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Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce

pear galette

Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce

My culinary journey has been a winding road.  Sometimes with hairpin turns and sometimes with steep uphill jogs. (If you know me, you know I am NOT a jogger) A few downhill walks and some lovely flat, grassy roads have led me from the past to the present.

And it seems that in every phase, I gain a little more passion and a bit more vision into my culinary world.  Often scribbling words that become my foodie quotes.  Pieces of paper with the written word littering the top of my desk.  I find notes in my handbags, in my drawers,  in my files, and a few found their way into the kitchen junk drawer.  🙂

Today, I often find myself thinking of this quote.  The one that truly speaks my heart. “Food should not only satisfy our hunger, it should feed our soul and nourish our bodies while delighting our senses”.  So with every recipe I create, or cook, or teach, this is always my reminder.

Pear Galette

Delighting the senses is exactly what I had in mind when I created this dish.  I’m often asked to review new food products. Most of them I turn down.  However, a few have captured my attention.

The Spicy Gourmet company contacted me and asked if I would review their new line of organic and fair trade spices.  They had me at organic and fair trade.  But would flavor be just as impressive?  I was delighted and intrigued.

Dinesh Perera of The Spicy Gourmet sent me the Classic Garam Masala Spice Kit.  So off to testing I went.

Thinking seasonal, thinking spicy, thinking holiday parties made me think of something sweet.  Festive and just a little indulgent.  But just a little.  😉

Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce.  A little spicy, a little saucy and a lot of delicious.  The Classic Garam Masala is an exquisite spicy blend, perfect for all savory dishes.  But I loved the idea of this spicy blend in a sweet dish.

I did cut the black pepper in half as well as the cumin and then added in a little ginger and nutmeg.  Perfect.

I adore fresh, whole, spices, ground as needed for optimum flavor.  I was so impressed with the quality, taste and fragrance of my new spices, I chucked my old bottles of cardamom and cloves!

Many thanks to Dinesh Perera at The Spicy Gourmet for allowing me the opportunity to test their products.  This is a small company with big flavor.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and most delicious holiday season.

Loads of Love,


Garam Masala Spiced Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Sauce

Serves 6-8


Galette Dough

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cold butter, cubed

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

½ cup ice-cold water


3-4 pears, sliced

1 tablespoon butter, diced

2 teaspoons Spicy Gourmet Garam Masala*

½ teaspoon Ginger

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1/3 cup sugar (I love using Coconut Palm Sugar in this recipe)

Chocolate Drizzle

4 ounces dark chocolate

¼ cup heavy cream

2-3  tablespoons water


Prepare the dough –  In a food processor add the flour, salt, sugar and butter and pulse until the ingredients resemble coarse crumbs.

While the food processor is on slowly add ½ cup water.  The dough should form a ball to one side of the food processor bowl.  If the dough is too dry, add a little more water.

Place the dough in the center of plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Prepare the filling – Place the pears in a large bowl and toss with the diced butter, Garam Masala, ginger and nutmeg.

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Roll out the dough into a large circle.  Place the galette dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Reserve about 5-6 slices of pear.  Place the remaining pears in the center of the galette dough, leaving about a 2 inch border.  Pull up the sides to form an open face tart.  Artfully place the remaining pears on top of the other pears in the center of the galette.  Brush the galette with a little melted butter and sprinkle with a little sugar.

Place the galette into the oven and bake at 400F for about 15 minutes.  Turn down the heat to 375F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the galette is golden brown.

While the galette is baking make the chocolate sauce.

In a double boiler melt the chocolate and whisk in the heavy cream and water until smooth and glossy. Adding all the water if you’d like the sauce a bit thinner.

When the galette is done, remove from the oven and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes.  Drizzle the chocolate sauce on top, reheating the sauce if necessary.

Drizzle dessert plates with a little more chocolate sauce and then place slices on top of the sauce. Serve immediately.

*Each Garam Masala will have a different blend of spices.  I highly recommend blending your own Garam Masala with spices from the Spicy Gourmet.  However, if you have your own Garam Masala blend, or purchased a prepared Garam Masala, be sure it doesn’t include the ginger or nutmeg.  If it does, then feel free to omit the ginger and nutmeg in the recipe, or add in a little less if desired.


Fresh Pear and Cardamom Muffins

Fresh Pear and Cardamom Muffins

These are my favorite muffins.  Mostly because I’m in love with cardamom.

I wish my house smelled like cardamom.  And I wouldn’t mind a perfume smelling of cardamom.  I’d probably bathe in this lovely spice if I could.

Ground and Whole Cardamom

Sometimes I open my cardamom spice jar just to stick my nose in and inhale the blissful fragrance.

I love it in apple pie, peach crisp, banana bread, curried chicken, soups, stews, and in mashed sweet potatoes prepared with coconut milk.  I’ve even sipped hot chocolate with a hint of cardamom.  Wow, talk about an explosion of flavors!

If the flavor isn’t enough, cardamom also has health benefits.  A relative of ginger, cardamom is also used to promote healthy digestion and is known to aid in lowering blood pressure.

Truly, I could write another 500 words about cardamom and the benefits of incorporating this lovely scented spice into our diets.  So I’ve listed a few excellent websites for additional information.  You know, just for a bit of light reading.

But for now, I’m enjoying the fragrant flavors of cardamom with seasonal pears… all deliciously blended into my most favorite muffins.

Fresh Pear and Cardamom Muffins

Makes 10-12 muffins


2 cups organic all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 rounded teaspoon ground cardamom

1/3 cup grapeseed oil (substitute with 1/3 cup coconut oil or unsalted butter)

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, combine just a tad less than one cup milk with one tablespoon white vinegar. Let it sit for about five minutes)

2-3 pears peeled and small diced


Pre-heat the oven to 400F.  Line the muffin tin.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom.  Set aside.

In another bowl, or kitchen aid mixer, beat together the oil and sugar.  Once combined add the egg, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Gently mix in the buttermilk.

Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the diced pears.

Ladle into muffin cups.  Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes or until done.  The muffins will be nicely golden brown on top.

Let the muffins sit for 5-10 minutes to cool.  Enjoy!

Kid Friendly Pork Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Roasted Pear Salad with a Shallot Vinaigrette and Red Chard and Spicy Sausage Quiche

Roasted Pear Salad

A few weeks ago Full Circle Farm  contacted me and asked if I’d like to sample a month’s worth of their produce.  I’m a huge fan of local, CSA farms and I felt honored they asked me to give them a try.  So I signed up, cruised their user-friendly website and marked my calendar for our first delivery.

I woke up to a delicious surprise Tuesday morning.  My Full Circle Farm produce box was waiting patiently for me on my front porch.  Exciting! Actually, I’m not sure who was more excited, me or Ranger Craig.  He loves his veggies.

Organic Produce from Full Circle Farms

Brilliantly colored Red Chard, bright green pears, pink firm apples, a perfect looking buttercup squash, fingerling potatoes, bright red radishes, crisp celery, sweet baby spinach, green leaf lettuce, organic Satsumas and a giant red beet.  I couldn’t wait to dig in.

Roasted Pear Salad with Bleu Cheese and Toasted Walnuts

The pears and the spinach were calling my name, so a roasted pear salad was on the menu last night for dinner.  Added a little of my fave bleu cheese, some toasted walnuts and a divine little shallot vinaigrette and the evening became blissfully delicious.

Organic Red Chard

I decided the Bennett Crew needed a little something more than just the salad, although I was completely satisfied with my big bowl of deliciousness.  Browsing my produce stash again, the brilliantly colored red chard caught my eye. A red chard and spicy sausage quiche would make a snappy little dish to go with my roasted pear salad.

Red Chard and Spicy Sausage Quiche

So it’s a two for one today! So much goodness I had to post these two recipes together.

Thanks so much to Full Circle Farms for sharing a months worth of produce with the Bennett Crew.  I’m completely impressed with the produce, the user friendly website, options for ordering my produce, home delivery and pick up options, and a lovely little artisan grocery page for yummy extras.  Local, fresh, organic, high quality, seasonal and convenient.

Full Circle Farms now delivers to much of the Northwest.  If you don’t live within their delivery area, I highly recommend exploring CSA farms in your local area.  It’s a great way to boost our local economies, help others in our communities and provide our families with healthy, high quality produce.  I even purchase my eggs farm fresh.  They’re less expensive than purchasing at the local market, not to mention delicious.

If you have little ones, there are many CSA farms in the U.S. that give the option of harvesting your own produce.  We did this when my two sassy gals were little and it was a blast.  It was so much fun to show them how a farm works, how food grows and my little gal loved getting her hands dirty.  My oldest gal just wanted to play with the pigs.

My Two Sassy Gals... Love

Delicious Wishes to you all during this most beautiful holiday season!

Loads of Love,


Roasted Pear Salad with Baby Spinach, Bleu Cheese, Toasted Walnuts tossed in a Shallot Vinaigrette

Serves 3-4

For the Salad:

5-6 ounces fresh baby spinach

2 pears, sliced

1 – 1/4 cups crumbled bleu cheese (I adore Rogue Creamery Bleu Cheese)

1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Shallot Vinaigrette

1 shallot, finely diced (about 2 tablespoons)

1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Whisk together all the shallot vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.  Toss the pears in a drizzle of oil (to keep them from sticking) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  I like them crisp tender, but if they are super ripe before baking they will be soft.  They will still taste yummy.

When the pears are done, toss the vinaigrette with the spinach.

Plate the spinach on individual plates or one large platter or bowl.  Top with the warm pears, bleu cheese and toasted chopped walnuts.  Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and serve.   Salad recipe adapted from multiple sources

Red Chard and Spicy Sausage Quiche

Serves 6


1 bunch red, rainbow or Swiss chard, chopped (just leaves, save the hard stems for a soup or stock)

1 onion, diced

2 tablespoons grapeseed, coconut, safflower or sunflower oil

1 lb spicy Italian sausage (I used spicy chicken sausage)

4 eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional, for extra zing!)

1 cup Swiss or Emmental Cheese, shredded

1 prepared deep dish pie crust (I use a gluten-free crust from Wheatless in Seattle. The pie crust isn’t deep enough so I take it out of the pie tin and put it in my deep dish pie plate.  It works great!)


Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Add a tablespoon of oil to a saute pan or skillet over medium heat.  Saute the onions until wilted and then add the chopped chard.  The chard will wilt like spinach.  Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and then transfer to a bowl.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the saute pan or skillet over medium high heat and brown the sausage.  When the sausage is cooked through, drain the fat and place the crumbled sausage in the prepared pie crust.

Top the crumbled sausage with the chard and onions, and then the shredded cheese.

Whisk together the eggs, cream, salt, pepper and basil.  Pour over the shredded cheese.

Bake the quiche for about 45 minutes to one hour or until its done and the top is nicely browned.  Let the quiche cool for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Recipe from Karista’s Kitchen

Grilling Kid Friendly Pork

Pork with Pears and Golden Raisins

Pork Chops and Pears with Golden Raisins

I’ve become a pear hoarder. I’ve made three trips to the market this week specifically to purchase pears.

First of the season Seckel Pears

I know you’re wondering why.  Because I have pear snatchers (I guess I should say “snackers”) living in my house.

Two to be exact. Yep, the two Bennett gals.

The Pear Snatchers'

I filled my big yellow fruit bowl with a beautiful selection of perfect fall pears.  Two days later I noticed most the pears had disappeared.  Back to the market I went.  For more pears.

Yesterday, I walked into the kitchen and glanced at my fruit bowl. One pear left. Huh. Back to the market one more time.

This time I did something most Mom’s would never do.

Bosc Pears

I hid my pears.  Of course, I bought extra for the pear snatchers. 🙂

Pork with Pears and Golden Raisins

A big shout out and huge thanks to my friend, Leslie MacInnes.  Thanks for brainstorming with me on this recipe!!

Serves 4-6


4-6 pork chops – Although, I tested this recipe over pork chops, it would be delicious with a pork roast, pork tenderloin or pork loin chops.

For the pears

3-4 pears, diced (you can leave the skin on), I used Bosc pears

1 tablespoon butter

¼ cup chopped shallots

1/3 cup organic golden raisins (if you have dark raisins on hand feel free to substitute)

¼ cup brown sugar (not packed)

¼ cup white wine, apple cider or water

1 teaspoon five spice powder

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Pinch (or more) red pepper flakes (I like my pears spicy so I add two pinches!)

Salt to taste

Fresh chopped thyme or Italian parsley for garnish (optional)


In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add the butter and let it melt.  Once it’s melted add the shallots and sauté for about one minute.

Turn the heat to medium and stir in the remaining ingredients, except salt.  Turn the heat to low and let the pears simmer, stirring occasionally for about 15 – 20 minutes
or until the raisins and pears are soft, but not mushy.

If the pears and raisins seem dry, add a little more wine, apple cider or water to the mixture.

While the pears are simmering, prepare your pork.

Grilled Pork Chops – Heat the grill to 400F.

Brush the chops with a little oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper or your favorite pork seasoning. I love Emeril’s essence on pork chops!

Grill the chops for about 4 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 145F, the new safe temperature standard for pork.

Take the pork off the grill and let it rest for at least five minutes before serving.  This will help re-distribute the juices in the pork and make a juicier pork chop.

Give the pears and raisins a stir and salt to taste.

Plate the pork on a platter or individual plate and top with the pears and raisins.  Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley or fresh thyme.  Enjoy!