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A Delicious Holiday Duo
Tea and Pears Make a Merry Combination

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Spicy Ginger-Poached Pears
Pear Lavender-Mint Spritz

(Family Features) - Some things just go together, especially for the holidays - hot cocoa and marshmallows ... turkey and stuffing ... and a fresh new holiday duo, tea and pears.

"Combining flavorful ingredients such as tea and pears in holiday recipes can bring your holiday party a depth of flavors that ranges from crisp and clean to sweet and spicy," says Kathy Casey, celebrity chef, mixologist and author of "Sips & Apps." "Tea and pears are both affordable ingredients that add a great flavor combination to dishes and drinks."

With this duo, elegant holiday entertaining is as simple as stopping by your local grocer.

Several gorgeous varieties of pears are in season throughout the holidays - including the Anjou, Comice, Bosc, Concorde, Starkrimson, and Bartlett. Pears come in a wide range of colors and flavors that easily suit any festive menu. They also make a delicious dessert alternative to heavy sweets and pastries.

With varieties including black, green, white and oolong as well as herbal infusions, teas span the flavor spectrum for every taste. From delicate and fruity to bold and spicy, brands such as Tazo offer tea varieties perfect for every occasion. More and more home cooks and chefs are discovering that tea can go beyond the cup and add dynamic flavor to many recipes.

Pears and tea also offer guests the gift of health benefits - one medium-sized pear has 24 percent of the daily recommended amount of fiber and is a good source of vitamin C. And made with all-natural herbs, spices and botanicals, tea naturally includes antioxidants.

When is a pear ripe? Check the neck! 

Serve guests pears at the peak of ripeness. The best way to judge whether a fresh pear is ripe, sweet and juicy is to Check the Neck:

  • Press the neck or stem end of the pear with your thumb, and if it yields to gentle pressure it is ripe and ready to eat.
  • To ripen your pears at home, keep them at room temperature. For a simple yet elegant decoration, arrange them in a beautiful fruit bowl as you wait for them to ripen.
  • To slow ripening, simply put the pears in the refrigerator.

Cooking with tea: The basics

Tea can add exotic flavor, antioxidants and pizzazz to your dishes without adding artificial flavors or preservatives.

  • Substitute freshly brewed tea for water in your favorite recipes.
  • Use dry or brewed tea as a rub or marinade for meats, fish or poultry. Before cooking, try rubbing salmon with fruity herbal infusions and top with fresh lemon slices, or marinate chicken in orange tea and fresh cranberry sauce.
  • Steam rice or vegetables using freshly brewed tea to enhance the natural flavors without adding oil or salt.

For more recipes, tips and information about fresh USA Pears, visit www.usapears.org.

For more information about Tazo's full line of teas, visit www.tazo.com.

Spicy Ginger-Poached Pears

Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 quarts (5 cups) water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger
  • 5 filterbags Tazo® Organic Spicy Ginger Herbal Infusion
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/4 fresh lemon
  • 4 pears (2 pounds), peeled, cored

Preparation
    1. MIX water, sugar and ginger in medium saucepan. Add filterbags, star anise and lemon. Bring to boil on medium-low heat. Add pears; partially cover. Simmer 45 to 50 minutes or until pears are tender.
    2. REMOVE pears from liquid; place in 4 dessert dishes. Bring liquid to boil; cook 30 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Remove and discard filterbags, star anise and lemon.
    3. DRIZZLE 2 tablespoons sauce over each pear. Refrigerate remaining sauce for another use.

Preparation Time
10 minutes

Total Time
1 hour 40 minutes

Serves
Makes 4 servings

Notes, Tips & Suggestions

Serving Suggestion: Spoon remaining sauce over scoops of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. Or, serve as a syrup with hot pancakes or waffles.

Substitute: Prepare using Tazo® Passion™ Herbal Infusion rather than Organic Spicy Ginger.

Courtesy of kraftfoods.com

Pear Lavender-Mint Spritz

Ingredients
Anjou Pear Puree
  • 2 pounds ripe green Anjou pears, cored, unpeeled, cut in 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Beverage Mix
  • 2 filterbags Tazo Refresh Herbal Infusion Mint Tea
  • with Tarragon
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 3 cups Lavender DRY Soda (by DRY Soda Co.)
  • 3 cups Anjou pear puree
  • Fresh lavender sprig, for garnish

Preparation
    1. Anjou Pear Puree - COMBINE all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer over medium heat 15 minutes until pears are softened and almost all liquid is evaporated. Cool.
    2. PROCESS or blend pears until smooth. Refrigerate puree until cold. Can be refrigerated up to 3 days.
    3. Beverage Mix - STEEP filterbags in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove filterbags and refrigerate tea until cold.
    4. COMBINE tea, soda and pear puree in a large pitcher. Stir to reduce some of the carbonation.
    5. POUR 1 to 2 cups beverage mix over 2 to 3 ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Shake gently about 15 seconds until well chilled. Strain into glasses. Garnish with a lavender sprig and serve immediately.

Preparation Time
20 minutes

Total Time
1 hour 30 minutes

Serves
Makes Eight 8-ounce servings

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Courtesy of usapears.org

SOURCE: USA Pears
Starbucks Tazo Tea


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