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All Cherries, No Pits

With the war in Iraq leading the headlines today, I offer a break from heavy news with an update from the food world: Local cherries are here!

Cherries from the Clarendon farmer's market.
Cherries from the Clarendon farmer's market.

Sweet they are (although I've been getting reports of sour variety too). Cherries are strutting their gorgeous selves at local farmer's markets (I found my batch at Clarendon farmer's market on Thursday).

Aside from eating them one by one in a bowl, contemplating the meaning of life (Real Audio file), try them in a food processor-friendly clafoutis, a French dessert that's kind of a cross between a waffle and a pudding. When studded with cherries, it is luscious and screams summer.

I also love the idea of roasting them in red wine as a dessert topping, a suggestion in "Fresh Food Fast" by Peter Berley. Here's how:

In a small saucepan, bring to a boil: ¾ cup red wine (Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Cotes de Rhone), ¼ cup sugar and 1 bay leaf. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange at least 1 pound of cherries (stemmed if you wish, but it's okay if you don't) in a snug-fitting dish. Pour wine syrup over cherries, dot with 1 tablespoon butter and roast, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Got other cherry-licious ideas? Share with the class in the comments area below.

By Kim ODonnel |  June 8, 2006; 12:42 PM ET
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I preface this by letting you know that I work for the publisher that puts out the book I recommend. However that may be, the Cherry-Lemon Tea Bread in Cynthia Nims' "Stone Fruit" is wonderful and beautiful. I'd be happy to email the recipe or send you the book. It covers nectarines, apricots, plums, peaches, as well as cherries. I am new to your site and have become an addict. Thanks.

Posted by: Ora Schulman | June 8, 2006 03:39 PM

Ora, I would love to know more about "Stone Fruit." E-mail me at: kim.odonnel@washingtonpost.com

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | June 8, 2006 05:57 PM

Yesterday after leaving a friend's apartment, I stepped on something squishy in the parking lot... looked down and saw juice, crimson pulp, and what looked remarkably like a cherry tree. Looked up, and saw tree branches positively dripping with blood-red ripe cherries.

Just to be sure, I rinsed one with my ever-present water bottle and took a nibble... delish! Picked nearly three pounds, as much as I could reach.

Yes, I'm going back tonight with a stepladder, LOL.

I bet 99% of the folks who live there have no idea what they're missing.

Posted by: Divine Ms. K | June 12, 2006 06:23 PM

Funny you mention the neighborhood cherries, Ms. K; my mother told me that her tree is just loaded and she was hoping I'd drive the 130 miles to come for the harvest! I applaud your stepladder mission and hope to hear all about it in Tuesday's chat (Noon ET, by the way)...

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | June 12, 2006 09:32 PM

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