Happy Holidays From My Home to Yours

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Often, the simple way really is the best. Above is my Christmas dinner centerpiece from last year.  Golden bosc pears arranged in a glass bowl, red fabric underneath, some gold balls, votive candles in celadon-colored Chinese tea cups,  that’s it. I found everything but the pears in my cupboard. One wonderful use for the leftover pears would be a pear spice cake–for my recipe click here.

Below, my stand-in for a Christmas tree.  I love this mother-in-law’s tongue, which I’ve had for a decade or more.  It is so low maintenance–give it a sunny spot, water occasionally, and it thrives. My new tradition is to throw on ornaments I have left from the days when I did a proper tree. Voila! My hilarious version of a Christmas tree, at no cost, and you’ll be happy to know that my mother-in-law’s tongue loves the added attention. Thanks to you, the readers of MacroChef, for all that you’ve contributed to me this year. Next week I’ll be posting a menu and recipes I’m preparing for my annual New Year’s Day open house.  So, celebrate, relax, and experience peace now and throughout 2011.

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PEAR SPICE CAKE

Yield: 9” cake pan or 12 cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350º F

Dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
pinch salt
1/2 cup chopped, roasted walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups diced, cored and peeled bosc pears (about 4 medium pears)

Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup molasses
1 cup water (or as needed)

1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together first seven ingredients. Stir
in the raisins and walnuts.
2.  Blend together the wet ingredients until emulsified.
3. Pour wet into dry and stir until thoroughly combined.
4. Lightly oil a 9” cake pan and spread the pears evenly in the pan.
5. Pour batter over the pears, smooth the top of the batter and bake at 350º F about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool a bit before cutting and serving with a caramel sauce or your favorite whipped or frozen topping.

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