Celebrate Summer Sweet Cherries

From Bings to Queen Annes to Rainiers, cherries are one of the Northwest’s most famed exports and also one of our most valuable crops. Needless to say, they’re luscious, sweet & tart, and decadent.

Bing Cherries
Tasty bing cherries!
Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Nothing beats eating cherries out of your hand but I love them muddled in fresh lemonade or in one of my favorite summer cocktails, Cherry Basil Mojitos for a Crowd. Make this ultra-refreshing sip up to three days ahead of time for your next barbeque or picnic. It’s perfect for your next patio party!

For a super easy app, Cherry Bings are fun. Pit large Bing cherries (with either a cherry pitter or by using a chopstick to poke the pit out). Roll in some goat cheese and toasted almonds. Viola – a d’lish appetizer!

Thinking of a summer cherry inspired entree? Whip up a batch of my Sassy Bing Cherry Salsa. It’s great on grilled chicken or salmon – yum!

So head out to the market to grab a big bag of fresh local cherries and taste the season! –Kathy

Cherry Mojitos
Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Cherry Basil Mojitos for a Crowd
You can make the cherry-rum mixture up to 3 days in advance and keep it refrigerated—the flavors will just get better and better.

Makes about 10 servings

3 cups pitted fresh sweet cherries (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 bunch fresh mint (about 1 1/2 cups sprigs)
12 sprigs fresh basil
3 cups silver rum
2 cups sugar
2 cups fresh lime juice
Loads of ice for serving
Two 10-ounce bottles soda water, chilled

For Garnishing: fresh mint and basil sprigs, fresh cherries

In a large nonreactive container, such as a glass pitcher, lightly crush the cherries with a potato masher. Then add the mint, basil, rum, sugar and lime juice. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (You can remove the herbs before serving if you like and then garnish with fresh ones.)

For each serving, fill a large rocks glass or tumbler with ice and measure in 4 – 6 ounces (1/2 – 3/4 cup) of the rum mixture (I like to use a ladle to do this), being sure to get some of the cherries into each glass. Top with 1 – 2 ounces of soda. Stir, then garnish with a mint sprig or basil leaf and a cherry.

Recipe  by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®.

Cherry & Goat Cheese Bings
Makes about 20 pieces

20 fresh dark sweet cherries
1/2 cup (2 ounces) sliced almonds
1 teaspoon olive oil
Pinch of salt
4 to 6 ounces fresh goat cheese (chèvre)

Pit the cherries and set aside to drain on paper towels for 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Meanwhile, mix the almonds, oil, and salt in a small bowl, then spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool to room temperature. When cooled, use your hands to crush the almonds to the size of cracker crumbs; put into a shallow bowl.

Take 1 heaping teaspoonful of cheese in the palm of your hand, place a cherry on the cheese, and start rolling with your hands to coat the cherry. If there are any thin spots, add a bit more cheese. Immediately after rolling the cheese around the cherry, drop it into the crumbled almonds and roll to coat with the nuts. Repeat with the remaining cherries. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve, for up to 2 hours.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Sassy Bing Cherry Salsa
Serve this sassy salsa over grilled chicken or salmon. I also like to add in some toasted crushed coriander seeds for a different twist.

Makes about 2 cups

2 cups pitted sliced Bing cherries (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup minced Walla Walla sweet onion or other sweet white onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons very finely minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)

In a small bowl, gently mix all the ingredients. The salsa is best if made right before serving but can be made up to 2 hours in advance.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Posted by Kathy Casey on July 25th, 2013  |  Comments Off |  Posted in appetizers, Cocktails, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, sides

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