My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Res-pear-ation Sauce

We've been enjoying such an abundance of delicious pears lately (which go delightfully with Maple Cranberry Sauce) that it's had me searching some of my older recipes for some pear concoctions. I was delighted to find one from a newsletter I got from Hugh's Acupuncture Clinic. Hugh Castor is a licensed practitioner of acupuncture, Chinese medicine and massage therapy as well as a certified Qigong and T'ai Chi Chuan instructor in Fort Collins, CO. I'd met him when I partook in one of his free beginner T'ai Chi classes at the Sustainable Living Fair there in 2005. I took one of his free newsletters home with me, and had clipped and saved this recipe from it for an unnamed pear dish for treating lung ailments. As it happened, I found this recipe just as BW was recovering from a bout of bronchitis. Nurse Laloofah to the rescue! :-)

Notice the similarity? No? Well, try harder. ;-)

Any internet search for the subject of pears and lung health will turn up a lot of web sites about the traditional benefits of pears for lung healing and disease prevention in Chinese, Ayurvedic, natural and alternative medicine, as well as findings in recent studies in The Netherlands and at the National Institutes of Health.

Here's the blurb that accompanied Hugh's recipe...

A Healing Food for the Lungs

Pears are a great medicinal food for the lungs and can help them recuperate after illness. They are especially helpful when the lungs are inflamed and irritated due to prolonged coughing and dry climates. Try this recipe the next time you or a loved one needs to heal your lungs.

In addition, pears are very high in fiber and a good source of vitamin C, as well as delicious! And so is this dish. You certainly don't need to wait till you've got a cough or cold to enjoy it!

Since Hugh's recipe had no name, started referring to it as "pear lung stuff." :-) That was not going to cut it as a blog post name, so I renamed it Res-pear-ation Sauce. It's a very easy recipe that smells wonderful while simmering, and a lot of fun to tinker with. I've made a few variations so far (two of which I've posted here) and they've all been delicious - in fact, I always make a double batch of it now. It's good hot, warm, room temperature or chilled. I eat it by itself while BW really enjoys it on his steel-cut oats in the mornings. Experiment with it, enjoy, and breath easy!

Res-pear-ation Sauce

Hugh's original version:

2-3 medium pears (any variety)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup walnuts and dates
1 TBSP honey (I used agave nectar)
1 dash each cardamom and ginger
Cut pears into small pieces, chop up walnuts and dates, and put all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to gentle simmer and cook 8-10 minutes. Serves 2.

This was the first variation I made, its name inspired by this Christmas angel I used for the photo prop. :-)

My "Sweet Angel" version:

2-3 medium pears (any variety, I used red & d'anjou)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup chopped dates
2 TBSP chopped walnuts
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Dash cardamom
1 organic cinnamon stick

Cut pears into small pieces.
Put all ingredients in a small saucepan. (Add the chopped walnuts near or at the end of cooking if you prefer them crunchier).
Bring to a gentle simmer and cook 8-10 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and remove the cinnamon stick.
Enjoy hot, warm or chilled.

This was my second version. I chose this antique metal Santa for my prop because he's pear-shaped. But the name of this version is due to the fact that BW and I agree he's also kind of creepy, specially in this photo. (I think his creepiness is due mostly to his weirdly pursed lips and the nicotine stains in his beard! LOL)...
This batch shown topping a bowl of steel-cut oats

My "Creepy Santa" version:

1 Asian pear
1 red pear
1 D'anjou pear
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup chopped dates
3 tsp maple syrup
2 1/2 TBSP chopped walnuts
2 TBSP currants
1/4 well-rounded tsp ground ginger (or 1 TBSP grated fresh ginger root)
generous pinch (or more, to taste) of cardamon
1/8 - 1/4 tsp ground cloves (optional)
1 organic cinnamon stick

Cut pears into small pieces.
Put all ingredients into a small saucepan. (Add the walnuts at or near the end of cooking if you prefer them crunchier).
Bring to a gentle simmer and cook 8-10 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and remove the cinnamon stick.
Enjoy hot, warm or chilled.

Some notes: I've made this with ripe, soft pears and with firm unripe ones. The ripe ones are quite a bit sweeter so you'll need less sweetener. They also make a "saucier" sauce. The small chunks of unripe or less ripe pears will retain their shape and some crunchiness even after cooking, will need more sweetener (perhaps 3 teaspoons of maple syrup vs. 1 teaspoon for a batch made with ripe pears), and though still saucy, it will be thicker and chunkier. The results using apple-like Asian pears is similar to using unripe ones, as they are less sweet and stay crunchy even when ripe. Feel free to combine varieties and ripeness levels, that works well too!

In addition to the benefits of the pears, the dates are also a good source of dietary fiber, as are the currants (which are also high in Vitamin C and other phytonutrients), and some of the spices in this are believed or known to help fight colds, flu, coughs and/or congestion. Ginger has been used to relieve the symptoms of colds, flu and chronic coughs (among other ailments) for millennia, while cinnamon also eases cold and flu symptoms and is reputed to have antiseptic and antibacterial properties. (And cardamom sweetens the breath, handy for those times you're caught under the mistletoe!) ;-)

Enjoy playing with this recipe, and please share your own ideas for your own versions!


  1. Wow, so there is something to do with pears other than just eating them as is! I sure never knew that. I do now have cranberries and oranges and I'm hoping to make some relish in the next few days. I'll hunt through your blog as I seem to remember you had a great sounding cranberry/orange relish. Your photos are lovely and I'm inspired to keep trying!

  2. Daphne ~ You don't need to hunt for the cranberry relish recipe, my link to the Maple Cranberry Sauce at the beginning of this post will take you to it!

    Bryanna Clark-Grogan posted a cranberry relish recipe recently that I think looks really good (I love the idea of the pineapple in it), I'm going to make it next time. (But since I just made a double batch of the Maple Cranberry Sauce on Friday, it'll be a little while before I make the relish!) :-)

    There are actually a lot of different pear recipes out there that look interesting (not all vegan, but easily veganizable). The Chinese Medicine link in this post will take you to a page with a recipe for vegan pear Waldorf salad, should that appeal to you!

    Thank you for your compliment about the photos, and I'm glad that you continue to feel inspired! :-)

  3. What a great name for this post! lol

    These recipes look easy & really good. I can't even remember the last time I ate a pear, which is kind of embarassing to admit. Now I have a reason to buy some!

  4. I get it!! It took me a while but I get it! Yes, much more appetizing than "pear lung stuff". Your sauce variations all sound good! I've been meaning to ask you about your maple syrup substitute...I think you mentioned it in another post....does it really taste like maple syrup? And/or what was the formula again? (Sorry for being lazy, I should just go back and hunt for it in your earlier posts.)

    That Santa is a little creepy! lol. I've got to pick up some pears soon.

  5. Molly ~ Thanks! LOL - I wasn't sure whether to be proud of coming up with that, or sheepish. :-)

    This recipe (and all variations thereof) is definitely a cinch to make and really fun to improvise! And it's really, REALLY yummy! :-)

    Yes, you - go forth and buy ye some pears! :-)

    Rose ~ LOL ~ those little epiphanies do add some sparkle to our lives, don't they? ;-)

    Here's that "maple syrup" recipe ~ it is what I use in this, so I should link to it again in this post. (I'll do that later, since lunch ~ potato leek soup and homemade focaccia bread, yum! ~ is nearly ready). I use half sucanat and half demerara sugar in mine, and it's the same dark color and is think like maple syrup, and with the maple flavoring I think it tastes enough like maple syrup that in a recipe like this especially, you'd be unlikely to tell the difference. In fact, we use it on our French Toast, waffles and pancakes and I - who love maple syrup - don't feel like I'm missing out at all.

    Thanks for agreeing with me about Creepy Santa! LOL

  6. Rose ~ that should be "thick (not think) like maple syrup!" Sheesh. And I haven't even nipped into the Silk Nog yet! ;-)

  7. Laloofah -- I am not much of a cook or baker -- as I might have mentioned before. What I do like about your pear sauce is its simplicity and healthy food ingredients. I am going to send it to my daughter as she is a great cook (how did that happen). Will send her the original and she can fool with it if she desires. I enjoy good food -- but I am a boring cook -- I just eat basics like organic yams, quinwoa, greens, from scratch beans, raw and some cooked veggies and fruit plus organic herbs and spices. But I feel it is tasty and other folks tolerate it well. I bet that pear dish is delicious. -- barbara

  8. Truly I saw the link but didn't put two and two together as it was the second of your two cranberry recipes I was remembering so vaguely in the days before I decided to learn to cook. I shall try both I hope, and thanks also for the other link to Bryanna Clark-Grogan's as that also sounds wonderful! Wow! So many choices!

    Meanwhile, Barbara, I don't think you sound at all like a boring cook as what you mention suits me just fine, if I can just master it!

  9. "Think maple syrup...Think maple syrup, Think..."

    I'll use that as my new positive affirmation mantra (?) I think I just mixed up the name of about 4 different things.

    Leek-potato soup & homemade foccacia = yummy!

  10. Barbara ~ I hope your daughter enjoys it! It's one of those wonderful, basic recipes that's good as-is or fun and easy to tinker with, as well as tasty and healthy. One of the reasons I don't post many recipes is because so many of our meals are just like yours, consisting of simple whole foods. No recipes involved. I don't consider that boring, and don't think meals need to be elaborately prepared to be beautiful and delicious, though I do enjoy visiting all the vegan food blogs that have more complex dishes, exotic ingredients, and/or elegant presentations. And I think most others do too, so I doubt I'd get away with a lot of posts like this one. :-)

    Have you ever read Helen Nearing's Simple Food for the Good Life? I've recommended it on past posts and comments, and I think it would be right up your alley. It's a very entertaining read, too!

    Daphne ~ LOL, I know, little did we suspect back then that you would soon be launching yourself into a great culinary adventure! :-) I think Blogger's search tools suck, frankly, so I thought I'd save you the aggravation of trying to find it. Sometimes checking out the archives is the fastest way, but still tedious. I've been cleaning up my tags lately, and I think I have all posts with recipes or links to recipes tagged "vegan recipes" now, so that's another way to search.

    I was thinking of you yesterday when I was replying to a new comment from Molly on my Veggies Benedict post, because that's another easy one you were tempted by but you weren't going to attempt because you weren't cooking then. Thought I'd bring it up again in case you want to give it a whirl one of these days! :-) Making cashew milk with your VitaMix will be a snap.

    Rose ~ Ha, you DO get silly at this time of year! What kind of punch are you drinkin'? ;-)

    That's a lovely positive affirmation mantra there, Rose, but you honestly don't need it! Really, the homemade stuff does taste like maple syrup. :-)

    The soup and bread was scrumptious indeed! I'll be having leftovers for lunch today, despite the fact we each ate two bowls of soup and a couple of slices of bread each yesterday! :-)

  11. P.S. Daphne ~ LOL, after I posted my comment to you, both the Veggies Benedict and the Cranberry Goodies posts showed up at the bottom of this one as two of the three random "you might also enjoy these" Linked Within suggestions! That would have been handy earlier, huh? :-)

  12. For those of you who haven't tried the Res-pear-ation - do! It only took me a few minutes to cook, the house smelled awesome, it tasted fabulous and my 18 year old, Melissa, loved it too. (Other members of the family weren't home and by the time they got home, there wasn't any left :-) I made the second version.

    La, you were so clever in this blog and tied so many things together. Given that ginger and cinnomon and pears are all good for the lungs was very interesting. I loved the props you added to the photos - I was LOL about Santa's nicotine stains! He must have done that BEFORE he lived with you. I loved the photo of the pears next to the lungs. Very clever - the similarity was quite noticeable.
    Thanks for another fun blog and it was fun to comment AFTER I made the recipe!

  13. Love these! I've been looking for something fun to do with the pears in my fridge.

  14. Jo ~ Thanks for sharing your review! Awesome! :-) I'm really pleased you and Missy both loved it. Hopefully the other 50% of your family will get an opportunity to try it some day too, and will have the same response. ;-) Maybe you could make this while you're in NH, think Linda and Brian and your folks might like it?

    You know, I think this might taste good with a little dash of rum or brandy or some other appropriate holiday cheer in it. Perhaps Schnapps of some sort. Hmm... don't know what benefit that might or might not bestow on the ol' pulmonary system, but hey, it's Christmas! Let's live it up! :-) It would probably go well with those Cranboozy muffins. (Hey, now I think I know what Rose has been up to! LOL)

    Speaking of lungs, thanks for commenting on the resemblance between the pair of pears and the pair of lungs! :-) I found those pears first and that made me go looking for a picture of a set of lungs that looked similar. And you wouldn't believe the vile pictures I had to sort through before I found one that looked similar and wasn't disgusting! Autopsy photos, diseased smoker's lungs pictures... blech. Nicotine-stained Santa (who did indeed acquire those stains long before he came to this house!) should be the one having to look at those, and take heed! (Honestly, the things I do for this blog). ;-)

    I'm glad you enjoyed the post and the recipe, and thanks again for leaving your great comment! It is fun that you got to try the recipe first! (Now I know why cookbook authors have all their friends taste-test recipes before publication!) :-)

    Jamie ~ Perfect use for those pears in your fridge! Hmm, you also had a spaghetti squash sitting on your counter when I posted those spaghetti squash recipes, didn't you? Coincidence? (That web cam I covertly set up in your kitchen so I could see what produce was needing to be used is coming in handy! Mmmmwwwaahahahaha!) ;-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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