Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartine

Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartines

A Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartine just might be the best possible way to wish a Happy Mother’s Day! to the ones you love best. It’s fun to make and even more fun to eat. The crunchy, sweet and savory toast slathered in decadent ramp butter and topped with thin slices of grilled duck breast are rich and flavorful. A drizzle of aged balsamic seals the deal. This lovely Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartine works equally well when served as a rich dinner or as a slightly lighter appetizer (okay, it’s really not any lighter, you just eat less of it). I like pre-slicing the tartine for my guests because when left intact, the duck breast pieces are hard to bite and it makes eating the Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartine just a little too messy a prospect, especially considering the elegance of the dish. But four little pieces of the Ramp Butter Duck Breast Tartine are the perfect solution. I feel like I should warn you so that you can best plan ahead, this tartine is so good, it’s on my list of dishes worthy of the wine cellar collection. So if you don’t have one handy, or in … Continue reading

Cedar Plank Salmon with Cherry Glaze

Cedar Plank Salmon with Cherry Glaze ready for grill

Cedar Plank Salmon with Cherry Glaze is quite straight forward, in terms of recipe; there’s just not much to it. Most of the drama and the flavor comes from the cedar planks themselves. That said, there is lots of drama and flavor, both of which make Cedar Plank Salmon with Cherry Glaze a perfect dish for parties all summer long. Be it the 4th of July, Midsommar’s or just a Saturday night with a few friends over you’re going to have fun preparing it to your guests amazement and only you will know how simple it is. You will have to plan ahead a bit to make sure you have appropriate cedar planks around as you probably can’t just grab them at your local grocery store, but other than that, my Cedar Plank Salmon with Cherry Glaze preparation is straight forward and really delicious. I first made Cedar Plank Salmon with Cherry Glaze for a Midsommar’s party as both salmon and cedar are very Scandinavian. The cherry glaze came about because I was in Door County for the solstice and since we were sipping on Door County Cherry Spritzers anyway… well, you see where I’m headed. But the flavor was so great … Continue reading

Door County Cherry Spritzer

Door County Cherry Spritzer

If you happen to live somewhere where Door County Cherry Juice is available, you probably already make a version of this Door County Cherry Spritzer. It’s a no brainer to make for summer parties since it’s delicious and an easy sipper that you can adjust to suit your individual sweetness, booziness, and sparkliness preferences. It also makes a great Door County Cherry Spritzer cocktail for teetotalers and kids alike. I keep this one on the tame side and let guests amp it up if they like because it goes down easy and I try to help friends stay out of trouble, but you don’t have to be so kind. I also have a few modifications for you if you can’t find sweetened Cherry juice, etc. Everyone agreed that my Door County Cherry Spritzer was a great way to get our Midsommar’s Eve Party started, even the staunch beer drinkers. And that’s saying something when there’s plenty of New Glarus Spotted Cow around to tempt people. It goes well with salty hors d’oeuvres in particular because of the sweet and tart elements, so don’t be afraid to pair this Door County Cherry Spritzer with all sorts of cheese, pretzels, and even things like smoked fish dips.  … Continue reading

Sour Cherry Apple Cider Caramels

Sour Cherry Apple Cider Caramels squares with maldon

“Seriously Barrett, Sour Cherry Apple Cider Caramels?” I know, I know, I’m always figuring out dishes in which to stick sour cherries, as well as their juice. But it’s for good reason- they’re that good. Recently, I found one more such dish. I’ve been making soft caramels as party favors for years, but recently, I’ve seen lots of recipes for Apple Cider Soft Caramels, which just sounds so deliciously fall. And of course, the topic of apple cider got me thinking about Cherry Cider, and Cherry Apple Cider, (two very different things, I swear) which were prevalent where I grew up. Ruminating about cherry cider necessitated a Fall update for my soft caramel recipe. So here we are, Sour Cherry Apple Cider Caramels. I tested it out with just cherry cider, and frankly it was a bit too much, but this blend hints at cherry. In fact, it kind of plays with your mind and has you wondering what you’re tasting until boom, you know it’s cherries. “It sounds delicious Barrett, but a candy thermometer, that sounds technical?” This is a very forgiving foray into caramel making, so don’t let the thermometer intimidate you. And dive right into the delicious … Continue reading

Cherry Almond Gluten Free Muffins

Cherry Almond Gluten Free Muffin cups

When you’re visiting two different friends with Celiac disease in a single day, you definitely bake something gluten free, and if you’re going to see them for breakfast, these Cherry Almond Gluten Free Muffins are a great place to start. If you’ve never baked gluten free before, you’re going to love it for a variety of reasons. The best part about baking gluten free, is baking for gluten free friends. Gluten free friends are appreciative of home baked goods in a way that’s hard to explain, especially when your wares are these divine Cherry Almond Gluten Free Muffins. It has something to do with the fact that people rarely do bake gluten free. Once I knew I wanted to make muffins, the rest of the recipe came together easily as I had an extra cup of cherries just waiting for me in the fridge after cherries were defrosted for a sour cherry pie. I assure you that while they’re gluten free, they should really be called “The Bomb Cherry Almond Muffins,” as I fear billing them as gluten free will turn off some bakers who don’t tend to work with different types of flours. But once you start baking with … Continue reading

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cake

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cake

I promised some sour cherry recipes from my Cherry Picking in Philly post, and voila! a Chocolate Cherry Almond Cake. You’ve probably noticed that chocolate desserts aren’t really my vice. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not to say I don’t like chocolate. I do. But I’m kind of a purist about it. As in straight up, deep dark chocolate – chocolate. Maybe a Deep Dark Salted Caramel Truffle now and then, but chocolate cake? Not so much. But, when I set out to make yet another almond cake dessert, I got nervous that I might bore you too much. And that’s when I decided that perhaps a touch, or rather a half pound of deep dark chocolate might not be so bad in a cake, as long as it was a dense almond cake studded with sour cherries. And don’t worry, I was right, the Chocolate Cherry Almond Cake wasn’t bad in the least. In fact, it was down right delicious. Best of all? Chocolate Cherry Almond Cake is a great year round cake because it works well with frozen cherries. And I can assure you, it would be great with raspberries or blackberries too. Just imagine little pockets of … Continue reading

Sour Cherry Picking in Philly

Cherry Picking in Philly big cluster

My dear friend Tracey belongs to one of Philly’s lovely community gardens. I count on her for mint and other lovely things from her plot, but best of all are the sour cherries from the community tree. Not only is Tracey delightful company with access to sour cherries, but it turns out she’s a ringer when it comes to cherry picking, you see, Tracey is a gifted tree climber. I spent a few hot mornings in July picking cherries, telling stories and getting to know her recently-located-to-Philly mother, and brand new daughter. I picked, pitted and froze about 15 quarts of cherries, so I assure you there will be lots of sour cherry recipes headed your way in the next few months, so fill your freezer now! And sign up for a community garden plot for 2015. I used the ladder. Here’s Tracey in the tree. I can tell she’s thinking about sour cherry pie. … Continue reading

Cherry Bourbon Fizzers

cherry bourbon fizzers

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, and time for some Cherry Bourbon Fizzers, or, more on my obsession with rose-scented geraniums. After a week of posting Midwestern Potluck items, I’ve still got Wisconsin on my mind. And it doesn’t get much more Wisconsin than brown liquor and cherries. In fact, when I went to buy the alcohol for the reception for my wedding, I went in with and idea of how much vodka, gin, tequila, whiskey, etc. that I would need for my event. I thought I should run my calculations past the store manager since they order for large events all the time. I forgot to add in her Midwestern bias when I listened to her advice. I know that while my wedding was in the Midwest, many of my guests weren’t from the Midwest. I let her talk me out of some of the vodka and into Brandy! of all things. Which is not to say that I don’t enjoy a Brandy Old-Fashioned as much as the next Wisconsinite, but let’s just say that we had plenty of Brandy left over, and the bartenders had to make an emergency run for vodka. Lesson learned, I know my friends and how … Continue reading

Dying for Summer Apple or Pear and Cherry Almond Crisp

cherry apple almond crisp header

When you grow up in sour cherry country, you develop a very expensive problem, and this Dying for Summer Apple or Pear and Cherry Almond Crisp is a great solution. Your problem? You need sour cherries. Too bad they’re really difficult to get outside of cherry country. And outside of cherry season. And definitely really expensive when outside of season and county. In college I used to make sure that I horded some cherries in July and ferried them home with me on the plane. Then travel changed and frozen cherries in their own juice became considered a dangerous hazard, cue eye roll. But despite the change in airline regulations, I still had a strong need for cherries. To be sure, there are some fancy companies that will ship frozen cherries anytime of the year for a small fortune, and now that I have a friend with access to sour cherries here in Philly, some of my problem has been solved by freezing them in July. But just in case, I have come up with some workarounds for myself when cherry fever hits and I’m without sour cherries. This Dying for Summer Apple or Pear and Cherry Almond Crisp is one … Continue reading

Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

aerial cherry oatmeal cookies

For me, a Super Bowl means football. Football means the Packers. Packers mean Wisconsin. Wisconsin means sour cherries. This is quite the causal chain, huh? If you followed me this far, you’ll probably agree that the obvious dessert for a Super Bowl Party is Door County Cherry Oatmeal Cookies. I can’t really claim credit for these cookies as an original idea. The recipe is based on the cookies I used to have in Door County at places like Wagon Trail and Seaquist Orchards and years of making the Toll House recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Even though I now make the Jacques Torres recipe (always), I still have the Toll House memorized and I use it as the basis for most of my cookie recipe improvisations. These cherry oatmeal cookies are really easy to make. They’re really delicious. You could make the dough this weekend and store it in the fridge until next weekend. Then you could preheat the oven during the third quarter and surprise your guests with hot cookies during the fourth quarter. Or you can bake Cherry Oatmeal Cookies ahead of time and serve them whenever. And once you’ve learned how to make these, they just might … Continue reading