Now that we are almost done with our non-winter winter this year, we can look forward to one of D.C.’s glorious springs made especially radiant by the blossoming of the cherry trees. To truly get in the spirit of the season and the Cherry Blossom festivities though, calls for the right menu. Now we all know the plentitude of possibilities cherries hold for desserts—sundaes, cakes, cupcakes, pies, cordials etc, etc. but it’s less understood how they can be used in other parts of a meal as well. Here are some ideas.
Those of you who don’t drink will probably want to stick to the classic Shirley Temple, but for those of us who want something with a little kick to it as well as cherries here are some excellent options courtesy of Drinksmixer.
Champion’s Bubblin’ Cherry Recipe—Combine 1 ½ oz cherry vodka with 4 ½ oz Sprite. Serve in a highball glass filled with ice cubes.
Cherry Fizz Recipe—Shake juice squeezed from half a lemon with 2 oz cherry brandy with ice and strain into highball glass with two ice cubes. Fill with carbonated water and garnish with cherry.
Cherry Screwdriver Recipe—Fill Collins glass with orange juice and 1 ½ oz cherry vodka. Add cherry and serve.
Dusty Rose Recipe—Shake 1 oz cherry brandy, ½ oz white crème de cacao, and 2 oz heavy cream. Pour into cocktail glass and serve.
Here are some tasty light dishes.
Cucumber-Cherry Salad (Food and Wine Magazine)
2 cucumbers (1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound sweet cherries, pitted and halved
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
Toss cucumbers with vinegar, oil, and season with salt and pepper. Add cherries and cilantro. Toss lightly and serve.
Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad (Simply Recipes)
8 ounces orzo pasta
1 pint red cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup olive oil
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp minced fresh oregano
Juice of a lemon
Black pepper to taste
Bring pot of saltwater to a rolling boil. Add orzo. Stir frequently. Cook, uncovered, at a high boil until al dente. Drain the pasta (it helps to use a fine mesh sieve for this as the small orzo might pass through holes in a colander), and rinse with cold water. Toss the pasta with the olive oil. Before serving, toss with the rest of the ingredients, the tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumber, green onions, oregano, lemon juice, and black pepper.
Cherry Beet Salad (www.Veganmischief.com)
2 beets peeled and grated
12 cherries stoned and halved
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Handful chopped roasted almonds
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix beets, cherries, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Marinate until service. Garnish with almonds.
Sometimes you need a real meal, but there’s no reason that cherries can’t be included with the protein.
Cherry Glazed Salmon (All Recipes)
2 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and quartered
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water
4 (5 ounce) salmon fillets, about 1 inch thick
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Place cherries, butter, vinegar, and honey in saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes or until cherries are softened. Meanwhile whisk cornstarch and water. Then add to cherry mixture. Simmer five minutes until mixture thickened, stirring constantly. Remove sauce from heat. Season salmon with salt and pepper and broil for thirty seconds. Add glaze to salmon. Broil 8-10 minutes until salmon is opaque and glaze baked. Add glaze as needed during broiling. When finished broiling, let salmon stand one minute before serving with extra glaze.
Cherry Chicken (All Recipes)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (4 pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dusting
1 (15 ounce) can pitted dark cherries packed in water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 orange – with peel, quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Heat oil in large skillet at medium to high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and coat with flour. Fry in oil, turning as needed, until browned. Reduce heat. Cover and cook for 25 minutes or until is chicken is tender. Remove chicken from pan. Leave ¼ of the juice. Return to medium heat and add cherries. Save some of the cherry juice. Add sugar. Bring to boil. Add cornstarch to reserved cherry juice and add to pan. Stir and cook until thickened. Add oranges and almonds to skillet. Add chicken. Coat chicken in sauce and simmer 5-10 minutes. Serve.
Pork and Peppers With Cherry Sauce (Busy Cooks)
1 Tbsp. oil
1 lb. pork tenderloin, thinly sliced across grain
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1-1/2 cups pitted dark cherries or frozen sweet cherries
3/4 cup bottled sweet and sour sauce
Heat oil in large skillet. Add pork. Cook 4-5 minutes until pork is no longer pink. Add peppers. Simmer 4-5 minutes until peppers are crisp and tender. Add cherries and sweet and sour sauce. Simmer 3-5 minutes. Serve over hot rice.