Monday, November 18, 2013

Pear Salads and Potato Leek Soup

 It's fall, and our bodies begin to crave the fruits and foods of the season.  Pears and blue cheese are a match made in heaven, throw in candied walnuts and it's swoon-worthy.  We made our constructed pear salads by coring the pears through the bottom, then slicing them in thirds horizontally.  Set the bottom section on the plate, layer with mixed lettuce (a combination of red and green lettuces is especially appealing), blue cheese, candied walnuts, and minced shallots tossed in a vinaigrette.
Proceed by layering until you have a reconstructed pear.  Drizzle with honey and prepare yourself for the round of applause.
Please DO try this at home.  We did this for a party of eight and didn't even break a sweat.  It's much easier than it looks, and the results are worth it.

 Our starter course was creamy leek and potato soup using fresh, organic leeks, potatoes, and dill out of Gracie's Garden.  No other allium can lend a soup the velvety delicious flavor of leeks.

Leek and Potato Soup
3 large leeks, cleaned well and sliced
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
splash of extra virgin olive oil
Sauté leeks and potatoes in oil until leeks are transparent.
Add a 32oz carton of chicken stock and simmer until potatoes are tender.
Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
Return to heat and add heavy whipping cream to desired consistency.
We topped the soup off with a drizzle of dill-infused olive oil.
To infuse oil, heat oil in pan then add fresh dill and sauté until crisp, but not burned.
Discard dill and drizzle oil over soup just before serving.
Bon Appétit!

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