Two events have converged to give me access to a bunch of new cooking shows. One: because of my husband’s health problems, we have become rather housebound and never eat out any more. Two: since we don’t have cable, we bought a new digital television and suddenly can pick up channels that were unavailable to us on our old analog TV. One of these is “Create”, which is broadcast by out local PBS station. All of the programs on the Create channel have to do with making things, natch. Show after show on painting, gardening, photography, travel, sewing, and of course, cooking.
I’ve picked up all kinds of interesting hints and ideas for combining flavors and textures that I would not have thought of, and as a result, our diet has become a lot more interesting. One of my favorite shows is Cooking with Jacques Pepin. Aside from the fact that he makes dishes that look so good it’s a wonder you don’t drown in your own anticipatory saliva, I love Jacques himself. He’s calm, good natured, and practical, and sometimes I wish he were my granddaddy.
Two of my favorite Jacques Pepin recipe acquisitions are new (to me) ways to prepare fruit.
The first is a very simple and very European desert of sliced apples accompanied by walnut halves, water crackers, and a nice wedge of Stilton. The touch that makes this fruit and cheese plate special is that Jacque squeezes half a lemon over the apple slices, then sprinkles them with cracked black pepper. Oh, yum!
The second is poached pears. It isn’t exactly correct to say that Jacques introduced me to poached pears, for I’ve poached pears in the past. He did, however, remind me how to do it and gave me some new ideas on how to go about it. Here’s an idea:
Halve and core two firm pears and poach them in grape juice (I like sweet purple grape juice, like Welches), then serve them hot with a dollop of marscapone. Or how about poaching the pears in a lovely dry red wine, filling the hollow with sour cream, and a dash of ground clove.
Such simple and easy ways to make fruit classy!