Sunday, September 28, 2008

Perfectly Pleasing Pears Spice Up Home Gatherings

(NAPSI)-You don't have to break the bank to make home entertaining special. In fact, something as simple as a few pieces of fruit can make an elegant and festive decoration--plus, when your guests leave, you can turn your decor into a sweet yet healthy treat.

For instance, rustic-colored, sweet-tasting USA Pears can be used as decor in any room while they're ripening in a beautiful fruit bowl. Just tuck in fresh-cut evergreen from your yard or other items from your boxes of holiday decorations. Try these additional ideas:

• Layer a glass vase with fresh pears in a variety of colors--green, red, yellow and brown. Fill the vase ⅔ full with water. Gently tuck tall branches or flowers between pears for a showstopping, economical centerpiece.

• Use pears to create inexpensive, homemade gift baskets or bags to give to friends, neighbors, teachers and co-workers.

Once you take down your pear decor, the fruit can be transformed into a simple, elegant dessert such as poached pears. Or you might try this appetizer recipe. It's easy to prepare and impressive to serve at a party:

Balsamic Glazed Pear and Goat Cheese Crostini

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 4 minutes

Makes: 24 pieces

2 USA Pears

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon honey

24 baguette rounds, toasted

½ cup goat cheese, spreadable

½ cup almonds, slivered, toasted?

Black pepper, ground, if desired

Slice pears stemside up into 12 quarter-inch wide vertical planks. Cut large slices in half lengthwise for a total of 48 slices.

Heat vinegar, butter and honey in large frying pan over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constant, until reduced by half, about 2 tablespoons. Add pear slices and continue cooking for 1 minute, turning once.

Place 2 pear slices on each baguette round and top with 1 teaspoon goat cheese. Sprinkle almonds over cheese and garnish with fresh pepper, if desired.

For more decorating tips and recipes, visit www.usapears.org.

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