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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Washington’s Birthday

WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY: Blue Cheese Salad With Dried Cherries

Cherries, apples and blue cheese combine in
a delicious salad. Photo and recipe courtesy
EatWisconsinCheese.com.

 

George Washington, our first President, was born 280 years ago today. It’s been pretty well documented that he did not, in fact, chop down a cherry tree. But we can still be grateful for the opportunity to enjoy luscious dried tart cherries as we celebrate his birthday (fresh cherries are a summer fruit).

Not only do the deliver terrific flavor; cherries are nutritious and one of the foods highest in antioxidants (here’s a list of high antioxidant foods).

While we enjoy this delicious chocolate chip cookie recipe with dried cherries, the more healthfully inclined should consider this refreshing salad recipe that combines dried cherries with other fruits and blue cheese—a great combination.

Tart and chewy cherries pair with the heat of grated fresh ginger and piquant blue cheese. If you prefer, you can substitute iceberg wedges for the mixed greens.

 

APPLE BERRY SALAD WITH LEMON GINGER CREAM

Ingredients For 4 Servings

For The Salad

  • 4 cups mixed greens, washed and patted dry
  • 1 tart apple, sliced
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) blue cheese, crumbled
  •  

    For The Dressing

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  •  

    Dried cherries available from MurraysCheese.com.

    Preparation

    1. WHISK together sour cream, milk, lemon juice, zest, vinegar, ginger, honey, salt and pepper; refrigerate dressing until ready to serve.

    2. PORTION greens onto four plates. Divide apple slices and strawberries among salads. Garnish with cherries, onion and pecans.

    3. DRIZZLE dressing over salad and sprinkle with blue cheese; serve immediately. Cover and refrigerate extra dressing up to 3 days.

    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE SALAD RECIPES.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Cherry Brownies For President’s Day

    Cherry brownies. Photo courtesy
    AllisonsGourmet.com, specialist in vegan
    treats.

     

    The legend of George Washington and the cherry tree was an invention of book agent Mason Locke Weems, in his 1800 biography, “The Life of Washington.” The cherry tree has been associated with Washington ever since.

    Washington’s Birthday was declared a federal holiday by Congress in 1880,* the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen.

    Initially the holiday was for government offices in the District of Columbia. It was expanded to include all federal offices in 1885. State government offices, including schools, followed suit, followed by banks and other businesses. The holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22, until 1971, when it was shifted to the third Monday in February and combined with the Lincoln’s Birthday celebration to allow federal employees a three-day weekend.

     
    Cherry pie, typically made with canned tart cherries, became a popular way to celebrate the day. Over the years, many other cherry recipes followed.

    Alas for those who like fresh ingredients, cherry season is in summer. But quality canned cherries (we like Chukar Cherries) and dried cherries enable cooks and bakers to express their patriotism—or at least, use the occasion to make something different.

    For the President’s Day weekend, a batch of cherry brownies will hit the spot with your family and friends:

  • Prepare your favorite brownie recipe. Here’s a rich brownie recipe. Cut the nuts in the recipe in half (or omit them) to accommodate the cherries.
  • Soak 1/2 to 1 cup of dried cherries moistened with Kirsch (cherry brandy), rum or other favorite spirit.
  • Mix a half cup of the cherries into the brownie batter and/or press them into the top of the brownies when you remove the pan from the oven. There’s no need to drain the spirits: They make the brownies taste that much better!
  •  
    Prefer a chocolate chip cookie? Here’s our recipe for yummy cherry chocolate chip cookies.

    Comments

    CHERRY TIP OF THE DAY: Toast To George

    It’s the birthday of the Father of Our Country (George Washington, to those of you who didn’t attend grade school in the U.S.).

    Washington was quite a fan of egg nog and devised his own recipe that included rye whiskey, rum and sherry.

  • If you’ve been missing nog since the holidays ended, try this egg nog recipe (plus the history of egg nog) and toast to George. If egg nog isn’t your thing, there are two other choices.
  • First, there’s kirsch (kirschwasser/kirsch water), which is a cherry eau de vie. In keeping with the Washington’s Birthday cherry theme, try it or any cherry schnapps straight or in a cocktail.
  • The other appropriate libation: a Margarita. Why? February 22 is also National Margarita Day! See the history of the Margarita plus Margarita recipes.
  • For the kids: alcohol-free egg nog or delicious tart cherry juice!
  •  

    eggnog-chefs-catalog-230

    Toast to Washington with egg nog: He loved
    it! Photo courtesy Chefs.com.

    Comments

    CHERRY TIP OF THE DAY: Cherries Jubilee

    Cherries Jubilee was a very fashionable dessert for many decades. The great chef Auguste Escoffier is credited with creating it for Queen Victoria—for either her Golden Jubilee of 1887 (the 50th year of a monarch’s reign) or her Diamond Jubilee in 1897—the record is not sure which.

    It immediately joined the menu at restaurants of haute cuisine, where it was prepared tableside with great fanfare.

    Pitted black cherries were flambéed with kirsch (which is cherry eau de vie, or unaged brandy) or regular brandy, then spooned into a stemmed silver dish of vanilla ice cream.

    You don’t need to have a stemmed silver dish—that kind of pomp disappeared in the 1960s. And it’s no biggie to get the cherries (frozen), ice cream and spirits to make the dish—tonight or tomorrow to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. A recipe for one head of state is certainly appropriate for another!

  • Here’s an easy recipe for Cherries Jubilee.
  •  

    cherries-jubilee_0

    Cherries Jubilee. Photo courtesy RobertsDairy.com.

    Comments

    CHERRY TIP OF THE DAY: Hot Tea Russian-Style

    Russians have traditionally sweetened hot tea with a spoonful of cherry preserves instead of sugar. It’s delicious.

    If you want the experience without the calories, look for a sugar-free cherry preserves. Chukar Cherries’ No Sugar Added Red Sour Cherry Preserve is so good, you can’t even tell that there’s no sugar added!

    For zero calories, you can purchase a cherry-flavored tea blend; but if you can, try your hot tea Russian-style. If you have Irish coffee mugs or other glass-handled cups or mugs, use them to enjoy the visual effect.

     

    chukar-cherry-preserves-nsa-230

    Try a spoonful in your tea. Photo
    courtesy Chukar.com.

    Comments

    CHERRY TIP OF THE DAY: Cherry Salad Garnish

    Toss some dried cherries into a salad for flavor, color and a higher antioxidant burst.

    Cherries complement just about any salad, from plain greens to salads with blue cheese or goat cheese to chicken and tuna salad. Combine dried cherries along with the raisins in curried chicken salad for a show-stopper.

  • Speaking of which, try this recipe for curried chicken salad wraps—with dried tart cherries, of course!
  • What’s for dinner? Here’s a recipe for pork chops with orange cherry sauce.
  •  

    chicken-salad-croissant-230

    Add dried cherries to chicken salad—or any
    salad. Photo courtesy Cherry Marketing Institute.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Deep Freeze Cherry Pie

    triple-cherry-cobbler-230

    Chukar Cherrie’s Triple Cherry Cobbler & Pie
    Filling. Photo by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Love cherry pie? Most people make it from any old canned supermarket cherry goop, which tastes as much of cloying sugar as it does of cherries.

    You can make a much more flavorful cherry pie with frozen tart cherries, or with a specialty brand of cherry pie filling.

    Keep in mind: Sweet cherries like the Bing and Royal Anne are snacking cherries. Tart cherries like the Montmorency yield the best results in cooking and baking.

  • Click here for our review of Chukar Cherries pie fillings, our favorites. (They’re certified kosher by KOF-K.)
  • Learn about the different types of cherries.
  • Comments

    CHERRY TIP OF THE DAY: “Instant” Cherry Cake With Dried Cherries

    DriedCherries-230

    Turn your favorite cake into a cherry cake
    with dried cherries. Photo by Melody Lan |
    THE NIBBLE

     

    Turn your favorite cake recipe—chocolate cake, pound cake, even carrot cake—into a cherry cake, just by mixing a cup of dried cherries into the batter.

    Or, stir 1/4 cup of died cherries into the filling or frosting.

    Instead of making cherry cheesecake with a cherry topping, stir dried cherries into the batter.

    Any way, you’ve got a new variation on a favorite recipe, with no more effort than measuring out the cherries.

    While you’re at it, sprinkle some dried cherries atop the icing of other cakes and cupcakes. They make a pretty, tasty and healthy garnish. Montmorency (tart) cherries are among the highest-antioxidant foods.

    Read our review of Chukar dried cherries: Dried Bing, Columbia River Tart (Montmorency) and Rainier Cherries. They’re certified kosher by KOF-K.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Cherries

    tasmanian-spiced-cherries-ps

    Spiced cherries with wine and vinegar. Photo
    courtesy 34° Foods With Attitude.

     

    Leading up to next Monday, we begin a week of cherry tips in honor of our first president, George Washington. The Father of our Country was born on February 22, 1732 on his family estate off the south bank of the Potomac River in Westmoreland County, Virginia. (When he was 3-1/2 the family moved to Mount Vernon.) No cherry trees were cut down to create these tips!

    If your cherry repertoire is limited to pies, preserves and chocolate-covered cherries, you’re missing out on savory expressions of the cherry.

    Try savory cherry condiments available from cherry specialist Chukar Cherries. You can buy (or make your own) cherry balsamic vinaigrette, cherry chipotle barbecue sauce, cherry salsa and curried cherry chutney.

    And try this recipe for spiced cherries. Serve them as a condiment with cheese or with charcuterie and pâté instead of—or along with—gherkins (make enough for gifts).

    The spiced cherries work as both a savory condiment with hot and cold meats and sandwiches as well as a dessert sauce on ice cream or sorbet. Or, add them to a pound cake with some whipped cream to celebrate George Washington’s Birthday on February 22. Don’t forget the candle!

    You may have to wait until June, though, for fresh cherries to begin to arrive. When Washington’s biographer, Parson Mason Weems, made up the “Father, I cannot tell a lie” myth about young George chopping down the treasured cherry tree, he should have thought ahead and picked a fruit that would be available in February!

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies For Your Valentine

    Our previous post is a recipe for Valentine shortbread cookies. But don’t stop there—make Cherry Chocolate Chip cookies as well.

    February is National Cherry Month. Even though fresh cherry season is in July, you can guess that National Cherry Month honors George Washington, born February 22, 1732 and immortalized for his honesty in the legend of the cherry tree (he ‘fessed up to his father that he cut down the precious tree).

    This chocolate chip cookie recipe uses delicious dried cherries, made from last summer’s harvest.

    And don’t stop with cookies: Enjoy the dried cherries in everything from breakfast yogurt, cereal and pancakes; to luncheon salads; to sauces for meats and poultry at dinner. For snacks, make cherry caramel corn by tossing hot popcorn with sweet butter and adding dried cherries and honey-roasted pecans; then drizzle with caramel. Or, make a cherry trail mix.

     

    cherrychocolatechipcookies-230

    Cherry chocolate chip cookies: a yummy twist. Photo courtesy Cherry Marketing Institute.

  • Get fun cherry facts and the history of cherries. (By the way, George Washington did not cut down a cherry tree—his biographer made up the story!)
  • Comments

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