Last week I was so fortunate to get a spot in the Spokesman Review for my participation in the Emeril’s One-Pot Blogger Party. Because of that article I received a phone call from my old neighbor. She lived 2 farms away from ours and we became fast friends. We only live 15 miles from each other now, but tend to lose contact now and then. I think about Kathy often and hope she’s doing great. So hearing her sweet voice on the other end of the phone congratulating me on my newspaper bit was a real treat. While we were chatting she asked if I had any use for some plums, pears and gourds from her garden. Being the crazy canner that I am, I couldn’t pass it up. So I said sure and we made a date.
The next morning I tossed a big tub in the back of the convertible and headed out to her farm. We hugged like we hadn’t seen each other in years and then headed out to the barn to see her husband Fred.
Along the way I snapped a picture of this perfect red plum. It was calling me to pick and eat it.
Up at the barn was Marmalade. “Marmie” is the brother of my cats Milo (Helper Catten) and Frankie (Cranky). They were all barn kittens from Kathy’s house.
Fred and his “ranch dog” Tammy. Pomeranians are the new ranch dog you know!
After chatting with Fred for a bit, we headed over to the garden. Along the way is a giant pergola that Fred built. In it hangs 2 hammocks that beckon you to come take a siesta in the shade.
Kathy sent me home with gorgeous Gladiolus from her garden. They are still fully blooming in a vase in my kitchen. A beautiful reminder of a lovely day with a wonderful friend.
The sunflowers were all loaded with seeds just waiting for the birds to come have a fall snack.
There were gourds of every shape, size and color. I particularly liked this one because it looked like a swan.
No farm is complete without the old pickup truck. I had to take this picture while I was on the hill picking Elderberries.
“Tammers” getting some shade. And maybe hiding from this guy…..
Red Tail Hawks nest in the Pine trees behind their home. I sure miss hearing them talk to one another. While we were picking plums 3 of them were dive bombing each other. What a sight to see.
Kathy and I shared a glass of wine and some seriously decadent brownies and lots of laughs. It was a gorgeous day with wonderful friends.
Thanks to Fred and Kathy for the bounty of goodies they sent me home with. Especially these Seckel Pears that are gracing these mini tarts. If you can’t find Seckel’s you can used Barletts of Bosc pears, you’ll just need to quarter them.
Seckel Pear Tarts with Spiced Brown Butter & Riesling Glaze
18 Seckel pears, carefully peeled leaving stem intact, cored from the bottom.
2 cups Riesling
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 stick butter
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 star anise
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
9 large mouth mason jar rings and lids
Pate Brisee – I use Martha’s recipe.
1 In a medium saucepan add the Riesling, sugar and vanilla bean & seeds and bring just to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add the pears and poach for 20 minutes over medium-low heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pears to a rack set over a cookie sheet. Let cool. Reserve the poaching liquid.
2 In a small saucepan add the butter, vanilla bean and seeds, cinnamon stick and star anise. Over medium heat cook until the butter starts to brown and smells nutty. Remove from the heat and let cool briefly.
3 In a medium bowl add the eggs, sugar, flour and salt. Whisk to combine. Pour the browned butter through a fine meshed sieve set over the egg mixture. Whisk to combine. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
4 Set 9 wide mouthed mason jar rings on a cookie sheet. Add the lids but turn them so the rubber side is facing down. Roll out the pate brisee and using another mason jar ring, cut out 9 circles and place in side of the rings on the cookie sheets. Using a sharp knife of pastry cutter, cut strips 2 inches wide by 10 inches long. Place the strips in the rings and press them along the bottoms and at the seam. Repeat with remaining rings. Place 2 poached pears upright in each prepared ring. Ladle about 2 tablespoons of the egg custard into each, dividing equally. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the custard is puffed. Let cool on a wire rack.
5 Bring the poaching liquid to a boil and reduce to 1/4 cup. Ladle about a teaspoon of the Riesling glaze over each tart and serve.
Heather is a recipe developer and content creator living in Vancouver, Washington. She started Farmgirl Gourmet in 2006, almost 20 years ago, as a way to share recipes with friends and family. Heather is also the co-founder of Spiceology , a unique spice company, which she started in 2013. She shares family friendly recipes for easy everyday meals with a gourmet twist.