Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Blood Red

If you were to visit my apartment at this moment you would most likely recoil in horror, possibly vomit, and then call the police. A massacre has obviously occurred and the victim did not go down without a fight. The evidence is everywhere...blood on the floor, the cupboards, the toaster, the stove, even the ceiling. The perp wore an apron during her bloody deed, the evidence of her crime permanently stained in it's fibers and the towels she used in an attempt to clean up the site still sit in a bloody heap on the floor. Then, obviously pleased (or shaken) by her villainy, this beast helped herself to 2 bottles of vodka, a bottle of brandy, a bottle of eau de vie, and a bottle of a very nice Côtes de Bourg, the empty bottles still sitting on the floor.

There seems to be no victim.
 All that has been left behind is this tableau on the kitchen counter.

Yeah, we've already established that I'm a whirling dervish in the kitchen and nothing comes from my kitchen without the accompanying mayhem that I can't seem to avoid. It really does look as if a crime has been committed in my cuisine. That's because I spent this past rainy weekend trying to eliminate transform my freshly picked 18 1/2 pounds of cherries into....well, into cherry liqueur, alchohalised cherries, cherry preserves and a dismal attempt at clafoutis.

Thursday I was invited to my friend Saro's house to celebrate Claire's (my friend and her daughter)  birthday. The event coincided with cherry picking time and Saro's trees were full.

 I arrived with a giant, empty basket, mostly as a joke. I left with this.

Then began the messy (for me) job of what to do with all this delicious, exquisite fruit. I was suffering from a permanent stomachache from eating so many straight off the tree so I made a list of everything I wanted to make, bought all that was necessary to get the job done...including this fabulous device that pits cherries at the speed of light....and settled in for the weekend.

I started with Cherry Liqueur, recipe courtesy of my friend Marcia. 

1 1/2 lbs red cherries, with pits,no stems

1 1/2-2 cups sugar, sweeten to taste

2 1/2 cups vodka

1 cup brandy

Mix vodka, brandy and sugar in a large glass measure or medium mixing bowl; stir well to dissolve. Cut each washed cherry slightly to open, leave in pits. Place cherries in two sterile, quart wide mouth jars or one larger aging container. Pour liquid mixture over cherries; stir and cap with tight lids. For the first two weeks, shake jars several times. Let age in a cool, dark place for at least 3 months for best flavor. Strain off liqueur through a wire mesh strainer and discard cherries. Re bottle as desired. Liqueur is ready in 3 months

Next, following the theme, which seems to be cherries AND alcohol, I made

 Cerises à l'Eau de Vie

This recipe came from Monica...I adore the videos she makes with her grandson. And her hands.
They remind me of my grandmother's hands.

I can't wait to bite into one of these potent little morsels when they're ready...in about 6 months!

Still more cherries so I moved on to Cherry Preserves, thank you David Lebovitz, and since there was a little Brandy left over and since this was theme weekend, I added that to the jam.

I'm not even going to talk about the miserably failed clafoutis. Perhaps I should put in a call to Monica to learn how to REALLY make this traditional french dessert.

And then....and then...the cherries were all gone. How can this be? I still want to make Cherry Compote, Cherry Crumble, Pickled Cherries and more jam. None of which include alcohol, by the way. Luckily Saro called and said we have to come back. They've picked and eaten, picked and frozen, picked and given away, and the trees still have fruit to offer. So as soon as the rain lets up, I'm on my way back with my empty basket. And hopefully I'll get to spend another weekend in the kitchen. I'll try, I'll really try, to do it more neatly this time!



  1. You look like a little girl up in that tree. No, I realize one of the pictures was a little girl, but you look very young. Must be because you are happy. I can't believe you aren't sick of cherries. Good for you. And what a tree!

  2. I love that new kitchen toy !!
    Jeanmarie xoxo

  3. That looks funny and YUMMY. And boozy.

    Great de-stoner. I've never seen one of those before.

  4. So jealous as our cherries are very late this year and I am getting impatient! ps I have just nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award http://web.me.com/tournesol_bp/The_French_Village_Diaries/Blog/Entries/2012/5/21_Versatile_Blogger.html

  5. Brilliant de stoner!
    Yes, I'd be back for more cherries too.
    A friend had trees of many differing varieties which ripened in succession - weeks of bliss!

    What went wrong with the clafouti? Madeleine used to put some eau de vie in her batter mix and using her recipe it always turned out.

  6. Love your humor...and your "try anything" spirit! Cherry season is great, too, oh how I adore cherries, both sweet and sour.

  7. Lucky you to have friends with cherry trees - here at the market they are indecently expensive!

  8. Never fail clafoutis see Susans's recipe at http://daysontheclaise.blogspot.com/2010/06/super-simple-mini-clafoutis.html I always use fromage blanc and it is amazing. I am still using last years frozen cherries for it!! Diane

  9. You're definitely a kitchen adventurer. Your cherry concoctions look delicious. Did the clafoutis at least taste good even if it wasn't pretty?

  10. I've got cherry trees out the ying yang up here! So if you ever want some more, you know where to find them :)

  11. Your own cherry liqueur? Love it. Should be perfect right around Christmas!

  12. Wow, you have been really busy but I bet that you will be so happy that you did all this work on the long winter evenings in which you will be able to enjoy the fruit of you efforts!

  13. i have stumbled across this blogg love it


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