THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

Archive for Presidents Day

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.
  •  
    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.
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes, Homemade Chocolate Cherries & Cherry Liqueur

    George Washington never chopped down a cherry tree, but you can still celebrate his birthday (either Presidents Day or his actual birthday, February 22nd) with something cherry.

    Here, we have three options: chocolate cherry cupcakes, chocolate cherry cordials, and cherry liqueur (the last one you can make today, but you need several weeks for it to infuse. It will be ready by Mother’s Day.

    The first recipe was developed by Jen of the website Baked By An Introvert. She notes that “This recipe was inspired by my favorite candy, chocolate covered cherries.”

    The chocolate cupcakes have a “surprise” filling of cherry preserves; and the buttercream also has some cherry preserves for color and flavor. You can use plain buttercream if you prefer, tinted pink.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

    Before you start baking, make it a point to look at all the wonderful recipes on BakedByAnIntrovert.com.

    RECIPE #1: CHOCOLATE CHERRY CUPCAKES

    Ingredients For 20 Cupcakes

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup black cherry preserves or regular cherry preserves
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon kirsch (cherry liqueur)
  • Optional garnish: chocolate-covered cherries with stems (purchase or make)
  • Other garnishes: Hershey’s Kisses (unwrapped), fresh stemmed cherries in season, brandied cherries (recipe)
  •  
    For The Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup black cherry preserves (substitute red cherry preserves)
  •    

    Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

    Bowl Of Pink Frosting

    [1] Pretty as a picture: chocolate cherry cupcakes from Baked By An Introvert. [2] If you want to play against the cherry filling, tint plain buttercream pink or make this pink champagne frosting from Wicked Good Kitchen.

  • Substitute for preserves: red food color to tint frosting pink, or this pink champagne frosting recipe
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F, line 12 muffin cups with paper liners (or 20 muffin cups, if you have two pans). Set aside.

    2. BEAT in a large bowl until fluffy the oil, butter and sugars. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla. In a separate bowl…

    3. WHISK together the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually add it to the wet ingredients, along with the milk. First add some of the dry mixture, then some milk, then some dry mixture, repeating as necessary and beating after each addition. The contents should be well blended.

    4. SPOON 2 tablespoons of batter into each paper cup. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean (with only a few dry crumbs). Remove the cupcakes from the pan(s), and cool completely on a wire rack. When cool…

    5. CUT a small well in the top center of each cupcakes, using the point of a sharp knife. Fill but don’t stuff the well with cherry preserves, and replace the top portion of the cupcake. (Nibble on the well pieces or keep them in a plastic snack bag to toss on ice cream or yogurt.)

    6. MAKE the frosting. Using a hand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar; then beat in the cream until the frosting reaches your desired spreading consistency. Then beat in the preserves or food color to tint pink. Garnish and serve.

    TIP FROM JEN: If the frosting becomes too loose or curdled looking, add more powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time until the frosting comes together again.

     

    Chocolate Covered Cherries

    Chocolate Dipped Cherries

    Kirsch

     

    RECIPE #2: CHOCOLATE-COVERED CHERRY CORDIALS

    Making chocolate-covered cherries is as easy as dipping strawberries or other fruit in chocolate: Melt the chocolate, dip the fruit and let dry.

    However, if you want to make cherry cordials—with the cherry floating in syrup, here’s a recipe Taste Of Home (photos #3 and 4).

    Prep time is 25 minutes plus chilling.

    Ingredients For 36 Pieces

  • 2-1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 jars (8 ounces each) maraschino cherries with stems, well drained (we placed them on paper towels, too)
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate (quality chocolate or chocolate chips)
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the sugar, butter, milk and extract in a small bowl. Knead until smooth and pliable. Shape into 1-inch balls and flatten each into a 2-inch circle.

    2. WRAP one circle around each cherry and lightly roll in your hands. Place with stems up on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Cover loosely and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

    3. MELT the chocolate and shortening in the microwave; stirring until smooth (the shortening helps the chocolate adhere to the cherry). Holding onto the stems, dip the cherries into the chocolate, allowing the excess to drip off. Place them waxed paper until the chocolate is set. Store in a covered container. Refrigerate for 1-2 weeks before serving, to allow the flavors to meld.

    RECIPE #3: MAKE CHERRY LIQUEUR

    You can’t have it today; it takes 40 days to infuse (photo #5).

    But here’s how, from Balkan Lunchbox.

    ____________________
    Captions For Photos:

    [3] Make your own chocolate covered cherries (photo courtesy Taste Of Home).

    [4] It’s more than dipping fruit: You create the almond-nuanced syrup inside the chocolate shell, too (photo courtesy Choclatique).

    [5] Finish with homemade cherry liqueur (photo courtesy Balkan Lunch Box).

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Cherry Home Fries

    fried-w-cherry-homefries-choosecherries-230

    Cherry home fries. Photo courtesy ChooseCherries.com.

     

    One of our beefs with Presidents Day is that it obliterates the birthdays of two great presidents, Abraham Lincoln (February 12th) and George Washington (February 22nd).

    Both birthdays used to be bank, government and school holidays. In 1971, both presidential holidays were shifted to the third Monday in February and combined as the vague Presidents Day, to allow federal employees a three-day weekend. Hmpf.

    It’s tough to tie a food story to Lincoln, who ate only “incidentally.” He grew up poor without an excess of food. As an adult, he was so focused on work, it was tough to get him to eat at all. When he did eat, he nibbled simply, on apples, nuts, cheese and crackers.

    Although he never chopped down the apocryphal cherry tree, George Washington grew up the son of a wealthy planter, with all the victuals he could desire. While he was no foodie, he did in fact love cherries and other fruits from the groves of Mount Vernon.

    So we’re keeping up with the tradition of cherry recipes, starting with an unusual one:

     
    Cherry home fries! These use dried tart cherries, which play off nicely against the potatoes as well as eggs. We particularly like them with scrambled eggs or omelets. For extra fun, we made a jelly omelet with fresh goat cheese (you can use cream cheese) and cherry preserves.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

    RECIPE: CHERRY HOME FRIES

    Ingredients For 2 Cups

  • 2/3 to 1 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 5 medium waxy potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (plus 1 to 2 tablespoons extra, as needed)
  • Optional: 1 to 2 teaspoons crushed red chiles or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SAUTÉ the cherries and onions over low to medium heat for 15 minutes, or until the onions become a deep brown. While onions and tart cherries are cooking…

    2. BOIL the potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain.

    3. ADD the potatoes to the skillet with the cherries and onions. Add extra oil if needed. Sauté for 5 minutes on high until the potatoes are crisp.

    4. SEASON with salt, pepper and chiles to taste.

     
      

    Comments off

    RECIPE: Dark Cherry Fizz With Sparkling Wine

    The Dark Cherry Fizz in a coupe glass. Photo courtesy Chandon.

     

    For Valentine’s Day, here’s a charming cocktail from Chandon, one of our favorite affordable sparkling wine makers. It uses cherry purée and crème de mûre, blackcurrant (not blackberry!) liqueur.

    It may sound fusty in the U.S., but in France, where we first discovered it, crème de mûre is a popular fruit liqueur. The flavor is heavenly, drunk straight as a yummy after-dinner drink or used instead of framboise (raspberry liqueur) in a variation of a Kir Royale.

    Crème de mûre (pronounced pronounce: krem duh MYUR) is one of the family of crème liqueurs (crème de cacao, crème de menthe and crème de cassis, for example).

    Not to be confused with cream liqueur, in which dairy cream is added, crème liqueur is sweetened to a near-syrup consistency. In this case, “crème” refers to that consistency.

    Consider a bottle of crème de mûre as a Valentine gift; and if you’re feeling flush, add a bottle of Champagne or other sparkling wine.

     
    If you want to make this recipe without buying a new bottle of liqueur, you can substitute creme de cassis (currant liqueur) or framboise (Chambord is a brand of framboise).

    RECIPE: DARK CHERRY FIZZ

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3 ounces Chandon Blanc de Noirs* or substitute sparkling wine
  • 1/3 ounce crème de mûre
  • 1/2 ounce cherry purée (make it from frozen cherries)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PURÉE the cherries. No sweetener is necessary, as the liqueur is quite sweet.

    2. COMBINE the liqueur and cherry purée in a shaker; shake and double strain into a coupe glass. (If you don’t have a shaker, you can blend the ingredients in whatever is convenient. If you don’t have a coupe glass, use what you have.)

    3. TOP with the sparkling wine.

     
    *Blanc de Noirs means “white from black,” referring to the white wine that is produced from black (dark) Pinot Noir grapes. Its counterpart is Blanc de Blancs, a white wine produced from white (Chardonnay) grapes. Blanc de Noirs is richer and fuller-bodied.
     
      

    Comments off

    RECIPE: Cherry Almond Rugelach

    Cherry-themed recipes work both for Valentine’s Day (February 14th) and Washington’s Birthday (February 22nd, celebrated nationally on President’s Day, which falls this year on February 16th).

    There’s nothing better with a cup of tea or coffee than homemade rugelach. Try this recipe from QVC’s David Venable.
     
    RECIPE: CHERRY ALMOND RUGELACH

    Ingredients For 64 Cookies
     
    For The Dough

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter
  • 7 ounces almond paste
  • 2 cups flour
  •  
    For The Filling:

     

    cherry-almond-rugelach-davidvenable-230

    Cherry Almond Rugelach. Photo courtesy QVC.

  • 6 ounces dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup cherry-flavored brandy, kirschwasser, or 1 tablespoon brandy extract
  • 1/2 cup water (if using brandy extract, add an additional 1/2 cup water)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
  •  

    Additional Ingredients

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • White sparkling sanding sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dough: Cut the cream cheese, butter and almond paste into bits. Pulse the cream cheese, butter, almond paste and flour in a food processor until crumbly. Place the mixture onto a working surface and knead the dough together. Shape it into 4 equal disks, wrap each in plastic wrap, and chill for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

    2. PREPARE the filling: Place the cherries, brandy and water in a small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat. When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, place the cherries, sugar and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and purée until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a small mixing bowl and fold in the almonds. Set aside.

    3. MAKE the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a well-floured work surface, roll 1 disk into a 12″ round (be sure to keep the other disks chilled until ready to roll). Spread a quarter of the cherry mixture over the dough, leaving a 1/2″ border. With a chef’s knife or pizza cutter, cut each round into 12 wedges. Roll the wedges from wide to narrow, so you end up with a point on the outside of the cookie. Repeat with remaining discs of dough.

    4. PLACE the cookies on ungreased baking sheets and chill the rugelach for 20 minutes. Brush each cookie with egg and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

    5. COOL and store in an airtight container.

      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2016 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.