5.09.2015

Looking Back

When the north wind blows, and the early spring rains come, I am glad to stay inside and daydream - about future adventures and those in the past. Even now, when it is warm and sunny, I love reminiscing about our travels.

We had a wonderful adventure late summer 2014 - a train trip up the west coast from San Diego (at the Mexican border) all the way to Seattle and Bainbridge Island near the Canadian border - more than 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers).

We spent two nights each in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Portland, with a wonderful overnight on the train between L.A. and Portland. 

When we got to Seattle, we were met by fellow Tucsonans Connie and Barb and, together, we hopped on a ferry to Bainbridge Island. After three nights there with friends Yvonne and Allan, we spent our final days in Seattle before coming home.

We visited with lots of our friends along the way, and hosted them for meals in our rented apartments - creating new recipes with ingredients we were able to get in local grocery stores, or at big markets, such as the Pikes Place Market in Seattle.

Highlights included a Moroccan vegetable tagine, Cajun shrimp risotto, and seared scallops with pancetta on a bed of fresh, creamed corn. All of them have become regulars in my repertoire.

I intend to share these with you in the future but today, I recreated the pear cake with rosemary that Barbara and I concocted on Bainbridge Island one afternoon, as part of a dinner we made for our hosts.

Yvonne and Allan have a red Bartlett pear tree that had borne some beautiful ripe fruit. A favorite apple cake recipe got tweaked, and the result was gorgeous. And tasty.

This is the kind of cake that works beautifully for dessert or for breakfast. It isn't too sweet, and the flavor combination of pears and rosemary is just wonderful.

I hope you enjoy some of these photos of our adventure.

~ David

Pear and Rosemary Cake

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 large red Bartlett pears
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 scant cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons butter, cut into 3/8-inch dice

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Liberally butter a 9-inch cake pan and line with a round of parchment. Butter the parchment and then sprinkle with the brown sugar.

Using a mandoline (or a very sharp knife), slice one of the pears in 1/8-inch slices from top to bottom. Overlapping them as shown in the photo, place the slices on top of brown sugar to line the bottom of the pan.

Beat together the eggs and milk. Add sugar and beat until combined. Add flour, rosemary, and baking powder; mix well with a spoon or spatula.

Peel and core remaining pears. Cut the pear into 3/4-inch dice. Add the pears to the batter and pour into the prepared pan. Dot with butter.

Bake for 45 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a rack. After 10 minutes, invert onto a platter and very carefully remove the parchment so as not to pull off the pear slices. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

Serves 8-10.


38 comments:

  1. Beautiful photography! I am going to try that cake! I like the subtle ness of pears more than apples, so it sounds wonderful.

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    1. Thanks, Ann! I think you and Mike would love this, and the rosemary and pears are a great combination.

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  2. I recognize most of those places. The West Coast is the Best Coast! GREG

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    1. Agreed, Greg! Even though I am from the East Coast, I am totally enamored by the West.

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  3. You hope we enjoy "some" of those photos? Wow, I enjoyed every single one and happy to report that I've been everywhere except for Bainbridge Island. Lovely photography and what a fabulous trip that must have been!

    Your cake looks awesome and I love that you cooked your way up the coast, too! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Christina, I think you would love Bainbridge Island. There is some incredibly farm-to-market activity, and the restaurants are wonderful.

      Little by little, I will get all the recipes from the trip posted. My other favorite was seared scallops on a bed of creamed corn with crispy pancetta. Yum!

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  4. I just might have to turn on the new oven for this.My David loves pears. The pictures as always are just beautiful.

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    1. Please, Jill - I beg of you... turn ON the oven and christen that thing! This cake is the perfect one to do that.:)

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  5. Oh, those travel pictures, David - I must admit that I have not been to any of those lovely looking places that you had the great fortune of visiting - so, my virtual travels were a very welcome break duringa a very busy week - thanks for sharing all of these amazing pictures with us!
    Euch beiden ein wunderschönes Wochenende,
    Andrea

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    1. Thanks, Andrea - we are looking forward to more train travel in Germany and Austria this summer!

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  6. Oh David, firstly the cake... wow, wow, wow! This is my kind of cake. Love it. And so unusual. Now to the travel photos. Wow again. So many beautiful and quirky places you've visited. Thanks so much for sharing xo

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    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the virtual tour, Liz! And the cake. It is really very simple and not too sweet, which we love.

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  7. Wonderful photos, David. I have to say my favorite is the montage of water pics above the Portlandia photos. That would look awesome framed. As for the cake, saying it is gorgeous is an understatement! It is stunningly beautiful. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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    1. Cathleen - that montage of sea shots has been a favorite for several. Someone actually asked if they could buy a copy! Happy Monday!

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  8. How will I decide what to make for Mother's Day dinner? Your wonderful pear and rosemary cake or my original idea, blackberry and rhubarb pie? Actually pie sounds like it goes better with Julia's "Boeuf Bourguignon," (but made with elk)
    I will make your cake later in the week because I discovered 4 pears in the back of the fridge. My hubby made the stew yesterday and put it in the fridge for today. We have found that soups and stews are much tastier the next day.
    Your trip sounds wonderful. I love the name of the train, "The Coast Starlight." Maybe someday. Now I better get going on the pie!

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    1. The blackberry rhubarb pie would have won for me, too, Caterina - especially as it is rhubarb season! And Elk Bourguignon? Sounds amazing. How was it?

      Train travel is my favorite way to go. Our next U.S. adventure will be form Denver to San Francisco! Can't wait for that! But this summer it will be training to the Alps from Austria to Germany, to Switzerland and back to Germany! Can't wait!

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  9. I forgot to mention that it's snowing and raining here in Colorado, thus the winter menu for today! We've had at least two weeks of drizzly and cloudy weather. But...I am grateful that we don't have big drought here. (for now) It was not a deep snow winter so that can be very bad for fires. This rain is very appreciated. Tonight could be the killing frost we have dreaded. Hubby wrapped the little cherry tree in a tipi of plastic. I hope it works.

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    1. Oh, Caterina - I hope you don;t get a killing frost at THIS time of year. That is so heartbreaking... We have had really chilly weather here, too - usually we are around 100, but lately have been in the low 80s and sometimes the 70s!

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  10. Hi David! If my vacations were like yours, I could sit for hours reminiscing after wards! I'm a great thinker as it is, and a big day dreamer, I would never get any work done! Just as well, my holidays are only to Texas ;)
    The photos are gorgeous and the cake is too! Love Rosemary and pears together.
    I'm hoping your adventures bring you to Denver soon so we can visit. It's time for me to host you and Mark. xx

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    1. Nazneen - your holidays in Texas have all sounded wonderful! Thanks - I am so glad you enjoyed the post, and the cake. Mark and I do dream of taking the train from San Francisco to Denver and then playing in Denver for a while. We will definitely keep you posted!

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  11. good journey, good acoompany, good food, what a good life of yours my friend...
    Dedy@Dentist CHef

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    1. I am very lucky, Dedy - for sure! I hope to share more travels in the near future!

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    2. Plus i'm not a dessert person so i enjoy this kind of not too sweet dessert #DentistSyndrome lol
      Dedy@Dentist chef

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    3. Haha! Dedy, the dentists here in the United States actually have bowls of candy in their offices. Perhaps it is a way to make sure they are needed!

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  12. You make places I know well so beautiful and, in a couple of cases, with more beauty than I see when I am in the midst of the same scenes. The cake is a work of art that, in your kitchen, is indeed as beautiful as the photo suggests!

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    1. Thanks, Susan! Your comment helps me to view other travel articles a little differently - perhaps the lens does make a place more alluring than the reality? I know you and Towny will like this cake - I can see you nibbling a piece with your afternoon tea!

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  13. You've woken the travel bug in me. I so badly need a trip somewhere!
    Andrea's latest post is a delightful rosemary strawberry tart.
    You, too must be on the same brainwave!
    This rosemary pear cake looks lovely, too. I should bake both and do a Pepsi Challenge, no? ;) xo

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    1. Colette - I think it is so funny that we were on the the same wavelength, too! It has happened before with Andrea.

      I think you, Shawn, and Daisy should go for a train ride! It is so much fun!

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  14. That is a stunning cake and loved the photos. Must try the rosemary/pear combination.

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    1. Fiona - I think the first time I paired rosemary and pears was for a tart I made in Tuscany, using crushed amaretti and rosemary as a base for a custard that was studded with Fiorello pears. I always think of it as Italian, but maybe Italians would think me crazy?

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  15. I dream about travelling through the US visiting all my blogging friends! And cook together of course! I've never been to Seattle and is really a place I want to know someday.
    Beautiful cake David! Pears are such a great fruit for baking.

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    1. We would LOVE it if you came through and visited us in Tucson, Paula! There is a room awaiting you any time! Glad you like the cake - pears are a favorite of mine, too.

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  16. Gorgeous pictures and yummy looking cake. I love the idea of rosemary and pears together!

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    1. Thanks, Nicole! Now all you need to do is make it gluten free!

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  17. Such lovely pictures -- love the one of all of the different coast/water images. So cool. We're taking a trip to Seattle this summer which you've gotten me more excited about. I haven't been to Pike Place for years and years. Can't wait. (And needless to say, the cake looks divine -- apples + rosemary is one of my favorite flavor combinations.

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    1. Oh, Valentina - you will have SO much fun at Pike Place Market! I hope you will have a kitchen wherever you are staying so that you can cook all that beautiful fish and produce!

      I love apples and rosemary, too - and you should definitely try this with pears!

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  18. Wow! What gorgeous photos - you really are an artist! And what a wonderful trip. Pears and Rosemary are a good flavor match and this cake is beautiful.

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    1. Thanks, Susan! It is hard to take bad photos in such a beautiful area. Did our train roll right by your house?

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