Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Fruitful Sunday

Today I decided to try something new...well, earlier this week, I decided, but today everyone got to experience the fruit of my labours. That would be cherry-pitting labours!

As I mentioned before, one of my goals for this second year is to cook with the season, and this week, the first of the British Columbia cherries came into the store. I spent a good portion of the Cubs game (I listen on the internet radio) on Friday, pitting cherries for our freezer (7lbs!) and while I was doing it, I started thinking about soup recipes I've seen for Cold Hungarian Cherry Soup. Even though the Fix-it Guy seems to think I made up cherry soup, I actually have several recipes in different cookbooks! And there are tonnes of recipes on the web too.

I ended up combining two recipes and here is what I did (loosely). One reason I mixed recipes together is because many of them call for flour and as you know, there are at least two SS attendees who can't have gluten. Another change I made is I used black cherries and reduced the sugar since all recipes pretty much called for tart cherries. This makes A LOT. Like 8 quarts! So you might want to make less, although The Southerner and I do have excellent plans for the leftovers.

The Chef's Cold Hungarian Cherry Soup
3lbs pitted black cherries (halve the cherries, remove the pit, don't cut them up any further)
18 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
cinnamon to taste (2 tsp?)
2 cups of sour cream thinned with 1/2 cup of 1/2 & 1/2
1/3 cup cornstarch

Bring the water, cherries, cinnamon and sugar to a boil over high heat, reduce to simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. In a small bowl mix cornstarch with some water and stir well with a fork to get rid of lumps. Add it to the cherries, stirring continuously. You need to make sure it reaches a boil because it won't thicken unless it does. Once it's thickened (slightly, it will still be fairly thin, but you should notice a change), remove from heat. Add lemon juice. Let cool and then put in refrigerator overnight.

Before serving add sour cream that you've thinned with 1/2&1/2 and mix well. Serve in chilled bowls. For bread, I made these drop biscuits. They were very easy and quite yummy too and complimented the soup nicely.

While I think the guests were a little surprised, and some of them even a bit dubious when they heard about the soup, everyone seemed to like it a lot. We also had a bunch of surprises! The Fleece Lady brought...well, I don't know exactly what they're called, but they're these round balls about the size of a truffle made of fruit and nuts and other excellent ingredients. Also, there is a couple who are newish, but becoming regulars at SS and I don't have nicknames for them yet, but The Ones Without Names are originally from Romania and since they heard the soup was Hungarian, they brought some lovely Romanian bread. It was all twisted together and fantastic! Roxy Steve brought delish bakery bread.

The Younger Sister brought pound cake with fresh strawberries and bananas and she used my mixer to whip the cream herself. Very impressive, even though I heard a rumour that she did NOT use a separate bowl for the dry and wet ingredients like I taught her...I'm sure this cannot be true! Her cake was lovely and we still have some!

Our big plans for the leftover soup is we are going to freeze it and serve it over the cake like ice cream. I bet you wish you were us!

Have a great week and eat with the season! Oh, also, on my writing website, I have some gardening and cookbook info you might like to see.

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