Oh, Cherrybaby, Cherrerrerrrrie, Cherry Baby!

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The heat and torrential rains of summer 2013 in the Northeast have put a damper on my beach days, fortunately the climate is perfect for juicy ripe berries and cherries.  Last summer I finally purchased a cherry pitter for pie making.  This summer I’m armed and dangerous, pitting away with new ideas and possibilities!

July’s bonus offer, a large box of cherries at the farmers market for 6 dollars.  After exploring several paths down cherry lane here are some of my favorite recipes,  sweet and savory……..these recipes are made from regular bing cherries, I love rainier cherries but they are quite pricey here on the east coast and I have yet to experiment with sour cherries,……stay tuned.

Beet Cherry Gazpacho

The New Spanish Table, by Anya von Bremzen, reflects the creative food revolution that has taken place in Spain during the last 15 years.  My copy is well worn and separated from the binding with many crumpled post-it tabs, and requires delicate maneuvering to peruse.  The cold soup section along with traditional regional gazpacho recipe’s, includes some great updates:  strawberry and fennel, almond and figs, cherry and beet.  The base on the cherry and beet is traditional with tomatoes, cucumbers, Italian frying pepper, onions, garlic, breadcrumbs.  Also essential is good quality sherry vinegar and mineral water, I use volvic for all my vegetable based soups, because it has the best minerality.  The addition of roasted red beets and cherries, give the gazpacho a beautiful magenta hue and a very slight sweetness to play off the savory.  I’m thinking about a variation on this with yellow beets and peaches.

Still more cherries in the box,,,,,,,,cocktail time!

Carlita’s summer Negroni:

8 cherries in a cocktail shaker, muddle, add ice, add 1 shot of gin, ½ shot of Campari, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of bitters, shake and serve up in a chilled martini glass.  You could also serve this on the rocks with some soda water.

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Carlita’s Negroni

Early in the summer I finally ordered the Cuisinart ice cream machine I’ve always coveted.  Did I really need another kitchen appliance, apparently I did!  The remainder of the box of cherries went into my very first batch of ice crème.  My sister in Turkey always keeps me stocked up on saffron, thanks sis!

Buttermilk Ice Cream with Saffron, Cherries and Pistachios

¾ cup lowfat Buttermilk

¾ cup heavy crème

1 cup whole milk

¼ cup sugar and a pinch of salt

½ teaspoon saffron crushed in a mortar

Put all ingredients in a sauce, bring to a slight simmer until sugar dissolves and remove from heat.

5 large egg yolks

¼ cup sugar

Whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale and then add ½ cup warm cream mixture.  Then whisk the yolk mixture into the crème mixture.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon, 2-4 minutes.  Strain custard into a bowl and set over a larger bowl filled with ice water.

1 ½ cups cherries, pitted and halved

½ cup pistachios, cut in half or coarsely chopped

Add the cherries and pistachios the last 5 minutes of processing.

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