When I was 4 years old, my parents had our first "family home" built. I can still remember when we moved in, there was no grass, only straw covering the yard. I was so confused as to why we had dirt and straw with no grass, but eventually it grew in. My parents did all of our landscaping and gardening at the house, and decided to let my sisters and me each pick out a fruit tree. I don't remember what we chose then, and I think we moved to Ohio before the trees ever began producing. However, when we moved to Cincinnati, they let us pick out trees again.
Over the past few years, the trees have finally started producing fruit, two apple trees and one pear. I realize this sounds nerdy, but I love to get my little basket and go out to the yard and pick fruit from the tree when I'm at home! Now that I'm in Florida, I don' get to enjoy the fruit as much as when I lived in Indiana and would go to their house every few weeks. I was never a big pear fan, but when my dad handed me one that he picked off the tree a few years ago, I was so excited about it that I ate it, and loved it! Just like that I was a pear convert.
Since then, I've been anxiously awaiting pear season each fall. Of course they're great eaten in plain form, but their mild, sweet flavor pairs so well with savory dishes. My most recent issue of Vegetarian Times highlighted pears in a few recipes, which I put on my dinner menu immediately. First up was this sandwich! My husband loves sandwiches of all kinds, and could eat a different one daily. After last week's Honey Oat Wheat bread success, I decided to whip up another loaf of bread for the week.
The walnut pate had great flavor, and added a little heartiness to the sandwich with healthy protein and fat. The red pepper added a smoky sweet flavor, and the pear added great crunch and sweetness. The original called for arugula, but I've been on a sprouts kick lately, so I chose them instead. After constructing these sandwiches, I toasted them in a dry skillet, but that's not necessary. These sandwiches had such wonderful balance of flavor, I didn't even miss the fact that it was cheese-less!
Tips and Trades:
-Keep the extra pate in the refrigerator for up to a week. It makes a great dip for veggies!
-Pears are on the dirty dozen list, so buy organic when possible, or better yet, try u-pick.com to find an orchard near you and pick your own (ask the grower if they're organic or what pesticides they use).
Walnut Pate and Pear Sandwich on Maple Oatmeal Bread
Sandwich adapted from Vegetarian Times October 2010
Bread from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies
4 slices Maple Oatmeal Bread (recipe follows)
1 c. Walnut Pate (recipe follows)
1 roasted red bell pepper, halved
1 Anjou pear (or any variety), sliced
1 c. sprouts, any variety
1 c. toasted walnut halves
2 c. cannelini beans, cooked (or 1 15 oz. can)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp. EVOO
Salt and pepper
Water, if necessary
Add walnuts, beans, lemon juice, garlic and EVOO to a food processor, process until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper, add water, if necessary.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Spoon into a food storage bowl and set aside.
Slice bread, slather pate onto all 4 pieces.
Top 2 pieces with pear slices and red bell peppers.
Top the other with sprouts.
Sandwich together and press down.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.
Place sandwiches in the skillet, toast for 2-3 minutes per side.
Slice in half and serve.
Maple Oat Wheat Bread
1 1/4 c. boiling water
1/2 c. rolled oats
1 package active dry yeast
1/3 + 1 tbsp. pure Maple Syrup
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. Canola oil
1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 c. white whole wheat flour
Place oats in the bowl of a stand mixer, add boiling water, set aside for an hour.
Check water temperature, it should be around 110*, or just warm to the touch.
Add yeast, maple syrup, salt and oil, stir and set aside for 10 minutes to allow yeast to bloom.
Place the dough hook on mixer, add flours to the yeast, turn mixer on low and knead for 10 minutes.
Add flour by the tbsp. if dough is sticky, or water by the tbsp. if dough is dry.
Form dough into a tight ball, place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and place in a warm place for an hour to rise.
Punch dough down, form into a tight log and place in a oiled loaf pan.
Cover with a towel, allow bread to rise for another hour.
Preheat oven to 350*
After loaf has risen, for an hour, place in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool until bread is at room temperature.
Store in an airtight bag or food storage container for up to a week.