Pearing Up Fresh Veggies And Fruit

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - August 24, 2005
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Steve and Suzi Mechler were both born and raised on the Windward side of Oahu. This husband- and-wife team works together. The creative end is handled by Steve (ASLA), president of The Mechler Corporation, and a premier landscape architect who has been at the top of his field in landscape architecture for more than 30 years. Steve has provided landscape architecture for golf courses, estates, condominiums and commercial and office complexes throughout the Pacific and around the world. Suzi has the business expertise and handles the business side.

The couple has two children. Daughter Lindsay, 22, a server at Don Ho’s Island Grill, also dances hula with the Ka‘ala Boys, performing three nights a week at the Princess Kaiulani Hotel and on cruise ships. Lindsay just returned from China, where she danced during the governor’s recent visit. Their son Cale, 19, is majoring in physics at UHManoa, works at Kalapawai Market and paddles for Lanikai Canoe Club.

To take a look at some beautiful landscapes and for more information, you can visit their website at www.mechlercorporation.com

This wonderful dip is dedicated to this active and productive family.

Pears are native to the northern regions of central Asia, where they were found growing wild as far back as prehistoric times. Pears were revered by ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Chinese, and have been cultivated for 3,000 years. As a result of cross pollination, hundreds of varieties exist today. Three varieties that are found most in Hawaii are:

Anjou pear: This variety originated in France and is a medium size with a short neck. The flesh is very juicy and it has a fine texture.

Bartlett pear: Known in Europe as the Williams pear, this English variety was introduced into the U.S. by Enoch Bartlett of Massachusetts. The skin is golden when ripe and the flesh is aromatic and good for baking.

Bosc pear: Originally from Belgium, the skin of this pear is thicker and coarser than the above varieties, and is brown with some yellow. It has a long thin neck, and a juicy white flesh that is slightly granular in texture. It is a good pear for eating and poaching.


When purchasing, choose pears that are smooth and firm, but not overly hard. They should be free of bruises and mold. When ripe, the pear has a delightful odor and the flesh yields when pressed slightly with fingers.

Pears are quite perishable, and unripe pears should be left to ripen at room temperature. When they ripen, they will keep for a few days in the refrigerator. Pears should be stored away from strong smelling foods, as they absorb odors easily.

Pears are rich in fiber and contain copper and potassium. The nutrients in dried pears are much more concentrated; they are rich in potassium and a good source of copper and iron, in addition to containing phosphorus, vitamin C, magnesium and sodium. Ripe pears are said to have diuretic and sedative qualities.

For a unique combination of flavors, serve this spicy sweet dip with a platter of cut up green and red bell peppers, carrot sticks, celery sticks, and broccoli and cauliflower florets.

PIQUANT PEAR DIP

• 11⁄2 cups grated ,b>pear (any variety)
• 11⁄2 cups fat-free ranch dressing
• 1 tablespoon wasabi
• 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1⁄4 teaspoon allspice
• 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients and chill for about an hour.

Makes about 20 servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 40

Fat: 0.5 grams

Sodium: 230 milligrams

Cholesterol: 2 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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