I would like to start by saying: my aunt Jane is an amazing lady.
Not only did she send me this antique cherry picker she found at a garage sale a couple of weeks ago, but she is pretty much responsible for my complete and utter obsession with garage sale-ing and flea market-ing. She also taught me how to bargain. Before I was even ten years old. Believe it.
She’d take me to garage sales and flea markets all over the Bay Area on the weekends, and helped me to start a small ceramic dog collection by showing me the bargaining ropes. For you newbies, I’m talking about how to suggest a price that’s well lower than what’s listed and then slowly work your way to the middle. Or how to pretend like you only have only two dollars in your wallet when you actually have ten. It’s a skill that, as insignificant as it may seem to you, is incredibly important to me to this day, and especially so now that I’m living in Portland, the garage sale capitol of the world.
There are many, many other life’s lessons and skills that I’ve learned from Aunt Jane, but today I’m thankful for our common appreciation for antiques (especially kitchenware) and good bargains.
Might I add, she’s also quite the cooking extraordinaire, and one of my first true kitchen role models growing up.
I hope she would approve of this simple, yet delicious creation. Something tells me she would.
Simply Roasted Cherries with Rosemary
- A whole bunch o’ cherries, washed and de-stemmed
- A sprig or two of rosemary, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
You don’t necessarily need a cherry pitter, although it is quite handy and useful!
First you must preheat the oven to a low and slow 250 degrees. As it’s heating up, you will want to pit your cherries. I’ve seen recipes where people roast cherries with the pits in, or even entirely whole and with the stems still attached, but I’d rather avoid the nuisance and since I now have a cherry pitter, I went all out on the preparation. De-stemmed, pitted, halved, the whole nine yards.
So yes, chop in half, and spread onto a baking sheet, skin side down. Sprinkle with coursely chopped rosemary, and place in the oven. Allow to bake for at least an hour, if not more, keeping an eye to watch for burning. Bubbling or crackling noises are okay. After a long while, your cherries should have shunk to about half their original size, browned or crisped up a bit, and shriveled up like your skin after a long bath (how’s that for kitchen imagery?). If you pop one into your mouth, you will notice how the flavor and sweetness of the cherry is greatly enhanced.
From this point forward, the world is your oyster! Er, cherry. You may do with them what you please. Pop them in your mouth as a healthy snack, throw them on some crackers with your favorite chevre as a beautiful and delicious appetizer, add them to fresh greens in a salad, or even incorporate them into a pastry of your choosing. It would be utterly impossible to find dissatisfaction in your outcome.
Now, this recipe isn’t quite brain surgery. In fact, it’s safe to say you could probably do it blindfolded. It’s the concept that I’m trying to emphasize here, that uncommon pairings of fruits and herbs can and DO go well together. Also, that fruit can be enjoyed in more ways than just fresh, or in a pie or pastry. In fact, in many cases roasting or grilling is an incredibly useful method for enhancing the sweetness of the fruit. It’s also a fabulous way to disguise fruit that you’ve allowed to go a day or two past it’s prime.
If you want to cook simply and do it well, then you will allow the ingredients to speak for themselves. This is what I’m learning.