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Archive for February 20, 2017

TIP OF THE DAY: Toss Some Dried Cherries On Everything

We don’t think that cherry recipes on Presidents Day or Washington’s Birthday (February 22nd) are clichéd. We think they’re a great opportunity to enjoy dried cherries.

The question isn’t what you can do with dried cherries; but rather, what you can’t. They’re so versatile!

Some of our favorite uses for dried cherries:

  • Breakfast: On cereal or yogurt, in pancake batter, in omelets.
  • Lunch: In green salads and protein salads (chicken, tuna, etc.).
  • Cocktails: Garnish away!
  • Cheese Board: Accent with dried cherries and other dried fruits.
  • Dinner: Great with duck, fish, pork and veal in sauces, salsas, or a simple garnish; in stuffings.
  • Dessert garnish: For cakes, fruit salads, puddings, ice cream and sorbet.
  • Baked Goods: biscotti, chocolate chip cookies, muffins.
  • Snacks: from the bag, in trail mix, with mixed nuts.
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    RECIPE: GOAT CHEESE SALAD WITH DRIED CHERRIES, CANDIED WALNUTS & CHERRY BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

    This recipe came to us from Melanie Flinn, MS, RD, for ChooseCherries.com, the consumer website of the Cherry Marketing Institute. There you’ll find recipes for every form of cherries, including fresh, dried, juice.

    You can make the candied walnuts and dressing ahead of time, so that when you’re ready to eat there is little prep involved.

    The dressing is a keeper, by the way. You can add cherry juice to a vinaigrette or creamy dressing for a flavor lilt.

    If you don’t like goat cheese, substitute butterkäse, halloumi or queso blanco for a crusted cheese, or simply add chunks of blue cheese or feta.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 8 cups mixed greens, mesclun or other (we like a mix ofgreen and red leaf lettuce, arugula and baby spinach)
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup candied walnuts (directions below)
  • 4 crumb-crusted goat cheese medallions (directions below)
  • Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette to taste (directions below)
  •  
    For The Walnuts

  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1/4 heaping cup loose brown sugar
  •  
    For The Goat Cheese Medallions

  • 4 one-ounce slices from goat cheese log
  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3-4 teaspoons olive oil
  •  
    For The Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup cherry juice (for an intense flavor, reduced 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 scant tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dressing. Place 1/2 cup cherry juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup.

    Meanwhile, place the minced garlic in a medium bowl and add reduced cherry juice. Whisk in the vinegar and honey. Slowly whisk in oil drop by drop until well combined. Season with a salt and pepper.

    2. MAKE the candied walnuts. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

    In a medium nonstick skillet heated to medium heat, add walnuts and sugar and stir constantly until sugar has melted and coated the walnuts, no more than 5 minutes. Turn onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out to prevent clumping. Once dry, store in an airtight container.

    3. MAKE the goat cheese medallions. The best way to slice neat pieces from the log is to freeze it for about 5 minutes before slicing.

       

    goat-cheese-candied-walnuts-choosecherries-230

    cherry-salad-ingredients-choosecherries-230

    Salmon With Cherry Sauce

    Veal Chop With Dried Cherries

    Cereal With Dried Cherries

    [1] Featured recipe: goat cheese salad and [2] cherry vinaigrette for the salad (photos courtesy Choose Cherries). [3] Salmon with cherry sauce. [4] Veal chop with cherry sauce. [5] Cereal with a sprinkle of cherries (photos courtesy Choose Cherries).

     
    Combine the breadcrumbs and panko on a plate; dip the medallions into the eaten egg and then into the breadcrumb mixture. Add olive oil to a nonstick skillet, place the medallions in the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes total, flipping once when the underside is lightly browned.

    4. ASSEMBLE the salad. Combine the greens, dried cranberries and walnuts. Toss with the desired amount of dressing or serve the dressing in a gravy boat or pitcher so people can drizzle their own. Divide the salad onto plates and top each with one warm goat cheese medallion.

     

    Fresh Cherries

    Dried Cherries

    [6] Fresh off the tree (photo courtesy Washington Fruit Commission). [7] Finally: dried to enjoy year-long (photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese).

     

    CHERRY HISTORY

    Closely related to plums and other stone fruits, cherries Prunus cerasus have been eaten since cave men plucked them off trees: Cherry pits have been found in Stone Age caves.

    The cherry is believed to have originated as a natural hybrid between two other Prunus genuses in the Iranian Plateau. The hybrids stabilized and interbred to form a new, distinct species. Extremely popular among Persians, the Greeks were cultivating them by 300 B.C.E.

  • Theophrastus, an early botanist and protégé of Aristotle, mentions them in his “History of Plants” in the 3rd century B.C.E., going so far as to mention that they had already been known to the Greeks for centuries.
  • Roman historian Pliny the Elder later writes that the decadent Roman general Lucullus brought cherries to Italy around 74 B.C. Some myths even tell of the old soldier committing suicide when he realized his supply of the sweet treat had lapsed.
  • George Washington was not the only U.S. leader to have a particular relationship with Prunus cerasus: Another founding father, Thomas Jefferson, grew cherries on his plantation at Monticello.
  • President Zachary Taylor had a less pleasant experience. He was reported to have developed dysentery after enjoying “cold cherries and milk” during a long, hot Independence Day celebration in 1850. Five days later, Taylor was dead, the cause listed as “gastroenteritis—inflammation of the stomach and intestines.”
  •  
    Alas, the health benefits of cherries could not come to his rescue.

    A superfruit with more than 12,000 ORAC units per hundred grams, cherries have a higher antioxidant capacity than grapes, oranges, plums, raspberries and strawberries combined.

    MORE ABOUT CHERRIES

    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CHERRIES

     
    CHERRY TRIVIA

  • The English word cherry derives from the Latin cerasum, referring to an ancient Greek region near Giresun, Turkey from which cherries were first thought to be exported to Europe. The French word is cerise, the Spanish word is cereza, the Turkish word is kiraz, etc.
  • A cultivated cherry is recorded as having been brought to Rome by Lucius Licinius Lucullus from northeastern Anatolia, in Turkey, in 72 B.C.E.
  • Cherries were introduced into England at Teynham, near Sittingbourne in Kent by order of Henry VIII who had tasted them in Flanders.
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