July is cherry season in Michigan. I love cherries! If you would like some new cherry recipes, then tune into The Four on 9 & 10 News on Monday, July 1st from 4-5 pm EST. I'll be making my Michigan Cherry Salad and my Triple Cherry Brownies. Both of these cherry recipes are featured in my cookbook, Meals From the Mitten. Cookbooks are available in retail stores nationwide and here on Nom News.
The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City runs from June 29 - July 6, 2019. Plan your trip now to Traverse City and take in all the great events and concerts during cherry week.
Michigan Cherry Salad
(With Maple-Cayenne Candied Walnuts and Cherry-Balsamic Vinaigrette)
This is my take on a Michigan cherry salad. At every restaurant in Michigan, you will see a cherry salad on the menu. The basics are dried cherries, salad greens, candied nuts, blue cheese and/or gorgonzola. I like to do the candied cayenne walnuts to add a little sweet heat. We grow spicy Asian greens for a short time here in the summer, but if those aren’t available, feel free to substitute your favorite leafy greens. I love this dressing so much that I always keep it on hand.
Maple-Cayenne Candied Walnuts
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon Michigan maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅛ teaspoon salt
3 ounces chopped walnuts (about ¾ cup)
6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup cherry preserves
¼ cup olive oil
16 ounces Asian mixed greens (substitute: any fresh field greens)
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup thinly sliced red onions
½ cup blue cheese crumbles
Fresh Michigan black sweet cherries, pitted and halved, for garnish (if in season)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
MAKE MAPLE-CAYENNE CANDIED WALNUTS
In a small saucepan, add butter, maple syrup, vanilla, sugar, cayenne, salt and walnuts. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Pour walnuts onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until walnuts are caramelized. Let cool.
In a small skillet, add bacon and cook over medium-high heat for 9 to 11 minutes, or until done but not too crispy. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.
MAKE CHERRY-BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegars, mustard and cherry preserves. Slowly pour in olive oil, continually whisking until everything is well incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
Add mixed greens and dried cherries to a large bowl. Add bacon, onion slices and blue cheese crumbles. Drizzle dressing over greens and top with black sweet cherries, when in season. Toss and serve.
CHERRY RECIPES CARDS
Triple Cherry Brownies Serves 12
Cherry Pie Filling 1 cup fresh tart cherries, pitted 2 tablespoons cornstarch 3 tablespoons sugar 3 tablespoons water ¼ teaspoon almond extract 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 (21-ounce) box brownie mix and all ingredients listed on the back (usually eggs, oil and water) ¼ cup black sweet cherries, pitted and halved 2 tablespoons dried cherries
PREPARE CHERRY PIE FILLING
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add cherries, cornstarch, sugar, water, almond extract and lemon juice. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare the brownie mix, according to the instructions on the box.
Gently fold in the cherry pie filling and cherries, mix thoroughly and pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes clean.
Garnish with extra cherry pie filling and serve!
NOTE If using frozen cherries, let thaw completely. Make sure the cherry filling thickens and cools before adding to brownie mixture.