Once upon a time, I got up early every morning. I prepared the morning routines for the kids, made sure they got out the front door to their various pursuits with some semblance of normalcy, and tried in vain (because my lists were too long!) to accomplish all I wanted to during what seemed to be the very short hours that they were gone.
Our youngest is now 18, living at home, and my oldest and her husband are living with us while they renovate their first home. More days than not, everyone gets out the door with no help from me and I find many hours of many days stretching out endlessly despite my busyness. The busyness is welcome. The "endless stretching of hours" is not. I look forward to warm bodies returning in the evenings to share the space between these walls with me ... even if we are all doing separate things.
I give you that peek into my days to tell you that one "endless stretching" day while I ate my lunch, I turned the TV on (which I rarely do because of my "busyness"). I watched Ina Garten make a beautiful roasted pear salad ... with nuts, cranberries, and bleu cheese, roasted with port and a bit brown sugar, perched on a lovely dressed arugula salad and I knew making it was in my future.
Absolutely beautiful, savory, slightly sweet ... a beautiful start to a leisurely meal and one I just might incorporate into this year's Thanksgiving menu.
I made it once with Bosc pears and walnuts and once with d'Anjou and pecans. The Bosc pears are fabulous, but a little too sweet, especially given the amount of sugar that Ina suggests. The d'Anjou pears were perfect, held shape a little better, and were less sweet. I also reduced the amount of brown sugar that Ina called for and would like to substitute honey since I love bleu cheese with honey. The type of nut you use is totally up to you, I think, as is the inclusion of bacon bits. ;)
You can follow the link the paragraph above to read Ina's original recipe, or you can mine here: Download Roasted Pear Arugula Salad