Monday Farmer’s Market Report: Asian Pears V. Chinese Pears and Sunday Prep

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This whole back to school fall thing is not stabilizing in our household, so we’ve had to get a bit more disciplined about our cooking schedule: lot’s of pre-prep of multipurpose dinner components that can be cooked up in batches on the weekend, then rolled out into multiple, quick dinners during the week. Here’s what I did this time around:

Tomato Sauce:
Several pounds of organic beafsteaks became an all purpose tomato sauce, after getting chopped up and going into a good measure of hot olive oil in which I’d toasted a few cloves of garlic and a pinch of chile flakes.

Uses: pasta sauce, obviously, but i also chopped it roughly enough and didn’t obliterate in the cooking so that I can reduce it even more in a pan and serve it as a sort of side-dish marmalade to roasted firm fleshed fish or chicken. It can be brightened by chopped fresh herbs stirred in at the end. Mint could make it lambworthy even. It could also be a simmer sauch for calamari.

Eggplant, Zucchini, White Onion
All sliced thinly, marinated briefly in olive oil, a bit of balsamic, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper, then grilled.

Uses: in a vegetable lasagna, with or without noodles. As a sandwich filling. Chopped and tossed with herbs and feta as a salad. Chopped even more finely and tossed with orzo or Israeli Cous Cous. Or chopped, heated, minted, and served with lamb. Or, obvy, as a pasta sauce, or bruschetta topping.

I made double batches of both, so it’s likely we’ll do a few of the above.

And then, confusingly, I bought some Asian Pears, which I’ve had before (round, rusty in color), and some Chinese Pears (the green ones in the picture here), or at least that’s what the woman at the stall said they were.  A google search for Chinese Pears turned up pictures of Asian Pears, so I’m wondering: just what are these pears in the photo here? They’re sweet and not very crisp and more free form in shape than other pears I’ve had before.
—Hugh

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6 Responses to Monday Farmer’s Market Report: Asian Pears V. Chinese Pears and Sunday Prep

  1. They look Bartlett like to me.

  2. Molly says:

    I second the Bartlett Pear diagnosis. I just picked some up at the store the other day and they look just like your photo.

  3. Hugh says:

    Thanks, folks. I guess I was just swayed by the romanticism of the pitch from the woman working the stall!

  4. Emily says:

    Maybe they’re called Bartlett pears in other places, but I’m studying in Beijing at the moment… and that looks like (and matches the description of) the same kind of pear I buy here all the time. It’s called a Li in Mandarin; I don’t know what the English is. :-)

  5. kathysf says:

    Asian pears come in many varieties, those look like Yali pears to me. They are usually crisp, so they may have been a little over ripe.
    check out descriptions of asian pears at:
    http://www.hartmannursery.com/AsianPr.htm

  6. liezl says:

    hello from tokyo. this is an excellent site for cooking and eating with kids!
    there are many kinds of Asian pears. i know that the Japanese pears are a more roundish, apple-like shape and a slightly darker skin than those pictured. if you have a chance to find them you should try them – they are so crisp and juicy…also so refreshing when refrigerated first.

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