Sweet Cherry & Black Pepper Butter

My husband loves butter and he’s made some creative sandwiches using butter. Sometimes, I watch him in the corner of my eye as he smears a piece of bread with butter and then tops it with what I will call an assortment of “toppings.” But I have to admit, most of the time, they are good. The best being, butter followed by a slice of ripe tomato and a basil leaf? Why didn’t I ever think of that? But it also brings me back to my childhood. Whenever my mom had company over, she would make these stacks of “sandwiches.” I put sandwiches in quotations because they never had a top to them, just like my husbands’ sandwiches. She would take a rye-type, slice of bread and cut it in half, spread a thin layer of butter, sometimes margarine (this is the 80′s), then top with a thin slice of ham, followed by dotting each one with a slice of dill pickle or two. She would arrange them in a tower and it always made me happy because it meant company was coming over, which was always a nice change of pace for a Sunday afternoon. I’ll never forget those sandwiches, the butter always strangely stood out, yet now it’s something that brings me home. This butter will also bring you home. It’s the nicest blend of sweet and spicy. Enjoy!

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  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup frozen cherries, thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

As your cherries thaw out, there will be some liquid accumulated in the bottom of the bowl, reserve it for another use, like maybe adding a splash to a glass of seltzer. (Or just drinking it straight, lol. I love cherry juice.) Dry them out a bit, giving them a little squeeze. Chop them and add them to the butter, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Using a fork, whip everything together, adjusting the flavor as needed. Serve with some crusty bread or on top of pancakes.

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Crushed Chocolate Covered Cherry Pie

One of my favorite things about this time of year are the chocolate covered cherries. I loved when that box was opened up to be enjoyed, they were such a treat. I saw those foiled wrapped jewels the other day at the drugstore and thought a crushed chocolate covered cherry pie would be delicious! And if I used cherry juice it would be kind of healthy? No? Lol, I’m trying. But seriously, this pie isn’t too sweet, getting most of the sweetness from the chocolate covered cherries and the whipped topping. Enjoy!

  • 1 ready made chocolate pie crust
  • 8 oz. container frozen whipped topping plus 1 cup, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup 100% cherry juice
  • 8 chocolate covered cherries
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatine

Begin by bringing 1/2 a cup of the cherry juice to a boil. Add in 2 chocolate covered cherries, finely chopped, allowing the chocolate to melt. With the remaining cold juice, in a shallow plate, top with the gelatin and let it sit for a minute. Stir in the boiling cherry juice and stir until dissolved. Fold in the whipped topping and pour into the pie shell. Let sit overnight until set. (I usually invert the top of the pie crust container, to cover the pie when putting it into the freezer and once set, move the frozen pie into a pie plate.) Once you are ready to serve, let it sit out for a little bit and chop the remaining chocolate covered cherries and top the pie with them. Serves 8.

Pork Chops with Cherry Basil Sauce

Mmm…one of the highlights of summertime…eating fresh cherries, on a hot day while a cool breeze passes through. It inspired me to make a cherry sauce for pork chops. This cherry sauce is so rich and it would be equally delicious on vanilla bean ice cream. This meal is so indulgent, yet it doesn’t take that much time to make, a little over 30 minutes but tastes as if it took all day. ;) This serves 3, so double if making a dinner for company. A nice green leaf lettuce salad tossed with buttermilk dressing would be nice as a start to this meal. And a great finish would be a chocolate mousse cake, along with a long walk. lol. ;)

  • 3 bone-in center cut pork chops, a little over a pound in weight
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup plain panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons raw sliced almonds, finely chopped plus 1 tablespoon raw sliced almonds for wild rice
  • Vegeta seasoning or any all purpose seasoning
  • canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter plus a pat of butter for wild rice
  • 3 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 teaspoon or more sugar
  • a few basil leaves, finely chopped plus some leaves for garnish
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • fresh ground pepper
  • sea salt
  • 1 8.5 oz. packet of ready made wild rice

I’ve been obsessed with wild rice lately so I included a quick and easy side dish that complements the pork chops but you can make whatever side dish you love. To make your pork chops, make your almond coating, combining the panko bread crumbs, the finely chopped almonds and a little bit of the Vegeta, to taste. Set up your breading station, a plate with the beaten egg, a plate with the almond coating and a empty plate so you can place your breaded chops. Heat up your canola oil on low heat until nice and hot, test your oil by throwing in some panko crumbs if they start sizzling, the oil is ready. Dip your chops into the egg and then into the almond coating. Don’t be afraid to pack on the coating, pressing it into the meat. Place your breaded chops into the oil, once it’s ready. Fry your chops for about 10 minutes, then flip to fry for another 10 minutes until nice and brown. Carefully take them out of the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate so they drain. To make your cherry basil sauce, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and add in the pitted cherries, bring to a boil. Once it boils, bring down to a simmer and throw in the chopped basil, fresh coarse ground pepper and a touch of sea salt. Let this simmer for about 8 minutes until it thickens. Stir in the heavy cream and cook for another few minutes and set aside. To make the wild rice, follow the directions on the package and stir in a pat of butter and 1 tablespoon of the raw sliced almonds. Serve up your plates and garnish with some basil leaves. Enjoy!