Monday, August 9, 2010

Market Fresh: Cherries

Cherries are perhaps one of my very favorite fruits. I like them sweet or tart and I am hard-pressed to pass up a piece of cherry pie or a jar of preserves. The flavor and texture of this wonderful fruit amaze me every summer. I'm content enough to just sit with a bowl of cherries and eat them by themselves but I wanted to share some different uses for them. And yes, there is a cherry salsa - I thought it only fitting after the yummy blueberry salsa Heather posted a couple of weeks ago! My two-year-old gobbled it down though we all liked it!

I found and adapted these recipes from a couple of cherry grower websites. They were all delicious and showcase cherries in some different ways. It was fun using them in a couple of more savory dishes and the honeydew and cherry salad was very refreshing! Hope you enjoy!

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1 head Romaine lettuce, medium-chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup diced green onion or chives
1 can (11-ounce) mandarin oranges
1 cup smoked turkey, diced
2/3 cup sweet cherries, washed, pitted and halved (I used Ranier)
balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below)
Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to tasteToss all salad ingredients together except cherries in a large bowl.Whisk all Balsamic Vinaigrette ingredients together in a bowl. Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette over salad, reserving 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette, and toss salad. Drizzle remaining vinaigrette over cherries and toss to coat. Arrange salad on individual plates and sprinkle with cherries.Serves 4

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1/4 honeydew melon, seeds and skin removed, and cut into 1/2" cubes
1/4 cup minced fresh mint plus mint sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons light honey
1 1/2 cups pitted fresh cherries
lemon juice
juice of 2 limes

Put the cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and minced fresh mint in a bowl and turn several times. Put the honey in a bowl with the lemon juice and stir until the honey dissolves, a minute or two. Pour this over the melons and turn several times. Add the cherries, turning them in as well. Pour the lime juice over all, garnish with mint sprigs and serve.

Serves 6

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1 cup pitted fresh sweet cherries (I used a combination of bing & ranier cherries)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons finely chopped green peppers
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/8 teaspoon salt
dash bottled hot pepper sauce

Chop cherries in food processor or manually. Combine all ingredients; mix well. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Makes 2 servings.

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