Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A particular eater, and wine-poached fruit

Soon after I issued an invitation for dinner to my friend Melissa, I felt a pang of panic. She’s what I’d call a particular eater. To start, she a vegetarian, and she hates heavy food. She won’t eat anything too cheesy, and if she can tell you might be sneaking in a bit of fat, she starts looking very nervous. This isn’t to say Melissa doesn’t appreciate good food. She does. And she’s generous with her praise, which makes her the best kind of dinner guest.

Remembering this, and the fact that I was a vegetarian for more than a dozen years, I shifted from alarm to anticipation. I love a project. And searching for the perfect dinner and dessert recipes for Melissa was a fun challenge. For dinner: stir-fry with tofu and a mound of fresh vegetables. For dessert, I went rifling through my files. I came up with this version of poached fruit, and I switched it up a bit to fit what I had around the house. Melissa loved it, and she was kindly generous with her praise. The best part—after poaching the fruit, there was still more than half a bottle of wine to nip from during dinner.

Wine-poached fruit
(adapted from here)
1 ½ cups semi-sweet white wine (Gewurztraminer, Riesling or Liebfraumilch)
¼ cup water
1 cup sugar
Zest of one orange, peeled off in long strips
Juice of one orange
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cloves
2 crisp apples, peeled, cored and cut into thick slices
2 pears, peeled, cored and halved
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup dried cherries

In a heavy saucepan, combine wine, water, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil and stir a few times until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the fruit and cook for two minutes. Let sit on the stove for at least 30 minutes, and reheat when ready to eat. Serve warm in bowls with the wine mixture spooned around the fruit.

Notes and tips:
· This recipe is wonderful for entertaining because you can make it ahead of time and reheat it for a few moments after dinner. It smells fantastic, so have it simmering on the stove when guests arrive if you like.
· If you have a lemon or other sort of citrus, substitute it for the orange. I just love the scent of orange and cloves in the air, but anything will do.
· Dried apricots, plums, figs or dates would work in place of the cranberries or cherries, but chop them up into bits for a prettier presentation.
· Adjust the sugar in the recipe for your taste. If your wine is on the sweeter side you’ll want to decrease the amount.


Blogger Moviegirl said...

That sounds so good! Will you make it for me sometime? :)
p.s. I can't stop eating the chocolate you made me.

4:26 PM  

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