A little food between friends
Saturday September 15th 2012, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Food,Recipes,Wildlife

Lemon juice with pears sounded kinda boring, and I wasn’t inspired by it enough to brave the thorns on the lemon tree in the dark. My mom once created a pear-lime pie that won a recipe contest, but there were no limes around. (Gotta get me a tree for that…)

But the idea of sour to balance the intense sweetness of the ripe Bartletts that needed to be used up got me thinking. Yes we did still have cranberries in the freezer. I was curious. And so:


Pear Cranberry Pecan Crisp

2 c quick-cooking oats

~2/3 c brown sugar or to taste

most of a stick of (butter would be better, but for the dairy allergy in the household, I used) Earth Balance, melted

Shakes of cinnamon to taste

about 1/2 c pecan pieces

4 large ripe Bartlett pears, sliced up

About a half cup cranberries. Note that mine were still frozen. I think next time I would mix the cranberries and brown sugar separately before throwing it all together.

Bake in a buttered or cooking-sprayed 13×9 pan at 350 for about 35 min, maybe 40, depending on oven and pan: I waited till the cranberries were split open and cooked to early-mushy-looking; the edges of the pan should be good and bubbling.


I thought I was making breakfast last night when I did this but there was only a very little left by the time we three went to bed. It is safe to say we were very pleased with how it came out.

And on the wildlife front? I set out some suet crumbles this afternoon for the juncos and towhees that don’t care for the safflower in the feeders. A birdy-looking version of crisp, I found myself musing.

A jay showed up to steal the last big clump.

I ignored it. It had probably already gotten the rest of it when I wasn’t looking anyway. Go ahead, stare at me, I know the hawk has recently gotten a taste for jay meat–you’re letting down your guard, you know, you’ve got your face to the window.

Hey! You’re no fun! You’re supposed to shoo me away! It stared, just in front of the food but not touching it, waiting the signal.

All it got was a smile out of me. No, really, I wasn’t trying to feed it to the hawk, I was just curious how long it would take for it to give up and just grab it and go.

Now, one birding site I recently read claimed that scrub jays have a bigger brain ratio and are smarter than squirrels: they not only hide food for the winter, they remember forever where every single morsel went (which is why the squirrels watch the jays. A little thievery between friends.) And so, like the squirrels, you can never set out enough to make the jays be satisfied, despite the fact that in our climate there’s abundant food year-round. Hoarding is in their biology.

I knew it wasn’t hungry. Eh, what’s a little suet between friends. Go ahead. I went back to what I was doing.

It kept waiting for me like a little puppy pleading with me to play the game. Oh, finally, okay, and I waved my arms to give it the good scarecrow try. And at that, it at last scooped up that beckoning beakful, just to let me know it was still the one in charge around here, and flew off satisfied at last.

Glad to oblige.

10 Comments so far
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Lesson learned: Next time DOUBLE that recipe!

Comment by LynnM 09.16.12 @ 1:30 am

I’m not a pear fan, but that sounds incredible.

Too funny that the jay wanted to be shooed away!

Comment by Channon 09.16.12 @ 6:07 am

That crisp sounds wonderful. I occasionally add a handful or so of cranberries to my apple pie. Great. Now I want pie….

Comment by (formerly) no-blog-rachel 09.16.12 @ 7:53 am

As long as we all agree on who is the boss around here.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 09.16.12 @ 8:07 am

I just read something that says if you put red pepper flakes in the bird feeder with the seed it really slows down the squirrels.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 09.16.12 @ 8:34 am

pears and cranberries have long been a family favorite here — our version is written up in this blog post: http://hattieskitchen.blogspot.com/2006/11/nicks-cranberry-pear-pie.html

we have only seen the jays a few times here, they seemed to be just traveling through, the squirrels are in full “stashing” mode — and they chatter at my dog every day like they are daring her to come out and chase them

Comment by Bev 09.16.12 @ 9:12 am

So the Hyde ‘restaurant’ caters to many bird tastes. And I’ve long since learned from Pepper that when I’m put in the ball game, I must play.

Comment by Don Meyer 09.16.12 @ 10:27 am

You were messing with that bird’s model of normal – no wonder it wasn’t grabbing the morsel. It could have been a trap!

I’m a big fan of cranberry apple pie, so I can imagine how nice that crisp must have been. Yum!

Comment by twinsetellen 09.16.12 @ 12:25 pm

Sounds yum to me!

Comment by Ruth 09.16.12 @ 5:52 pm

Thanks for the recipe. I needed some gluten free fall treats.

Comment by Mickey 09.17.12 @ 6:51 am

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