red wine poached pears

From the earliest years where I can remember listening
to music that my older Sisters played on their 78’s or listened to
on the radio I was in love with Frank Sinatra. That never
changed and never will.

However sometime in the 1960’s my children and I (not too sure
about Charlie) became fans also of Neil Diamond. We played his albums,
Just For You or Beautiful Noise loud enough to fill the house
as we scurried around the house doing Saturday chores.
My admiration for him and my enjoyment of his music has never varied.
I listen to his music all the time intermittently
with Frank Sinatra and throw in Frankie Vallie and Jersey
Boys and Bobby D once in a while, depending on which music is needed at
the time to sooth the soul.

Neil Diamond, thankfully, is still performing. In honor of his
50th Anniversary Concert (one way or another I will be there)
and in celebration of his 76th Birthday (I would if I could celebrate with him)
on January 24th here is a nice recipe as I recall a song he wrote and performed
Red Red Wine from his Just For You album. Happy Birthday Neil!

Neil Diamond


1 Bottle Dry Red Wine, 750ml – your favorite
2 ⅓ Cups Granulated Sugar
2 Cups Water
½ Cup Orange Juice – preferably freshly squeezed
1 Teaspoon Vanilla – or a little more to taste
Pinch of Cinnamon
Pinch of Nutmeg
4 Firm Pears – slightly ripe, peeled with stems intact
1 Pint Vanilla Ice Cream
2 Amaretti Cookies – crumbled

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a large saucepan with tall sides.
Stir over medium heat until the mixture simmers and the sugar
dissolves. Add the pears and return mixture to a slow simmer
and continue simmering until the pears are tender, 20 – 30 minutes.
Carefully remove the pears to a plate. Boil the remaining liquid in
the saucepan until it is reduced to 3 cups. Place a scoop of ice cream
on a plate with a slight lip or even a small bowl. Do this 4 times placing
a pear on each scoop of ice cream and drizzle some poaching liquid over
all. Garnish with the Amaretti crumbs.