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Home Cooking with Habs Tweetup: Trading Time, Not Taste

Sunday, February 27, 2011

by Amy, (

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- One topic has permeated just about every hockey fan's conversations at some point this week: trades. Some transactions have already taken place but even more promise to be announced on NHL Trade Deadline Day.

But trades aren't just a single-day occurence for the home cook - they're a kitchen staple (we call them substitutions instead). Substitutions are usually an emergency measure when you're preparing a dish and realize that you're missing a key ingredient or seasoning.

There's no need to panic the next time you find yourself without one of these common ingredients* - just use the substitution listed behind it:

  • Baking powder, 1 teaspoon => 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon => 1 tablespoon cider/red wine vinegar plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Corn syrup, 1 cup => 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup water
  • Half-and-half or light cream, 1 cup => 1 tablespoon melted butter plus enough whole milk to make 1 cup
  • Molasses, 1 cup => 1 cup honey
  • Sour cream, 1 cup => 1 cup plain yogurt
  • Brown sugar, 1 cup packed => 1 cup granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons molasses
  • Vanilla bean, whole => 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*Source: "Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book", 2005, 12th Edition - page 576

Other kitchen "trades" come in the form of shortcuts in order to get a meal on the table a little faster. In this age of hectic schedules and long work days, you want to serve your family good food without spending hours preparing it.

And if you're one of those diehard fans who take off work on trade day in order to stay on top of all the breaking news, you'll want to be sure you have tasty treats on hand! This week's recipe is a quick way to serve an elegant dessert that looks like you went to a lot of fuss...when you really just assembled a few key store-bought ingredients.

Vanilla-Scented Pears
adapted from "Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade 20-minute meals"

Prep time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 15-oz can sliced pears in heavy syrup
2 tablespoons pear brandy
1 vanilla bean, scraped (see substitutions above if needed)
4 pre-made vanilla pudding cups
1 4.5-oz package prepared crepes
Fresh raspberries
Fresh mint sprigs

1. Drain pears, reserving syrup. In a medium saucepan combine syrup, brandy and vanilla bean. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to medium-high. Boil approximately 10 minutes until syrup thickens.
2. Add pears to saucepan. Reduce heat; simmer until pears are heated through, about five minutes. Remove vanilla bean
3. Spread pudding onto four separate crepes. Top each with another crepe (almost like a pudding sandwich) and fold each crepe stack into quarters.
4. Place each folded crepe onto a dessert plate. Top with pears and syrup.
5. Garnish with raspberries and mint sprigs. Serve warm.

This dish can also be enjoyed with canned peaches and peach schnapps - or try making your own "trades" to see what tastes best to you!

Enjoy, and remember for all the latest trade news regarding the Montreal Canadiens, be sure to keep an eye on!


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