This year, for me, seems to be defined by my comfort zone and its boundaries. I’ve been hungrily collecting those quotes, you know the ones, things like If it doesn’t scare you, it’s not worth the effort. And whatnot. Well, last weekend I taught my very first class ever – on the basics of food photography. And it scared the crap out of me. (Also I was really thrilled about it.)
But I think it’s a good thing, to live at that edge and learn to be a little more flexible, even as I feel myself resisting in a panic, and worn down on some days because of it. I can also see how much growing I’ve done and how much more enthusiastic I am about life, generally, because I am going after the things I love. High five to that.
I have always wanted to teach, but hadn’t felt ready to assume that role. It takes a while to feel like you’re good enough at a thing to be able to offer something of value. There is theater in teaching, in leading a group and in commanding a certain confidence. I’m not quite sure that I was as dynamic and on point as I had envisioned myself being, but one can’t expect to be perfect on the first try. People learned stuff. Questions were asked and I was able to answer them. That felt good.
We find comfort in food for so many reasons, and lately it seems to be the familiar anchor that keeps me on the ground when so much of my life is a string of (exciting) unknowns. So, again, with these guys. Their delivery is novel, which I love about them, but the flavors are classic: cocoa, ginger and pear work easily together and their warm, spicy crunch is so perfect this time of year. And that rich aromatic fragrance, as they bake slowly in a low oven for an hour? It’s to die for.
COCOA PEAR CRISPS
adapted from Food52
3 firm pears
3 tablespoons coarse sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Using a mandoline, slice the pears to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Combine the sugar, cocoa powder, ginger and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Sprinkle the cocoa mixture evenly over the pears.
Bake at 275 degrees. After 1/2 hour, flip each pear so that they cook evenly. After one hour, turn off the oven. Remove the pears from the oven and allow to cool. They will crisp as they cool.
And they will be eaten quickly.