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If you were looking for a summer dinner which incorporates wonderful seasonal fruits and perfectly paired flavors, this is the meal to try.

Start with a simple roasted chicken. I have a page of how-to information on roasting a chicken; there is nothing better or easier for a summer dinner because it is healthy, tasty, and the cold leftovers are wonderful for more meals, later.

Yes, Saffron rice takes a little more time to prepare, but the aromatic addition will add special flavor that takes this side dish to the next level.

What makes the entire meal stand out for June, or any point during the summer, is the inclusion of cherries. The salad has dried cherries, but you could substitute fresh sweet ones. The fruit flavors plus a kick of spice from smokey chipotle pepper makes the rest of the meal sing. 

Finally, serve up a home made cherry dessert. Accompany with iced tea.

Sour Cherry Sauce for Poultry

A wine and chicken stock sauce with cherries and spices.
Course Sauce

Ingredients
  

  • 1 sweet onion finely diced
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups dry red wine such as Cabernet
  • ½ cup sour cherries (can use dried) chopped if large1
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Soak the cherries in hot water to soften, if using dried cherries
  • Sauté the sweet onion in 2 tablespoons butter until translucent.
  • Add the cinnamon and paprika and stir 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and reduce to 3/4 cup. Add the red wine and reduce to 1½ cups. Add cherries.
  • Turn off heat and stir in the sour cream (so it won’t curdle from the heat). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the finished sauce to plated meat.

Highlighted with Pie Cherries

This is an easy, yet spectacular summer season dinner. Fresh cherries are in season during late June, but you can use frozen or canned, just as well during other times of year. Put on your cute cherry apron and get started! The main dish for a perfect summer menu starts with a roasted chicken, to find out how to perfectly roast a chicken check out the  Roasted Chicken recipe collection. Make a sour cherry sauce to serve with it.

It is the use of fresh cherries and the ease of preparation that makes this the ideal summer repast.

Summer Dinner Menu

  • Roasted Chicken
  • Sour Cherry Sauce
  • Saffron rice
  • Cherry Chipotle Spinach with Cashews Salad
  • Cherry Dessert…hmm which? Cobbler, Cherry Delight Cake, or Cherry Pie?

Saffron Rice

Try this recipe, from 'An Edible Mosaic', for the rice: .
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 pod cardamom crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 pinch saffron threads or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water

Instructions
 

  • Put half a kettle of water on to boil.
  • Put rice in a mesh sieve and rinse under cold running water a couple minutes until water runs clear; set aside.
  • Add oil to a medium saucepan with a lid over high heat; once hot, add bay leaf, cloves, and cardamom pod and cook until fragrant (1-2 minutes).
  • Add rice and salt and cook (stirring occasionally) until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  • Add 1 1/2 cup boiling water to rice and bring to a rolling boil. Give it a stir, cover the pot, turn heat down to low, and cook 10 minutes (don't open the pot while the rice cooks).
  • After the rice is cooked, let the pot sit with the lid on for 15 minutes, then fluff the rice with a fork. Transfer half the rice to a separate bowl.
  • In a small bowl, combine 1 pinch saffron threads (or turmeric, if you prefer) with 1 tablespoon boiling water; steep 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir the colored water into half the rice (the rice will turn yellow).
  • Serve with the chicken and cherry sauce.

Cherry Chipotle Spinach Salad with Cashews

When you want the salad to be something special, serve this.
Course Salad
Cuisine California

Ingredients
  

Cherry vinaigrette

  • 7 fl. oz. seasoned rice vinegar
  • ½ cup cherry concentrate
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 oz. minced shallots
  • 2 ¼ tsp. chipotle pepper in adobo sauce pureed
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 ¼ cups oil

Salad Ingredients

  • 8 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 cup red apples diced
  • 1 cup Mandarin oranges
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • ¼ cup cashew pieces

Instructions
 

Cherry vinaigrette

  • Blend all ingredients except oil. Slowly add oil and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Combine ingredients and toss.