Looking for a dairy- and gluten-free dessert? Like orange marmalade? Then you can't go wrong with Asian Pears with Vanilla-Poached Kumquats. The ingredients may be hard to track down--depends on how adventuresome your market is--but if you can find the two main ingredients (Asian pears and kumquats) the rest is cake.
The kumquats are poached in lime syrup (1/4 cup lime juice, water, sugar) along with half a vanilla bean. Pour that over thinly sliced Asian pears, let it sit for a while, and you're done. Easy!
Apprehensive about these unusual fruits? Don't be--Asian Pears are kind of new to the country but they're picking up steam in America--I see on the interwebs that they're trying to cultivate them in Texas. They look like apples (with a similar bite-feel) but have the texture and flavor of pears.
They also hold up well, at least in this dish. Apple pie bakers, you know how using Golden Delicious guarantees you'll have cohesive apple pieces that even have a little bit of firmness? Same deal here.
Kumquats are like the teeniest tiniest little oranges you ever saw--you could serve them at your dolly's tea party as a snack.
The funny thing about these citrus fruits is that the rind is sweet(ish) and the inside is the bitter part. I just eat them whole. In this recipe you slice them into rounds and de-seed--there's usually one one seed. Poached, you get an experience that's very much like a fine orange marmalade--sweet with just an edge of bitterness.
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Karen recaps the Top Chef shows as they appear, and her commentary is both passionate and funny. This is not the main order of business on her blog--she also reviews stories that appear in Tin House, The New Yorker, and other lit mags--additionally, she's working her way through BASS.
Check her out--you'll appreciate her. I do. And keep an eye out for her guest blogger, Zin Kenter, who is a hoot. They're both published authors (Zin most recently in Smokelong)--you can see their bona fides in the right-hand column.