February 17, 2005 at 8:07 a.m.
One of the most colorful and tasty fruits for brightening up your cooking is red tart cherries. Cherries give us flavor, color, texture and a gourmet touch to any menu. They have a good amount of vitamin A, as well as potassium and vitamin C. This versatile fruit with its deep red color and tart taste make cherries a favorite ingredient for many dishes.
With cherries you can prepare a simple dessert for the family or an elegant finish to a fancy dinner party for friends.
One of our sons, who didn’t think he liked the sound of pork chops fixed with cherries, now fixes them this way more often than not and so do I.
This is a crockpot dish that really is very good and colorful as well.
PORK CHOPS IN
6 loin pork chops, 3/4-inch thick, fat trimmed off
salt and pepper to taste (salt optional)
1 T. canola oil
1-21 oz. can cherry pie filling
4 t. lemon juice
1 t. instant chicken bouillon granules
scant 1/8 t. ground nutmeg
In a large skillet heat oil; brown chops on both sides. Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine rest of ingredients; mix well. Put sauce in bottom of 4 qt. crockpot. Put browned chops on top. Cover and cook on low setting for 4-5 hours. Remember––no peeking at least not until it’s cooked four hours. Serve chops with sauce. Serves 4-6.
I should have included this recipe in last week’s column as it has a good amount of oats in it but it also has cherries. A sweet way to celebrate Presidents’ Day.
RED CHERRY DREAM SQUARES
1 regular size package white cake mix
1-1/4 c. quick rolled oats
1/4 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 egg, slightly beaten
1-21 oz. can cherry pie filling
1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
In large bowl, combine cake mix, one cup oats and 6 T. butter; mix until crumbly. Save one cup crumbs for topping. To rest of crumbs add one egg; mix well.
Press into greased 9x13 baking pan. Pour pie filling over crust; carefully spread to cover (easier to spread if you put blobs of pie filling here and there over crust).
To rest of crumbs, in large bowl, add 1/4 c. oats, 2 T. margarine, nuts and brown sugar. Beat until thoroughly mixed. Sprinkle over cherry mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or till golden.
So far it’s been recipes using canned cherry pie filling. The tart cherries I spoke about earlier may be found next to the pie fillings on the grocer’s shelf. This is a delicious, easy to make cherry dessert and only about 30 minutes from the bowl to serving dishes.
DEEP-DISH CHERRY DESSERT
one 1 lb. can pitted red sour cherries
3/4 c. sugar
2 T. flour
dash of salt
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. butter, melted and cooled
1 c. buttermilk biscuit mix
2 T. sugar
1/4 c. milk
Drain cherries and save juice.
Combine 3/4 c. sugar with flour and salt. Gradually stir in cherry juice.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Cool slightly. Stir in lemon, butter and cherries.
Pour into greased or sprayed 1 qt. casserole.
In a medium bowl combine biscuit mix and 2 T. sugar; add milk and beat well. Spoon batter over cherries, about 5 or 6 blobs.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Serves 4-5.
Ol’ George would like this gelatin salad if they had gelatin them. When our children were little and I’d talk about the “old days” they would ask, “Did they have jello when you were little?” Really?!
1-3 oz. package cherry-flavored gelatin
1 c. boiling water
1-1 lb. can water-packed pitted red sour cherries, drained (save the juice)
1-8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained (save the juice)
(Drain above fruit separately.)
1/2 c. sliced almonds
shredded salad greens
1/3 c. mayonnaise (lite may be used)
1/3 c. sour cream (lite may be used)
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add enough pineapple juice to the cherry juice to make one cup. Stir into gelatin and chill till mixture begins to set (kinda like raw egg white). Fold in drained fruit and nuts.
Turn into 8x8 dish or pan. Chill 3-4 hours or until firm. Cut into squares and place on bed of lettuce on a salad plate.
Combine mayo and sour cream. Serve in a small bowl with salad. Serves 6-8.
Thought for the day: I just have to tell you this bit of information about cherries. The International “Pit Spit Competition,” in Eau Claire, Mich., is held just before the annual Cherry Festival in nearby Traverse City. In 1988 a young man made it into the Guiness Book of Records for a second time with a super spit of 72 feet 7-1/2 inches. That’s 13-1/2 inches farther than a pitcher throws a baseball to homeplate.
Now, didn’t you just want to know that! Just try “shooting” a pit (sounds better than spit) from your mouth and see how far it goes––just don’t do it in front of the kids!
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