Simple Roasted Fresh Cherry Dessert Topping Recipe

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I always know when my father-in-law’s birthday is coming because it is around the time I start seeing small displays of cherries appear.  The displays will be brimming with cherries soon, but right now if you scout around,  you can start to find them.  Not local for us, but maybe for you.

My father-in law tells us that when he was a boy it was a very special treat for him to have a handful of cherries on his birthday.  So, I like to honor his special day by making something containing cherries when we gather for his celebration.

This June, I have come up with a new recipe that I hope he’ll enjoy, and, of course,  I hope that you like it also.  It was inspired by all that I have been reading about roasted strawberries….I figure, OK, you can roast strawberries, you can roast cherries, right?  Yep, right!  Way right!  They are just fabulous this way!  I’ve coated them with a wee bit of (my favorite) butter and added a dash of sea salt.  I’m lovin’ it.  Hope you are too!

One of my taste testers for this treat asked if I minded if she licked the bowl, my response… “no, not at all”!

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Simple Roasted Fresh Cherry Dessert Topping

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 pound sweet cherries, pitted
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon vanilla liqueur (I used Navan Natural Vanilla Liqueur)
1 quart high quality vanilla ice cream or pound cake (I used Graeter's vanilla)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Wash 1/2 pound of sweet cherries, remove stems, pit them and place in a bowl. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and toss with cherries. On a cookie sheet (line with parchment paper, if you wish) arrange the cherries and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast in oven for 10 minutes.

In a medium pan over low heat melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add brown sugar and cinnamon and stir till mixture starts to bubble. Turn off heat, (please note, if the heat is not turned off this might flame when you add the liqueur) then add vanilla liqueur. Turn heat back on, and let simmer for about 1 minute.

Stir in roasted cherries.

Turn off heat and let cool for about 3 minutes. Pour over vanilla ice cream, or pound cake and serve.

Enjoy!  And yes, it’s OK to lick the bowl!

Herb Encrusted Oven Baked Crispy Picnic Chicken Recipe

To me, Memorial Day is one of our most important non-religious holidays.  A tribute to the men and women who have died in service of their country.  These folks that I didn’t know, will never know, served and laid down their life for me.  What brave people they were!  I admire their courage and valor.

This weekend while we are enjoying the unofficial beginning of summer by having picnics, going to the beach or playing baseball, let’s take the time to remember what this holiday is really about and say “thank you” to our brave troops.

Awhile back, I was at an event that was having an “armed forces day”.  I sat right next to some of our enlisted men and women.  I had never been at arm’s length from a large group of soldiers.  What were my thoughts?  I thought that they were so very young, and so very innocent.  The same men and women who will be picking up arms and fighting, wherever, whenever they are told to defend our country.  They are all someone’s son or daughter, loved and cherished by their parents, spouses, relatives, friends.   Some of those that were standing there with sunny smiles on their faces will not return.

After we stood and sang our National Anthem, we applauded them loud and hard.  I would like to do that again today.  To all of you serving our country, a big salute and thank you!  I hope that you are going to be home with your family and friends very soon, sitting down to many Sunday suppers.  It’s because of you that we are able to so freely enjoy ours.

Thank you!

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Herb Encrusted Oven Baked Crispy Picnic Chicken

Yield: 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 - 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

This recipe can be very, very flexible....you only like white meat, no problem. You want to make it healthy, no problem. Pick what suits you best and go for it. You'll be happy you did! This recipe is great to serve straight from the oven but it is perfect to make the day before, refrigerate and serve chilled at your picnic, but it won't be as crispy.

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken, cut up, skin removed (about 5 pounds) or 4-6 boneless, skinless breasts (about 1 12/ to 2 1/4 pounds)
1/2 cup mayonnaise or 1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (about 1 teaspoon)
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (removed from stem before chopping)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (remove from stem before chopping)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wisk together mayonnaise or olive oil with the finely minced garlic.

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Rub the cut up chicken that has had the skin removed with the mayonnaise (or, if you prefer olive oil). Please note: If you cut the breast pieces in 2 they bake more quickly. Or if you prefer white meat and don't want to fuss with taking the skin off, you can use boneless/skinless breasts. There is a lot of flexibility in this recipe!

In a large plastic bag, place panko bread crumbs, chopped rosemary, thyme, parsley, parmesan cheese, salt and freshly ground pepper. Shake so the ingredients become evenly distributed. Spread this mixture on a plate.

Dredge the chicken on both sides in mixture, coating it well.

Place on baking pan and bake in oven for approximately 25 minutes. Please use a meat thermometer to make sure that the thickest pieces of chicken has reached a temperature of 165 degrees. Please note: You may have to remove the smaller pieces of chicken (wings, legs, thighs) before the breasts have finished cooking.

Health Benefits of Eating Peas

This week I have very exciting news for you!   My daughter, Dana, whom I’ve mentioned many times, has offered to team up with me and Return to Sunday Supper to write informative posts about the nutritional benefits of my recipes (we’re hoping to do this weekly)!

Dana has always had quite a love for food and nutrition.  She’s always telling us the benefits of the food we’re eating, teaching us about the chemical breakdown of different foods, and, ahem, trying (without success) to coerce me to cutting down on butter.  (I’m not willing to give it up totally…no way)!

I’m so excited for her to join me on my journey to inspire people to return to the table for great meals and the warm pleasure of nurturing and enjoying relationships by sharing those meals.

So, without further adieu, welcome to Return to Sunday Supper, Dana!

Hi everyone!  I’m Susie’s daughter, Dana.  A few weeks ago over lunch, my mom asked if I’d like to contribute to Return to Sunday Supper by writing weekly posts on the nutritional benefits of ingredients in her recipes.  I very gladly accepted, as nutrition has always been a passion of mine!  I’m so excited to fulfill one of my lifetime goals with you: to inspire people to eat healthier by teaching them about the food that they are consuming.  I’ll touch on everything from nutritional benefits to food synergy (what foods work best together to offer optimum nourishment).  I hope you enjoy reading as much as I love writing for you!  Thanks for the opportunity, Mom!

Peas…I have always, always loved peas.  While you’ll most likely hear me declare my love for the veggie of the week just about every post (I’m such a veg-head) peas have truly always been my go-to.  I keep a pack of frozen peas in my freezer all the time…and have trouble keeping them in stock!

Peas are one of the most under-rated vegetables that we eat.  They tend to be overlooked as they’re not considered a powerhouse like spinach or kale, but peas actually provide a very unique set of nutrients –  saponins, specifically pisumsaponins I and II, and pisomosides A and B (notice the “pis” sounds like “peas!” That’s on purpose)!  These nutrients are almost exclusive to peas!  Saponins may help prevent Type 2 Diabetes by keeping blood sugars low and they have great anti-inflamatory properties!  Peas are also a good source of vitamin K, which helps maintain healthy clotting of the blood and omega-3 and omega-6 fats, which may help maintain and control inflammation in bone joints, the bloodstream and body tissue. For that reason, they may help prevent joint pain.More reasons to love them…they are rich in vitamin C, have loads of fiber and manganese and they may help you to have a healthy gastrointestinal tract, and may aid in bone and cardiovascular health.

So remember…”eat your peas”! See you soon!

Disclaimer –  Please note:  the information presented in this post is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease.  Please consult your physician if you are having any medical problems.

Fresh Carrot, Pea and Mint Salad Recipe

Sometimes life hands you a gift…. for me, this is one of those times.   This will soon appear  on Jaden Hair’s fabulous blog, Steamy Kitchen  as a guest post.  I am so honored,  thank you, Jaden!  In case you don’t know Jaden (and I find that hard to believe), she is the uber talented and gifted publisher of Steamy Kitchen, New Asian Cuisine & Food Blog Forum.  She has a weekly column in Discovery Health, TLC and Tampa Tribune Newspaper.  She appears as a chef on the Daytime Show and she has written the fabulous, Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.   I first met Jaden at Food Blog Forum Orlando in April.  She also was a speaker at BlogHerFood Atlanta this past weekend.  How does she do it all?  I’m beginning to wonder if she ever sleeps!  Oh, and she’s as beautiful outside as she is inside….she’s one very special, generous person.

I’d like to take another opportunity to let you know who I am and why I have this blog.  I’m Susie Kauck, and I started my blog, Return to Sunday Supper, because I want to emphasize the need for a significant, celebrated, face-to-face meal shared by family and friends at least once a week.  What better way to add value to our lives than to join together around a weekly meal that brings family and friends closer?  I think of this gathering as an antidote to “life as usual” – hectic schedules, physical and emotional distance between us, reliance on fast food and addiction to TV and computer screens.

Return to Sunday Supper also presents nutritional information for some of the foods featured and documented reasons why it is so important for families to eat together.

My blog features family favorite classics and updated recipes each tied to a personal story.  I invite you to share your Sunday supper stories, best meal memories, and recipes so that together we can motivate others to start their own Sunday supper traditions.  If you would like to participate, please contact me, susie@returntosundaysupper.com.

This week I have been thinking about the simple pleasures of the bounty of spring and that inspired this lovely salad.  It’s simple, beautiful, and easy to prepare.

I think that I love carrots because I can vividly remember the charming illustrations of carrots in the Beatrix Potter stories from when I was a child.  My favorite way to eat them them then and now was raw….just like Peter!  Of course, if you eat them uncooked they retain all of their wonderful nutrients…just one more reason to love this salad.

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Fresh Carrot, Pea and Mint Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 22 Minutes

Ingredients:

Salad:
4 large carrots, washed, trimmed and peeled (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup of fresh (shelled) or frozen peas (defrosted)
1 tablespoon fresh mint, torn or cut with scissors into small pieces
Pea shoots for garnish if you like

Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive (or grape seed oil for a lighter taste)
1 lemon
3 sprigs mint
1 teaspoon honey (optional) if you like sweeter vinaigrette
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Salad:
For this salad you can use a mandoline slicer or a grater (manual or food processor).

Slice carrots lengthwise using a mandoline slicer or grate them. Keep them in a bowl of ice water and drain them before assembling salad.

Blanch fresh peas in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately immerse peas in ice water for two minutes to stop the cooking process, then drain. If using frozen peas, you can just defrost them.

Arrange carrots on individual salad plates. Top with peas. Right before serving, sprinkle with chopped mint.

Vinaigrette:
Crush 3 sprigs of mint and add to the olive or grape seed oil. Leave the mint in the oil for for 10 minutes then remove the mint. You will now have mint infused oil.

Zest the lemon first, then squeeze to render 1 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice.

In bowl whisk together oil, lemon juice, zest, honey (optional), salt and pepper.

Drizzle dressing over salad, garnish with pea shoots if you like, and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Family Favorite Artichokes with Dipping Sauce

What is the food that you have the most fun eating?  Watermelon comes to mind, so does cotton candy, but at our house, our favorite is artichokes.  They are wonderfully messy and a good excuse to dip into warm butter with lemon or perhaps this recipe.

We don’t need much of a nudge to do this.  We love their fresh, clean taste. Something about plucking the leaves off, dipping them into sauce and getting their meaty goodness by scraping them between your teeth appeals to us.  It’s tasty, fun, easy and casual.  We don’t need much of a nudge to do this, just their appearance in the spring.

If you haven’t tried them because they seem like too much work…..think again.  At our house, we don’t do anything but trim the ends and outer leaves and simmer covered till the leaves easily pull away from the core.  No special trimming, no coring….we just stop when we get to the choke….not as beautiful, but very easy.

Hope your tempted to try them as an appetizer for your Sunday supper this week.

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Family Favorite Dipping Sauce

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

1 large artichoke or 4 small ones
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Pour olive oil into a small bowl. Using a garlic press, press the garlic into the bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes. Using a strainer, strain the garlic from the olive oil.

Into olive oil, whisk fresh lemon juice, grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Serve with warm artichokes.

Enjoy!