Baked Pears and Blueberries & a Sunday Brunch

Eldon planned a Sunday Brunch. I know this doesn’t mean much to you, but to Amy and Em and I, this meant squeals and thrills and texts exchanged like teenage girls.

Oh em gee. Are you going to brunch?

WTFabulous? How much do we love Eldon?

What are you taking? What are you wearing? What time are you arriving? 

You see, ever since the three of us met Eldon and his infamous Kartchner clan, we’ve been smitten with stars and smiles. Eldon and his siblings and their beautiful spouses and adorable children have been nothing but a gift in every way. All warmth and strength and wide open hearts. And a day huddled with these people around brunch foods, in a house decorated with breathtaking flair? Well, that is really something, you know.

I spent much of the week combing through vegan and vegetarian cookbooks in preparation for the brunch. I wanted to bring something that would entice normal people with it’s awesomeness, while secretly containing Vegan Power (yes, that is a reference to Scott Pilgrim. The Kartchner’s introduced me tonight and I plum well plan on wielding Vegan Power for all time, thankyouverymuch).

No matter how fervently I scoured, no matter how many Google searches I offered to the wild web, I kept coming up empty handed. It appeared vegan brunch recipes were unimpressive, at best.

Or so I thought, until Saturday. My older kids were competing in a Forensics tournament, and their beautiful coach Linda Ciolek was tucked into the team table, patiently enduring the long day of competition. I settled in next to her for a chat, and somewhere between telling me about her son and her school schedule, she casually mentioned that she’d owned a beautiful Bed & Breakfast here in town.

“Linda!” I stopped her mid-sentence, “You owned a B&B?! Can you HELP me? I need a brunch recipe!”

And before I could even tell her why, she smiled and said, “Baked Pears with Blueberries.”

Don’t you simply adore people who can pull such things out of their head, right on the spot? Holy awesome.

I was instantly tickled. Linda rattled off her approximate recipe, I pulled it from midair, then set to veganizing it. Because, you know, we’re all about the plant-based eating these days. And it’s fun to try to turn classic recipes into healthier meals. In the case of this recipe, just a few minor swaps were needed to prepare a fully vegan brunch dish, and the results were as perfect as the day.

Perfect. For reals. I’ll show you pics of our festivities, but only if you promise to not beg to be adopted by the Kartchner’s. There are a good lot of us in line for that already. So there.

Here are Tyson and Emily preparing the brunch foods. I know, it’s hard to stop staring at Emily AND Eldon’s kitchen.

There just so happened to be the cutest kids ever at our brunch. Don’t believe me? Prepare thyself. PREPARE thyself.

For starters. We had this child. He belongs to Eldon. I tried to put him in my purse and sneak him home with me.

And the beautiful Jen brought this child. He hugs you the moment you hold him. I swear I squeezed those cheeks eighty-two times.

Sweet mama, Kerry, attended to everyone’s needs. Her kids. Her brothers. Her friends. You know, anyone who hoped for a hug and a smile, there she was, taking right good care of them.

My Amy friend was there, too. Guess what? Amy and I met because of Cheeky Kitchen. She left me a note via blog when she moved into town and we decided to never part. Except for when I have to move to California in a month. But, really, who says I’m not packing her in my boxes and hauling her along with me?

Jason, Kerry, Eldon, Amy, Mike, Emily, Me, Tyson, and Jen. Don’t we just LOOK like a family? (Say yes, this will help us speed up the adoption proceedings.)

I’d offer up a final photo of the recipe, but I didn’t even think to nab one. We were all too busy talking about everything in the world and enjoying the comfort of a day spent with people you admire and adore beyond all reasonable reason.

Sunday brunch. Happy sigh.


Vegan Baked Pears & Blueberries


For the Baked Pears & Blueberries:
6 ripe Bartlett or Anjou pears (or 9-10 smaller Cascade pears), peeled and cored
1/2 orange
2 pints fresh, organic blueberries
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons Earth Balance
1 teaspoon cardamon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup almond meal (optional)
1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
1 vanilla bean, seeded (optional)

For the Vegan Cream:
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla


Place your prepared pears in the bottom of a large baking dish sprayed with nonstick olive oil spray. If you're taking the dish to a brunch and wish to bake it there, drizzle the juice of half an orange over the top of the peeled pears to keep them from browning. If you're baking the dish right away, you can still follow this step, but it's not necessary.

Sprinkle the blueberries all over the pears.

In a small bowl, use a fork to combine the remaining ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the pears and blueberries. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and tote along for baking one you arrive at your brunch, or store in the fridge up to 12 hours.

To bake, place your prepared pan into an oven preheated to 375 degrees and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the crumble is golden brown and the pears and blueberries are soft.

For the Vegan Cashew Cream: Soak the cashews in the coconut milk overnight. Just toss them into a small bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge the night before you plan to serve your dessert. In the morning, toss the cashews and coconut milk into an industrial blender with the maple syrup and Mexican vanilla and puree until fluffy. Spoon over hot baked pears. OR, serve with fresh whipped cream if you're not feeling the need to eat vegan or simply run out of time.