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Unique cherry recipes to enjoy this summer from locals and Chelan Fresh

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Recipe author Beth Williams assures readers that the Chilled Cherry Soup is sure to please guests this summer. (Photo by Meg Raines/Courtesy of Chelan Fresh)

Cherry harvest continues in the Lake Chelan Valley and whether it’s Bing, Rainier or Orondo Rubies, locals know how to make the best of the crop with creative recipes. Chelan Fresh has compiled a few fun options submitted by area locals.

Simple Chilled Cherry Soup

Summer is here and so are cherries! This wonderfully healthy fruit is very versatile and can be used a million different ways. This chilled cherry soup is incredibly simple to make but looks fancy and tastes more complicated than it really is. This recipe will impress your guests and can be served as a starter or as dessert. Yes, you read that right!

YIELD: 4 servings          Author: Beth Williams   

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh dark red cherries, pitted, plus extra for decoration
  • 2 cups rose wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 large basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons (only if serving as starter)

Using dark red cherries and rose wine, the Chilled Cherry Soup is filled with Lake Chelan staples. (Photo by Meg Raines/Courtesy of Chelan Fresh)

Instructions:

  1. Place the cherries, rose wine, sugar, cinnamon stick and cornstarch in a large pot and stir to combine.
  2. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, discard cinnamon stick, place in blender and blend until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  4. Once cool, add the lemon juice and place in the fridge, covered, for at least 2 hours.
  5. When ready to serve, give the soup a stir before ladling into bowls. Top with the remaining cherries.
  6. Don’t forget the basil if you’re serving the soup as a starter. Serve immediately.

Super Simple Cherry Almond Muffins

Super Simple Cherry Almond Muffins call for 1 cup of fresh red cherries. (Photo by Meg Raines/Courtesy of Chelan Fresh)

Everyone needs some easy recipes for weeknights or to whip up in a flash for a potluck. These muffins are quick to make and are bursting with juicy fresh cherries. A light sugar dusting gives the muffin tops a little extra crunch and sweetness. While baking, the muffins will make your kitchen smell divine!

These moist and fluffy little devils are perfect for a snack and will be a welcome addition to any summertime picnic or BBQ.

YIELD: 12 muffins           Author: Beth Williams 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 2/3 cup of sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk (use plain unsweetened almond milk for extra almond taste!)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (for example, canola or grapeseed)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup fresh red cherries, pitted and quartered
  • Handful of sliced almonds (optional)

Recipe Author Beth Williams recommends letting the muffins cool before digging in as they may crumble. (Photo by Meg Raines/Courtesy of Chelan Fresh)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Prepare muffin tins with liners, or grease with butter or vegetable oil.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat egg with a fork. Add milk, vegetable oil and almond extract. Stir well.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry mixture. Stir until just combined, using as few strokes as possible. Fold in cherries gently, just to distribute. Batter should still be lumpy but no dry flour should be visible. Tip: don’t over-mix as it will result in dry muffins.
  6. Fill muffin tins to 3/4 full. Sprinkle a little sugar on top of each muffin and sliced almonds if using.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until tops spring back when pressed gently, or a sharp knife comes out clean.
  8. Remove muffins from tins and cool on a cooling rack.

Notes

* You’ll be tempted to try these hot out of the oven, but have patience. They may crumble if not cooled thoroughly.

* You can make these year-round. Just use frozen cherries when fresh cherries are no longer available.

* Muffins are easy to freeze. Just cool completely before putting in the freezer where muffins should keep for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or zap for 30 secs-1 min in the microwave if you’re impatient!

Cherry Vanilla and Ginger Float

Frozen cherries keep the Cherry Vanilla Ginger Float cool. (Photo by Meg Raines / Courtesy of Chelan Fresh)

There is a wellness movement happening, and no doubt everyone has tried the fermented drink kombucha by now. It is on the “good for you” list and it’s turning up everywhere you look. So why not try it this summer with some sweet Washington cherries for a grown-up version of an ice cream float?

YIELD: 2 servings                 From Chelan Fresh

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen sweet dark cherries, pitted and halved
  • 3 tablespoons agave, honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 scoops of a good quality vanilla ice cream (or non-dairy ice cream)
  • 1 (16 oz.) bottle of ginger flavored kombucha
  • Mint springs for garnish

Williams calls the Cherry Vanilla and Ginger Float a grown up ice cream treat. (Photo by Meg Raines / Courtesy of Chelan Fresh)

Instructions:

  1. Make the cherry compote; add the cherries and agave syrup to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the cherries are soft and the liquid has reduced and thicken to a syrup consistency, about 25-30 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool completely. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (TIPS: works best if it has been refrigerated for a few hours)
  2. In a tall drinking glass, add 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream and spoon about half of the cherry mixture over the ice cream, pour some kombucha over the top until almost full (warning: it fizzes quite a bit so pour slowly!). Stir gently and enjoy!

Notes:

Ginger goes well with cherries, but you can use any flavor of kombucha you would like, or try an artisanal ginger beer instead.

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes with Cherry Compote

These pancakes are complimented wonderfully by the mild tartness of the dark red cherries and lemon juice flavors in the cherry compote. (Courtesy of Chelan Fresh)

Wanting to add more healthy variety to your breakfast routine? Look no further than these Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes with Cherry Compote! With just the right amount of sweetness, the pancakes are complimented wonderfully by the mild tartness of the dark red cherries and lemon juice flavors in the cherry compote.

YIELD: about 10 6-inch pancakes                 From Chelan Fresh

Ingredients – Cherry Compote

  • 2 cups pitted and halved dark red cherries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoon cornstarch, depending on desired consistency
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons oil or melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus the zest of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Use pitted and halved dark red cherries, fresh or frozen. (Courtesy of Chelan Fresh)

Instructions – Make the Compote

  1. Combine the cherries and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the cherries soften and juices begin to reduce. 
  2. Mix 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water to dissolve (NOTE: add an extra teaspoon of cornstarch for a thicker sauce if desired), add to the cherries, mix well and simmer for a minute or until the sauce thickens to your liking.
  3. Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla, and simmer for a minute longer. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before using. Compote can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.

Make Cherry Pancakes

  1. Mix the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt, together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, oil, lemon juice, zest and vanilla until combined.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently until incorporated.
  4. Drop a scant 1/2 cup of batter onto a greased or nonstick skillet or griddle, preheated over medium-high heat. Cook a few minutes until the edges are bubbling and dry, then flip the pancake over, cook on other side for a few more minutes and transfer to a serving plate.
  5. Serve immediately topped with a spoonful of the cherry compote. 

Cherry Balsamic Glaze for Roasted Chicken Breast

(Courtesy of Chelan Fresh)

Dinner is served! Our Cherry Balsamic Glaze is a delectable topping over a variety of meats, like these boneless chicken breasts.

YIELD: 4 servings                  From Chelan Fresh

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless chicken breast
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil – divided
  • 2 shallots, chopped finely
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1⁄3 cup dry red wine (shiraz or zinfandel)
  • 1⁄3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup frozen dark cherries, thawed
  • Salt and pepper

(Courtesy of Chelan Fresh)

Instructions – To Make the Chicken

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pat chicken dry and rub skin with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast for 15 minutes before reducing heat to 400 and continuing to roast for 10-20 minutes longer – depending on size of chicken breasts.

To Make Cherry Glaze:

  1. Heat olive oil in a small heavy metal or ceramic saucepan.
  2. Add shallots and cook until they are soft and wilted, not browned (about 3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the wine, sugar, vinegar and cherries.
  5. Increase the heat to bring the sauce to a light boil, stirring occasionally.
  6. Let the sauce reduce to half the original amount (about 10-12 minutes). It should get thick and syrupy.

(Provided by Chelan Fresh)

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