Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lake Part II - The Cherry Capital of the World!

Our family lake cottage is nestled among the five major cherry producing counties in northern Michigan.  Each little burg around sells the same coffee mug pictured above naming their village as "The Cherry Capital of the World"!  I got a couple of them in the Elk Rapids pharmacy last year and have really enjoyed using them when at the lake. Besides selling other various articles with cherry motifs, outside each town are stands that sell fresh cherries, pies, and jams.  I bought some dried sour cherries and compared them with a batch Aunt Betsy had made.  Betsy's were so much better!!  So - I wondered if I could make cherry salsa that could be just as good as what was being sold in each town's specialty shops.  To go along with the salsa, I put together some chicken cherry chipotle quesadillas. Allison loved them!  She brought the left overs to work for lunch and said everyone was drooling over the delicious aroma.  To round it out, here is a great kale salad Jenn made with dried cherries.  And last but not least, is my mom's recipe for a three ingredient cheating cherry cobbler - very fast, very yummy, but - in this case -  not very healthy! 

Chicken Cherry Chipotle Quesadillas 
2 cooked, chopped chicken breasts
2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup dried cherries
1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

8 tortillas
1.  Cover baking sheet with foil, spray w/ cooking oil, place four tortillas on foil

2.  Mix the remaining ingredients and place mixture on top of each of the four tortillas

3.  Place remaining tortillas on top of each of the four others, spray with cooking oil, and bake at 350 for 10 minutes

Cherry Salsa
1 1/3 cherries - pitted, chopped up a bit
1/4 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries                                    
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped red onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Put all ingredients in a pan, bring them to a boil, turn down the heat to low, simmer for about 10 minutes.

                                                Curly Kale Salad with Dried Cherries

1.  Wash a bunch of kale and tear into bite size pieces, discard center stem of each leaf.  Drizzle leaves with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon.  Let this sit for a few minutes or even for several hours in the refrigerator.

2.  Add 1/4 cup dried tart cherries, 1/4 cup of crumbled cheese such as feta, goat, or blue, and 1/4 cup of chopped nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or pecans.  If desired add more lemon and olive oil at a ratio of 1:2

                                                            Lorraine's Cheating Cobbler
For each large can of cherry pie filling you put in a baking dish, top with one box of Jiffy yellow cake mix (dry) and 1 stick of sliced butter.  Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes until brown and bubbly.
(If you can't find a Jiffy cake mix, use 1/2 box of another brand)

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