I'm doing something that most editors tell you not to do, start this with a negative. But honestly, it really isn't as much of a negative as it is a challenge to view things in a different light. Not all fruit must be cooked or baked or exposed to high temperatures. Within a type of fruit you will probably come across a few varieties that lose their uniqueness when heated, take for instance these Skylar Rae cherries, their high sugar content makes them better suited to be eaten raw because they breakdown pretty fast on heating. This particular type of cherry is not only sweet but has a pleasant tartness too so I don't add any lemon or lime but again you can add that if you want, just a teaspoon of fresh juice should suffice.Read More
I have some big news and it's exciting! Starting this Sunday, this blog will also be run as a brand new column in the San Francisco Chronicle's Sunday edition (print and digital) and will be called A Brown Kitchen! There will be tasty things to cook and eat and lots of photos accompanying each and every recipe. A Brown Table is not shutting down, in fact, it's just the opposite, a lot more of my food will be coming your way! Never in my wildest dreams did I think that something like this would happen all through writing, cooking and photographing my food in this food blog! As always thank you for your support over the years! XOXO
What does one do with some 20 lbs of cherries and I think this might be a solution to a lot of those problems I encounter when I buy or get greedy picking way too many fruit at farms? Provided you can get someone to pit the cherries for you (insert spouse or kids here for said task), you do a whole lotta crazy stuff besides cooking dishes and desserts with them. You can and should also make this cherry salt.
It's an easy recipe, fresh cherry bits with Maldon salt flakes. As my friend Jenny says, it goes great with cherry flavored margaritas but you can use it season food too. I considered using cherry juice but the extra texture of the fruit embedded in the salt makes thing a lot more fun!
Note: I didn't provide any tips this time as I normally do, since there's not much to really look out for except one thing, check the pan occasionally to avoid burning. A little browning is good to get some complex flavors of caramelization but beyond that it is the easiest seasoning to prepare.
cherry infused salt (loosely adapted from Batch: Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison)
yields: 1 cup
1 1/2 cups freshly pitted and chopped cherries (I used Bing cherries)
1 cup maldon salt flakes
1. Place the cherry juice and salt flakes in a medium sized bowl. Fold to combine. Wrap the bowl with clingfilm and place in refrigerator overnight.
2. The next day transfer the entire mixture into a oven-safe ceramic dish (a baking dish will work). Spread the mixture with the liquid in an even layer. Place the dish in a preheated oven at 325F on lower two-third's shelf and allow to dehydrate for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Check every 20 minutes to make sure the cherries aren't burning and the mixture is dehydrating. The juice will evaporate and large salt crystals will form. Some of the sugars in the cherry juice will caramelize a little and brown. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Once cooled transfer to an airtight container for storage. The salt should be good for about two months of stored properly.
It's been hot in Oakland but not so hot in San Francisco. It's all relative when it comes to temperature but there's always a big difference between the two cities, on most days in Oakland you won't have fog or cloudy skies as San Francisco does, it's usually brighter, warmer and less chillier than the city. I love Oakland for this and many other things. I've been busy on weekends working in the garden, planting lemon and lime trees with the hope that in due time I will get plenty to use without having to run to the store every time I need one. Hope being the key word here. I can grow most things, some better than others, when it comes to fruiting plants and trees, I've usually not had much luck except for peppers and a few others.
With all the cherries we picked recently, I've been working on different exciting and tasty ways to use them. One of my favorite drinks this summer is this fizzy lemonade that's inspired from the spiced lemonades sold on the streets in India. I grind cherries to a fine purée and then use the juice from the fruit to flavor the lemonade. In India, people would usually use black salt/kala namak to flavor the drink but I've swapped it out for himalayan pink salt.
You can get the recipe for this delicious fizzy Bombay cherry lemonade at theKitchenAid blog where I also share detailed instructions on how to use their sleek sodamaker to make fizzy things up!
Disclaimer: This blog post was created in partnership with KitchenAid. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
It's almost comical that I've thought about this barbecue sauce for a few years now but never had a chance to post it. I blame the short span that the cherry fruiting encompasses, it's never long enough! But this cherry BBQ sauce is probably one of the most ideal marriages when it comes to blending the flavors from the East with the West. Barbecue sauce always makes a compelling argument to use something sweet to flavor meat, growing up in India you learn to never add sweet to savory but a good tangy and sweet BBQ sauce can convince anyone that this is a great idea.
This Indian-inspired version uses a dried red Kashmiri chilies to amp up the heat, coriander to infuse a rich smoky flavor and jaggery (a dark raw brown Indian sugar) for sweetness. But the last ingredient jaggery does so much more, it brings out the heat of the chilies, but also bumps up the tartness of the cherries and sourness of the vinegar. It's one of those raw sugars which really compliments spicy flavors making it a better ingredient than regular brown sugar in this sauce. I highly recommend sticking to jaggery even though you could get away with regular brown sugar, this sauce is all about flavor and taste.
This is one a time batch recipe and you could easily scale this up to can (I haven't tried to can it, because we never have enough left). Use the sauce over meats like you would normally and grill away!
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this sauce;
- Use the tart and sweet red cherries in this recipe.
- I usually like to marinade the meat/poultry for at least 1 hour before you grill. Rub and massage the sauce into the meat well, so it seeps through the meat. I also sometimes nick the meat with a paring knife to let the flavors get deep into the meat.
- I like to reserve a little bit of the fat from on the leftover chicken to use to grill vegetables.
- I grilled a couple of chicken thighs and vegetables in Finex's cast iron grill pan over the charcoal fire pit. Once the meat is marinaded for at least 1 hour in a cup of the sauce (my ratio is 2lbs of meat to 1 cup sauce), I slapped it on the lightly oiled pan and allowed it to cook until the internal temperature reached 165F. Avoid moving the chicken to much when grilling, to get good charred grill marks and also orevent the meat from sticking to the grates. The grill pan from Finex is great to cook over direct fire as it can withstand the temperature and also heats evenly. I poured some of the BBQ sauce into the little cast iron BBQ pot to keep it warm while I brushed the meat to coat it with the sauce.
indian - inspired cherry barbecue sauce
yields: approximately 4 cups sauce
2 cups pitted cherries (I used the Bing variety) (frozen/fresh)
1 cup whole grain mustard
1 cup ketchup
1 medium-sized white onion (which is approximately 1 cup diced white onion)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worchesterchire sauce
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
4 dried Kashmiri chilies with seeds
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed jaggery or dark brown sugar
1. Place all the ingredients, except the jaggery/sugar in a high-speed blender and process until silky smooth. If you want an extra smooth sauce, strain the mixture through a strainer to remove any fibers (you might not need to depending on how strong of a blender you use).
2. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan and add the jaggery/sugar. Cook on medium-low heat with occasional stirring until the sauce just begins to boil. Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary and keep the sauce aside until ready to use.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Williams-Sonoma and Finex. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
I love my dutch oven, it was the first gift M gave me for Christmas. I have a few pieces now for different purposes and I treat them like they were my kids. And though they're heavy (my mom's biggest complaint when she visits me), they're resilient and a great piece to own. Heat transfers evenly, food cooks great, the heavy lids allow condensation of the steam from the food which helps to cook the food well. From braising meat, to stews to desserts, a lot can be done with this beast. This new 6.5 oval dutch oven from Williams-Sonoma's new signature collection is not only goregous but also did an excellent job of cooking the cobbler. The cherries cook in their own liquid and hold their texture without falling apart and getting mushy.
One of the recipes, I've picked up from M's mom is her berry cobbler. It's a no fuss dessert, minimal effort and it bursts with flavors from fresh fruits. It's one of those dishes that does fruits justice when cooked (I have mixed feelings about cooked fruit desserts, my relationship status with this one is Complicated!).
Two weekends ago, we went cherry picking at a farm in Stockton, CA. After semi-climbing a tree and picking fruit, we ended up with some 17 or 20lbs of cherries (not to mention the stuff we ate while picking). So I needed to use up all that fruit, some we pitted and froze, others were puréed and stored. Basically, we have a whole lot of cherry stuff going on in this house. It's a short season, so I plan to eat as much and do as much as I can with it.
The crust is pretty easy, I add grated butter to the flours and a little bit of rosemary (optional). Some people like the flavor and texture of rosemary in desserts while other's don't, use your judgement here.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this cobbler,
- I use a large amount of fresh pitted cherries. If cherries are hard to find, you can try frozen.
- The rosemary in the crust is optional. I like the flavor it gives to the crust and it also goes well with the cherry flavor.
- I use dried elderberries here which have a very different flavor than elderflowers. A little bit goes a long way here.
- If you can't find honey powder use sugar. Taste the filling and adjust sweetness if necessary. Remember the flavors will concentrate and thicken in the oven as the cobbler cooks.
cherry and elderberry cobbler with buckwheat and quinoa crust
yields : 4 to 8 servings
1.2 kg/2.5lbs pitted cherries (I used bing cherries)
2 cups tart cherry juice
2 tablespoons honey powder
2 tablespoons kirsch (optional)
1 tablespoon dried elderberries, ground
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon tap water
226gm buckwheat flour
90 gm quinoa flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon rosemary leaves (fresh/dried) - chopped or whole
4 tablespoons grated butter
3/4 cup whole milk
1. Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven. Preheat to 350F.
2. Take a medium sized dutch oven (I used a 6.5 quart dutch oven). Place all the ingredients from the cherries to the ground elderberries. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and tap water and fold this into the cherry mixture in the dutch oven. Keep aside.
3. To prepare the crust topping, sift the buckwheat flour, quinoa flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt over a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the rosemary, butter, and milk and stir with a large fork to mix completely. The dough will resemble a sticky mass. Level the cherries in the dutch oven with a large wooden spoon, then place scoops of the dough over the cherries and distribute across the surface evenly. Place in the oven and bake with lid for about 40 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. Carefully, remove the hot lid from the dutch oven and return the uncovered dutch oven back to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes until the crust is a light golden brown. Remove from oven allow to cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes before serving. To serve, scoop the cobbler with the filling and some crust and sprinkle a little sparkling sugar or serve with creme fraîche.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Williams-Sonoma however, all opinions expressed are solely my own.
I stare into the empty vacuum, it's a soulless void, a black hole that holds nothing. Happiness is non-existent and it looks sad. Yes, that's what's inside an empty cone, when I look into it. While cleaning out one of the cupboards in the kitchen and I found a few cones sitting sadly, all forgotten. They needed a soul in the form of something sweet and frozen. To fill this empty cone, I made ice cream over the weekend. A thick and creamy ice cream with streaks of sweet and tart red cherry sauce embedded in a white, creamy soft frozen bed of labneh ice cream.
On it's own, creme kefir/labneh (labne) is very tasty. Smooth, creamy with the tanginess of yogurt and a velvet texture to go along with every loaded spoon, that's the best way I think I can describe it! Combine this with the sweet and tart flavor profile of cherries and it's an ice cream that I want to eat all summer long. Cones or no cones! With cherry season in full swing, you might want to take advantage of all the fresh fruit that's available for the next few weeks (I really hate that it's a short season) but for those times when you can't find fresh cherries this recipe can be still be made if you can find the frozen ones at the store.
I have some exciting news to share with you, I'm a contributor at Team Yogurt and if you like yogurt and are looking for fun and new interesting ways to incorporate it into your diet, head over to my friend Cheryl's site for a whole collection of recipes from some very amazing and talented people. You'll be pleasantly happy to see recipes from all over the world that you can try out at home that are easy to prepare and tasty to eat!
Here are some of kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this ice cream;
- It is critical to have everything chilled when adding the acidic labneh kefir to the ice cream base. Otherwise things can curdle. Move quickly once it is added and pour it into the prepared frozen canister of your ice cream maker.
- After you add the cornstarch slurry to the ice cream base you can pass the ice cream base through a strainer to remove any clumps.
- Frozen cherries will save you a lot of extra time and hassle. But you can use fresh seasonal cherries too, just remember to chill the sauce before folding it into the ice cream base.
- Kirsch helps to amplify the cherry flavor in the ice cream but it also helps prevent ice crystal formation during freezing.
- The sauce I use in this ice cream is very simple to make and doesn't require any cooking.
Some other desserts you might be interested in;
cherry labneh kefir ice cream
yields: around 2.5 pints
3 cups whole milk + 3 tablespoons
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup fine grain sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons kirsch
12 ounces cherries frozen or fresh, pits and stems removed
4 tablespoons honey
8 ounces creme kefir (labneh/labne)
1/2 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chips (I used 54%)
1. Place the 3 cups milk, heavy cream and sugar in a thick-bottomed deep saucepan. Heat the contents of the saucepan on medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Stir occasionally with a silicone spatula to dissolve the sugar.
2. While the milk is boiling, quickly make a slurry of the cornstarch with the 3 tablespoons milk. Quickly whisk this slurry into the boiling milk and allow to boil with constant stirring until the mixture thickens for around 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the stove and transfer to a clean gallon ziplock bag and chill completely in an ice-water bath for 35 minutes.
3. While the ice cream base is chilling, place the labneh kefir in a large mixing bowl. Whisk it for 30 seconds and then pour in 1/2 cup of the chilled ice cream base along with the vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of kirsch. Whisk to combine. Then slowly whisk the mixture in the bowl until it is smooth and combined evenly while pouring the chilled ice cream base in a thin steady stream. Pour the entire chilled mixture into the prepare frozen canister of your ice cream maker. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to churn the ice cream.
4. In the meantime prepare the cherry sauce. Place the frozen cherries (note if you use fresh cherries, then prepare this sauce and pre-chill for at least 1 hour before folding it into the ice cream base) in a blender. Add the remaining kirsch and honey. Pulse until combined (about 30 seconds, three times). Remove and transfer the sauce. Keep chilled until ready to use.
5. Transfer half of the ice cream into an airtight freezer safe container. Pour half of the chilled cherry sauce over the ice cream and half of the chocolate chips. Repeat the layers with the remaining ice cream, cherry sauce and chocolate chips. Using a knife or spoon, stir the mixture to create swirls of cherry sauce and ice cream. Don't over-mix or you'll end up with a uniform pinkish ice cream. (the swirls make the texture more interesting, both visually and taste-wise). Keep in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to firm up before serving.