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Cranberry beans and comice pears

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Posted: Monday, November 4, 2013 3:08 pm

Hidden in dry and wrinkled pods, cranberry beans await to share their lovely pink speckles with the wise cook who appreciates their goodness. I found these Cranberry Beans at The Fruit Bowl in Stockton. I love to cook with dried beans and I know that just harvested dry beans are at their best. Cranberry beans, like most legumes are high in fiber and low in fat. Unfortunately, once cooked, they lose their white and crimson-flecked appearance and take on a more common, tan color. The taste is mild and so blends well with other ingredients. In Italy, their name is Borlotti and are used in Italian, Portuguese, Turkish, and Greek cooking.

Comice Pears are in the same way not as perfect in appearance as they look a little hunchbacked and asymmetrical. However their sweet, succulent taste makes them jewels of the fall fruit table. Named for the French Doyenné Du Comice, these heirloom pears are a treasure. They are among the sweetest and juiciest of all varieties and can be enjoyed while still firm — promising plenty of sugary juice to drip down your chin. Local Comice Pears from Baker Ranch located on Sutter Island (about 20 minutes northwest of Lodi) are the best! I was thrilled to receive some and so created this wild rice pilaf as a foundation for these two odd companions.

Cranberry beans, comice pear and wild rice pilaf

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 onion, peeled and chopped fine

1 clove garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, chopped fine

1 Comice pear, chopped in 1/2-inch cubes

2 cups cooked wild rice

1 cup cooked Cranberry beans 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Dash freshly ground pepper

Garnish: 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, 1 tablespoon fresh pomegranate seeds, 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, 2 tablespoons dried cranberries.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, over low to medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté about five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add celery and continue sautéing until celery is cooked. Add pear, wild rice and beans. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook until flavors are co-mingled. Garnish as desired. Can be served warm or room temperature.

— Source: www.atavolatogether.com

Claudia Pruett was raised in Saratoga. She is an entrepreneur, chef and community volunteer. She is married to Greg and they have three children. She enjoys cooking for friends and Bikram Yoga.

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