Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cheery Cherries!

Nothing says "it's summer" more than walking through your local farmer's market and seeing a gorgeous table filled with bright, shiny, crimson-colored freshly picked cherries! They are as delicious as they are beautiful and I can't enough of the deep and robust colors that each little jewel puts on display, nor the deliciousness of their perfectly tart/sweet juices that burst when bitten in to. My maternal grandfather, Pedro Laca, used to always eat bags of cherries, or "cherr-etxas" he would say. His funny way of saying the word in "Basque slang."I can't EVER eat a cherry without hearing him say that word in my head...a sweet memory, to be sure.

I took a long gander through the quaint and robust Burlingame farmer's market this morning and was pleasantly surprised at just how much amazing produce and products were for sale. My only issue with these markets is the co$t of organic produce and while I'm completely a believer in buying and eating locally grown foods, there's no getting around the fact that it's incredibly easy to drop $100 bucks in 15 minutes flat!! These are the days when I long to be back in Europe where every market IS a farmers market and produce, rare mushrooms, exotic cheeses, you name it are priced affordably and "organic" is the norm not the exception.

On this lazy Sunday, a phrase I never use until temperatures become scorching, as they have this weekend for all of us in the west, I've spent a bit of time perusing some of my newly favorite gluten free cookbooks and stumbled across a recipe for gluten free cherry-ginger oatmeal cookies - Yum! In spite of record temps, I turned on my oven and decided to bake up a batch using some of the fresh and gorgeous cherries I purchased at the market. What can I say...colors and food inspire me!

The cookbook I found this recipe in is Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Gluten Free, written by Kristine Kidd, previous food editor of Bon Appetit magazine for over 20 years. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of the book via a gluten free publisher/contact and it was such a terrific surprise and since the first moment I cracked the seams, I've been talking this book up to friends near and far. Kristine put together a very beautiful, practical cookbook that's loaded with easy yet flavorful and unique recipes that are sure to become favorites. If you're an egg lover, as I am, you must try the potato pancakes, poached egg, and green onion sauce on page 56 - it's truly egg-a-licious!!!

Back to cherries!

Cherry-Ginger Oatmeal Cookies

Makes about 48 cookies

- 1/4 Cup, unsalted butter at room temperature

- 3/4 Cup, brown sugar packed

- 3/4 Cup, granulated sugar

- 1 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla

- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

- 1 Cup, toasted almond butter

- 3 Cups, gluten-free rolled oats

- 1/2 Cup, crystalized ginger chopped

- 2/3 Cup chopped, well drained cherries (calls for dried but I went with fresh)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter cookie sheets. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat until well mixed. Add the eggs, baking soda, vanilla, and salt and beat until smooth. Add the almond butter and beat until smooth. Mix in the oats, ginger and cherries.

2. Spoon the dough by rounded teaspoons and place on the prepared sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake until the cookies are light brown around the edges, about 12 minutes. Let them cool on the pans for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Enjoy this little summer treat and please eat REAL FOOD!!