Tag Archives: Cherries

Couscous Salad with Cherries and Feta

Couscous Salad with Cherries and Feta

Sweet cherries are flooding my local grocery store! I know they usually take a backseat to their coveted and more popular sour siblings, but I always love that sweeter version of the fruit and eagerly await their in-season arrival each year. I bought way too many and am happily scrambling to find ways to use them up.

sweet cherries for couscous salad

This salad is the second thing I made with my stash. The first thing was a whole roast duck with a fresh cherry-rosemary sauce on the side. It was so delicious, and I really wanted to share it with you, but this brings me to the point in this post where I start apologizing for my food photography of late. The new place has a completely different layout than the old place. There’s more windows, but they aren’t directly off the kitchen, and I have less space for food styling. But the layout is open enough that natural light does reach the kitchen where I’m photographing, if it’s not overcast or nearly sunset. So I’m definitely still figuring out what works and what doesn’t. That duck most definitely fell into the DOESN’T WORK category. Obviously you’ve figured out by now that I’ll share less-than-perfect food pictures on this site, but, come on, I do have my limits! It has to still look like food, you know?

couscous salad with cherries and feta

So hopefully this second, and no less delicious than the first, savory cherry dish works well enough to post without hanging my head in food photography shame. Because I seriously couldn’t get enough of this. It’s perfectly balanced in flavor and texture, equally tasty served cold or room temperature, easy to throw together, and just so perfect for hot summer days. I hope you love it as much as we did!

Couscous Salad with Cherries and Feta

Source: Heather Christo’s Generous Table by Heather Christo

Ingredients:
2 cups sweet red cherries
2 cups water
4 tbs olive oil, divided
kosher salt
2 cups couscous
3 tbs minced shallot
3 tbs red wine vinegar
½ cup minced fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
½ lb. feta cheese
2 tbs chopped pecans, or slivered almonds

Directions:
Pit the cherries into a small bowl and let them sit while you make the couscous. Some of their juices will drain into the bowl (not much though!).
In a medium saucepan, bring the water, 1 tbs olive oil, and ½ tsp kosher salt to a boil. Add the couscous and stir. Cover the saucepan and shut off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes, then open the pot and fluff with a fork. Let the couscous cool a bit.
Slice the pitted cherries into thirds and set aside in another bowl. Add the shallots to the juice in the first bowl. Add kosher salt to taste, the remaining 3 tbs olive oil, and the vinegar. Whisk to create the dressing.
Add the dressing, along with ¼ cup of the minced parsley, to the couscous and gently toss to coat. Add the cherries and stir to combine. Crumble the feta cheese over the couscous, then add the remaining parsley (you can save a little for garnish if you want), and the pecans or almonds. Toss to gently combine. Taste and season with extra salt if needed, but remember that feta is pretty salty already – mine didn’t need anything more.
Serve this salad at room temperature or chilled. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
I loved this both at room temp and chilled – probably prefer room temperature if I HAD to choose, but I really loved both. Also, this makes a TON! Couscous really expands. Feel free to cut it in half.

Duck Fat Cookies

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This recipe is the first I have made from David Lebovitz’s new cookbook, My Paris Kitchen, which is a wonderful book that I can’t recommend highly enough. These Duck Fat Cookies of course jumped way out at me, and when I read the recipe blurb I learned that in Paris, things like duck fat, charcuterie and sausage are just part of everyone’s normal, daily life, and that it’s typical to include them in baked desserts and sweets. Apparently no one squeals or makes a big fuss over such things.

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Well…. I squealed. I guess that means I’m un Americain stupide? Certainly it means I’m less sophisticated and posh than the Parisians, but I think we all knew that anyway.

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Upon tasting these cookies, I’ll have to stand by my low-brow squealing. They are divine. They’re pretty much a short bread texture, very crumbly, but with an incredibly soft and richly fatty mouthfeel. If you know there’s duck fat in there, you definitely taste it, but it doesn’t beat you over the head. I’m sure you could hand one of these to the pickiest of American child diners and just say, “it’s a cookie” and they would gobble it happily.

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Duck fat is easy to track down these days, Whole Foods always stocks it, and other grocery stores have started carrying it lately too. So, there’s really no excuse to not make these cookies. Except maybe for vegetarianism. That’s a legit excuse. But for the rest of you…. get after it! Enjoy!

Duck Fat cookies 101

{One Year Ago: Toffee Coffee Cake, Italian Dressing Grilled Shrimp}

Source: ever so slightly adapted from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:
¼ cup dried cherries
1 tbs brandy
6 tbs chilled duck fat
4 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp kosher salt

Directions:
In a small saucepan, heat the cherries and brandy over low heat until the liquid is completely absorbed and the cherries are a little plumped. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Once cool, rough chop the cherries.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the duck fat, butter, and sugar on low speed just until combined. Add the vanilla and incorporate.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour to the fat mixture, until it just comes together. Use a rubber spatula to mix in the cherries.
On a lightly floured surface, and with lightly floured hands, knead the dough briefly until smooth. Shape it into a rectangle, then cut the dough in half lengthwise. Roll each piece of dough into a log about 6 inches long. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. I would recommend longer (maybe 1 hour?), as it will make the dough easier to slice and work with later.
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
To bake the cookies, slice the dough into ½-inch rounds and set them on the baking sheets, evenly spaced. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets once midway through. The cookies should be slightly golden brown on top.
Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets until crisp. They should be stored in an airtight container, once completely cooled, for up to 3 days. But you really won’t have to worry about that. No way will they last that long.

Cherry Crumble Pizza

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My life has been a crazy mess of first world problems lately. And while none of these issues are signaling the world’s ending by any stretch, they have been stressing me out a bit, and I can tell my body is screaming at me to slow down a little. I’ve caught two bad colds in the past six weeks, the second of which turned into an ear and sinus infection, and while that really isn’t such a big deal in the grand scheme of things, it does tell me my immune system isn’t up to snuff. Which means I need to make some changes.

Cherry crumble pizza 002

So, I’ve made the decision to slow my blog pace a little bit. Make it more fun and relaxed. Remember why I started blogging in the first place. I’m making time to learn about the aspects of blogging about which I’m not so comfortable (or should it be said, outright clueless?) I can cook, bake and write. But food photography doesn’t come second nature to me, and I still feel like quite the HTML dunce. And that’s just for starters.

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So some weeks will be themed and others will not. There will absolutely still be #SundaySuppers and Secret Recipe Clubs. As always, it will be delicious and varied. Delicious, like this dessert pizza (did you like that little segway? Uh huh. Go me!)

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By the way, have y’all ever had a dessert pizza? For whatever reason, I don’t think I ever had! It just wasn’t on the radar growing up, and I hadn’t gotten around to making one at home since I’ve been on my own. I don’t know…. But I do know that you need to have a dessert pizza soon! Because they’re so scrumptious and so fun!! This one reminded me of summer (yes, please), and it was easy to pull off. I warn you, it’s messy; but completely worth it.

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Have an awesome, sunny and safe weekend, y’all. I’ll be back on Sunday!!

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{One Year Ago: Cheddar Risotto with Smoked Paprika, Cornmeal Biscuits with Cheddar Jalapeno Butter}

Source: adapted from Guy Fieri Food by Guy Fieri

Ingredients:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup quick rolled oats
2 tbs brown sugar
6 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
Kosher salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup sliced almonds
1 lb. ball of pizza dough, preferably not whole wheat
2 (12 oz.) jars good quality cherry preserves
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Grease a round pizza pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, butter, a pinch of salt, and the cinnamon. Mix with a fork or your fingers until well combined. Add the almonds and gently mix.
Roll out the dough to fit your prepared pizza pan and transfer, pinching and stretching the edges as necessary.
Parbake the crust for 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread the cherry preserves onto the crust, leaving about a 1-inch border. Top with the flour-oat mixture.
Bake about 10-12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cherries are bubbling.
Let the pizza rest about 5 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream or ice cream on the side.

Sweet Cherry Hand Pies

Sweet Cherry Hand Pies

Well, here it is – the end of summer. This weekend we usher in the first of September, Labor Day weekend, and fall will begin. I thought I would share with y’all my final cherry dessert for the season, and trust me, it’s a good one. I’m a little sad to see summer go, but I’m getting pumped for all that fall has to offer. This blog will definitely be celebrating it!

making cherry hand pies

So here’s what you can expect from this little url in the coming months. First of all, Matt and I love our fruits and vegetables, so I’ll be sharing some recipes featuring and highlighting fall produce. First there will be things like green beans, and eggplant, and pears. We are absolutely going apple picking again in the Catskills – so much fun, so get ready for a ton of apple recipes!

cherry hand pies, before baking

Then we’ll move on to lovely items like sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, pumpkins, parsnips, and cranberries. And of course, don’t forget all the beautiful squash of the season, including butternut, acorn and spaghetti.

cherry hand pies, before baking

Blackberries seem to have bloomed late this year, so I plan to drown myself in them for another week or two. And the beginning of September sees the extremely short Italian prune plum season, a fruit I’ve never tried but have heard great things about, so you will see at least one recipe featuring those little beauties.

sweet cherry hand pies

Oh, and we cannot possibly forget, fall ushers in one of the best things in the universe – FOOTBALL SEASON!!! I promise you lots and lots of game day and tailgating deliciousness.

sweet cherry hand pies

For the rest of today though, we shall enjoy sweet cherries. These little hand pies were incredibly tasty, and they might have also been consumed for breakfast the next day. Oh, and if you’re wondering why there is a fork in my picture, that’s because I was so excited to try these, I couldn’t wait until they cooled enough to pick up with my hands!

Sweet Cherry Hand pies

Other Cherry recipes you might enjoy: Cherry Sorbet, Cherry Streusel Muffins, Cherry Upside Down Cake, Peach and Cherry Frittata, Cherry Almond Galette, Rainier Cherry Mojitos, Sour Cherry Cobbler

{One year ago: Grilled Salmon with Tamarind-Peach Barbecue Sauce}

Source: slightly adapted from Homemade with Love by Jennie Perillo

Ingredients:
PASTRY CRUST:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, chilled, sliced thin
3-5 tbs ice cold water

FILLING:
7 oz. sweet or Bing cherries, pitted and cut into quarters
2 tbs granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Pinch of salt
1 large egg, beaten with a splash of water
Turbinado or other coarse sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:
First make the pastry crust. Add the flour, salt, and sugar to a large bowl and whisk to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture, and using a pastry cutter or 2 butter knives (or even your fingers), cut in the butter. Sprinkle the cold water over the dough and stir with a rubber spatula or fork until the dough forms a rough ball. Use your hands to make sure there are no straggly flour pieces left. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Set aside away from the heating oven.
Add the cherries, sugar, flour, and salt to a bowl. Stir to mix well.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry dough out to 1/8” thick. Use a regular cereal bowl to cut out 6 circles, rerolling the scraps as needed. The circle is about 5 inches around. If you can do this away from the preheating oven, you definitely should. The residual heat softens the pastry dough and makes it hard to work with. Alternatively, you can make the pies first, then store in the refrigerator while you preheat the oven.
Spoon about 1 tbs of cherry filling onto each circle of dough, making sure to leave a ¼” border. Fold the dough over itself in a semi-circle and press the edges closed. Crimp the edges with a fork. Gently pierce the tops three times across with the fork, or make a slit with a sharp paring knife, to allow steam to escape.
Brush the tops of the pies with egg wash and sprinkle with the turbinado. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are golden. Let the pies sit on the sheet for about 2 minutes, then transfer them, using a spatula, to a wire rack to cool further. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cherry Upside-Down Cake

Cherry Upside-Down Cake

In your opinion, what is the best compliment someone can pay your cooking? Is it effusive praise with superlatives like “amazing!” and “delicious!”? Is it when they close their eyes, moan “Oh my gaaawwwwdddd” and look like maybe you should leave them alone with the food? Is it when they go back for seconds? Or when they ask for the recipe?

making cherry upside-down cake

cherry upside-down cake, before baking

Not to sound like some giant approval junkie, but of course, as a cook, baker and blogger, I love it when people love my food. It’s validation that I’m executing my craft well, and when I’ve made something that people are going to take time to consume, of course I want it to taste great and be pleasing to their palate.

Cherry Upside-Down Cake

Of course, if something you make doesn’t receive any of the above-described compliments it doesn’t mean it wasn’t awesome. But someone telling you it was is very nice to hear, and tells you that you’re on the right track. Or that you have exceedingly polite guests. Ha!

Cherry Upside-Down Cake

This cake is delicious, and yes, I had a request for the recipe, which is what got me thinking along these lines. It’s very cakey and not too sweet. I found it easy to flip, and only had a couple cherries stay in the baking pan. No matter, it was easy enough to place them where they belonged, and I don’t think anyone was the wiser. Enjoy this one with the last bit of cherries for the season!

cherry upside-down cake

Cherry Upside-Down Cake

{One year ago: Pickled Peach Orzotto}

Source: adapted from The Bon Appetit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild

Ingredients:
TOPPING:
4 tbs unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
14 oz. fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved

CAKE:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tbs baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
8 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk
¼ tsp cream of tartar

Directions:
First, make the topping. Preheat the oven to 350 F. grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan that is at least 2 inches high on the sides.
In a small saucepan, melt the 4 tbs butter over medium-low to low heat. Add brown sugar and whisk until blended, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, then spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Arrange the cherries, cut side down, in a single layer in the bottom of the pan and press lightly to adhere. Set aside.
Make the cake. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the granulated sugar and softened stick of butter together in a large mixing bowl, until light and fluffy. Mix in egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Mix in flour in 3 additions alternating with the milk in 2 additions.
Using electric mixer with clean, dry beaters, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar in a clean, dry mixing bowl until stiff but not dry. Stir ¼ of the whites into the cake batter to lighten. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the remaining egg whites into the batter. Spoon the batter atop the cherries and smooth evenly.
Bake until top is golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes.
Run a small paring knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a plate or round platter over the cake and quickly invert the cake onto the platter. Let stand 5 minutes, then remove pan. Serve warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired. Although it’s quite nice on its own.

Peach and Cherry Frittata

Peach and Cherry Frittata

This dish… doesn’t make any sense. In a perfectly rational and logical world, this flavor combination would not work. For reasons fortunate and unfortunate, the world is not perfectly rational and logical. Today, that is a fortunate fact, because it means we can enjoy this paradoxical breakfast dish.

peaches and cherries

peaches and cherries

So yeah, I totally wasn’t expecting that I could put sweet fruit into eggs, top it with tangy goat cheese, bake it off, drizzle it with maple syrup, and then eat it and enjoy it. But that’s kind of exactly what happened. Everything came together on the fork and it just… worked. It was flavorful and balanced and I really don’t know completely why. So tasty though!

before baking: peach cherry frittata

This is the last peach recipe for the season for me, but I’ve got two more scrumptious cherry desserts to share with you next week. So stay tuned for that!

Peach Cherry Frittata

And give this one a try very soon – it sounds odd, but it really is delicious and so perfect for a summer brunch. And on that note, I shall sign off and wish you a wonderful weekend!

Peach and Cherry Frittata

Other Peach recipe you might enjoy: Peach Cobbler, Salmon with Tamarind-Peach Barbecue Sauce, Peaches and Cream Crumble Topped Pie, Peach Sour Cream Pancakes

{One year ago: Spicy Coleslaw and Pulled Pork Sliders}

Source: adapted from Weeknights with Giada by Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients:
6 large eggs
¼ cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbs chopped fresh thyme leaves
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tbs canola oil
1 large peach, pitted and cut into chunks
8 oz. fresh sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted
4 oz. goat cheese
Maple syrup, for serving

Directions:
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, sugar, thyme and salt until smooth.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch cast-iron or otherwise oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture and, working quickly, evenly distribute the peaches and cherries in a single layer over top of the eggs. Crumble the goat cheese into chunks with your fingers and sprinkle it over the eggs and fruit. Cook without stirring for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to set. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the frittata is slightly puffed and the egg mixture has set, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.
Cut into wedges and serve with maple syrup for drizzling.

Purple Jesus

Purple Jesus

Who doesn’t love the name of this drink – it’s so amusing to me. Upon discovering this recipe in the Lee Bros’ second book, I knew it had to be made. But it still begged the question: what exactly is a Purple Jesus?

fruit syrup for drinks

Well, apparently it’s a Deep South libation usually made with grape Kool-Aid, citrus fruit, and cheap vodka. It’s fairly unsophisticated, and in fact, Matt and Ted introduce this drink as a concoction that would get mixed in college students’ bathtubs at frat parties, of course noting that those shindigs started out fun but rarely ended well. I can’t speak from experience; somehow, I managed to make it through college without ever seeing Jesus in my bathtub.

Purple Jesus drink

Since Matt and Ted Lee are the complete antithesis of unsophisticated, there’s no grape Kool-Aid for them. Instead, they use cherries and blackberries for the purple. They wrote the recipe advising to steep the vodka with the fruit overnight, then top off the vodka with club soda. Though I’ll certainly make exceptions from time to time, I generally lack the patience to be a let-it-sit-overnight kind of cook. So I tweaked this recipe quite a bit.

Purple Jesus

To keep the flavors and the spirit of the drink, I pureed the cherries and blackberries, strained them, added the grapefruit juice as suggested, some superfine sugar, and kept the vodka and club soda part. This way it was ready when I was – no waiting until tomorrow. We both really enjoyed relaxing with a glass of this oddly-named, yet pleasant drink. Beautiful to look at and to consume.

Purple Jesus

So there you have it – a Purple Jesus. Overall, I get the Purple part, though I remain a bit unclear on how Jesus got involved. Oh well. Due to its sheer deliciousness I’ve decided not to ponder it further. Neither should you. You should just make it and enjoy it.

Purple Jesus with cherries and blackberries

{One year ago: Cherry Limeade and Soft Cheese Tacos}

Source: heavily adapted from Simple Fresh Southern by the Lee Bros

Ingredients:
“PURPLE” FRUIT SYRUP:
8 oz. sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted, plus a few for garnish
1 pint blackberries
Juice of half a grapefruit
Superfine sugar, if needed
DRINKS:
8 oz. vodka
Club soda
Ice

Directions:
First make the syrup. Save a few blackberries for garnish, if desired. Place the cherries and blackberries in the blender. Puree, adding a splash of water if necessary. Strain the puree through a sieve and chill in the refrigerator if not using right away.
Right before you plan to make the drinks, add the juice of half a grapefruit to the puree. Taste, and sprinkle in some sugar if it isn’t sweet enough for your tastes.
Make the drinks. For each drink, fill an 8 oz. glass with ice. Add 4 tablespoons fruit syrup, 2 oz. vodka, and top with club soda. Garnish with a cherry and a blackberry.
As written, this will make about 4 drinks.

Sour Cherry Cobbler

sour cherry cobbler

My obsession with all things cherries continues. Last week I stopped at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. It wasn’t on my way and technically I didn’t have the time, but it was a gorgeous summer day and that market is the coolest thing ever, so I found that I just didn’t care.

sour cherries

cobbler ready to be baked

And you know what I stumbled upon when I got there? That’s right – sour cherries!! Woohoo! Sour cherries, those elusive little tart beauties with their painfully short growing season, that I have been diligently searching for in my grocery store since the last weekend in May. I finally found them.

sour cherry cobbler

So I brought them home and made this cobbler with them. It was so utterly amazing and delicious. I *might* have had some for breakfast the next day.

Sour Cherry Cobbler

Sour Cherry Cobbler

Sour cherries are very tart, as their name suggests. While I can sit and pop sweet or Rainier cherries into my mouth like candy, sour cherries not so much. But they are wonderful and highly prized for baking. The tartness mellows in the oven and produces the most wonderful cherry flavor. They get a little soft but still plump and oh so juicy. So delicious…

sour cherry cobbler

Source: adapted, quite a bit, from In My Kitchen by Ted Allen

Ingredients:
CHERRY FILLING:
4 cups sour cherries, pitted
3 tbs sugar
1 3/4 tbs cornstarch

COBBLER:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 tbs whole milk

3 tbs sliced almonds, toasted
5 tbs unsalted butter, melted
3/4 tbs sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease an 8×8″ glass baking dish. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the cherries with the sugar and cornstarch. Set aside at room temperature while you make the cobbler topping.
Make the cobbler topping. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, oats, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, beat together the egg, egg yolk and milk. Add to the flour mixture. Stir together gently with a rubber spatula, then use your hands to bring the mixture together. You want to knead it together like you would biscuit or scone dough, and it’s ready when there is no more loose flour bits at the bottom and it clumps together in your fingers like wet sand.
Pour the cherries into your prepared baking pan. Drop the cobbler topping over the cherries in clumps. Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the batter, then pour the melted butter over the topping. Lastly, sprinkle the topping with the 3/4 tbs of sugar.
Bake until the juice is bubbling and the batter is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly on a wire rack; serve warm or at room temperature, with some sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top if desired.

Cherry Streusel Muffins

SRS Logo

It’s time for another Surprise Recipe Swap!! Thank you Jutta of Hungry Little Girl for being our wonderful and tireless host. As you may know, SRS is where Jutta randomly assigns each food blogger another blog, and we make one of their recipes. But we keep it a secret until the big reveal! It’s really fun.

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This month I was assigned Bibi’s Culinary Journey. Bibi grew up in Slovakia and has been around the food business her entire life. Honestly, you simply must read her About page – she has led such a fascinating life.

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Perusing her blog was a lot of fun, there’s so many great recipes there, but I knew I could stop once I saw these Cherry Streusel Muffins. They’re seasonal, scrumptious, and totally enabling of my cherry obsession. I think what I love most though is that Bibi really went there and used fresh cherries, whereas most baked goods will rely on dried. And not that there’s anything wrong with using dried cherries, I just loved the idea of going for fresh. And who doesn’t love muffins with a streusel topping?

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These muffins are to die for. I shared them (after eating a few too many myself) and everyone raved and raved. So delicious…

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Recipe notes: I used sweet cherries, though I’m sure any variety would work here. I followed the recipe and used vanilla extract, though it occurred to me later that you could probably sub in almond extract with wonderful results, seeing as almonds and cherries are the closest of friends, for good reason.

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Source: lightly adapted from Bibi’s Culinary Journey

Ingredients:
MUFFINS:
3 ¼ cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 ¼ cups sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups cherries, pitted

STREUSEL TOPPING:
½ cup unsalted butter, chilled
½ cup sugar
1 cup flour

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake/muffin liners.
In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold the cherries into the batter.
Make the streusel topping. Place the butter, sugar and flour in a medium bowl. Crumble together with your clean dry hands until a crumbly mixture forms.
Using a standard ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the lined muffin tins. Top each with some streusel topping. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer the muffins to a cooling rack.

SRS button

Rainier Cherry Mojitos

Rainier Cherry Mojito

So the other day I’m at the organic grocery store in my neighborhood, and –behold!- I laid eyes on a bag of Rainier cherries, my newest newfound favorite produce item! And they were only $9.99 per pound! Argh. Yeah…

Rainier cherries

Rainier Cherry Mojito

Oh well, they’re worth it. Especially after you taste this amazing mojito! It’s so beautiful you almost don’t want to drink it. Almost being the key word, of course. 😉

Rainier cherry mojito

Yes, you will drink it, and you will love it! It’s surprisingly not all that sweet, which suited me just fine. (I’m not the hugest fan of overly sweet drinks.) And the best part? You don’t have to pit the cherries! Woohoo! Huge time and mess saver there…

Rainier Cherry Mojito

Though I haven’t tried it myself, I feel certain you could make this with regular sweet cherries and it would be just as delicious, though slightly different in flavor (and color). But if you find the Rainiers in your store or farmer’s market, and you feel like splurging, I would highly recommend this drink!

Rainier cherry mojito

Source: slightly adapted from Cookie + Kate

Ingredients:
8 Rainier cherries
Small handful fresh mint leaves
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 teaspoon raw (turbinado) sugar
1.5 oz white rum
Club soda

Directions:
In a cocktail shaker, thoroughly muddle cherries, mint, lime juice and sugar. Add the rum.
Fill a collins glass with ice. Pour that ice into the cocktail shaker and shake several times. Pour the entire drink, without straining, into the glass. Top off with club soda.
Makes 1 drink as written.