Monday, December 8, 2008

A tree, some seafood, and pear granita

Really, they are all related.

On Saturday, we survived the Art Faire at Sophie's school. This is one of my favorite events of the year. Our P.T.A.-like group does the lunch; one of the teachers organizes and vendors and takes care of everything else. This year we serve spanakopita and soup. I made tomato bisque and cream of potato leek and fennel, and another parent made minestrone. Several of us gathered Friday evening to make the spanakopitas, and the author of the recipe we used will be guest blogging that recipe here shortly. Stay tuned for the best and easiest entertaining recipe ever!

On Sunday Husband, Sophie, and I headed down to Half Moon Bay to cut our Christmas tree. This has been a family tradition since Sophie was a toddler. We head first to a Christmas tree farm, where we marvel at the bad trees we see before selecting our perfect tree.

This one is missing its top.

This one is is too small.

But thank goodness we had our family mascot Grinch doll along to help us find the perfect tree. He is only allowed out of the closet between Thanksgiving and New Years, although he has been known to sneak out at other times.

This year Sophie was big enough to hold the tree while Husband and Grinchy sawed it down. 

We always follow tree cutting with a trip to our favorite Half Moon Bay eatery for the world's best fish and chips.

While we're waiting for our table, we head next door to pick up our traditional tree-trimming dinner, fresh Dungeness crab.

I always request crabs that are good and mean, figuring those will be the most fresh. The fish monger assured me that the ones he selected for us were downright sassy.

We finished a dinner of crab, garlic bread, and green salad with the perfect dessert: a fresh pear granita. It's a perfect finish for any rich holiday meal this time of year. 

I started with a standard granita recipe and substituted Riesling for the water. There is enough water in the pears that it does freeze all the way. I also added a few cardamon pods to the simmering pears.


6 pears, about three pounds, peeled and cored, coarsely chopped
1 cup Riesling
1/2 to 1 cup sugar, depending on whether you are using a sweet or dry Riesling
2 or 3 cardamon pods, crushed gently to open up
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Place the pear in a saucepan with the Riesling and cardamon and simmer for about five minutes. Cool slightly, remove cardamon pods, and puree mixture in a blender. Add lemon juice. 

Pour mixture into a shallow 13x9" glass an and place in the freezer until ice crystals begin to form. Remove and whisk with a fork. Put it back in. Do this for the next couple of hours until mixture is slushy. Serve immediately. 


Anonymous said...

The fish and chips looks fantastic -- and so does your Christmas tree!

Kate said...

Cindy, you guys have such an awesome life.

Jackie said...

The found tree looks just perfect.