Comfort Food: Rorschach Cookies

As I’ve probably mentioned before, I tend to bake when I get restless.  Judging from most of my blog entries, I get restless a lot.  But there’s also the fact that I like to have a little something sweet in the evenings and instead of opting for a couple cookies made by some questionable elven […]

Come to the dark side, we have cookies

I just wanted to post pictures of cookies. Similar to the ones here, only with dark brown sugar, half cake flour/half regular flour, 1.5 tbsp sugar, 1/2 cup flaked coconut, 1 cup oatmeal and 10oz milk chocolate chips.  The cinnamon is a must; it adds such a great undertone to the oatmeal and chocolate.

Granola Bar Cookies

I told Josh that I would make him cookies tonight and I did—I made cookies based on my chocolate chip granola bar recipe.  They have everything the bars do–oatmeal, chocolate chips, cinnamon, coconut and walnuts (okay, not everything; there’s no honey or oil). Recipe Follows:

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Chocolate Orange Pecan Shortbread

I mentioned in the last post that I was excited about three things this week.  One of those is tonight’s Live Organize Your Kitchen with Evernote hangout with fellow Ambassador and food blogger, Brandie Kajino.  The other was cookie swaps. Specifically, the annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  I do enjoy participating in it every […]

fresh pitted cherries in a bowlLast weekend, a terrible thought hit me.  “Summer is practically over,” I thought.  “It might as well be September.”

But that’s crazy.  Summer is far from over.  Summer is merely at its peak.  Summer tastes sweet, juicy and goes well with cream soda.  You know how I know this?  Because summer is currently on sale in one of its purest forms: cherries.

Prompted by what turned out to be a fantastic idea by Whole Foods, we threw a cherry party this week.  That’s right.  Cherry all the things.

[pullquote align=”right”]

Did you know that Michigan is the cherry capital of the world?  In fact, according to Wikipedia, the Traverse City area alone produces up to 360,000,000 pounds of cherries per year. 

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I’ve never actually cooked with fresh cherries before.  I’ve used dried ones in cookies and oatmeal but never used fresh.  Part of my hesitation was that I generally preferred strawberries, having not tasted how good cherries could really be before this week.  Part of my hesitation was due to this idea that cherries are hard to use.  I mean, pits?  Stems?  Let’s just call the whole thing off.  But no.  Turns out, fresh cherries are actually really easy to use, especially if you make a small investment in the right hardware.

So I thought to myself…can I make an entire meal with cherries in every dish?  Yes.  Yes I can.  Challenge accepted.

 

[heading style=”2″]Menu![/heading]

With recipes and bonus links below!

Appetizers:

  • cherry salsa (fresh sweet cherries, red onion, garlic, serrano peppers, lime juice and zest)

cherry salsa in a bowl

  • cherry gazpacho (sweet cherries, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, oil, vinegar and basil)

sourdough bread, fresh peppers, fresh tomatoes, baby cucumbers, olive oil and fresh cherries ready for gazpacho gazpacho ingredients soaking in a bowl

finished gazpacho in small cups garnished with basil and cucumber sticks

Main course and side:

  • sirloin-cherry burgers with melted brie (ground sirloin, chopped fresh cherries)
  • cherry-cranberry coleslaw (coleslaw mix, dried cherries, dried cranberries, cherry syrup, vinegar and mayo)

sirloin cherry burger with melted brie on a bun sitting on a plate beside a pile of cherry coleslaw

Dessert

  • chocolate fondue with berries (cherries, raspberries and strawberries, marshmallows and graham crackers; fondue is semisweet chocolate, cream and amaretto liqueur)

chocolate fondue with fresh cherries, strawberries, raspberries, marshmallows and graham crackers

Drinks

  • Cherry cream soda (cream soda with cherry syrup and Black Cherry Cream soda from Sprechers)
  • Cherry mojito slushies (cherry syrup, lime juice and zest, fresh cherries, rum and mint)
  • Cherry rum and cokes (cherry syrup, cane sugar Coca-Cola and dark rum)

 cherry mojito in a small glass garnished with mint

Yes.  It was a thing.  A red, sweet, full-belly kind of thing.  Any my challenge to you now is…what kind of cherry dishes are you going to make?  If you haven’t tried experimenting with fresh cherries before, trust me–now is the time.

I’d also like to thank Whole Foods for the inspiration for this party, as well as providing me with a gift card to procure the ingredients.

 

[heading style=”1″]Recipes[/heading]

Cherry Gazpacho

Serving Size: 4 bowls

A smooth fresh cold soup of summer vegetables, fruits and bread. Adapted from Food & Wine

Ingredients

  • 2 slices sourdough, cubed
  • 2 baby cucumbers, seedless, roughly cut
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb sweet cherries, pitted and halved
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1.5oz red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus 2 tbsp
  • 1 tbsp herbes de provence
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • basil for garnish

Instructions

  1. 1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. 2. Toss sourdough with garlic and herbes de provence. Fry in oil until browned and toasted.
  3. 3. Put bread and garlic mixture into a bowl, making sure to scrape out all the oil and herb-y goodness. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, cherries, red wine vinegar and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Cover and let sit for 2 hours.
  4. 4. In batches, puree the gazpacho until mostly smooth, adding salt and pepper to taste. Pour into bowls, garnish with basil leaves, and serve.

Notes

*This can be made up to a day in advance; just be sure to tightly cover with plastic wrap to avoid discoloration.

http://haveforkwilleat.com/2012/07/my-cherry-amour/

Cherry Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1.5lb sweet cherries, pitted
  • 1/4 c.red onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • serrano, diced (up to you--1/2 a pepper for mild, up to 2 for hotter)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. 1. Put cherries in a food processor and pulse until well-chopped but NOT puréed. Transfer cherries to a bowl.
  2. 2. Add in red onion, garlic, serrano, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything together thoroughly.
  3. 3. Enjoy!
http://haveforkwilleat.com/2012/07/my-cherry-amour/

 

[heading style=”2″]But Wait! There’s More![/heading]

How to make cherry syrup, from Karen’s Kitchen

How to dry cherries at home, from the Kitchn

 

You know what I like about these bars?  Everything.  They were easy to make, very fast, tasty, they made the house smell delicious and they are a perfect fall treat for noshing on with a good sized mug of hot cocoa and whipped cream.

They came about because I was sitting home alone, bored, getting over a cold and therefore in sore need of some comfort food.  I didn’t want the usual sort of snack–cookies, brownies, etc.  Or more honestly, I didn’t have enough chocolate on hand for the usual snack.  Instead, I sifted through the 300 or so recipes in my Evernote cookbook tagged with “dessert” and found a recipe for pecan pie bars.

I didn’t have pecans…but I did have a Costco-sized bag of almonds.  Plus I knew that with a bit of extra cinnamon thrown in, the bars would basically be like eating candied almonds atop a shortbread crust.  And yep, that’s pretty much what they are.  Delightfully, they’re not too sweet at all–so they won’t push you into sugar shock if you eat one or two with a good helping of my homemade cocoa. Continue reading

Something awesome transpired here Saturday night.  Josh and I hosted the inaugural Melties, a semi-formal grilled cheese dinner party.

Let me say that part again.  A semi formal grilled cheese dinner party.

You know, as many times as I say it, it never sounds less awesome.  All around, it’s probably one of my better ideas.  I highly suggest that each and every one of you conduct your own Melties as soon as you can.

Let’s start with the invitation.

A few of our grilled cheese lovin’ friends received the following invitations in the mail (real invitations on real paper sent through snail mail.  Retro, I know):

Continue reading

Ogres have layers, bars have layers

It’s that time of year again.  Fat Tuesday.  Mardi Gras.  Carnivale.  For some people, “Paczki Day.”

I, for one, enjoy Mardi Gras.  Who doesn’t like shiny beads and socially accepted overindulgence?  Monks.  But we just won’t tell them about it.  Anyway, I enjoy the festivities.  There is, however, one thing that has always somewhat baffled me about the way people celebrate Fat Tuesday here in southeast Michigan, at least.

Paczkis.  The overwhelming obsession with paczkis.  I mean…why?

Now don’t hate me.  I know that already some of you are going, “Oh my god, you did not just say that,” and others are going, “You didn’t mean it; I forgive you,” and still others are going, “What the hell is a paczki?  And how do you even pronounce it?”  A paczki, pronounced here as puntj-ki, is a Polish pastry made of fried dough filled with jam. Continue reading

Share the Love…and Pass a Plate

I like Valentine’s Day.  I know it’s a somewhat controversial holiday (which ones aren’t, these days?) but I personally appreciate it, for about the same base reason that I like Halloween: you just can’t go wrong with a holiday where a major focus is candy. The second best part of V-Day is the silly cards […]

I’ll say that one more time: double chocolate chip almond cookie pie.  Cookie pie.  Cookie pie. Cookie pie.

This is a beautiful dessert, in so many ways.  First of all, it contains some of the most important ingredients known to man: chocolate, double chocolate, almonds, butter, pie crust.  All it’s missing is pork…and you could remedy that buy adding in crumbled bacon and/or using lard in your pie crust.  Just something to consider.  Secondly, it solves that terrible, gastronomical conundrum that is, “What do I want for dessert?  A cookie or a slice of pie?”  Welcome to the future, my good hungry friend!  Who needs flying cars?  You can have cookie pie.  That’s two desserts in one.  It’s like a culinary double rainbow.  Plus, it offers twice the opportunity for supplemental dairy.  I mean, pie needs to have one of two things to go with it: ice cream or whipped cream.  Or ice cream and whipped cream.  And cookies need milk.  So you could have a slice of cookie pie with some whipped cream and a glass of milk.  Boom. Done.  Third, think of all the neatly paired colloquialisms you could make.  “Any way you slice it, that’s the way the cookie crumbles!”  And uh…um….ok, well maybe that’s the only one.   Finally, this dessert is extremely easy to make, even for those of you who are baking-phobic.  And do you know what you get at the end of this easy process?  Flaky, buttery pie crust, crunchy top and a nice thick layer of chocolate in the middle. It makes a great alternative to the usual whipped chocolate or fruity pies.  And if you’re tired of eating pumpkin after Thanksgiving and Christmas, then I believe this one is calling your name. Continue reading

This cupcake has a nice body, butter face…

I wasn’t doing a lot of baking for a bit there recently and in the meantime, my Calder delivery kept coming.  By last Friday, I had amassed a small cholesterol-y fortune to the tune of about 4.5 pounds of butter in my pantry.  I thought to myself, I should probably whittle that down before it […]

Hot and Saucy–Really: Homemade Hot Sauce

It’s official, folks.  Halloween has come and gone.  There’s frost on the ground overnight.  Today was a high of 51F.  Starbucks has switched to its Christmas cups.  Yep.  It’s begun.  The Wintering.  And with the Wintering comes the Colding, the Freezing and the inevitable Wanting to Hibernate. But never fear, Random Internet Person.  All is […]