Sweet heat beats cabin fever

Posted on March 1, 2010


On Saturday I made it over to Friske’s too late to watch the judging of the annual Cherry Recipe Contest.  Too late to interview the contestants.  Too late for waffles.  But . . . I managed to get there in time to acquire the recipes for some excellent treats, and to sample most of them.  I think I can stave off cabin fever for another month. Looky here (click for a larger image):

I didn’t get to taste the first prize winner, Hot ‘N’ Spicy Cherry Tidbits, as some cherubic little miscreant licked up the last crumb before I could wrest a sample from his chubby little fist.  The Tidbits sounded so good that I went straight off to the Eastport Market on a day off and bought the ingredients.  I’m going to make my own.  I’ll let you know how they turn out, or you can make ’em yourself.  Here’s Betty Renner’s recipe.

Hot ‘N’ Spicy Cherry Tidbits

1-1/2 C pecan halves
1 C dry roasted peanuts
2 C dried tart cherries
1-1/2 C mini pretzels, coarsely chopped
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t chili powder
3/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t cumin
1 t dry mustard
1 t salt (or to taste–I’m leaving it out)
2 T vegetable oil

In a medium bowl, combine pecans, peanuts, cherries and pretzels.  In a small bowl, combine Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin and dry mustard.  Mix well.  Pour over cherry mixture and stir to coat.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add cherry mixture.  Cook, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes.  Do not allow mixture to burn.  Remove from heat.  Spread on waxed paper to cool.  Sprinkle salt over mixture.  Store in a tightly covered container. 

There was a second category, too–cherry beverages.  I missed those altogether, and have no pictures for you, but here’s the recipe for Gayle Gennett’s Cherry Chill, the first prize winner.  Melanie Mitchell of Ellsworth took home the second prize for Very Cherry Banana Smoothie, and Anne Chaffee of Petoskey won third prize for Northern Michigan Chocolate Covered Cherry Cocoa.  Finalists Debra Fountain, Sally Sibthorpe and Barbara Wheeler rounded out the field. 

Cherry Chill

1/2 C frozen Montmorency cherries
1/2 C pomegranate juice
1 C apple juice
2 C Sprite

Place frozen cherries in blender or large food processor.  Add pomegranate juice and pulse or chop until cherries are processed.  Add apple juice and Sprite.  Blend for two minutes and it’s ready to serve.  Makes 8 half-cup servings.

Posted in: Local foods