I don’t know what the climate is like where you live, but here on the west coast of Vancouver Island our gardens are still producing like crazy. Yesterday I had great plans to put my vegetable garden to rest, but I found there are still cucumbers forming, tomatoes ripening, beets, spinach, arugula, cilantro, basil and other greens and herbs growing, and of course winter vegetables and the kale-that-never-stops. One of the many benefits of living here is that sometimes we have too much.
And we share.
And that’s what Larissa did today! I was more than happy to answer a knock on my classroom door and accept a bag of apple pears from her tree. You may know Apple Pears by their other name: Asian Pears. They are so incredibly sweet and crunchy. They have the rough leathery skin of a pear, but the shape and texture of an apple. They don’t soften as they ripen as pears do. Talk about the best of both worlds!.
All the way home I was concocting desserts in my mind: something drizzled with Kahlua . . . or maybe even Limoncello with a little lemon zest, or poached in Cointreau, or tossed with candied ginger and baked with a traditional crumble topping, or thinly sliced and served drizzled with balsamic vinegar and curls of grated Parmesan Reggiano (or crumbled blue cheese instead?), or sliced and tossed with oranges and mint.
However, when I got home and saw that hubs had made Pineapple Habanero Chicken with black Thai rice, I thought that an asian slaw made with those apple pears might be just the thing to go with a meal like that. We loved it. It has a perfect combination of sweet and heat.
Apple Pear Slaw
2 stalks of celery, julienned
2 apple pears, peeled and julienned
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely grated (a microplane works well)
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. (or more) finely chopped Thai red pepper (optional)
Whisk together the ginger, lime juice and rice vinegar, then toss with the remaining ingredients. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.