Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cheery Cherries

You can tell summertime is coming when you find sweet, fresh cherries in the market. Cherries grow in most temperate climates and have a very short growing season. The peak season for cherries is in the summer. In many parts of North America they are among the first tree fruits to ripen.

Pitting cherries is FUN. I have mastered the art of the pit. First, you buy a really snazzy cherry pitter. Remove the stem and place the cherry, stem-side-up in the pitter. The tricky part is not getting cherry juice all over the place, and making sure that the pits don’t get lodged into the finished dish. I shoot the pit right into the sink (making sure that the stopper is in place). After all of the cherries have been pitted, I simply scoop out the stones and toss them in the trash.
The next trick is to resist the temptation to eat them all before you use them in your recipe. (Remember the cherry scene from the movie The Witches of Eastwick?)

But i digress... Cherries are versatile. You can plop them in a garden salad, simmer them in a butter sauce, and poach them in red wine reduction. For dessert there’s cherry pie, cherry scones, and of course cherry crisp. My version of this traditional dish really highlights the flavors of the cherries. The topping takes a backseat to the fruit. Check out my recipe for Baked Cherries with Apple, Sage and Crunchy Oat Topping.

While you are enjoying your baked cherry treat, lick those fingers off and check me out on Oprah's website: just click here to watch my audition tape; with your vote, I just might get my own cooking show on Oprahs' new OWN network. Please vote for NANA - there's only three weeks left.

No matter what, just remember this: life’s a Bowl of Cheery Cherries!!!!

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