A peck of pickled pears

Well, really it’s a passel of poached pears, since I can’t think of a word for “80” that starts with P.

I spent a couple hours in the kitchen at Eulipia yesterday afternoon, peeling and poaching the pears that have been sitting in the walk-in cooler since we picked them back in, what? August? And, true to the predictions of my friends with childhood experience with pear orchards (and it’s something that I say that in the plural) almost all of them hibernated quietly and emerged ready to grace the world with their tender, perfectly-ripened presence.

I wish that my right thumb had survived the experience with as much success. I tried to use my handy-dandy Vermont cranked peeler-corer-slicer, but without the coring and slicing. However, I couldn’t remove the slicing and coring blade from the contraption (because of my own ineptitude, I’m sure, since it’s made to be removable.) So I decided to gut it out and peel the bin of pears by hand. Eighty of them, with just four or five tiny, wizened specimens left over after I was done. I still feel the effect of pressing a piece of metal into the heel of my hand for an hour.

Anyway, they all poached happily in five bottles of Santa Cruz Mountains zinfandel and four pounds of Willow Glen honey. Now they’re soaking in the syrup, back in the walk-in. Saturday night, I’ll serve them with biscotti and crème fraîche.

This morning, I pick up donated dairy from Whole Foods in Campbell, and garlic from Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale. I feel compelled to say that I’m using salt and pepper that are not sourced from anywhere in particular, and that we’ll be serving coffee after dinner, although I hope to get something locally roasted, at least. But otherwise, I’m pretty darn smug about the ingredients.