A Very Merry Cherry Season to You

Maraschino Cherry Recipe

It’s cherry season in Oregon, which means I spend most of my evenings after work slaving over hot stove, cherry pitter in hand, and maraschinos on my mind. We are going on our third year of canning fresh cherries so that we have gifts for Christmas and cocktail accoutrements for consumption through the chilly winter months. Each year I find a new family of cherry to enjoy, but the recipe stays mostly the same. Each year Ktams bemoans the cost of Luxardo, the liquor base required for true maraschinos. I’m sorry, but no ordinary cherry liquor base will do (in my opinion). Luxardo’s responsible for about 3/4 the liquid base of the maraschinos, and it lends just enough amaretto flavor that the cherries feel more luxurious than candied. Mix one with a Manhattan and goodnight Bee.

So after three years of honing my cherry canning skills, I thought it was finally time to share this canning recipe with you. I base it off of a refrigerator pickle recipe (this means that you are in essence “cold pickling” the cherries), however these will be shelf stable after water bath for up to 2 years. Mine never last more than a year though because they get gobbled up by our household.

Part of me feels like I should apologize, too, for not being as present in my “write” mind for more posts as of late. Though I’ve been spending my time when I would normally be writing out in my garden or cooking and learning, and in January I took up watercolors; my is that a relaxing hobby! So know that I’m here and have been very busy on Instagram, but am otherwise trying to unplug from things more deliberately because the world is kind of topsy turvy right now, and keeping up with the news is utterly exhausting. There is such a thing as media fatigue, and I’m sure much of our country has it here in the USA. I’ll count myself as one at least. But enough whining! On to the recipe…

 

Homemade Canned Maraschino Cherries

Preserved Maraschino Cherry

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Sweet red cherries (something with some good internal structure, Royal Brooks, Regina, etc), washed and pitted
  • 1/2 C Water
  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1 t Vanilla extract
  • 2 t Lemon juice
  • A healthy pinch of fresh nutmeg
  • 1 C Luxardo

Tools

  • Canning pot
  • Jars
  • Cherry pitter
  • New canning lids
  • Canning tongs
  • Chopstick
  • Stockpot
  • Funnel
  • Ladle
  • clean towel
  • Bowl to heat up lids

 

Method

Before I start into this, I should mention that this recipe is very easy to multiply–I find that this is a great base, and be sure not to mix up your water/sugar/Luxardo amounts. I speak as someone who did this just earlier this week, but thankfully adjusted before things got too hairy (i.e. before I’d added the liquor in).

Get the canning pot going with water and jars open completely submerged with an inch of headroom. Bring to a rolling boil; this will sanitize the jars while you work on the cherries. In a medium pot, combine water, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon and nutmeg over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil with constant stirring as not to burn the sugar. Bring down to a simmer and add cherries; cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Luxardo.

Be sure all your tools are sanitize. Soak the lids in boiling water to soften the seals. One jar at a time, empty of water and place funnel over the top, then load with cherries and their juice, leaving a half inch of headspace. Pop in your chopstick and help release any air bubbles hanging out in the bottom of the jar or in the cherries. The liquid should cover the cherries, though the top ones will float. Wipe the top of the jar and put the lid in place and screw on the brace. Place the jar into the canning pot carefully. Repeat this process until you run out of jars or run out of filling.

Boil in water bath canner for 10 min for half pints, 15 min for pints, and 20 min for quart jars. Remove from pot and place on a towel to cool and seal.

POP! Means you’re done! I like to allow another 2-3 hours to rest before labeling and storing in a cool dark place. This recipe makes 4 half pints or 2 half pints.

 

And now for the Manhattan, because I’m sure you’re curious.

 

A Classic Manhattan

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Sweet vermouth
  • 2 oz Rye whiskey
  • 1-2 Dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 Maraschino cherry
  • (Optional) Orange peel 

Method

In a rocks glass, combine vermouth, whiskey, bitters and ice–stir gently. Add cherry (and a little canning liquid) and orange peel. Enjoy immediately.

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Green Lentils, Zhug & Toby’s Ranch Dressing

This post is sponsored by Toby’s Family Foods, but all recipes and opinions are my own.

Happy National Salad Month!! May is the very start of the summer harvest season in my opinion–it’s when you’re going to start seeing breakfast radishes around and fresh spring onions; all the greens!! (I use greens loosely in this case). They come in an array of colors really. You’ll start seeing greens you’ve never heard of before. I still remember the summer I found red mizuna for the first time. It was stacked up high in mounds about eye level in the corner stand at the market, and it caused me to do a triple take from the center aisle. I decided for this recipe post I would try to incorporate its sharp, jagged leaves in marriage with the soft, delicate curvature of butter lettuce. I absolutely love the complimentary silhouettes and flavors. I’m not sure whether you’ve made your way to your local farmer’s market yet, but greens are at their sweet peak. If you’re just getting acquainted I heartily recommend getting a bag of mixed greens to start–or perhaps something that will make you double-take.

Here in Portland, OR, the Shemanski Park Farmer’s Market is one of the earliest seasonal markets to kick back into gear. Located in downtown park blocks off SW Salmon, the market occurs every Wednesday through October 10am-2pm and the vendors shift throughout, but there are consistently four produce vendors and some really delicious breads from Pearl Bakery (I covet a good Paesano loaf myself–they sell out before noon usually). On one trip I was able to gather all of the fresh produce needed to curate this salad. I then gathered the rest of the ingredients at my local Safeway, including Toby’s Ranch Dressing and naan, which I sliced then toasted for crunch and maximum dressing dippability.

This is my second year putting a beautiful salad together on behalf of Toby’s Family Foods. You can check out last year’s recipe at the bottom of the post by clicking its picture. Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me explain zhug. This green sauce originated in the area of Yemen and was popular in Israel, but is now (thankfully) widely popular all over the world. Per Wikipedia, zhug is made from fresh red or green hot peppers (in most cases I’ve seen, serranos chiles) seasoned with coriander, garlic, salt, black cumin (optional) and various spices. Some also add caraway seed. Zhug may be red or green depending on the type of peppers used (site).

So without further adieu, I give you my yummiest of new salad obsessions.

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Green Lentils, Zhug & Toby’s Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

  • 4 Beets, sliced and lightly tossed in olive oil
  • 4 Large carrots, sliced and lightly tossed in olive oil
  • 1 Bunch of breakfast radishes, sliced
  • 1 C Green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 Large clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 Bayleaf
  • 3 C Water
  • 8 oz Zhug, either homemade or store bought (look in the refrigerated section near dressing)
  • 1 T Tahini
  • 1 Head butter lettuce, washed and torn
  • 1 Head red mizuna, washed and torn
  • 4-5 naan, sliced then toasted to preferable doneness
  • Toby’s Ranch Dressing

Method

I recommend starting this recipe by prepping the roasted vegetables and lentils ahead to allow them ample cooling time. The lettuce in this recipe is relatively delicate, and will wilt if topped with hot ingredients. You can prepare the items up to 3 days in advance.

Prep

Place beets and carrots on a parchment-lined baking sheet, lightly salt and roast at 400°F for 25-30 minutes, flipping everything over once and applying more oil if sticking occurs. Doneness with vegetables can be to personal preference. You’ll notice in the images here that the carrots are a bit black on the edges–I accomplish this by tossing the pan under the broiler for about 4-5 min at the end of roasting to create some additional crunch and flavor, which is, of course, optional. 

While vegetables are in the oven, prepare the lentils. Measure out 1 cup of lentils and rinse under cold water. Combine the lentils in a medium saucepan with garlic, bayleaf and water and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer (minimum bubbles), and cook (stirring occasionally) for 20 minutes or until al dente (with a slight springiness) on your palate. Drain water from the lentils and remove and discard the garlic and bayleaf–cool lentils alongside vegetables and store separately in airtight containers.

Assembly

This salad comes together pretty quickly–the only steps left are to toss together the zhug, tahini and lentils. Taste the zhug alone prior to assembly because its spice can vary. When making this salad for a large group, I’ll chop the vegetables smaller an make a sort of tossed chopped salad, but when just cooking for myself I prefer it as pictured. 

Combine the two lettuces, zhug-and-tahini-covered lentils, beets, carrots, radish, and naan. Now drizzle with the ranch and enjoy!

Recipe serves 4 as entree, 6 for starter course. this recipe can be made GF by omitting the naan

Check out more of my recipes using Toby’s Family Dressings (click the images to be taken to the recipes):

Roasted Beets and Feta in Belgian Endive with Toby's Feta Dressing | The Spicy Bee


The Spicy Bee National Salad Month Bacon, Radish, & Blue Cheese Dipped Asparagus Featuring Toby's Dressing and Dip

Spicy Pork Sliders with Toby's Jalapeño Ranch Slaw

Game Day Bacon Turkey Wrap Featuring Toby's Blue Cheese Dressing | TheSpicyBee

Salted Caramel Tres Leches Featuring Darigold Old Fashioned Salted Caramel Milk

Salted Caramel Tres Leches with Darigold Salted Caramel Milk | The Spicy Bee

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Darigold. All thoughts, recipes, and opinions are my own.

Every time I make tres leches I’m reminded how easy it is to be successful when baking. While this cake has its own interesting tricks (sifting, separating eggs, incorporation of egg whites, heating dairy) it’s really one of those recipes that can teach good basics and yet you don’t have to stress too much about whether it’s risen properly; because at the end of the day, you drown it in a delectable concoction of milks.

It was while I was enjoying one of these cakes over the holidays with my family that I realized there is so much versatility to a good base recipe of tres leches and what has always kept me from making it regularly was that I’m not really wild about all the canned dairy. Therefore, in a personal effort to eliminate 90% of the canned dairy traditionally used, I’ve partnered with Darigold to use one of their newest products, a creamy Salted Caramel Milk that is about available in stores by the pint. The salted caramel flavor in conjunction with cinnamon and fatty whipping cream really rounds out the flavor profile of the cake beautifully. I merely added the berries to this recipe shoot to make it a bit more colorful—but you could easily do without.

This cake is a crowd-pleaser to say the least, serving 12. Although I will admit, I found myself taking larger and larger slices for myself as the evening went on—it serves especially well with coffee and can be made up to 48 hours in advance, which by itself is a win in my book!!

You can purchase Darigold’s Salted Caramel Milk in the refrigerated section of the grocery store next to where you’d find heavy cream—other flavors they make include vanilla and chocolate. Enjoy the recipe!

Salted Caramel Tres Leches Featuring Darigold Old Fashioned Salted Caramel Milk

Salted Caramel Tres Leches with Darigold Salted Caramel Milk | The Spicy Bee

Ingredients

Cake

Topping

  • 1 C Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 t Vanilla paste
  • Berries (optional)

Salted Caramel Tres Leches with Darigold Salted Caramel Milk | The Spicy Bee

Method

Begin by mixing the egg yolks together with the vanilla in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. With the mixer on high, slowly add the cup of sugar and mix for about 10 minutes, until the color has lightened and most of the sugar has dissolved. Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Once the egg mixture has matured, change the mixer whisk to a paddle and on a low setting, add the dry ingredients slowly, using a large spoon, and about halfway through adding the dry ingredients, pause and add the milk; then resume adding the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated.

With a hand mixer, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and set to the side. Grease a 9x13inch glass or ceramic pan. Remove your bowl from the mixer and fold in the egg whites using a large spatula.Transfer the batter into the pan and bake 25-30 min or until golden and pulling slightly from the edges–the top should also spring back nicely when pressed. Remove the cake from the oven, poke many times with a fork and set to the side to cool for at least 1 hour. During this rest time add the Darigold Whipping Cream, condensed milk, and Darigold Old Fashioned Caramel Milk in a small saucepan with the cinnamon stick. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes, turn off the heat, cover and set for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick.

Evenly pour the salted caramel mixture over the cake, and refrigerate at least 4-12 hours; my preference is overnight. Prior to serving, whip the remaining Darigold Whipping Cream and vanilla and frost the cake. Serve until gone–this recipe will feed up to 12 guests and gets better and better with time! It will also store in the fridge for up to a week. Berries are optional for serving.

You can make this recipe gluten free too!! Simply substitute in your favorite GF all purpose flour.

Salted Caramel Tres Leches with Darigold Salted Caramel Milk | The Spicy Bee

The plates in this post were purchased at Fiftyoneandahalf based out of Seattle, WA. Her pieces are typically handcrafted one-of-a-kind ceramics that I love and highly recommend. You can find more at her Etsy Shop and on her Instagram.

Looking for more Darigold deliciousness? Check out their Heat ‘N Serve Hot Cocoa and the Cranberry Orange Cookies recipe I made to pair with it.