Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cherries, Cherries, Cherries

I love June! It’s all about cherries. Whether you like the dark sweet variety or the beautiful Rainier cherries from Washington State, this is your time of the year. Here are a couple of easy and beautiful recipes that can be made with fresh, (Yey!), or even frozen cherries. Enjoy!

Cherry Salsa
1 LB Dark Sweet Cherries, pitted and chopped
2 TB Fresh Lime Juice
Zest of 1 Lime
½  Cup Cherry Preserves
2 TB Minced Red Onion
1 Whole, Finely Chopped Jalapeno, Ribs and Seeds removed
2 TB Finely Chopped Cilantro

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and stir to blend. Cover and chill 1-2 hours to blend flavors. Serve with grilled meat, or with chips as an appetizer.

Ancient Grains Salad with Cherries and Cashews

1 Cup Red Quinoa
2 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
½ Cup Basil, Chopped or Chiffonade
2 Cups Pitted Fresh Cherries
½ Cup *Lightly Salted and Peppered Toasted Cashew Pieces
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
**1 Recipe Easy Balsamic Dressing in a Jar

Add 2 Cups water, quinoa, and pinch of salt into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium to high heat, covered, and cook for about 10 - 12 minutes, until quinoa had started to bloom. (Small tendrils will appear.) Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes, then fluff with fork. Stir in the spinach and cover again for 5-8 minutes, allowing the to wilt the spinach. Add in the basil, cherries, and cashews. Taste for salt and pepper, and season. Drizzle the dressing into the salad and toss.

*Lightly Salted and Peppered Toasted Cashew Pieces

1 Cup Cashew Pieces
1 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Place the cashews on a sheet pan and slide into a 400F oven. Roast for 7 – 10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove, toss with the olive oil and then light sprinkle sea salt and freshly ground black pepper over the nuts. Set aside to cool for a minute – the cashews will “crisp” up.

**Easy Balsamic Dressing in a Jar

¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 TB Stone Ground Mustard
3 TB Balsamic Vinegar (you can use any balsamic, even flavored ones like cherry, fig or blueberry)
½ Tsp Sea Salt
¼ Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Shake all the ingredients together in a jar

Although we don’t grow many cherries in Georgia, we do grow some. And we have many other wonderful fruits and veggies here in the state. If you want to find out what's in season or pick your own, here are two great resources, both in Georgia:

These recipes originally appeared in the Friday Four, my weekly e-zine that contains a delicious, healthy recipe, a wine pairing and two kitchen tips. Sign up for it here:

Monday, June 6, 2016

Herbalicious - Three Delicious Recipes to Use Beautiful Summer Herbs

Summer’s here and its time to kick back and relax – here are three ways to use herbs to brighten up the flavor of foods from the fridge and the grill

Kitchen Sink Pesto
Kitchen Sink Pesto can be made with any kind of herb!

1 Garlic Clove
2 TB Tahini*
1 TB Lemon Juice
2 – 3 Cups Packed Arugula or Other Herbs like Basil or Parsley or whatever herbs you have left over
½ Cup Chopped Toasted Walnuts, Almonds or Pecans
1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Place the garlic, tahini and lemon juice in the food processor bowl and whiz until pureed. Add the nuts and greens and pulse to blend. With the machine running, pour the olive oil in a steady stream into the bowl, process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
*Tahini is ground sesame seed paste. It’s easy to find in the grocery store, or just substitute almond butter instead.
Basil-Mint Coconut Shrimp
Basil Mint Shrimp is the perfect change of pace for the grill!

¾ Cup Fresh Basil, packed
¼ Cup Fresh Mint, packed
½ Cup Coconut Milk
3 Cloves Garlic, grated
2 TB Lime Juice
1” Piece Fresh Ginger, grated
2 Tsp Light Soy sauce
2 Tsp Asian fish sauce (nam pla)
1 TB Dark Brown Sugar
18 - 20 Jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined
Sliced Green Onions, for garnish
Lime Wedges

Step One Combine the basil, coconut milk, garlic, lime juice, ginger, soy sauce nam pla and brown sugar.  Process until almost smooth. Place half the marinade and the shrimp in a zippy bag and set aside for at least 1 hour, or in the fridge overnight.  

Step Two Prepare a medium-high heat grill (or grill pan). Thread several shrimp onto each of skewer. Grill until just cooked through, basting with the reserved marinade, about 2 minutes per side. Serve shrimp with the green onions and lime wedges.

Tarragon VinaigretteJust one simple recipe for vinaigrette can go from a salad to the grill! 
3⁄4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1⁄4 Cup White Wine Vinegar
1 Grated or Minced Garlic Clove
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1⁄2 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1⁄4 Cup Minced Fresh Tarragon

Shake the ingredients together in a jar.