If you remember from last year's article, Tu Bishvat is the Israeli birthday of trees. It is usually celebrated by taking nature trips, planting new trees and by eating choice fresh and dried fruit. I was therefore, delighted to go to an early Tu Bishvat party showcasing pears that are now in season. The actual holiday is celebrated from the eve of Jan 20th to the eve of Jan 21st, 2019 so you'll be able to enjoy the wonderful recipes that we received.
Our gracious host was none other than Yuval Bar-Ner, known in Israel as "The Pear Man" from his cooking program on the food channel that deals with pears. He also issued a cookbook on the subject and has been a representative of the American Pears Council in Israel for several years. Joining him were Oren Shaked, also from the Americal Pears Council, Ronit Tzioni a clinical dietician who presented the nutritional value of pears and last, but not least, Chef Hagai Lerner from the Danon Culinary School, the man behind the amazing dishes.
Above: With Yuval Bar-Ner
Yuval Bar-Ner explained that the supply in Israel does not meet the demand. Each year about 35,000 tons of pears are sold, of which about 25,000 tons are grown in Israel, mainly the Spadona and Costia varieties. The remainder are imported from Europe and the USA and include varieties such as the Anjou and Bosc. All are healthy and are recommended when in season for the reasons explained below by Ronit Tzioni.
So why are pears healthy? Most importantly, compared to other fruit, pears have a low glycemic index, meaning that they cause only a moderate rise in the level of blood glucose after eating them. This is an important factor for people who wish to maintain their health and weight, and avoid the development of type 2 diabetes. Other carbohydrates that cause a high spike in blood sugar cause a corresponding increase in insulin secretion from the pancreas. The increased pancreas activity wears it down and slowly leads to the development of type 2 diabetes. Secondly, the main vitamin in this fruit is vitamin C, which our body can not produce by itself and is good for the construction of skin collagen, bone health, strengthening of the immune system, and protection against free radicals. The pear also provides a good amount of potassium and antioxidants.
Above: Ronit Tzioni
Thirdly, due to its high level of dietary fibers. Pears contain about 3 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams of fruit that help us maintain normal digestive activity, prevent high levels of cholesterol and sugar in the blood and provide continuous satiety.
Lastly, due to their culinary versatility. Pears can be incorporated in both sweet and savory dishes and since there are only about 50 calories in a medium sized pear, incorporating them into the diet will allow people to enjoy a culinary diversity while maintaining a healthy diet, which will help them adhere to a healthy lifestyle.
Recommended Use: Did you know that pears, like bananas and avocados, will never ripen on the tree? That is why after harvest, they can be stored in suitable refrigerated conditions and marketed throughout the year. In the store or supermarket there are hard pears. You should put them in a bowl where they can decorate the table and occasionally check their necks. When the neck softens, they are ripe, sweet and juicy. Once they are ripe, you should put them in the refrigerator and they will be stored for another week.
Above: Oren Shaked
Also, note that cooking or grating pears will increase their glycemic value and will cause a partial loss of the vitamins inside it. Therefore, the recommendation is to consume one unit of fruit with the peel per day in our menu.
And Now for the Amazing Recipes: I'm afraid I couldn't try all of the dishes because of my celiac disease, but from those that I did (everything except the Foccacia, Tabula and Ceasar Salad), you should try the ones that I marked 5 stars. They were truly excellent.
Above: Chef Hagai Lerner
FOCACCIA WITH GREEN ANJOU PEARS AND KASHKAVAL CHEESE (2 large focaccia)
The materials For the dough:
250 grams of white flour
250 grams of whole wheat flour
10 grams dry yeast
320 grams of water
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 solid green Anjou pears
200 grams of Kashkaval
Preparation Mix all the dough ingredients in a mixer with a kneading hook for about 10 minutes. Start at a slow speed and after two or three minutes increase slightly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and wait till it doubles its volume. Divide the dough into two flat trays lined with baking paper. Sprinkle over slices of pears, coarse salt, grated cheese and olive oil. Leave for 15 minutes, during which time you heat the oven to 220 °C or 425 °F. Bake the focaccia for about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
RED CAULIFLOWER AND RED ANJOU SOUP (4 servings, 5 stars) The materials 3 ripe red Anjou pears 2 onions, coarsely chopped 3 cloves garlic peeled 1 large cauliflower washed and cut to florets 2 medium zucchini coarsely cut 3 tablespoons olive oil 50 grams of butter 1 cup milk Salt and pepper to taste Preparation In a medium saucepan, gently fry the onion and garlic cloves in olive oil and butter until softened. Add the cauliflower florets and coarsely cut zucchini. Add the milk and water almost to cover and bring to a boil. Cook on a small flame until the vegetables are completely soft. Crush with a blender and mix with salt and pepper to taste. Before serving, cut the pears into small cubes, pour the soup into serving dishes, and place in the chopped pears on top. Drizzle olive oil and serve immediately.
CEVICHE SEA FISH WITH ANJOU PEARS AND AVOCADO (2 servings, 5 stars) The Materials 1 green Anjou pear 120 grams of white sea fish (Meagre, Grouper, Amberjack) 1 Small purple onion 1 Sweet red pepper 1 hot green pepper 1 American celery stalk 1 large lemon 1/2 avocado Salt A few Plantain chips or Nachos to serve Preparation Cut the fish, red pepper and pear into relatively small cubes and place in a small bowl. Grate half the lemon peel and squeeze the juice and add both to the bowl. Add finely sliced red onion, sliced celery stalk and chopped hot pepper (to taste). Season with salt liberally and refrigerate for half an hour or so. Before serving, cut half an avocado into cubes. Serve the ceviche with some of the liquid in a bowl, topped with avocado cubes and your choice of side chips.
TABULA WITH BOSC PEARS, WALNUTS AND HERBS (4 servings) The Materials 3 Bosc Pears 1/2 packet parsley rinsed 1/4 packet mint leaves only, washed 1/2 pack dill 1 large lemon One big orange 50 grams of fine wheat groats 50 grams of hazelnuts 50 grams almonds 3 tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper Preparation Soak the groats in plenty of cold water for about 20 minutes. Grate the peel of half the orange and half the lemon and place in a wide mixing bowl. Peel the orange. Cut it into quarters and slice thinly. Add to the bowl with the shredded peel. Cut the pears into "matchsticks" using a mandolin or a sharp knife. Add to the bowl. Chop the herbs, not very thinly and add to the bowl. The nuts and almonds are also coarsely chopped and added to the bowl. The groats are carefully filtered and added as well. Season with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
CEASAR SALAD WITH RED ANJOU PEARS AND ALMONDS (2 servings) The Materials
1 head of Arabic lettuce washed and separated into leaves
30 grams of blue cheese chips
2 red Anjou pears
A handful of coarsely chopped almonds
For the sauce:
80 grams of quality mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
A tablespoon of natural vinegar
1 garlic clove crushed
Slightly salt and pepper to taste
Preparation Mix all the sauce ingredients thoroughly and season. The sauce should be slightly salty in itself. Slice the pears into lengthwise slices without the core and seeds. In a large bowl, mix the lettuce with the pears and the sauce. Divide into two serving bowls and sprinkle over blue cheese and roasted almonds.
TLIATA ELLA ROCKOLA (2 servings) The materials 2 ripe Anjou pears 200 grams beef fillet / sirloin sliced thin 1 package Arugula leaves, washed 50 grams of Parmesan cheese Juice from half a lemon Olive oil Salt and pepper A bit of coarse sea salt Preparation Season the meat slices with salt and pepper on both sides and drizzle with olive oil. Allow to rest for a few minutes. In the meaintime, slice the pears into thin slices, without the core and the seeds. Heat a skillet, preferably a grill skillet with stripes to very high heat. Place the arugula leaves on the flat serving plates, and above them the pear slices. Stir the meat for a very short time on the pan - 10 seconds on each side. Remove from the fire and place on the plates with the arugula and pears. Squeeze over lemon juice, drizzle a little olive oil, scrape parmesan cheese and sprinkle with a little coarse salt. Serve immediately.
THAI SALAD WITH PEARS AND CHICKEN (2 servings, 5 stars) The Materials
1 chicken breast (approx. 120 grams)
1 Pear Anjou / Bosc
1/2 Pomelo peeled and separated into bunches of vesicles
1 stick of fresh lemon grass
A handful of torn mint leaves
A handful of roasted and crushed peanuts
2 onion shallots
1 garlic clove crushed
For the sauce:
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
Juice from half a lime or lemon
1/2 fresh chili (to taste)
Preparation Cook the chicken breast in a pot with boiling water for 2 minutes. Turn off the flame and let the chicken continue to cook from the heat of the water. After ten minutes take out, making sure that it is cooked (i.e. white throughout). Cool and pull the chicken meat lengthwise into clumps of fibers. Cut the pear into medium-sized cubes. Slice the shallot into thin slices and the bottom third of the lemon grass cane as well. · Place all the ingredients of the salad and sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and stir lightly. Taste and adjust the seasoning according to taste.
CHUNKS OF BEEF FILLET STIR FRIED WITH ANJOU PEARS ON MASHED POTATOES (2 servings) The materials
2 Anjou pears cut into cubes
300 g of beef fillets diced
1 large onion diced
A little olive oil
Salt and black pepper
A quarter cup of brandy
A little flour
For the Mashed Potatoes
500 grams of peeled potatoes
1 cup milk
20 grams of butter
A little salt
Preparation Cook the potatoes in slightly salted water until softened. Add the butter and milk and heat in a pot, season with salt to taste. Set aside. Heat again before serving. Heat the skillet over a high heat. Meanwhile, mix the fillet cubes with salt and pepper and lightly sauté. Fry the onion cubes in oil until lightly golden. Add the meat and fry on high heat while stirring occasionally. Add the brandy - be careful of the flame that will light up in the pan. Finally, add the pear cubes and fry for another minute or so. Divide hot mashed potatoes into two plates and spread them out. Top over with the stir-fried meat and meat juices and serve hot.
I hope to share with you some of my Tu Bishvat trips shortly. In the meantime, enjoy your Tu Bishvat gatherings.
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