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February 26 2009 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Breakfast,Recipe » 19 comments


On Sunday night, Kevin and I were in the kitchen making chili (an Oscar-worthy meal, if ever there was one, especially when paired with guacamole). I was up to my elbows in chopped peppers and onions and garlic and Kevin was busy gathering up all the necessary spices. After rooting through the pantry for cumin and chili powder, he asked where the bay leaves were.


Mid-chop, without thinking, I said: “they’re in the cheese drawer.” (Why the fresh bay leaves were in the cheese drawer of the refrigerator is another question, for another time. Until then, don’t judge. There’s a lot going on in that fridge of ours.) As Kevin extracted the bay from underneath a mountain of feta and gruyere and Parmesan, it hit me that I love the fact that we have a cheese drawer.


I don’t mean that I enjoy the presence of the cheese (though I do), I mean I love that we’re in the habit of keeping our cheese in the same spot in the fridge, all the time. The fact that “cheese drawer” has a meaning that’s specific to our fridge, our kitchen. It’s the cheese drawer-type rituals, I think, that make a house a home.


Being creatures of habits, we’ve got a lot of these rituals. And a lot of them are most evident on Sundays, so I suppose it’s no surprise that it was a Sunday when the Cheese Drawer Epiphany (Epiphany? Too strong? Nahhhh.) hit. Sundays around here are grocery day, laundry day, make-soup-for-the-week day. Lately, they are Big Love day and sometimes catch-a-movie-in-Evanston day. In the summer, they’re Farmer’s Market day and they might involve a trip to the nursery for gardening supplies too. [Insert Old School-inspired jokes about yuppy married couples and their "nice little Sundays." It's okay, we can take it. We make the same jokes.]


But more than all this, Sunday is the day when I bake a loaf of bread—usually a quick bread—that we slice up throughout the week and carry to work for breakfast. It’s an unwritten rule that every Sunday must be structured such that we can carve out at least an hour to mix up some ingredients, bake them together and bask in the scents emanating from the oven.


Lest you think we’re complete bores—all routine and habit— you should know that the quick breads typically change from week to week. Sure, we have a couple favorites, but the rotation of recipes I rely on is constantly growing.


And this pear-pecan bread is the latest addition to the collection. In this recipe, grated pear lends the moisture that’s so important to a quick bread (while delivering on sweetness and flavor too), much like mashed banana, pureed pumpkin or shredded zucchini does in other recipes I like. In the spice department, I went with my standby cinnamon, but boosted it with a good bit of ground cardamom too. And, for a little crunch and texture, I threw in a handful of toasted, chopped pecans and diced pear. This one’s here to stay—so good that I might just make it again this (Quick Bread) Sunday.

Spiced Pear-Pecan Quick Bread

Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 egg white
1 cup sugar
1 cup peeled, grated very, very ripe pear (about 2 large)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/2 cup peeled, diced pear

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, soda, powder, cinnamon, cardamom. In a small bowl, toss the pecans in about a tablespoon of the flour mixture; set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, sugar, grated pear and vanilla. Stir the flour mixture into the pear mixture until just combined. Fold in the pecans and diced pear.

Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for about 1 hour, until a tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

19 comments so far. »
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  1. Whitney Merritt says on February 26 2009 at 10:49 pm:

    You have gone and done it…yet another quick bread that I have to try!

    I also enjoy Sundays, they are the day for the fun around the house “chores”.

    Happy Friday. Thanks for sharing another wonderful recipe.

  2. Johanna says on February 27 2009 at 2:42 am:

    This looks delicious! So far, I have only tried one or two quick bread recipes and didn’t know what to expect, so I was rather surprised by how “wet” they were when fresh and didn’t expect them to change so much in consistency when coming back to them a few days later. Which then, I loved! What have you discovered to be the perfect way to keep your quick bread enjoyable throughout the week (= how to wrap and where to keep)?

  3. Jennifer says on February 27 2009 at 4:00 am:

    Fantastic bread!!

  4. Amy says on February 27 2009 at 7:28 am:

    Kristin, *I* think your Sunday routine sounds relaxing and fun and quite lovely. :) You’re right, it’s the traditions (cheese drawer and quick breads and Sunday soups) that make for memories and feelings of comfort and home, at least in my book…the bread looks delicious!

  5. Joy says on February 27 2009 at 7:29 am:

    I love this new “printable recipe” feature. I’m used to making my own by copying and pasting to word but this is much more nice, your logo at the bottom of it is a nice touch too!! Thank you!

    Can’t wait to try this quick bread, looks to easy and delish not to!

  6. ashley (sweet & natural) says on February 27 2009 at 7:34 am:

    This bread looks delicious! Do you live in Evanston? I went to Northwestern for undergrad!

  7. Courtney says on February 27 2009 at 9:21 am:

    I’m usually not a fan of breads, nor am I good at making them, but this one seems like a quick, and easy one plus I like that it’s relatively healthy with the whole wheat flour, etc. I definitely have saved this recipe now and look forward to trying it!

  8. Robin says on February 27 2009 at 1:17 pm:

    I found blackberries and a halved avocado in a bag that Jim and I had intended to take back to the store because it wasn’t ripe in my cheese drawer yesterday. Didn’t find the cheese I was looking for.

    Love your rituals, we’re just like that (though I’m usually making granola for breakfasts on Sunday). And pear and pecan sounds wonderfully warm and comforting.

  9. The Duo Dishes says on February 27 2009 at 2:39 pm:

    How does it stay so flat on top? Usually there’s the slight rise in the middle…No matter, it must’ve smelled amazing!

  10. JEP says on February 27 2009 at 3:46 pm:

    Love quick breads but never liked pears…a texture thing & could never seem to hang-out long enough for the just-right-ripe-stage. Your recipe will solve both issues for me…buy pears, forget about ‘em until overly ripe, then grate & chop & bake me some heavenly quick bread..thanks!

  11. Jennifer says on March 01 2009 at 5:27 am:

    That looks delicious!!!

  12. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on March 01 2009 at 9:32 am:

    whitney: There’s always room for a new recipe, right?

    Johanna: That’s a great question and one for which I’m still working out an answer. First, it’s critical to let them cool completely. Absolutely completely. With particularly moist breads, I think it also helps to leave them out, uncovered the first night you’ve made them. After that, I think they’re fine in a gallon-sized ziploc or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. If you’re still having trouble with it becoming sticky, a large tupperware helps. And storing in the fridge helps too.

    Jennifer: Thanks!

    Amy: Glad to know I’m not alone!

    Joy: Thanks for noticing. I will keep it up.

    ashley: I live in Chicago, but my husband and I went to Northwestern for undergrad too and love to visit Evanston. Good to meet (virtually) another Northwestern-er!

    Courtney: I think you could scale back the sugar a bit too, if you’re wanting to go even more healthful (especially if your pears are sweet). I hope you give it a try!

    Robin: Hold the phone! You can bring un-ripe avocados back to the store? It’s the worst feeling to slice into a bad avocado.

    The Duo Dishes: You know, I don’t know. It might be because my loaf pan is on the large side (10×5).

    Jennifer: Thanks!

  13. Treehouse Chef says on March 01 2009 at 7:37 pm:

    Wow! the photos are gorgeous. I just want to eat the picture. I will save this recipe and make it at a later time. I looks like a winner!

  14. ingrid says on March 02 2009 at 8:43 am:

    We have a “cheese” drawer too but tell that to my Honey who keeps putting the cheese into “fruit” drawer despite the fact he just got it out of the “cheese” drawer!! Grrr.

    Your bread sounds lovely. What a great idea making breakfast for the week. I do love cooking with my Honey, though he probably doesn’t feel the same way. Something about being bossy. :-)

  15. Dakota says on March 03 2009 at 2:46 pm:

    Oooh, that bread looks good! My hubby and I don’t have quite as many traditions as you do, but we do have a cheese drawer. It’s a bit funny really, he is the one who likes having things in one particular spot, but I started the cheese drawer and have to keep nagging him that to put the cheese back there!

  16. Lisa aka "The Bumpkin" says on March 20 2009 at 4:26 pm:

    Headed to the open air market first thing tomorrow for pears…Congratulations, found you at The Pioneer Woman, love Ree!!!!!!!!
    To take slice for breakfast, perfect. Lucky Lucky you, your blogging life is looking up.
    Must go peruse your recipes, a lovely Friday Night it will be, Congratulations again!

  17. Mike says on April 19 2009 at 2:23 am:

    I love anything with the pear + vanilla + cardamom combo. Just wondering though, what’s the purpose of tossing the pecans in the flour mixture?

  18. Beth says on May 27 2009 at 3:39 pm:

    I made this and really like it. I did; however, substitute regular flour for the whole wheat pastry flour and Nutmeg for Cardamom, since I didn’t have any.;) It was delicious!

  19. sara says on November 13 2010 at 5:38 pm:

    Hi, Just wanted to let you know I made this bread and LOVED it. I didn’t have whole wheat pastry flour so I used white whole wheat and it worked perfectly. So yummy!! Thanks for the recipe. :)

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