Savory Pear Tart, Iron Chef Parties and Spin for a Foster Child

Hi everyone. I was invited to a really fun Iron Chef party last night where I had to make some dishes made with pears. I created this tasty modification of a Giada recipe I saw on the Food Network. It was easy, delicious and quite attractive. I did not win in any of the categories, however, but it was O.K. because I knew that I had tried my best and had fun. Besides, I’m sure that the votes were rigged.

Now, it’s easy for me to say that not winning was not a huge blow to my cooking ego because I have cooking confidence. What if you don’t have cooking confidence and you chose to not even attend a fun party like this? What if worse, you attended, made some dishes and then did not win? What if you got NO votes at all? You might be discouraged and embarrassed, so much so that you would never attend another event like that which would be really sad.

My recommendation? Remember how accomplished you are in the other areas of your life and how hard you worked to get where you are. Cooking is no different. Just keep practicing and your confidence will build from the process. I promise.

Now for some local charitable opportunities-You don’t have to cook to be able to help a foster care child-How to get involved with Spin for a Child? Visit www.casaessex.org for registration information. Not interested in riding but want to help the cause? Please consider making a monetary donation to CASA of Essex County. Checks should be made payable CASA Essex County and can be mailed to Michael Slater at 212 Washington Street, Rm 912 Newark, NJ 07102. Donations are also accepted online at www.casaessex.org.

When to Spin: Sunday, March 7, 2010
Times to Spin: 1:00 – 2:00 pm
2:15 – 3:15 pm
Where: Bobbi Brown’s studio in Montclair

Now, spin on over to the kitchen to try this great dish!

Savory Pear Tart:

* homemade or store bought pie crust (homemade one below)
* 4 ounces cream cheese
* 2 ounces Parmesan
* 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped or approx. 1/3 tsp dried thyme
* Pinch salt
* Pinch freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 3 small pears, cored and sliced, can leave peel on

Katy’s homemade Crust:

1 1/4 cups flour
1 3oz. package of cream cheese
6 TBS unsalted butter at room temperature
Directions
In a med. sized microwaveable bowl, soften the butter and cream cheese. Stir in the flour until all is fully combined. Press into a tart pan with removable bottom or a regular pie dish. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until it starts to turn a bit golden. Remove from oven and place somewhere to cool. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat up the cream cheese just a little in the microwave until softened, combine the cream cheese, Parmesan, thyme, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and stir until combined.You can also use a food processor or mixer. Set aside.

In a cast iron pan or other heavy pan, melt the 2 TBS butter over medium-high heat. Add the pears and cook over a very low flame to caramelize for about 25-30 minutes until very soft. Set aside.

Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of the baked pie crust. Place the pear slices in a fancy pattern over the cheese mixture. Slice up and serve at room temperature. Yum!

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