The other day, Harry's Farmers Market had a one day only sale for Cherries for $1.99 a pound. Now that's what I call cheap! I bought 12 pounds, brought out my canning equipment and put Bill to cherry pitting duty.
When I first moved to Austin from the Philippines, I remember calling my Mom, crying, ranting and raving how the food, especially the produce, tasted so horrible! I told her how tomatoes do not taste like tomatoes, that vegetable selection is limited to broccoli, green beans and zucchini, that rice here comes in a bag and tastes like paper, how chicken pieces are as big as my arm and tastes like tofu, and on and on I whined. After a while, I learned to get around the lack of flavor in food by over seasoning everything, until I discovered organically grown food and healthy eating with the season. It is also around that time that I started canning fruits and vegetables.
This cherries and vanilla compote is versatile to pair with sweet or savory dishes.
Cherries infused in Rum and Vanilla Bean
(Thomas Keller's Ad hoc at Home)
1 lb bing cherries with stem
1/3 cup light rum
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 vanilla beans, split
Wash and pit the cherries, then trim the stems to about 1 1/2 inches.
Pour the rum to a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Carefully light the rum with a match, or by tilting the pan toward the burner if using a gas stove, to burn off the alcohol. Remove from the heat.
Add the sugar and water to the pan. Scape the vanilla seeds from the beans and add to the pan, then add the pods. Return to the heat, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let the syrup steep for 30 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cherries and vanilla beans to a canning jar. Do not press down on the cherries. Pour the liquid over the cherries, cover with the lid, and let cool. Process to keep for up to 3 months or refrigerate for up to two weeks.
This cherries and rosemary preserve is very good served with roast lamb, chicken or pork, as a base for vinaigrette and make a great condiment for a cheese board
Cherries and Rosemary Preserve
3 lbs bing cherries
2 cups sugar
1 T lemon juice
4 stalks of fresh rosemary and pit cherries. Put cherries, sugar and lemon juice in a heavy bottomed pan. Cook the mixture, uncovered, about 30 minutes, stirring frequently until thick and transparent. Skim off foam that rises to the surface. Add the rosemary and remove from stove. Ladle into hot sterilized jars and seal immediately.