It’s Thursday, you know what that means. Check out today’s column in the Yakima Herald. Also, I love hearing when people try recipes, so let me know if and when you make something and how it turns out!
With my kids out of school for the summer, one of our must-do activities, is hit the u-pick fruit stands. My goal is always to end the summer with a freezer stuffed full of frozen berries, freezer jam and applesauce and the pantry lined with pickled vegetables, canned peaches and homemade marinara sauce. My children have a little different idea of what it means to be ‘helpful’ on these outings, but they are good sports. We always try and go first thing before the day heats up too much and I almost always bribe them with an ice cream cone at the end. They pick a little fruit, wander around, running and playing among the trees, eating and tasting what we pick. When it’s finally time to pay, they proudly hoist our buckets onto the scale telling the cashier how hard they worked to pick all that fruit.
The kick-off to all that summer goodness is cherry harvest and we usually stop in at the Washington Fruit Place at Barrett Orchard. Located on Pecks Canyon, just above Fred Meyer, we love to go to Barrett Orchard because after we finish picking our fill of cherries, we can cool off with a scoop of ice cream. I frequent Johnson Orchards and the West-Valley U-Pick which are lovely locations with an abundance of options whether you prefer to go the u-pick route or just stop in to see what’s fresh and available. If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of u-pick sites around the Yakima Valley, check out visitfarmfreshfun.com.
This salad is fast, easy and so tasty. I used lettuce and herbs from my garden but whatever looks fresh at the grocery store or farmer’s market will work great. The juicy sweet cherries work well the zing of balsamic vinegar and creamy goat cheese. A hunk of crusty bread and little glass of ice cold rose are all you need to complete the meal.
Salad with Cherries, Balsamic Onions and Goat Cheese
- 1 head of lettuce
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, finely diced
- 1 medium walla walla sweet onion, sliced
- 2 cups cherries, pitted and sliced in half (about 20-25 cherries)
- 4 pieces center-cut bacon, diced
- 2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
In a medium sauté pan, cook bacon pieces over medium-low heat until cooked-through, about 5-8 minutes. Remove bacon from pan and drain on a paper towel. Add one tablespoon oil to the pan (if needed) and cook the onion, over low heat, stirring often in the leftover bacon fat and olive oil. When the onions are translucent and golden brown, this should take about 20 minutes, splash a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar over the onions stirring constantly. Once mixed together, remove pan from heat and set aside to cool.
Wash lettuce and chop leaves into bite-size pieces. In a large bowl layer cherries, parsley, basil, onions, bacon and goat cheese over the lettuce. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and a small sprinkle of salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a small jar with a lid, combine ingredients. Twist the lid on tight and shake well until the dressing is well mixed. Store extras in the refrigerator for up to a week.