There are times when we rise up with grace, and times when we throw our hands in the air and let our foundation shake and shake until there is a little rubble left around us.

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Cinnamon Roasted Pears with Walnut Brittle

Cinnamon Roasted Pears with Walnut Brittle

This is a sponsored post in partnership with the California Walnut Board.  All words and opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help us do what we do!

This past weekend was the twins’ first birthday and to say that we felt like champions celebrating the milestone is an understatement. The past year has been the hardest, most trying, rewarding, and magical year I have had the pleasure of living. Had anyone told me two years ago that I would be a mother of three, living in Seattle, working for myself, celebrating the fact that we not only survived the first year of being parents of twins but thrived, I would have simply laughed. That is how improbable this year has been. Our resiliency as human beings is incredible and our physical and mental capacity is beyond something most people ever really try to push beyond. But this year has proven to me that the more life gives you, the more you can handle.

There are times when we rise up with grace, and times when we throw our hands in the air and let our foundation shake and shake until there is a little rubble left around us. But we always pick the pieces back up and rebuild. I have learned many things this year: how to physically carry more than I ever thought I could, how to cry uncontrollably while still getting things done, and how to truly enjoy my children, in a way I didn’t really think I could before. Watching Mila and Noah grow from teeny, tiny babies intro strong, sturdy, lovable toddlers has been no short of a gift. I always thought that progress was by definition moving forward, but this year, I learned that sometimes progress means moving inward and backward, too. We’ve spent more time than ever as a little family unit. And we are, by definition, a “big” family. We’ve stuck to our guns on certain things (for example: committed to urban living) but eased up on others.

Cinnamon Roasted Pears with Walnut Brittle

We’ve admittedly cooked and experimented less, but we have eaten and loved and hugged more. Whereas I was very much focused on how I could grow Turntable Kitchen more quickly, I have realized that this pace of cooking and writing suits me, and while we have changed some things out of need (we haven’t done a Musical Pairing in over a year, if you hadn’t noticed) we’ve found that the spirit of our site and our business is richer, more thoughtful, and more “real” than ever. I’m proud of that.

A few years ago, they called it “slow blogging.” I don’t know if I’d call what we are doing “slow” but it definitely feels less break-necking. It’s impossible to keep up with the Joneses these days. Between high quality videos, Instagram Stories, Snapchat, email marketing, and constant redesigns, I’ve realized that being true to where we are now is the best way to grow into who we are becoming, which is a family-owned business that has grown out of authentic content, and come to be supported by that content, and not the other way around. I like that.

Cinnamon Roasted Pears with Walnut Brittle

It gives me room to take on opportunities I find exciting, to cook food that inspires me, and to share it with you only when I feel like I want to be sharing — and not just because I’m trying to hit my own self-imposed quota.

Cinnamon Roasted Pears with Walnut Brittle

Months ago, I wondered if things would ever be ‘the same’ again. But I have reached a point where I think I’ve finally accepted that the same is not the same. It’s something new mixed in with the old. As we get ready to enter our first true fall in Seattle, I’m eager to ease back into incorporating warm, comforting flavors into our kitchen, which we gave a fresh coat of white paint to detract from the inevitable gray that is sure to come.

Cinnamon Roasted Pears with Walnut Brittle

In my family, walnuts have always been a staple (they are probably one of my mom’s top five go-to ingredients) and so I am thrilled to kick off an ongoing partnership with the California Walnut Board! Over the coming months, I’ll be sharing a variety of recipes incorporating one of my favorite nuts, and today I’m excited to share this one for a number of reasons: roasting is definitely my preferred method of cooking and roasting fruit brings out their intense sweetness.

Cinnamon Roasted Pears with Walnut Brittle

I love seeing pears at the farmers market this time of year and the smell of vanilla and cinnamon is intoxicating. But the star of the show (or of this recipe, at least), is definitely the quick stovetop walnut brittle. It’s ready in just a few minutes, and after making a batch to serve atop these pears, I realized that next time, I’m going to have to double it up. It is THAT good. I could imagine crumbling it over chocolate pudding, or just munching on it straight from the bowl. So without further ado…

Cinnamon Roasted Pears with Walnut Brittle

3 pears, cored and sliced in half lengthwise (leave the stems)
1/4 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon of real vanilla extract
3 cinnamon sticks
3/4 cup of water
pinch of salt

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Place the pears, cut side down, in a large glass roasting pan. Pour in the water and vanilla extract.
3. Evenly distribute the cinnamon sticks in the pan. Then, drizzle the pears with honey and sprinkle evenly with sugar.
4. Roast the pears for about 20-30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes or so. They’ll be ready once they are soft, aromatic, and the juices they are cooking in begin to thicken.
5. Remove the pan from the oven and let sit while you prepare the walnut brittle and whipped cream.

For the walnut brittle:

2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of walnuts

1. Place a sheet of parchment paper atop a wooden cutting board and set aside.
2. Add the sugar and butter to a small saucepan and melt over medium heat, stirring. Add the walnuts and cinnamon and using a wooden spoon, toss them in the butter until the sugar begins to caramelize a bit (dial down the heat if the walnuts look like they might begin to burn).
3. Transfer to the parchment-paper lined cutting board and let cool, then roughly chop the brittle. You’ll have crunchy bits of caramel mixed in with the walnut brittle.

For the whipped cream:

3/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of real vanilla extract

1. Add the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat until soft peaks begin to form.

To assemble: divide the roasted pears among plates. Add a scoop of whipped cream to each plate. Sprinkle with walnut brittle, and drizzle with the juices from the pears. Serve warm. Leftover walnut brittle makes a delicious snack.

This is a sponsored post in partnership with the California Walnut Board.  All words and opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help us do what we do!

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Posted by Kasey

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • http://www.theactorsdiet.com Lynn @ The Actor’s Diet

    It’s great to find your own rhythm, especially with all the focus you have on your children. Congrats on their birthdays!

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