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If you get invited to some holiday parties this year, here are two easy and delicious recipes to substitute for chips and dip. The pear tart is quite literally one of the easiest and most delicious desserts I’ve ever made. 

Naughty Cauliflower
This amazing appetizer can double as a side dish at a dinner party. I’ve seen “lactose intolerant” become “lactose tolerable” due to the deliciousness.

Ingredients 

1 whole head of cauliflower, leaves removed. Cut bottom of stem so the cauliflower can sit balanced in baking dish
Juice of one whole lemon
1 cup of heavy cream, maybe 1 ¼ cup if your cauliflower is large
One box of Boursin cheese, any flavour
Salt and pepper
Bread for serving (I recommend making crostinis)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees 

Boil the whole head of cauliflower in salted water until it’s soft to the touch, usually about 10-12 minutes. 

Place cauliflower in a baking dish (one that works as a serving dish as well is preferable) and season generously with salt and pepper. Slowly pour lemon juice and heavy cream onto the cauliflower so it soaks into the cauliflower. Unwrap the Boursin cheese and remove one half of the foil wrapping. Using your whole hand, press the Boursin (foil against your skin, hehe) onto the cauliflower like you’re palming a basketball. Press to expand the Boursin all over the top of the cauliflower. 

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until liquid is bubbling. This might take up to 45 minutes to ensure that the cream has reduced and it’s not too liquidy. Serve with olive oil crostinis or gluten free crackers. Eating it straight out of the dish is also perfectly acceptable, as is keeping all the crispy creamy Boursin bits for yourself.

Pear Tart
The trick to making the pear look so symmetrical is to quarter the pear lengthwise, then cut off the rounded pieces and discard (or eat!). The pear you use doesn’t have to be perfectly ripe, or it could be very overripe! Makes 1 tart in ceramic pie dish, preferably shallow. 

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar (use coarse)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 egg
1 stick of butter (½ cup)
1 tsp vanilla
1 pinch of salt
1 pear

Mix all dry ingredients thoroughly. Cut in chunks of butter or margarine (it helps to have the margarine as cold as possible) and toss in the flour. Add 1 egg and vanilla. 

Using a pastry cutter, break the yoke of the egg and start to ‘whisk’ the dry ingredients and butter together, careful not to overmix. You basically want the egg to incorporate with the flour, and the butter should remain fairly chunky. 

Dump the mixture into the pie dish (do not press down, just make sure it’s evenly distributed) and arrange the pear (thinly sliced, symmetrical pieces) in a delicate circle. Sprinkle with sugar and bake in the oven at 375 for 35 minutes, rotating halfway through. 

If you overcook it, the crust will be rock hard. It’s ok for the middle to still be a bit soft when you pull it out. You can substitute other fruit for the pear: I’ve made it with strawberries or apples, no problem! 

Correction from my Friendship Burritos article in November Fernie Fix Issue: Fernie has been blessed with a once-a-month pop-up: Bootleg Burritos! Check ‘em out @bootlegburritos