Last night we had friends over for a Fourth of July warm-up dinner party. The hyper-local menu–Grilled Sumac Lamb Chops, Cherry Couscous Salad and Asparagus–was created with the bulk of ingredients sourced in a one-mile radius; easy to pull off at this time of the year in the orchards and farmlands of Northern Michigan.
Concentrated cherry juice processed from cherries up the road lends the acidity and sweet to this versatile vinaigrette.
The day before yesterday, I marinated lamb chops 24 hours (refrigerated) in a mixture of whole milk, plain yogurt, garlic, ground sumac and cinnamon. (I’ll post the recipe after re-proof.)
Then, I made a couscous salad and am particularly excited about the impromptu vinaigrette, which was simply delicious. My secret weapon was cherry juice concentrate. With the acidity and sweet of fresh ripe cherries, it was a flavor bomb in this salad. (Recipe below.)
This vinaigrette would be marvelous in any grain or leafy green salad or a lovely marinade for fowl, pork or lamb. Oh my. This little vinaigrette is an absolute gem.
Fresh Cherry and Goat Cheese Crostini
You don’t have to live in the middle of a cherry orchard–grocery stores across the world carry cherry juice concentrates. Here’s a link to King Orchards, if interested, to purchase the exact concentrate I use. (And no. Uncle Jim and Aunt Sue aren’t the owners and, as always, I receive no compensations for my posts and recommendations on this site, which remains blissfully “ad-free”.)
The Fourth of July Grill
In the spirit of the season, here are some more cherry-inspired blogs from seasons past to whet your whistle, many of which are perfect for the celebratory Fourth:
Deviled Eggs (aka: Stuffed Eggs) have taken on star-status in the past few years. No more are a plate of these rich and tantalizing mortals content to find themselves nestled up to a Maraschino Cherry Jello Mold on a boomerang-patterned formica counter. For good reason. Stuffed eggs are a great canvas for a variety of flavors. A perusal through the web … Full recipe post »
For a blast of bright August flavor on a frigid January day, try roasting tomatoes. Baking or roasting transforms the winter tomato, minimizing the mealy texture and maximizing their sweet flavor. Last weekend I concocted the recipe below, and brought the appetizer (pictured above) to a party. I saved time by having the baker slice the baguette and … Full recipe post »
Taste buds prickle; wanderlust triggered. An Argentine barbecue (asado)
enticed me to Patagonia. A friend gave me a vial of ground sumac berries--4 months later I was
waking at dawn to the "Call To Prayer" in Turkey. Porcini to Tuscany, and so on. Read more about my chronicles of
trips and favorite associated recipes. Browse my travel recipes...
Here are ideas gleaned from others that speak to me;
where I highlight projects that bring friends, neighborhoods, and communities together. For me,
complimentary food makes the project and event more fun. Browse my projects and related recipes...