Thursday, June 26, 2014

Guilt Free Chocolate Dipped Cherries

I love fresh cherries!  I especially love the dark Bing cherries or the bright Washington cherries.  When it is cherry season I am bound to have them in the fridge.  A few days ago I was reading the blog Chocolate Covered Katie and noticed her recipe for chocolate dipped fruit.  It is so simple that it is not so much a recipe as it is easy instructions for making a thin dipping chocolate. So in my world, loving the taste of cherries and chocolate, then melding them together was a no brainer. I altered it a tad ( she used real maple syrup, but I am not fond of maple flavor with chocolate so I substituted agave instead.  I also added an additional teaspoon of the sweetener because I thought 1 tablespoon was not quite enough.

Before beginning this, take a cookie sheet that will fit in your freezer and line it with parchment paper.

Chocolate Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Agave

Melt the coconut oil in a very small saucepan. Add the cocoa powder and stir to blend making sure the lumps of cocoa are gone.  Stir in the Agave and blend it completely.  Take your clean, washed and dried cherries, hold by the stem and give them a quick dip in the chocolate.  Place them on the parchment lined cookie sheet.  Work quickly because this is a very thin mixture and the chocolate wants to run off the cherries. When done scoot the sheet in the freezer and leave it for 5-10 minutes.  Peel the cherries off the parchment and store in a covered refrigerator container. They will be coated with a thin layer of chocolate but their true color can still be seen through the coating.

This was a delicious treat and a great way to use fresh cherries in an unconventional manner.  Usually whatever I make with them requires pitting them. After processing a pound of more at a time the kitchen sink is covered with red cherry juice and looks like a crime scene.  This time I got to eat them and enjoy them without the usual mess.  Win!

According to Katie this will cover about 100+ cherries.  I had only about 40 with stems so that was all I made.  I did have quite a bit leftover and maybe, just maybe. later in the day I wanted a bite of ice cream. It is  likely I could have poured a little of the chocolate over the ice cream. (That is, if I actually ate any ice cream)  It might also be entirely in the realm of possibility that said chocolate could be a delicious homemade magic shell knock off. I will leave it to you to decide if it happened or not. (I have always been willing to make sacrifices in the name of science and recipe blogging. I'm just selfless like that!)

I wish I had bought some strawberries this week.  I would have dipped a couple of them to see how it turned out.  Since I didn't I guess I will have to go to the store and buy more cherries and strawberries to give it a try.

They are pretty enough to serve at a tea, but they still have pits in them.  If you served them to a group of very polite ladies, after the party I am afraid you would find cherry pits in your potted plants. So just make them and enjoy them at home, hoarding them mainly for yourself or any significant member of your family who will not be offended by the pits.*

*  I have only sons and I would caution against letting brothers eat them.  The pits could become projectile assault weapons and a war of epic proportions might erupt at the table.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

White B-B-Q Chicken...It's a Southern Thing Y'all

Tonight my entire immediate family was here for dinner.  Since Son1 and his family live in Oregon it does not happen often.  We spent the late afternoon in the pool with the cutest grandbaby in the world and by the time we got out and dried off it was getting rather late.  We needed to eat but who really wants to cook a heavy meal late?  I know I didn't.

This past weekend the power at the lake house was off and the things in the freezer had begun to thaw.(Curses you thunderstorms and high winds!) A quick trip for damage control was needed! Most of the food still had tons of ice crystal throughout and could be salvaged, but there was a large bag of frozen corn on the cob left from Memorial Day that had thawed and needed to be eaten pronto.  So, corn on the cob was absolutely on the menu.  I also had a head of washed lettuce left over  from last weeks beach trip that needed to be eaten. A few peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers and it became a simple salad.  Steamed asparagus tossed  with sauteed garlic and truffle oil rounded out the side dishes.  I  just bought a large pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts so that sealed the deal for the remainder of the menu.  I wanted to grill it outside, and did not want a traditional red barbecue sauce, so I opted for white barbecue sauce instead.  It is fantastic on chicken and a snap to make.

White Barbecue Sauce for Grilled Chicken

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup lime juice ( can substitute lemon juice if desired but we like the lime better)
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 chicken breast halves, rinsed and patted dry

Preheat grill to medium heat.

In a large bowl mix the mayonnaise with the sugar.  Add the lime juice and whisk until it is uniformly smooth.  Add the pepper and salt and stir to incorporate it well. ( Add additional pepper if desired)
Put the chicken breasts to the bowl with the sauce.  Use tongs, turning each piece, making sure each  is evenly coated. ( Don't use a fork.  It will pierce the chicken and cause a significant loss of juices in the cooking process.)
 Place chicken breasts on the preheated grill and let it sear for about 4 minutes. Pour any remaining sauce over the side that is facing up. Flip the breasts over, cover the grill and continue cooking.  I cook it for an additional 4-5 minutes depending on the breasts thickness. ( Internal temperature of 165 degrees) Be careful not to overcook.  Serve hot and sizzling.

This is one of our favorite ways to eat chicken in the summer,  Don't worry about the full cup of mayonnaise in this recipe.  Most of it runs through the grill and burns off on the coals, but it takes that much to assure an even coating of each piece.  If you need additional sauce for pouring over the cooked breasts, reduce the original recipe by half and make a bit more, but make sure it never comes in contact with the uncooked chicken.  We have never made any additional sauce, but some people like it.

We were so fortunate to enjoy this meal together around the kitchen table.  Girl Baby has decided she likes sitting at the table with us.  I love having her and her beautiful mama "K"in our family.  Life is funny.! You never realize your table had empty spots waiting to be filled until they are, and then you just can't imagine life without them.  Feeling very blessed!

Try this sauce  for a nice change of pace. You might find it has become your go to sauce for chicken too!