Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Pear pies, Mike Nomad and the Internet
In just a few short decades the Internet has burrowed deeply into almost every aspect of our lives. I lost my job partially as a result of the Internet and I owe a great deal of my pleasure in retirement to the Internet.
And now, I owe the dessert which I enjoyed with my wife Sunday to the Internet, and that dessert is intertwined with memories of a dear friend with whom I once worked.
I have an occasional feature I call "Buzzword of the Day." It wasn't too long ago that I would have tossed "social networking" onto the buzzword heap.
I'm glad that I didn't get the chance to write that essay; I wouldn't be eating pears but crow tonight.
A friend left a me a package of halloumi cheese with instructions on serving this "national cheese of Cyprus." The halloumi was delicious and inspired me to search the Internet for information on other goat and sheep cheeses from the eastern Mediterranean. Soon I was deep into the virtual world. (Oh, another one of those words I've got to reclaim from the buzzword heap - virtual. This is getting downright embarrassing.)
I appreciated my friend introducing me to halloumi but now, thanks to the Internet, I was learning about saganaki, the famous, flaming Greek cheese that isn't actually Greek - at least not the flames. Soon, I was a member of a foodies group sharing recipes over the Internet. I was flooded with new food ideas being served up by my new virtual friends.
One that caught my eye, and palate, was a recipe for autumn pear pie. I mentioned this in a post and almost immediately heard from an old friend - he, too, was intrigued by the idea of a pear pie. He even had a backyard pear tree kindly offer fruit. He and his wife made the pie and liked it.
I was off to Thomas Bros. south of the city for some ripe but not soft pears. My wife and I made the pie together; it became a small, pleasurable event. Our home filled with the aroma of baking pears, cloves and cinnamon.
Our opinion: good. A nice break from the traditional apple. Personally, I would cut back on the cloves and this might mean cutting back on the cinnamon, too. Without all the cloves, the cinnamon could be too strong. I'd play with these ingredients.
The big change that I would make is in the presentation. When I make this again, I'm going to put a dollop of whipped cream in the centre of the slice and then place a small, pealed, very ripe pear half right on top of the whipped cream. White, whipped cream should ooze out all around the pear half. It should look spectacular and the fresh pear will enhance the pie's pear flavour which is muted by the cooking.
Oh, don't be overly generous with the squeeze of lemon. I was and my pie had undertones of citrus. This is fine with a Sauvignon Blanc but not so good with a pear pie.
p.s. Thanks Mike for the encouragement. We all knew you were at ease around motorcycles, Italian roadsters and tanks but who would have guessed that Mike Nomad had the guts to wear an apron? And say hi to Steve.