Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sweet Cherry Memories

I love summertime fruits. I have been slamming back strawberries like they are going out of style. My son and I go through a 2 lb carton in just a few days! Mangos mount up in my fruit bowl weekly, and pineapple is popping up in my afternoon routine.

Cherries are another treat I have been devouring by the bulk, their taste attached to so many memories. My aunt Barbra used to own apple and cherry orchards up in Spokane, Washington and I was able to go up for cherry picking season one year. The joy of walking right out her back door into the orchards and picking plump cherries right off the tree is a lasting treasure in my mind. I made the most delicious cherry tarts one afternoon.. I can still remember the juicy cherries warm against the flaky, feathery tart crust. Maybe I need to give those another go around!

Last summer my husband and I went up to Montana for one of my best friend’s wedding and created some wonderful cherry memories too. We gobbled them up by the pound at the local cherry stands on the drive in and were delighted to see they played a part in the wedding d├ęcor as well! Hailey’s wedding was beautiful, and allowed me to explore the amazing spaces of Montana. If you haven’t been, you should go as soon as you can, and in July when the cherries are plentiful too! Hailey and I always tease that we are going to open up a B&B one day up there or in Colorado. If we ever do, I expect visits from you all!


Hailey's Wedding on Flathead Lake MT

How cute was the table decor?! Cherries didn't last long...

Oh, did I not mention the cherry WINE!




OK back from memory lane. I saw this Cherry Lentil Salad recipe on Whole Foods site the other day I knew it had to be put on this week’s menu. Fresh, filling, and full of flavor and goodness. It would be a great BBQ side dish for the fourth! It serves 8, is easy to make, and easy on the budget. You can find the original recipe here: Whole Foods Cherry-Lentil Salad

Cherry Lentil Salad

Ingredients

• 1 1/2 cups dried green (French) lentils, rinsed and picked through
• 2-3 tbs red wine vinegar
• 2-3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tbs kosher salt
• 1 tbs freshly ground black pepper
• 4 cups fresh cherries (about 1 pound), pitted and halved
• 1 cup chopped fresh basil (I used mine fresh from the garden!)

Directions:

Bring 5 cups of water to boil in a soup pot with a dash of sea salt and olive oil. Add in lentils, lower the heat and simmer partially covered for about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool in a large bowl. add in vinegar, olive oil, and spices. Toss to coat.

*I put them in the fridge after the cooled because we weren’t ready to eat yet. You can also do this step ahead of time if you have a tight evening schedule!

When you are ready to serve, add the cherries and basil. Taste test and adjust if needed. My in-laws added roast chicken to theirs, the hubby and I enjoyed it just as is!

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