Poached Pears Belle Helene
A small melon-baller is a great tool for removing pears' cores.
You can also coat the pears with a classic ganache. For this recipe, use 2 parts cream to 1 part chocolate (by weight).
As far as the extra vanilla poaching liquid goes: you'll want to strain it, pour it into some cool-looking bottles, and give it away as edible gifts. The taste is incredible. This would make a fantastic holiday treat for the wannabe mixologists in your life.