find them delicious as well.

Raspberry Pear Tart
1-2/3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup cold butter
1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts
Filling:
3 medium pears, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
Topping:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 cup cold butter
1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts
In a small bowl, combine flour and sugar; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in nuts. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 11-in. fluted tart pan with removable bottom.
In a large bowl, combine the pears, sugar, corn starch, cinnamon and lemon peel. Add raspberries; toss gently. Pour into crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
For topping, in a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and lemon peel; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in nuts. Sprinkle over filling.
Bake 15-20 minutes longer or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers.
Yield: 12-16 servings
Country Woman October/November 2008

Gingered Squash and Pear Soup
Sauté 1 chopped onion and 1 tablespoon grated ginger in a little oil in a large pot until onion is tender. Add a large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut in chunks; 2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped; 4 cups chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes until squash is tender. Cool slightly then puree until smooth. Garnish with sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds.
Makes 8 cups
Woman’s Day October 6, 2009