I had a part time job this fall as a gleaner. A what? A gleaner.
The gleaning project here in town runs throughout the fall and the goal is to reduce the amount of fruit left on the trees so we don’t attract bears and other wildlife into the residential areas. My role was to coordinate volunteers and properties and to organize fruit picking sessions on a weekly basis. Tough job right? First it was the plums, then the apples and then the pears. Most of the fruit is donated to the local food bank but some leftovers do make it home with the volunteers, and with me too. Matt and I pitted and halved and dehydrated so many plums our fingers were turning purple. I have apples in almost every form stocked in our kitchen – sauced, buttered, juiced, stewed, sliced and frozen. And then pears, the pears are by far my favorite. Have you ever had a dehydrated pear? It’s like candy. but better.
It was a simple job, but one that was close to my heart. We saved some beautiful fruit from going to waste, and hopefully a few bears from coming in to where they don’t belong. I met some inspiring, dedicated people in this community and feel even more connected to the great things happening here. I always love how food continues to bring us together. I saved some pears to eat fresh for a few weeks and they are starting the dwindle. I know I will be able to find pears throughout the winter but I’m savoring these ones and eating them up for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Just a simple story about pears, and about doing what we can. This roasted cauliflower salad with fresh pear dressing has been my favorite things lately, here’s hoping it will be yours too.
TAMARI ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SALAD WITH BLACK RICE + MISO PEAR DRESSING
This idea of fresh pear dressing came to me a while back. It’s something I make often during the winter months as I love it drizzled over some bitter winter greens like frisée or radicchio. Often I add a touch of dijon, pears, apple cider vinegar and oil and that’s it. It’s a simple way to jazz up a side salad. I made a few changes here and turned that side salad into more of a meal. I love this earthy twist on a fresh pear dressing. Those crunchy cauliflower and seeds add just the right amount of salty texture.
Salads. I just can never get enough.
1 small head of Cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
2 tablespoons gluten free tamari, divided
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup each pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds
3 stalks curly green kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
1 pear, thinly sliced
1 cup cooked black rice
1 large pear, cored, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon light miso paste (shiro miso)
1 small clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon gluten free tamari
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons water, if needed
Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment
Toss cauliflower florets with olive oil and one tablespoon tamari and spread out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roasted in the oven until lightly crispy and brown, about 20 minutes. Toss the seeds with a splash of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of tamari and add to the baking sheet with the cauliflower. Return everything to the oven to crisp for another 10 minutes. Once the seeds are crackling, remove and let cool.
For the dressing add all the ingredients except the oil to a small blender and being blending. Pour in the olive oil and blend until emulsified. Add a splash of water if needed for desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Add a drizzle of heat resistant oil to a hot pan, toss in the kale leaves with a good pinch of salt. Sautée the leaves until just some are starting to get crispy around the edges. Remove from heat. (This step is optional, the kale can also be added raw)
Combine kale and rice in a large salad bowl. Top with fresh pear slices and tamari roasted cauliflower + seeds. Add dressing and enjoy!
Let me in on your kitchen creations – tag your photos #happyheartedkitchen and share the love!