About Andrea Slonecker

Andrea Slonecker an award-winning cookbook author and food stylist based in Portland, Oregon. Her books cover a range of food and beverage topics, including pears: watch for her Short Stack Editions Pears booklet, filled with 20+ original sweet and savory pear recipes, coming out in Fall of 2017.

Pulled Pork and Pear Tacos with Pear Pico de Gallo

Time for a taco party! In this festive recipe, pears appear in two ways: braised with pork shoulder to create depth and sweetness for a juicy, shredded taco filling, and also mixed into a zesty pear and jicama pico de gallo for topping. There will be plenty of the flavorful slow-cooked meat to feed a crowd, and any leftovers can be frozen for quick taco making for future weeknight dinners. Serve with margaritas and chips and salsa to round out the menu.

Ingredients:

3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder (pork butt)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon chile powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 large ripe USA Pears, peeled and chopped

1 small white onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems

4 canned chipotle chiles with a little extra sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lime

Pear Pico de Gallo

1 1/2 cups finely diced USA Green Bartlett Pear

1 cup finely diced jicama

4 finely minced green onions

1/4 cup minced cilantro

2 minced jalapeños, or to taste

Juice of 1 lime

Kosher salt, to taste

Corn or flour tortillas, for serving

1 avocado, sliced

Sour cream, for serving

Pulled Pork and Pear Tacos with Pear Pico de Gallo

Directions:

To make the pulled pork: Cut the pork into 4 large chunks and season them with salt, chile powder, cumin, and pepper, coating all sides. Put the pork in a slow cooker and add the pears, onion, cilantro, chipotle chiles, and garlic, and squeeze the lime juice over everything. Cover and cook on until the meat easily shreds, 8 to 10 hours on low, or 4 to 6 hours on high. (This can also be cooked in an Instant Pot at high pressure for 75 minutes, following manufacturer’s instructions.) Shred the meat using two forks right in the slow cooker, discarding any fatty pieces. Keep warm.

To make the pico de gallo: Mix all ingredients in a small bowl up to 2 hours before serving.

Serve the pulled pork in warmed tortillas, topped with avocado, sour cream, and the pico de gallo, as desired.

(Leftover meat will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or can be frozen for up to 6 months.)

Pork and Pear Tacos

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

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Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Pear Kimchi

Pear Kimchi

Sweet pears and spicy flavors make for a winning combination. Kimchi, the mainstay of every Korean table, has been gaining mass appeal in recent years. Prized for its health benefits and irresistible spiciness, kimchi is becoming a staple condiment in many homes. If you’ve never made your own, then this version, featuring pears and crunchy root vegetables, is a great place to start. This is a quick kimchi recipe, meant to enjoy immediately. Serve it alongside a simple roast pork with steamed rice and sautéed greens, add it to a vegan grain bowl, place it atop ramen noodles or in lettuce wraps—you’ll find that the ways to enjoy fresh kimchi are endless.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients: 

2 large white root vegetables, such as kohlrabi or turnips

2 large slightly underripe USA Pears

1/4 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup chives cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 cup coarsely ground gochugaru (Korean red chile flakes)

2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 (1 1/2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled

3 to 4 tablespoons water

Black or toasted white sesame seeds, for garnish

Directions:

First, trim and peel the root vegetable bulbs and cut them into 2-inch-long by 1/4-inch-thick rectangular sticks (like French fries). Peel and core the pears and cut them the same way. Combine the pear and vegetable sticks in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Gently but thoroughly massage them in. Set the bowl aside at room temperature until the pears and veggies are tender and pliable and have given up a lot of juices, 20 to 30 minutes, tossing once about halfway through.

Drain off the accumulated juices, and rinse in several changes of cold water, then drain well and gently press out as much moisture as possible. Return the pear mixture to the bowl and add the chives.

Process the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar with the gochugaru, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, and 3 tablespoons water in a food processor to a smooth paste. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of water, if needed. Thoroughly mix the paste into the pear mixture.

The fresh kimchi can be enjoyed immediately, or it can be kept in a container with a tight-fitting lid and kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

Make sure to follow USA Pears on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for all things pears!

Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Pear and Chicken Meatball Banh Mi Sandwiches

Spring is in the air so let’s look to fresh flavors from Asian herbs, lemongrass, ginger, and crunchy vegetables to highlight pears. In this new take on the popular banh mi sandwich, you’ll find ripe pears mixed into mini meatballs that are inspired by the flavorful flattened patties served at traditional banh mi stands throughout Vietnam. They also appear in a crunchy, quick-pickled mélange of pears and carrots that tops the sandwiches. The meatballs and tangy topping are tucked into individual baguettes and adorned with cucumbers, jalapeños, and vibrant herbs.

Serves 6 (Makes about 18 meatballs)

Ingredients: 

Pickled Pear and Carrot Topping

1 cup pears cut into 2-inch-by-1/8-inch sticks

1 cup carrots cut into 2-inch-by-1/8-inch sticks

1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Meatballs

1 pound ground chicken

3/4 cup peeled USA Pears cut in 1/4-inch dice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 shallot, minced

2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, peeled, and tender inner core minced

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon Vietnamese fish sauce

2 teaspoons sriracha

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, plus more as needed

Sandwiches

6 individual baguettes or 2 baguettes cut into 6 (8- to 10-inch-long) segments

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sriracha chile sauce

18 cucumber slices

2 to 3 thinly sliced jalapeño chiles

12 fresh cilantro sprigs

Fresh Thai basil leaves (optional)

Directions:

To make the topping: Toss all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, tossing occasionally. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 days.

To make the meatballs: Combine all of the ingredients, except the sesame oil, in a medium bowl.

Heat the oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook the meatball patties by scooping up heaping tablespoons of the meat mixture and dotting them around the pan at least 1-inch apart. Cook until nicely browned on the first side, then flip them over and sear on the second side until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Repeat to cook the remaining meat mixture, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

To make the sandwiches: Cut the baguettes in half lengthwise. Pull out some of the bread from the top half to make room for the fillings. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and sriracha. Spread the sriracha mayo on the cut sides of each baguette. Arrange the cucumber slices on the bottom halves. Add 3 meatballs to each, and top with the drained pickle topping, jalapeno slices, and herbs.

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

Make sure to follow USA Pears on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for all things pears!

Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Cast-Iron Skillet Roasted Pears with Hearty Whole-Grain Panzanella (Vegan)

A good cast-iron pan works wonders on pears. When just-ripe Anjous are cut in half and seared in a hot skillet then placed in the oven, it brings out a rich and roasty caramelized flavor that renders the pears entrée worthy. They take on depth of flavor and luscious texture to make them a deliciously satisfying substitute for meat, whether you practice a vegetarian or vegan diet, or are just looking to reduce the amount of meat you consume. Here the roasted pears are offered with a warm, whole-grain panzanella, that ubiquitous Italian bread salad usually involving fruity tomatoes and basil in the height of summer. Fruity roasted pears are a perfect alternative at the end of winter. Packed with hearty greens and chicories, olives, and a maple-scallion dressing, this recipe makes for a nutritious one-dish meal.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

6 ounces seedy whole-grain artisan bread, torn into bite-size pieces (about 4 packed cups)

4 to 6 USA Red Anjou pears

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and thinly sliced on a bias

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

4 packed cups torn radicchio leaves, soaked in cold water for 20 minutes and drained

2 packed cups baby kale or arugula leaves

3/4 cup green olives, smashed, pitted and very coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons chopped toasted almonds

Directions:

Spread the torn bread on a large rimmed baking sheet and broil in the oven until lightly charred all over but still a little soft inside, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes (be careful not to let them burn!). Remove the croutons from the oven and set aside.

Switch the oven to preheat to 475˚F. Halve and core the pears and sprinkle the cut sides lightly with salt and pepper.

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. When wisps of smoke appear, add the pears to the skillet in a single layer with cut sides down. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the pears are deeply browned and caramelized on the cut sides and very tender inside when pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer the roasted pears to a platter and loosely tent with foil. Place the pan of hot pear drippings over medium heat and immediately whisk in 1 more tablespoon of the oil, the scallions, and garlic and cook briefly, until just softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in the vinegar, maple syrup, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the croutons, radicchio, kale or arugula, and olives. Pour in the warm dressing and toss very thoroughly. If needed, drizzle in a little more olive oil so that all ingredients are nicely coated. Serve the pears over the warm salad, garnished with plenty of the toasted almonds.

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

Make sure to follow USA Pears on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for all things pears!

Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Instant Pot Pear Oatmeal Jars

The Instant Pot, that magical cooking appliance that allows you to do everything from sautéing to pressure-cooking, is all the rage right now. I put it to use in the morning to cook steel cut oats in no time. What’s even better is that the oats can be combined with any variety of ripe USA Pears and cooked right in individual mason jars for the family on the go. After cooking, the jars are topped with a variety of toppings to jazz up this heart-healthy breakfast.

Makes 4 one-pint jars

Ingredients:

2 cups diced USA Pears

1 cup steel cut oats

1/4 cup chopped dried fruit, such as cranberries, cherries, dates, or raisins

6 tablespoons honey

8 teaspoons chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Sea salt

About 3 cups water

Topping Ideas:

Coconut Milk Yogurt or Greek Yogurt

Dried fruit

Toasted Coconut Flakes

Cacao Nibs

Directions:

In each of 4 pint-size mason jars, combine 1/2 cup of the pears, 1/4 cup of the oats, 1 tablespoon of the dried fruit, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the honey, 2 teaspoons of the chia seeds, 1/8 teaspoon each of the cardamom and ground ginger, and a pinch of salt. Pour about 3/4 cup water into each jar, leaving at least 1 inch of headspace. Screw on the tops and shake the jars vigorously to mix everything together. Loosen the lids slightly to allow steam to release as they cook.

Prepare the Instant Pot by placing a wire rack in the bottom and pouring in 1 cup of water. Place the jars on the rack and secure the top of the pot. Select high pressure and set the timer for 20 minutes.

When done cooking, allow the pressure to naturally release for at least 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure. (Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use.) Open the pressure cooker and carefully remove the hot jars. Allow them to rest until the contents stop bubbling. Remove the lids using hot pads, being careful for steam. Stir each jar, then top as desired with the optional toppings. The oats can be served immediately or the lids can be put back on to serve them later.

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

Make sure to follow USA Pears on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for all things pears!

Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Pear, Green Tea, and Honey Granita

As we enter the depths of winter, after the holiday rush has slowed to steady daily routines, we take pleasure in things with a simpler, more nourishing feel. Enter granita, the flavor-rich frozen treat that is Italy’s answer to French sorbet or Hawaiian shave ice.

Perhaps it’s most often served as a refreshing end to a rich meal, but that’s not the end of its capabilities. After all, this recipe is simply a mixture of lusciously ripe fresh pears sweetened with a touch of honey, accentuated by a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt, and enhanced with the addition of matcha powder for green tea flavor and color, which also lends a smooth texture to the fluffy ice. Yes, it’s delicious served all on its own to finish dinner, but consider the options. Freshly shucked oysters benefit from a dollop to bring out the sweet and briny flavors. It’s also a traditional topping for a scoop of vanilla ice cream, with the two frozen textures—one cream, one crunchy—playing yin and yang to one another. Perhaps my favorite way to eat granita is with a fresh topping of finely chopped pears, cucumber, and mint, mixed with lime juice and pomegranate seeds—a refreshing and delicious dessert indeed, yet not overly indulgent.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

2 ripe USA Bartlett, Green Anjou, or Comice pears

2 tablespoons honey

Juice of 1/2 large lemon

1 1/2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder

Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Peel, core, and coarsely chop the pears and put them in a blender. Add the honey, lemon juice, matcha powder, and salt. Blend on high until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish, such as a cake pan or bread loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place the pan in the freezer until the mixture is frozen solid, at least 2 and up to 4 hours.

Using a fork, scrape the frozen granita into fluffy crystals. Spoon into small bowls, or serve as desired.

Recipe, Photos and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Want more pear recipes? Visit our recipe page!

Make sure to follow USA Pears on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for all things pears!

Pear and Gouda Cheese Ball with Cranberries and Pecans

The all-American cheese ball is a throwback worth revisiting. Popular at holiday parties of yesteryear, today we take a fresh, lightened-up approach with the addition of pears. Swap the classic orange cheddar or crumbly blue for a nutty aged Gouda. The nuttiness plays well with both the sweet pears folded into the cheese mixture and the crunchy pecans that are sprinkled on the outside, while parsley and scallions add a savory bite. Perfect for an office gathering or a family affair, this pear-flecked cheese spread presents well in the shape of everyone’s favorite holiday fruit. And it’s deceptively easy to pull off, too.

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups finely shredded aged Gouda cheese (about 6 ounces), at room temperature

1 ripe USA Anjou pear, peeled, cored (reserving the stem), and finely diced

1 green onion, white and light green parts only, minced

3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Nonstick cooking spray

1/4 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted

3 tablespoons minced dried cranberries

Crostini or crackers, for serving

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, Gouda, pear, green onion, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, the salt, and pepper until well combined.

Coat a large piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray. Transfer the cheese mixture to the center of the plastic wrap and press and mold it into an oval disk. Tightly wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the pecans, and cranberries; set aside.

Remove the cheese disk from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place it in the center of a serving platter. Use another piece of plastic wrap and your hands to mold the cheese mixture into the shape of a pear. Sprinkle with the pecan mixture to coat the top and sides evenly. Wipe the edges of the platter clean with a damp paper towel. Place the reserved pear stem in the top, and serve with crostini or crackers arranged around the edges of the platter.

Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Pear Rugelach

Rugelach, the crescent-shaped, cookie-like pastries filled with any combination of nuts, fruit, chocolate, and seeds, is a festive holiday treat of Jewish decent. Though they are commonly filled with dried fruits, like raisins, fresh pears diced extra small are a tasty twist. Pear butter adds another layer of flavor and allows the filling to stick to the dough as you roll them up. It can be found in the jam aisle at many supermarkets. The cream cheese dough is tender, flaky, and oh so easy to mix together, making this recipe a fun endeavor for families of any faith during the holiday season.

Makes 36

Ingredients:

Dough

16 tablespoons (1 cup/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup finely diced pears

1/2 cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts

3 tablespoons pear butter (homemade or store-bought)

1 egg, beaten

Directions: 

To make the dough: Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, sour cream, and salt until creamy. Add the flour, and stir by hand until the dough comes together. Divide the dough into three equal portions, and pat and press each into a smooth disk. Tightly wrap the disks in plastic, and chill the dough until firm but not hard, about 1 hour. (The dough can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator; soften slightly before rolling.)

To make the filling: Stir the sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, mix the pears, hazelnuts, and 1/3 cup of the cinnamon-sugar, reserving the rest to sprinkle the top of the rugelach later.

Dust a work surface generously with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll one of the dough disks into a 10- to 11-inch circle. Brush the surface evenly, all the way to the edges, with 1 tablespoon of the pear butter. Use a spoon and your fingers to spread about one-third of the filling mixture over the pear butter. Use a pizza or pastry cutter or long knife to cut the circle into 12 wedges by first cutting it in half, then in quarters, then each quarter into thirds. Roll up each wedge, beginning at the wide end and rolling toward the tip. Arrange the rugelach on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, with tip sides pointing down. Repeat with the remaining two dough disks.

Brush the top of the rugelach with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-sugar.

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and refrigerate the rugelach while the oven preheats.

Bake the rugelach until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and set aside to cool for at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Rugelach will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days, or wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 3 months.

Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Pear Waldorf Salad

During those weeks between the holidays at this time of year, a crunchy, fresh salad with a wintery undertone is just what we crave. The Waldorf Salad may be traditionally made with apples, but we love it with the soft, seductive sweetness of ripe pears. Instead of gloppy mayonnaise, we toss crisp celery and fennel, toasted walnuts, grapes, and those succulent pears with Greek yogurt for a tangy take. Fresh herbs and sunflower seeds add texture and a modern feel. Serve the salad spooned into butter lettuce or radicchio leaves, or scoop it up with warm pita bread for a light and simple lunch.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

2 ripe USA Red Anjou Pears, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, reserving fronds, cored, and sliced

3 ribs celery with leaves, stalks sliced and leaves coarsely chopped

1 cup halved red grapes

3/4 cup walnut halves and pieces, toasted

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/2 cup Greek Yogurt

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the pears, fennel, celery slices and leaves, grapes, walnuts, and parsley leaves. Add the yogurt, lemon zest, salt, and pepper and toss again. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Transfer the salad to a serving bowl, garnish with the reserved fennel fronds and the sunflower seeds, and serve.

Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Pear and Sausage Stuffing

Whether you are a “stuffing” or a “dressing” kind of person, pears add a magical twist when served alongside your holiday bird. Because they are sautéed and then baked, the pears are meant to be meltingly soft in this side dish, and any variety will do. Sausage adds a piquant kick, and don’t skimp on those fresh herbs. Consider this recipe another delicious vehicle for getting pears on your Thanksgiving table.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing and brushing

1 (20-ounce) loaf white bread, crusts trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage

1 sweet yellow onion, chopped

3 celery ribs, chopped

12 ounces mild Italian pork sausage (casings removed if the sausage is in links)

2 ripe USA Pears, stemmed, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade turkey stock

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 3-quart casserole dish with butter.

Spread the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast them in the oven until lightly browned, 12 to 20 minutes (depending on the moisture content of the bread). Combine the toasted bread cubes, parsley, and sage in a large bowl; set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft and translucent and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Add the pears and continue cooking until they are just soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the stock, add the pepper, and bring it to a simmer. Pour the contents of the pan over the bread cubes and toss until evenly moistened. Taste and add salt as needed.

Loosely pack the dressing into the prepared dish and cook, uncovered, until the top forms a deep crust, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Photography: George Barberis (@georgebarberis)
Recipe and Styling: Andrea Slonecker (@andreaslonecker)

Want more pear-a-licious Thanksgiving recipes? Click HERE!