Tag Archives: cherries

hello, 2011!

13 Jan

Wow, I’m finally getting to my first post of the new year. I can’t believe it’s 2011!

Every year I eager anticipate the holidays, to a bit of an extreme. I just love everything about the holiday time! The lights, the music, the food, family, wrapping presents… it’s just the best. Unfortunately, once the new year rolls around we’re just left with winter. Dreary, boring winter. Blah.

To counter the dark and the drizzle, here’s a healthy, hearty quick bread that is delicious and sure to perk up a wintery afternoon.

I’ve gotten really terrible with quinoa. Whenever I make it, there always seems to be some that’s left loitering around in my fridge with nothing to do. This quick bread uses some cooked quinoa to add protein and substance to this lightly-sweetened bread.



Cherry Almond Quinoa Bread

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup organic sugar
1 1/2 teas. baking powder
1/2 teas. baking soda
1/4 teas. salt
1 1/2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. milk of choice
1/3 cup mild oil
1/2 teas. almond extract (optional)
1/4 teas. vanilla extract (increase if not using almond)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease and flour a standard sized loaf pan.

In a small bowl combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the quinoa, milk, oil and extracts. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches until just mixed. Gently mix in the chopped almonds, cherries and chocolate chips.

Bake for 55-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean (no batter, but okay if crumbs stick to the toothpick). Let bread cool in pan, on a cooling rack, for 30 minutes before serving.

Yields: 10-12 slices

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cherry, cerise, cereza, nom!

7 Jul

First off, episode three is undergoing post-production behind me as we speak, so it will finally be up on Thursday I’m thinking. Sorry about the long time between episodes. We’ll be shortening that up, you know how crazy summer can get!

Last weekend, we got a great tip from our friend Amy about a farm in Hood River where u-pick cherries are $1 a pound. Bing, Lambert, Van and Rainier, all $1 a pound! Jim and I knew what we had to do, so Sunday morning we headed out, bright and early, geared up and ready for some pickin’.

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The trees were heavy and flush with ripe cherries. It was really a sight to behold.

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The full trees made quick work and soon our buckets began to fill. We focused on mostly Bing and Rainier, with some Lambert or Van (not sure which they were) filling in the cracks.

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In less than an hour we had picked 21 pounds of cherries. 21 pounds of anything can be hard to conceptualize, so here’s a better view.

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You are probably asking yourself, “What on earth do two people need with 21 pounds of cherries? What are they going to do?”

Well, we froze quite a bit, for feeding to the Vita-Mix. But the large majority went here:

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Jam on it! Earlier in the weekend I made another batch of Strawberry Rhubarb Jam while rhubarb is still lingering. With the canning bug in full force, I decided to make two large batches of cherry jam: Rainier and Vanilla Bing. Two words of advice if you plan to make a lot of cherry jam: cherry pitter. It’s a miraculous invention, especially if you decide to pit 17 pounds in one day.

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Vanilla Bing Jam

Makes 4 1/2 pints

4 lbs of chopped Bing cherries, weighed after pitting
juice of 1 medium lemon
2 cups of sugar
1 box of pectin (1.75 oz)
2 large vanilla beans

Place chopped cherries in a stockpot and combine with lemon juice. It’s very easy to chop the cherries with a food processor. Cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until cherries begin to break down and release a lot of juice.

In a small bowl, combine sugar with pectin and add to cherries after initial cook time. Combine well, stirring often and bring to a low boil. Once mixture comes to a boil, slice open vanilla beans and scrape seeds into jam. Continue cooking until it begins to thicken, about 15-20 minutes.

Test for gel by spooning a bit of jam on a plate and putting it in the freezer for 1 minute. After the minute, remove it from the freezer and push the edge with your finger. If it wrinkles up from the pressure of your finger, it is ready. If not, let it cook for 3 minute intervals, checking the gel after each interval.

Spoon hot jam into sterilized canning jars and follow good canning practices for storing your jam. Let jam sit for at least 12 hours to set up.

*Alternately, you can use pure vanilla extract, 1 teas. added after jam reaches gelling consistency.
**For the Rainier variation, sub Rainiers for the Bings and omit the vanilla.

After a long day of canning, I decided to make a treat.

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Banana ice cream, made in the Vita-Mix, with chocolate sauce and some fresh cherries. I made the ice cream using a couple of frozen bananas, a splash of almond milk, vanilla extract and a couple of ice cubes to keep it thick. It was so delicious. Next time I think I will add a little peanut butter.

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What good is all of this canning without sharing? It’s time for a giveaway! One lucky commenter will be randomly drawn on Friday and will receive a jar of my Rainier Cherry Jam. Just leave a comment about jam. What flavors do you love? Homemade or store-bought? What kinds of jam have never tried, but want to? Have you ever made homemade jam? I don’t expect that you answer all of these questions, they are just some suggestions.

I can’t wait to read your comments! And keep an eye out for episode 3!

*Edited to announce our winner- Erin! I will email you, Erin and congrats!