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.

An Easy Way to Smoke Pears

Yes, you can smoke fruit! There are a variety of methods for smoking foods, from using a dedicated outdoor hot smoker, to DIY cold smoking in your oven, but this technique for infusing pears with smoky flavor is as easy as they come. All you need is a charcoal grill, wood chips, and a disposable aluminum pan—no special equipment required and no risk of setting off the smoke alarm in your kitchen. The truly exceptional thing about this technique is that you don’t even have to get the grill out just to smoke the pears since the pears are added to the grill after it’s used to cook something else, when the coals turn to embers. So while your family enjoys a late-summer meal on the patio, the residual heat still emitting from the grill is just enough to delicately Continue reading

Pear Pasta Salad

pear pasta salad

Potlucks and picnics are upon us! This portable pear recipe adds a sweet twist to the perennial favorite: pasta salad. With a flavor-packed combination of just-ripe USA Pears complemented by salty salami, tart pickled peppers, fresh mozzarella, and crunchy cucumbers, it’s sure to surpass any pre-made offering you’d find at the deli counter. Plus, a lightened-up version of the classic creamy dressing, substituting Greek yogurt for mayonnaise, makes for a healthier summer feast. Serves 8 to 10 Ingredients: Dressing 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 cloves garlic, minced 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano Salad 1 pound dried short pasta, such as fusilli, rotini, or farfalle 2 firm but ripe red USA pears, cut into bite Continue reading

Fresh Pears and Burrata Cheese with Hazelnut-Mint Pesto

Burrata takes fresh mozzarella to another level. This creamy, oozy fresh cheese is a hollow ball of mozzarella filled with the decadent blend of cream and ricotta-like curds. The marriage of juicy pears and creamy cheese is a classic, but this love affair is particularly amazing. The simplicity of slicing pears and piling the luxurious burrata on top, then spooning on some homemade hazelnut-mint pesto, will make this your new favorite party starter, but it’s also an extra-special snack to have on hand at any time. Pair with an herbaceous white wine, like sauvignon blanc or Italian vermentino. Serves 6 (makes 12) Ingredients: 1 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves 1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts 1 small clove garlic 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, plus more for brushing 2 Continue reading

Pulled Pork and Pear Tacos with Pear Pico de Gallo

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 Continue reading

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 Continue reading

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 Continue reading

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: Continue reading

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 Continue reading

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 Continue reading

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 Continue reading