July 1 is National Rainier Cherry Day! I love cherries, chock full of vitamin C, they're my favorite snack food in the summer. Courtesy of my sis and brother-in-law who have a wonderful little farm, I received an awesome surprise when I got home, a box of Rainier cherries shipped right to my door. OMG! These are so sweet and juicy and good, with just enough tartness to wake up your taste buds.
Rainier cherries are best for eating fresh or as an ingredient in ice cream, cakes, pies, pastries and tarts. Double the yum! and the fun by pairing Rainiers with apricots, plums, blueberries, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, dark chocolate and white chocolate, cream, or maple and try some cherry maple fudge—talk about a sugar rush.
For a more savory treat, try adding Rainier cherries with herbs like basil, and add arugula, or cilantro flowers. Nuts like hazelnut, pistachio make tasty snacks with this breed of cherry. You can even whip up olive oil and citrus zest with your Rainiers and spread over smoked fish, anchovies, pork, scallops for an incredible taste sensation.
I see a lot of baking and cooking with cherries in my future, and yours too, if you enjoy these recipes...from my kitchen to yours. Have fun!
Cherry Toast Hors d'oeuvres
18 slices (1/2-inch thick) small baguette-style French bread
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1-1/2 cups pitted Rainier cherries, coarsely chopped (can substitute with Bing cherries)
1/4 cup each chopped cilantro and diced yellow sweet pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon grated lime peel
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
Toast one side of baguette slices at 350°F for approx. 5 minutes. Turn bread slices and brush with olive oil, then bake 5 minutes longer. Combine cherries, cilantro, pepper, green onions, lime juice, lime peel, salt, pepper, and remaining olive oil; mix well. Top each slice of baguette with a thin slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, a tablespoon of the cherry mixture and top with sliced basil. You can serve warm or cold. Makes 18 appetizers.
Savory Cherry Picnic Salad
1-1/4 cup sugar snap peas
2 cups pitted fresh sweet Rainier cherries
1 medium cucumber, halved, seeded and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/2 cup red radishes, wedged
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each toasted sesame seeds and grated fresh ginger root
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
Blanch peas in boiling salted water for about 1 minute then plunge into iced water to cool. Drain. Mix cherries, cucumber, radishes and peas. Combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour over cherry mixture and toss to coat. Marinate, refrigerated, at least one hour. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Cobbler La Rainier
3 cups of Rainier cherries, pitted
1-1/4 tablespoon of cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar (1/4 cup if substituting with Stevia powder)
**Combine ingredients above in a bowl and set aside. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and ready a cooking dish with low-fat cooking spray or oil.
1 1/4 cup flour (can substitute for rice flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup brown sugar (can substitute with brown rice sugar or Splenda for baking)
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons low-fat butter blend (or your choice of lower-fat substitute), melted and cooled
Combine dry ingredients into a bowl, then add egg to the buttermilk, followed by butter blend.
Fold wet mixture into flour until thoroughly moistened and mixed together well. Add cherry mixture to the baking dish, Spoon flour/buttermilk mixture crumbled between fingers and evenly spread. Bake for 20 minutes (tented with foil) or until golden brown and bubbly. Serves four to six servings.
Rainier Cherry Relish
1/2 pound Rainier cherries, pitted, and halved
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 Fuji apple - peeled, cored, and diced
2 tablespoons white sugar (can substitute for powdered Stevia herb)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (can substitute with Brown Splenda)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Place the cherries, cider vinegar, rice vinegar, onion, apple, white sugar, brown sugar, salt, and nutmeg into a large pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid, and continue simmering until mixture has thickened to relish consistency. Chill before serving. Serves 6-8.
Cherry Pit Spell Recipe
What, you thought all my recipes were edible? Goodness no, I saved the best for last! This is a fun sort of spell to try on a rainy day with all those pits left over from making your cobbler or pies. You can use either Rainier cherries or Bing cherries, as both will work for our purposes.
Collect cherry pits in a fire safe ceramic bowl and make a spot in the center for a small pillar candle, white is best. Note: The candle should be tall enough that the flame cannot heat the cherry pits or pop them. Stand or sit at least a good foot or two away, just in case. This should be done anytime when you feel like your life is in the pits (the universe loves a pun, trust me).
If you happen to do the spell during a waning moon cycle, so much the better! Sprinkle a little sea salt in a circle around you and the bowl. Now light the candle and invoke the Goddess.
Say something like: Mother of Nature and all that is giving, My life is in the pits, so I return these to you as seeds of potential, to rid my life of negativity and allow room for change positively. With harm to none, I release my gift into your care. Blessed be!
Now snuff the candle, clean up the sea salt, and bury the cherry pits in your backyard. Unless you live in the eastern part of Washington state, you should be okay and not have concern this spell will grow a cherry tree, lol. But what it will do is take away the negativity and undue worry of a situation and make room for you to change your perspective on life for the better. Sometimes we simple get cluttered with unnecessary pits and need to realize we do have the power within ourselves to make things better.
May everyone reading this be blessed with love and light.