Sour cherries and almonds harmonize perfectly for dessert. We cooked tart cherries in a sweet sauce and added orange and cinnamon to make delicious cold sour cherry soup shooters. Topped with a crème fraîche and cream sauce, we served them with crisp almond flavored macaroon cookies topped with almond slivers.
Sour Cherry Soup Shooters
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 cups fresh sour cherries, pitted
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup crème fraîche
2 tablespoons cream
Heat butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat then add fresh cherries and sugar then simmer, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Continue to simmer until cherries are tender but not falling apart, about 8 minutes. Whisk together 2 tablespoons water and cornstarch to form a thick paste, then stir into simmering cherries and boil, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
Place the cherries in a blender with all their juices. Add the cinnamon and orange juice. Blend until creamy. Taste, and adjust the thickness with orange juice if needed. Chill until ready to serve. When ready to serve add to six shooter glasses.
10 ounces almond paste
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
Pinch of coarse salt
2 large egg whites
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 300˚F. Place parchment paper on two baking sheets and set aside.
In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, put the almond paste, sugar, and salt. Mix on medium speed until crumbly, about 3 minutes. Add the egg white and vanilla. Mix until smooth and thickened, about 3 minutes.
Add the batter to a large pastry bag fitted with a round tip and pipe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Place almond slices on top of each cookie. Bake until cookies are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack and serve with the soup shooters. Makes 6 servings.
Charred and juicy, grilled steak is one of summer’s best pleasures. Using beefy-flavored hanger steak, we grilled, then coated them in a maple and ancho chili glaze to serve alongside grilled asparagus, onions, and a seared corn cake topped with maple glazed peppers.
1 cup polenta or Coarse Cornmeal (We recommend 8 row flint corn)
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3 tablespoon Woodford Reserve Bourbon Smoked Chef’s Spice Blend, or other steak rub
4 small Spring Onions
12 Asparagus spears
1 Red Pepper, cut into 8ths
1 Yellow Pepper, cut into 8ths
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon butter
One hour before you grill, mix the steak rub with 1 tablespoon olive oil to make a paste. Dry the steak with paper towels and rub all over with the paste then let sit at room temperature for one hour.
Prepare the corn cakes:
In a large saucepan bring 3 cups of water and the salt to a boil. Whisk in the corn meal in a slow steady stream and continue whisking to prevent any lumps from forming. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the corn is thick, rich, and creamy; set aside to cool.
Make the ancho maple glaze:
In a small saucepan add the maple syrup, ancho chili powder, and butter. Bring to simmer and whisk. Simmer for 5 minutes, remove from the heat and set aside.
When cool enough to handle, shape the patties into 4” round patties. Add a thin layer of oil to a large sauté pan. Sear the patties until nicely browned on one side, about 5 to 10 minutes. Flip and sear the other side, for 5-8 minutes making sure they are cooked through. Place on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven at 180 degrees.
Preheat a barbecue grill set to high. Brush the onions, asparagus, and peppers with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill the vegetables until soft and well-marked. Remove from the grill and keep warm. Place the warm peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. This will steam off the skins, so after 10 minutes remove the skins from the pepper slices and discard, keep the peppers in the bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the ancho maple glaze and toss; set aside and keep warm
Wipe the excess paste from the steak and grill 4-5 minutes per side over high heat for medium rare or continuing to cook them to which temperature you desire. Remove from the grill and cover; set aside 15 minutes to rest. Thinly slice against the grain and brush with the glaze. Serve with the warm vegetables and a corn cake topped with the glazed peppers. Makes 6 servings.
Our favorite summer dessert with a spicy ginger twist. This biscuit version is surprisingly simple to make – sweet and crunchy then topped with sweetened macerated berries and freshly whipped cream.
Strawberries With Ginger Shortcakes
1 quart farm fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons mint simple syrup or sugar
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for dusting
⅓ cup sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground dried ginger
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup cold buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon sour cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
Slice the larger berries into quarters or halves, keeping the smaller ones whole, and place in a large bowl. Gently toss with the mint syrup or sugar; set aside.
Preheat oven to 425˚F. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, ginger, baking powder, and salt; process until mixture is combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With the processor running add the buttermilk; then pulse just until moistened, 4 or 5 times. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; with floured hands, gently pat dough into a circle. Cut as many as possible with a round large biscuit cutter, then pat the remaining dough together and continue cutting until you have used all the dough. Transfer the rounds to a parchment lined baking sheet; brush the tops with the 2 tablespoons of cream and sprinkle the tops with the turbinado sugar. Place in the oven and bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes; cool on baking sheet.
Whisk the whipped cream with the sour cream. Add the powdered sugar and the vanilla. Whip until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To serve, split biscuits with a serrated knife. Top with the berries and fresh whipped cream. Makes 8-10 servings.
Summer’s early bounty in a delicious and beautiful salad. Farm stand scallions, radishes, tomatoes, and fennel are combined with Grilled Bread Cheese, ciabatta bread and corn then topped with sunflower sprouts, mint leaves, fennel fronds, and chive flowers. It’s lightly dressed with simply fresh lemon and olive oil right before serving.
Bread Cheese has a high melting point so it can be grilled. It is traditionally a Finnish cheese made with reindeer milk. The American version uses pasteurized cow’s milk that looks like it’s been toasted because it actually has – baking it is part of it’s cheesemaking process.
2 red scallions, sliced very thinly slice
2 white radishes, very thinly sliced
2 red radishes, slice very thinly
2 tomatoes, sliced thin
2 baby fennel, sliced very thinly sliced
2 slices ciabatta bread
¼ cup olive oil plus 3 tablespoons
1 ear of corn, husked
8 ounces Bread cheese
¼ cup sunflower sprouts
Mint leaves for garnish
Fennel fronds for garnish
Chive flowers for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Fresh ground pepper
Using a mandoline slicer or a very sharp knife, thinly slice the vegetables. Set aside.
Heat a barbeque grill to high. Brush the ciabatta bread pieces on both sides with 1 tablespoon olive oil and top with a big pinch of salt. Brush the corn with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Grill the corn until cooked through and charred in spots, and the bread until just charred in spots; remove and set aside.
Brush one side of the Bread Cheese with ½ tablespoon of olive oil and place oil side down on the grill. Cook for about 2-2 ½ minutes. Brush the top with oil, turn, and cook until lightly charred in spots, about 2-2 ½ more minutes.
Transfer to the plate with the croutons and corn; let cool.
Arrange the thinly sliced vegetables on salad plates.
Cut kernels from cob, cube the Bread Cheese and cut the bread slice into cubes. Arrange on the plate with the vegetable. Add the sprouts, mint leaves, fennel fronds, and chive flowers.
Whisk together lemon juice and ¼ cup olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over the vegetable plate and serve. Makes 4-5 salads.