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An abundance of peas and cherries

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Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 11:17 am

Growing up, most of our produce came from the backyard. My mother would only buy bananas if they were less than 5 cents a pound, otherwise we ate fresh fruit and veggies in the summer and home-canned fruit and home-frozen veggies in the winter. I continue this tradition for my family when I can, by serving home-grown fruits and veggies, canning peaches with my girlfriend and cooking seasonal foods whenever possible.

This time of year our garden sends forth an abundance of sweet peas. During the first few weeks we pick them when the pods are tender and bright, lime green and the peas inside are very small. I like to steam them for a few minutes and toss with a balsamic/olive oil dressing with sweet grape tomatoes and crumbled feta. Towards the end of the growing season, it is hard to keep up with the bounty. My husband delivers to our kitchen older pods pregnant with fat peas. The other night I steamed the shelled peas and tossed them into the fresh Fettucine Alfredo I was serving for dinner. The emerald color and sweet pop created the perfect accent.

And, along with peas come cherries! This time of year, fresh cherries grace the fruit bowl on my kitchen counter and plead to be eaten. This recipe for fresh cherry cobbler is super easy and delicious. So, invite you kids to help you. The hardest part is pitting the cherries. (But really, it only takes 5 minutes for the two cups you will need.) I inherited a fantastic hand-held cherry pitter from grandmother’s kitchen. Simple and useful, it is a magical tool which brings forth memories of her whenever I use it.

Fresh cherry cobbler

2 cups fresh cherries, pitted

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir 1/3 cup sugar with cherries in a small bowl and set aside. Mix together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, sea salt, and nutmeg. Stir in milk until smooth. Pour melted butter into an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Pour batter over butter. Do not stir. Evenly place cherries on top of batter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a knife inserted into the cake part comes out clean.

Serve warm with ice cream or Greek yogurt. (For a decadent version, sprinkle 1/2 cup chocolate chips over cherries before baking!)

Cook, Eat, Laugh…Claudia.

Claudia Pruett was raised in Saratoga. She is an entrepreneur, chef and community volunteer. She is married to Greg and they have three children. She enjoys cooking for friends and Bikram Yoga.

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