Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sneak Previews and Garden Treasures

I laid awake at night thinking about a year-round fruit vinaigrette recipe-- where you use the same basic ingredients (oil and vinegar) and just change the fruit as the seasons rotate.

The whole idea started with a recipe I picked up at a market. I don't remember where I got it but it featured greens with sliced strawberries and rhubarb dressing. The rhubarb dressing (cooked rhubarb and sugar, pureed into a vinaigrette sparked a cascade of vinaigrette possibilities--raspberry (been done), blueberry (ditto), apricot, pie cherry . . .

I got obsessed with this idea and one morning created pie cherry vinaigrette. I sampled as I made it to tweak the flavors and then I had it over greens. (Yes, for breakfast). Today, I made this vinaigrette with apricots and immediately wondered how it might taste with ginger--maybe sesame, ginger, apricot dressing. With different fruits, the sweetener or honey needs tweaking, and you'd probably have to cook hard fruit like apples before blending. It's a good year-round recipe. Finn give it four paws up.

Here is the recipe:

Cherry Vinaigrette Over Greens with Berries

(Makes about 1 cup or about 10 servings)

This recipe is a sample of our Northwest summer produce all in one salad. Try this vinaigrette with peaches, nectarines or plums and see how much you might alter the other ingredients.

1/2 cup pitted tart cherries (Montmorency or North Star)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar

4 teaspoons honey

Pinch of cayenne

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

10 to 12 cups salad greens

1 pint berries (use blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries)

1 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or walnuts (optional)

Blend cherries, olive oil, vinegar, honey, cayenne and salt in a blender until smooth and creamy. Place greens on a serving plate. Drizzle vinaigrette over the greens; then top each serving with berries and hazelnuts.

I'll be making this with North Star cherries at my upcoming cooking demo at the University District Market on Saturday July 24).

At the Saturday demo, I'm also making an Easy Creamy Northwest Greens Soup and a fruit salad called Ambrosia, with a hazelnut-berry dressing. I submitted the soup recipe to Culinate where they'll feature it soon. The soup is called Easy Creamy Turnip Greens Soup in my book.

Also, this weekend I'm hosting another contest to win a signed copy of my book. If you miss me at the U-District Market, catch me at any of my other events. I'll also be selling signed copies of The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook at all my book events.
On the garden front, Tom harvested the two cabbages that he'd placed way too close to our blueberry bushes. "Who does that?" I wondered every time I'd walked by them, then I'd feel sorry for them having to share such a small space. We had too many plants to put in our small garden this past spring. As the cabbage plants got bigger, I noticed the blueberry plants were stressed.

Hopefully our blueberry plants can recover from our overcrowded garden space this spring. The cabbage and these sugar snap peas will definitely be part of our salad tonight.


Anonymous said...

Yum that dressing recipe looks fantastic! I will be making it as soon as I get my hands on some cherries! Also, the one with ginger, sesame and apricot sounds delightful and unique!

ddzeller said...

If you refrigerate it, the dressing tends to thicken, maybe it's the natural pectin in the fruit. It's easy to just thin with a little water.