It isn’t up for debate – it’s a proven, medical, scientific, dictionarial fact: Second hand shops are pretty much the best places ever.
Okay, maybe not.
Truth be told, they aren’t quite the sexiest places on the planet. I often find them to be the exact opposite of that. I don’t know if it’s the stark florescent lighting, the price tags with the stickum on the back that never fully comes off or what MUST be the stale scented industry standard laundry soap they use on all the clothes because every second hand shop I’ve ever been in smells exactly the same. Kind of like gymnasiums. Or dive bars. Regardless, none of that stops me going to them in search of hidden food prop gemery.
In fact, I’m pretty sure I found the mecca of hidden food prop gemery in the form of thrift store the other day. Sexy or bust, I always say.
We’re talking vintage bowls, silver platters, cocktail glasses of every shape and size and form, and what I must say is an incredible array of some of the most beautiful (and coveted) food prop cutlery. Everything a budding food pornographer could ever want. It was propgasmic.
Good lord, I’m making up a lot of words in this post, aren’t I? Evidently that’s what sociologists do – or so the stories I’ve been told go – and as someone who studied sociology in University, I’ll allow it.
So I guess it isn’t up for debate – it’s a proven, medical, scientific, dictionarial fact: Second hand shops are pretty much not the best places ever. They’re cold, bright and generally smell funny. They’re certainly not sexy. But they’re great for cheap props!
Speaking of trying to keep warm and sexy – did that segue work? – the dessert that I have for you today, does just that. And not just because the cheese adds an extra layer of warming fat (love handles) beneath your skin. It’s loaded with Fall/Winter flavours of warm cinnamon, fresh lemon and luscious red wine. Because let’s be sure: Red wine is in fact, a Winter weather flavour.
And as Christmas creeps closer (and by creeps, what I really mean is railroads me into the garland strung ground – would that be painful or awesome?), these gems are guaranteed to make an appearance on my holiday table. Be it breakfast, dessert, late-night feeding – they’re beautiful, kind of vintage and cheap like me on the 3rd date. Or at least like the bowls they were served in.
Seriously guys. This Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears & Creamy Ricotta recipe – which I actually originally posted way back in 2011 – is oh so easy (again, kind of like me on the 3rd date). Who would ever argue with a cheese and wine poached pear course? Or a cheap and easy writer with a pot full of wine for that matter? No one, that’s who.
….Unless maybe they don’t like pears. Or can’t eat cheese. Or don’t entertain writers. All of which would be a sad day in the world of me.
It isn’t up for debate – it’s a proven, medical, scientific, dictionarial fact: Pears are scrumptiously delicious. And they’re even more so when they’re cooked in wine. And dished up in plates you found at the thrift store. And washed thoroughly.
Yep. This is a damn sexy place to be. Even if the thrift shop isn’t.
- 4 Firm, Ripe Pears (Bartlett work well if not too ripe)
- The Juice of 2 Lemons
- 1 1/2 C Dry Red Wine
- 1 C Water
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks
- 1 C Sugar (you could use white here OR organic cane or honey would be interesting too)
- 8 Thin Slices of Lemon + 8 Thin Slices of Lemon for Serving
- Place lemon juice in a shallow bowl and peel and core the pears. You can do this by slicing them in half and removing the pear cores with a pairing knife, or, if you have a corer just plunge that baby head first into the center of the fruit and pull out the core. As you do this, gently toss the pears in the lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Put the red wine, cinnamon, sugar, 8 lemon slices, and 1 C of water in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat and simmer gently until the sugar dissolves, stirring often.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to simmer the mixture for 15 minutes.
- Add the pears and simmer for a further 20 minutes, carefully turning occasionally if necessary to ensure even colouring.
- Cover and leave the pears to soak in the syrup at least 6 hours (or overnight).
- Before serving, remove the pears and simmer the syrup over high heat for about 15 minutes or until it thickens slightly.
- About an hour before serving, place ricotta in a colander to drain any excess liquid. Serve the pears with some of the syrup mixture, a slice of fresh lemon and some drained ricotta cheese.
What are you feelings on thrift stores? Ever find any hidden gems? Make up your own words? What do you poach pears in? What’s in your mouth right now? Spill it!