Chicken Salad Picnic

Doesn't this salad look delicious? My recipe today was adapted for seasonal on hand ingredients from this one at Peanut Butter and Peppers.
Doesn’t this salad look delicious? My recipe today was adapted for seasonal on hand ingredients from this one at Peanut Butter and Peppers.

Where I live every night of the summer we have Music in the Park from 7-8:30pm. It is such a lovely way to spend a summer evening that I find I am constantly trying to make portable easy dinners so that we can enjoy the spontaneity of all summer has to offer. I cooked a chicken last night and we still have a fridge full of cherries which led to the inspiration for tonight’s dinner.

Chicken Salad Picnic

Chicken Salad Picnic

Ingredients

  • Chicken breasts from last nights dinner - diced (from our farmers market)
  • 3 diced green onions (from our CSA)
  • A small handful of chopped walnuts (from our bulk order)
  • 1 cup sweet dark cherries, pitted and chopped (plus 6 to 8 whole for juicing)
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or kombucha)
  • 2 Tbsp cherry juice (from our yard)
  • 2 tsp honey (from our local apiary)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (from the garden)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix chicken, onions, nuts, cherries and thyme together. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together oil, vinegar, juice, honey, salt and pepper.
  3. Pour over chicken mixture and stir to coat.
  4. Pack into a bucket with an ice pack and into the picnic cooler it goes!
  5. I picked a bunch of crisp lettuce from our garden to serve it on. I toss a couple ice cubes in the bowl of lettuce to help keep it crisp in the summer heat.
https://consumableearth.com/chicken-salad-picnic/

I’ve been making chicken salad after a recipe from the Narrows restaurant (I think that’s where it came from), adding a tablespoon of stone ground mustard to mayonnaise, balsalmic vinegar, and a shot of hot sauce to the mayo and throwing in dried cherries (Michigan’s are the best), and walnuts with the onion.

Cherry Crisp

Cherry Crisp

Cherry Crisp

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar (divided)
  • 1 pound (about two full cups) tart cherries, pitted
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Combine flour and oats.
  3. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
  4. Mix in 1/3 cup sugar; set aside for topping.
  5. Sprinkle cherries with cinnamon, nutmeg.
  6. Pour into a greased 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
  7. Sprinkle topping mixture evenly over cherry mixture.
  8. Bake at 325° for 10-20 minutes or until your smell something delicious
https://consumableearth.com/cherry-crisp/

This recipe is adapted from The Recipe Boy Blog where he adapted it from The Fruit Orchard cookbook he scored from a local orchard in Virgina. The tasty crisp in this picture is the one he made for his family.

Cherry Season

dehydrated cherriesCherries show up in the middle to end of June where I live, chances are they do where you live too. If you miss them they are gone and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it. If you are a grocery store shopper you get a little hint that the local fruit is on it’s way soon when the California seasonal varieties show up in the produce section, cherries are no exception.

I grew up with cherries. I have a cherry tree in my yard now and can’t really imagine life without them.

We eat cherries for about a week while they are in season but other than that the only cherries we enjoy are of the dehydrated variety. They are kind of like raisins but slightly bigger and great in kids lunches. Each year I dehydrate about 20 racks of cherries, I’m not sure what that is in lbs but I would guess 10-20lbs of cherries.

Processing cherries is one best done with three bowls, a comfortable seat and something entertaining on a screen. If you are opposed to your fingers being stained for a few days then I suggest wearing gloves. I use a paring knife and slice all the way around the cherry from top to bottom. The pit is loose at the bottom and fixed at the top so I then lift it with my knife to pull it out in one movement. This seems to be the most efficient way to pit cherries by hand and believe me I have pitted A LOT of cherries.

When I put them on the tray I put them cut side up. This stops them from sticking to the tray and makes unloading MUCH easier. They get stored in large mason jars and used in oatmeal, yogurt and as a finger snack for the remainder of the year.

If we have an excess of cherries I have been known to pit and freeze them until apricots come into season to make fruit leather.

Summer Canning

I don’t normally can in July or August. It’s just too darn hot to have the stove on that much. Most of my summer preserving is done with the dehydrator on a table outside. One day I will find a man handy enough and who loves me enough to build me a solar dehydrator but until that day I use the electric variety.

However this year has been unseasonably – um – damp, which would make solar dehydration a little bit tricky. A conversation with a friend revealed the fact that I have never had canned cherries. Continue reading Summer Canning