Make us your home page
Instagram

From the food editor: For cherry season, four ways to use the sweet fruit

Living in Florida, there are a lot of reasons to hate summer: Unpredictable thunderstorms ruin many an activity. That thing where you're never appropriately dressed because you have to bare all outside but stores set their air conditioning to 57 degrees. Sweat puddles. Actual puddles.

But one of life's true delights this time of year is the prevalence of fresh fruits, especially stone fruits: peaches, plums and cherries.

I haven't been able to stop thinking about this luscious produce trio since I used them in a recipe for Stone Fruit Yogurt Bowl earlier this month. (Find the full recipe here.)

And when my mom texted recently that "both kinds" of cherries were now out, I knew exactly what she meant — and I had to go stock up.

Now I have about 4 pounds of cherries in my fridge, and while I could very well eat all of them as they are, after the yogurt recipe I've been eager to work stone fruits into my cooking.

Peaches and plums are admittedly a bit easier to work with, larger fruits with pits that aren't as treacherous to navigate. I consistently use either fruit in my morning yogurt or oatmeal bowl, or cooked down with some onion and butter to create a compote for pork chops or chicken.

But cherries are perfect right now, and I wanted to challenge myself to use them as often as I could. (Though does anyone have a foolproof method for pitting cherries? Without a specific tool to do the job, mine varies each time I cook with them.)

Here are four things I've tried, with my favorite, a cherry salsa recipe, below. Shout-out to my husband for the idea to craft a fruit salsa. Fun fact: The first time he ever cooked for me, he made salmon and a chunky mango-onion salsa to go with it.

Cherry Chocolate Overnight Oats

I am still learning to fully love overnight oats. Sometimes they can be squishy for my taste. But this version is decadent enough to hold my interest, especially when zapped in the microwave just before eating. It would also make a decent healthy dessert. In a jar or leftover container that can hold at least 2 cups, mix ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt, ⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons chia seeds, ¼ cup rolled oats, ¼ cup pitted and chopped cherries and 1 tablespoon chopped dark chocolate. Let the mixture sit overnight in the fridge, and eat in the morning. I like to heat mine up in the microwave for about 45 seconds.

Cherry and Feta Quinoa

Serve this one as a side dish, or top with some cooked chicken and bring to work for a protein-packed lunch. Cook 1 cup dry quinoa according to package directions. Remove the pits from 1 cup cherries and slice thinly. Place in a bowl, then add 2 tablespoons minced red onion or shallot, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil and some salt to taste. Stir. When quinoa is done cooking, remove from heat and place in serving bowl. Drizzle with the cherry mixture, then add ½ cup crumbled goat cheese, ¼ cup chopped walnuts and a handful of fresh parsley. Stir to combine, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Cherry Chicken Thighs

I love how low-maintenance chicken thighs are, the higher fat content doing a lot of the work to ensure they don't overcook. Roasting is an ideal way to prepare them, especially with this simple cherry mixture to add flavor during the cooking process. Place four chicken thighs, bone-in but skin removed, in a large, oven-safe skillet. Season with salt and pepper, generously drizzle with olive oil, and add some fresh rosemary and thyme to the skillet with the chicken, about 8 sprigs total. Heat oven to 425 degrees. In bowl, combine 2 cups pitted and roughly chopped fresh cherries, 2 cloves minced garlic and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste and roast the whole thing for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

Cherry Salsa atop steak tacos. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor.

Cherry Salsa atop steak tacos. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor.

easy

Cherry Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 medium tomato
  • ½ small red onion
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cherries
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Dice tomato and red onion and place in a bowl. Add cherries and stir.
  2. If you don't mind spice, seed and mince a jalapeno pepper and add to bowl. Add the juice and zest of 1 lime, and stir well to combine everything. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add a handful of chopped fresh cilantro.
  3. Stir again. Serve atop tacos, or perhaps some grilled chicken or seared pork chops. Makes about 2 cups.
Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times

From the food editor: For cherry season, four ways to use the sweet fruit 07/17/17 [Last modified: Friday, July 14, 2017 3:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What to expect from the Florida Orchestra's 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' show

    Events

    With just a few short tings from the celesta, a small piano-style instrument, and you're instantly transported to Harry Potter's wizarding world.

    Courtesy of the Straz Center
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sept. 27

    Events

    Sleeping With Sirens: The alt-hardcore outfit tour in support of their album, Gossip. 6 p.m., The Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. Start at $22. (813) 248-9500.

    Handout photo of Sleeping With Sirens, performing 9/27/17 at the Orpheum in Tampa. Credit: Chris Sullivan
  3. Shriek peek: Top haunted events lurking this Halloween season

    Events

    Here are some of the top Halloween events and parties that are looming in the coming scary season.

    “Thriller” music video featuring Michael Jackson with Vincent Price and Ola Ray. Scary movie comes true on a date, while Michael and zombies dance. ?? 1983 Optimum Productions Songwriter: Rod Temperton Album: Thriller Director: John Landis Production Dates: Late 1983 Primary Production Location: Los Angeles, CA.
  4. Halloween season is upon us: Our top 5 wild and mild haunted attractions

    Events

    Halloween has become a profitable scare season oozing well into September and past November. That means more time to meet grim, grinning ghosts, get your pants scared off by nightmarish clowns and fill your treat bags to the brim.

    Scare actors roam the grounds of Busch Gardens in Tampa during their annual Howl-O-Scream Halloween themed event. Howl-O-Scream continues on select nights through Oct. 29 at the Tampa theme park. Howl-O-Scream is a separate ticket event and has seven haunted houses, five scare zones and the chance to ride coasters in the dark. [Friday, September 22, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  5. Wine of the week: Leese-Fitch 2015 California Sauvignon Blanc will cool you off

    Bars & Spirits

    September is still summertime in Florida, and we can still use a cool white wine at the end of a hot day.