Archive for the ‘Cherries’ Category


There is something really satisfying about roasted potatoes; smothering them with a delicious gravy only heightens the experience.  I was cruising Trader Joe’s the other day and had already plucked some beautiful organic red potatoes and placed them in my basket, when the juice aisle caught my attention.  I knew right away when I saw the black cherry juice that it would be a winner.   I wanted to make a light summertime gravy that would be both sweet and savory and, to my mind,  the deep ruby color would look gorgeous spilling all over the smashed red potatoes.  I love eating with my eyes before I ever indulge my taste buds;  turns out, it was delicious to all senses involved. 


Black Cherry and Caramelized Onion Gravy


2 large onions, sliced thinly

1 cup frozen pearl onions

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup white wine

2 cups black cherry juice

2 cups faux chicken stock

⅓ cup tamari

¼ cup vegan Worcestershire sauce

8 sprigs fresh thyme, plus a few to use as garnish

Olive oil


Sauté the sliced onions in a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat until caramelized [This will take a good 45 minutes or so].  Add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.  Add the wine and cook until the wine is nearly evaporated.  Add the cherry juice, faux chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, tamari, and pearl onions.  Tie the thyme sprigs into a bundle with kitchen twine and toss into the pot.  Simmer over medium low heat until the volume has reduced by about a third to a half, depending upon the consistency you prefer.

I served this over red potatoes that I had tossed lightly in olive oil and roasted for an hour at 400°F.

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Red Quinoa Salad

Quinoa, though often called a grain, is in fact, a seed.  It is a fabulous source of protein and contains all essential amino acids.  The cold-pressed flax seed and walnut oils offer healthful Omega-3s, while the dried tart cherries are chock full of anti-inflammatory anthocyanins.  This salad is perfect for a light summertime lunch or as a side dish at a picnic or barbecue; I’ve actually eaten leftovers of it for breakfast.


1½ cups organic red quinoa

1 bunch asparagus

2 oranges, sections cut into supremes

½ cup dried tart cherries

Juice and zest of one lemon

1 T flax seed oil

1 T walnut oil

Sea salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Chive blossoms, to garnish


Add the quinoa to 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes.  Drain in a colander and cool to room temperature. 

Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with Chive or other edible flowery blossoms.

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Cherries, especially the tart variety,  are receiving a great deal of attention these days in the athletic world due to their ability to mitigate pain after exercise.  This little fruit is packed full of anti-inflammatory anthocyanins as well as the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which are important to the health of your vision. They are also, interestingly enough,  a good source of the calming antioxidant, melatonin.

I use a great deal of fruit and vegetable juices in my cooking to impart both flavor and nutrients to our food, so when Cheribundi approached us and asked if we’d try out their cherry juice, we eagerly agreed.  This sauce, coupled with the yuba, was savory and sweet, tangy and lip-smacking good.   In short, it had umami.   The slaw, absolutely necessary for any mustardy Carolina-style barbecue-sauced dish, was the perfect fresh and raw accompaniment. 


Pulled Yuba in a Cherry Barbecue Sauce with Sesame Slaw


1 cup tart cherry juice [I used Cheribundi’s Tru Cherry juice.]

½ cup dried sour cherries

¼ cup yellow mustard

¼ cup Dijon mustard

½ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup dark brown sugar

3 T tomato paste

1 T Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp chili garlic sauce

1 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper

6 oz dried bean curd sheets [1 package]

Peanut oil


Add a drizzle of peanut oil to a pan and heat over medium.  Add the tomato paste and spread around the pan to caramelize and rid the paste of the tinned flavor.  Add the remaining ingredients, except the yuba and dried cherries, and bring to a low simmer.  Cook for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

While the sauce is simmering, soak the sheets of yuba in hot tap water to hydrate.  Once pliable, drain and roll into a tight bundle.  Cut into small shreds across the roll. 

Add the shredded yuba and dried cherries to the sauce.  Mix well to incorporate and set aside to marinate.  The longer you leave it, the more flavor the yuba will absorb.  To serve, simply return to the heat and warm through.  I served this sandwich-style on a toasted ciabatta bun.




Sesame Slaw


snow pea pods, julienned

red bell pepper, julienned

apple, julienned

golden beet, shaved with a vegetable peeler


fresh lemon juice and zest

dark sesame oil

black sesame seeds


I did not include amounts because it depends upon how much you wish to make.  I simply added equal portions of each fruit and vegetable ingredient and then used a 2:1 ratio of tahini to lemon juice as the dressing with a few drops of dark sesame oil added.  Season with sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.  Garnish with sesame seeds.

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