cherry season

Are you tired of the Summer of Cherries yet?

I hope not, because I’m just getting warmed up. (A favorite Al Pacino line… extra points if you know it.)

I am really digging the cherry tree in our yard. Even standing at the counter pitting each and every one, that has become sort of relaxing. I have cherries in my freezer, in my dehydrator, in all kinds of recipes lately.

This one is simple, sweet and satisfying on a hot day.

Hoo Haah.

cherry vanilla ice cream

dairy, egg and gluten free, vegan

4 cups fresh cherries, pitted
1/4 cup almond milk (vanilla)

1 cup coconut milk (canned)
1/4 cup agave
2 tablespoons cream cheese (Tofutti)
1 tablespoon vanilla paste

In high powered blender, combine cherries and almond milk until smooth. Continue to blend and add coconut milk, agave, cream cheese and vanilla. Transfer to ice cream maker and prepare according to manufacturer directions. 

I’m just getting warmed up.

 

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So Halloween is coming up. Soon.

I know, it’s summertime and this weirdo spabettie is already thinking about fall? Only for costume planning purposes, I promise. I am savoring the summertime days to their maximum potential, I truly am. I am not trying to will it away or make autumn arrive quicker. However, I do know a good costume requires some thought and time. and possible drawer slides.

Before October arrives this year, I will have to find old Halloween costume photos to share with you all.

Many years ago, I dressed up as Mia Wallace, which was a two part costume. For the first half of the night, I had my carefully arranged wig, white button down shirt, skinny black pants. The second half of the night, my hair and makeup messed up, I had a large syringe attached to a bustier I wore under my white shirt, pointing at a red sharpie mark. An fun costume I wore several times.

Jason and I have done a couple costume once – he wore a camo print jacket with black pants, I wore a black top with camo print pants. Upper and lower G.I.s.

A few years ago, the costume was Travis Bickle, complete with a (fake) gun on a drawer slide that shot out of my sleeve. You talkin’ to me?!

I have an idea for this year, but I’m keeping it under wraps until Halloween arrives. Besides, there is too much summer left to savor, and summer includes popsicles.

Delicious popsicles that really do taste like cheesecake.

 

cherry cheesecake popsicles dipped in shortbread

dairy and gluten free, vegan

makes 5 pops in this size mould

4 ounces cream cheese (Tofutti)
1/2 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup water, divided
1 dropper vanilla stevia

1 1/2 cups frozen cherries

In blender, combine cream cheese, coconut milk, 1/2 cup water and vanilla stevia, blend until creamy smooth. Transfer to a container with a pour spout, set aside. Rinse blender, add cherries and remaining 1/4 cup water, blend to a chunky jam consistency. Spoon a small amount of cherry mixture into each mould, followed by pouring a tablespoon (approximate) into each mould, alternating until full to achieve marbled look. Fill all moulds, add sticks and transfer to freezer for several hours / overnight.

Dip in shortbread crumbs to complete the cheesecake flavor. I made a 1/2 batch of these cookies (cookie dough base only) and used a few to make crumbs in the food processor. 

 

Do you dress up for Halloween? What costumes have you worn in the past?

 

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I know this sounds totally guuh (because it is), but I cannot stand our dishwasher.

The actual washer itself is just fine, it’s the baskets inside, both the upper and lower. I think they were designed by someone whose entire dish collection is shot glasses and teacup saucers. Our normal sized (not gargantuan) dinner plates do not fit. Weird.

Also, the design is frustrating – I am one who likes to be efficient when it comes to dishwasher loading (read: cram as much in there as possible), and these baskets are anything but efficient. They have weird shapes and barriers and movable walls.

Jason recently said a new dishwasher is “obviously at the top of our list” of renovation projects… but the fact that we just bought a house has made me a (heat) miser*, because I tell him no, I will just see if I can find new baskets for it. It works perfectly fine, and I actually really like the options it has and how quiet it is.

Besides, the top of my list is expanding the kitchen island.

*There is a heat miser setting on my dish washer – that is a positive.

My new favorite quinoa? Served on salad sized plates. Totally works here.

cherry ginger coconut quinoa

dairy and gluten free, vegan

serves two

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 inch ginger, peeled and minced fine
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
pinch salt
1 cup fresh cherries, halved
(handful) raw cashews, chopped 

In saucepan, combine quinoa, coconut milk, ginger, rice vinegar and salt, bring to boil then reduce to simmer. Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, just until liquid is absorbed. Fold in cherries, serve and garnish with cashews. Enjoy warm or cold.

…and because I can never leave well enough alone – if the cherries aren’t sweet enough:

make gif

The spicy ginger and the fragrant rice vinegar bring a savory flavor to a creamy coconut comfort, and the bites of sweet are like a cherry on top. The cashew was a last minute addition for crunch, and it totally works here.

Melted dark chocolate was a perfect afternoon snack topper. Totally works here.

 

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One of the first things I made with our cherry haul was sorbet. Easy as (cherry?) pie.

Cool, refreshing, amazing flavor. Blended just enough to achieve a creamy consistency, with small cherry pieces dotted throughout…

Then we poured champagne over it, like a pretty pink ice cream float.

Wow. I can tell you one thing, that kind of float will be happening more around here.
I can tell you a second thing, you should definitely be making these, as soon as you possibly can.

The arrival of my July issue of Cooking Light is impeccably timed, as they have a great roundup of cherry recipes. To see this one, please visit them here – cherry sorbet.

Really, easy as pie.

CHEERS, Happy Monday!

 

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This is the first installment of Spabettie’s Summer of Cherriessimilar to Summer of George in no way at all.

Yesterday my new cherry pitter was my friend all afternoon. My hands are all red. I ate too many cherries. I still have two huge bowls in my fridge.

I made a batch of my easy gluten free and vegan pie crust, which then turned into individual galettes filled with a simple mixture of cherries and dark chocolate.

Every time I make this pie crust, I wonder why I was so intimidated by it. Really, it is easy if you have a little patience and trust that it will come together. It not only comes together, but it is a terrifically flaky pie crust that you would not guess is vegan or gluten free. Honestly.

What I have learned is to chill it, then work with it quickly right out of the fridge – have your fillings ready to go, so the dough does not dry out too much. If it does dry out, simply form a ball again (wet your hands to add moisture) and roll out again.

dark chocolate cherry galette

dairy, egg and gluten free, vegan

makes four individual galettes

40-50 fresh cherries, pitted
1/3 cup sugar, divided
juice of 1 lime
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 pie crust recipe (see below)
1/4 cup olive oil 

Combine cherries with 2 tablespoons sugar and juice, stir until sugar is dissolved. Divide cherries and chocolate among 4 pies, arrange in the center of each pie (see directions below), leaving an inch border. Fold the border of crust up around filling, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 350 for 27-32 minutes (check at 27).

easy gluten free and vegan pie crust

dairy, egg and gluten free, vegan

makes 4 individual galettes (or one single crust pie)

1 cup sweet rice flour
1 cup all purpose flour (gluten free)
1/2 cup cold butter (Earth Balance – not soy free)
1/4 – 1/2 cup cold water*

Combine flours and butter with dough cutter or fork. Add water gradually* – start with 1/4 cup and add by tablespoon after that until dough is forms. Knead and form a ball, wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Divide into four equal pieces and roll into small circles. Arrange on baking sheet lined in parchment or silpat.

Ahem. That last photo up there? Is what happens when you break off a tiny piece of the crust to “sample”. You tell yourself you’ll cover it with ice cream in photos. That crust sample is good. You have another. Then another piece comes off, and it has cherry juice and a smudge of chocolate on it. Soon you are thinking “there will be way too much ice cream in this photo to look normal” and end up eating the whole thing.

That was the last photo I took and it was so worth it.

 

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We went cherry picking tonight…

We didn’t have to go very far.

This tree is in our own yard!

We picked two huge bowls and came back inside.

There are cherries for days still on the tree.

What should I make first?

 

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