National Cherry Dessert Day and Sour Cherries

red cherries

Among the more obscure nationally proclaimed holidays, were you aware of the day set aside to celebrate cherry desserts? Well there is one! For most of us, that means the tart fruits of the sour cherry tree, the  Prunus cerasus. The pie cherry has been consumed since prehistoric times. The earliest record of the cultivated cherry is recorded as having been brought to Rome by Lucius Licinius Lucullus from northeastern Anatolia, the country now known as Turkey.

Romans introduced cherries into Britain before the 1st century AD, where they became very popular in the time of Henry VIII.

the sour cherry tree
Botanical details of the sour cherry tree.

In America, Massachusetts colonists planted the first sour cherry, ‘Kentish Red’, and they have since become a much loved fruit here. That variety of cherry tree may even have been the one in the famous legend of George Washington, who knows?

Whatever its history, it is the flavor that assures ongoing popularity, and reigns supreme in every type of dessert. For your own celebration, whether on the official day or not, some well loved recipes are included in this post along with the surprising health benefits and a bit of trivia about the fruits themselves.

May 26

It’s a National Holiday for Tart Pie Cherries in Desserts

Even though cherries seasonally ripen in June, the Presidents Day holiday gives February the honor of being named “National Cherry Month”.

luscious cherries
They are tart, or sour, cherries from the tree Prunus cerasus. Their tartness makes them preeminent for the flavor they give baked goodies like cherry pie, cobblers, and other well loved recipes we remember from our mothers and grandmother’s kitchens.

While sweet cherries, from the Prunus avium tree, are best chosen for fresh eating, nothing beats a pie cherry for any recipe that calls for cherries for cooking.

Pie cherries with their tart and tangy taste create the zing that ignites a plain fruit pie into a memorable sweet summer surprise of flavor. Just the right contrast to the flaky crust of a home baked pie, or the biscuit topping of a cobbler.

Those “down home” desserts are only two of the ways you can use pie cherries to give your table a treat in the early summer month of June, or during other times of the year if you freeze or preserve the the cherries.

Tart Cherries Have Health Benefits

Health benefits of pie cherries include the fact that they have anti-oxidants.

 

  1. * Promotes circulation
  2. * May help you sleep better due to the melatonin content
  3. * Helps relieve migraine headaches
  4. * Helps prevent free radical damage
  5. * Helps you heal faster from muscle related sports injuries

 

Facts about Pie Cherries

Life's story on cherries

 

  • Pie cherries keep their bright red color when cooked, naturally
  • Sour cherries, like the sweet, are picked ripe
  • Look for cherries that are plump and brightly colored, cherries do not ripen off the tree.
  • Store in the refrigerator and rinse just before using
  • Cherries are highly perishable: Their shelf life is about four days in the refrigerator.
  • Cherries can be frozen
  • They may reduce the risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.
  • 20 cherries a day might keep the gout away.

Of course there are even more cherry facts:

Cherries are one of the foods least often associated with food allergies according to World’s Healthiest Foods.

Findings on Remedying Gout

They are good for preventing gout. It is said, “six cherries a day” will keep the gout away, and it is certainly a delicious remedy to try. Research indicates that cherries have urate lowering properties. Uric acid crystal buildup is indicated in the onset of gout. (This is not medical advice, but information about the research results on the benefits of tart cherries).

More Reason to Love the Tartness

Tart cherries have fewer calories and more beta-carotene than sweet cherries

dessert cherries

Additional Health Benefits

Tart cherries are loaded with antioxidants that are believed to relieve the pain of arthritis and gout and help fight cancer and heart disease.

At more than 12,000 ORAC units per hundred grams of fruit, cherries have a higher antioxidant capacity than grapes, oranges, plums, raspberries and strawberries combined.

They’re also especially high in the antioxidant melatonin, which may help prevent or reduce brain deterioration associated with aging. And to top it off, they’re high in vitamin A and beta-carotene. [1]

Did you know? Dried cherries are made from the tart cherry variety. They have iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene, as well as some melatonin- which is a hormone important biologically.

The Celebrated Pie Cherry

  • Most tart cherries are grown in the state of Michigan in the USA. Traverse City, Michigan is called the “Cherry Capital of the World” and is host to the National Cherry Festival.
  • In Australia, the New South Wales town of Young is called the “Cherry Capital of Australia” and hosts the National Cherry Festival of Australia.
  • Fun Facts About Cherries: Cherry pits have been found in Stone Age caves.
  • Thomas Jefferson, grew cherries on his plantation at Monticello

Harvest Season

Tart cherries ripen two or three weeks after sweet cherries. Look for them in mid to late July.

The Dessert Side of the Story

Desserts are made of this
Cherries are good for you, but all that cream, sugar, and pastry? Maybe not so much… but the taste!
Besides pie, cobbler, or cherry dump cake, how can you fix this fruit as a dessert? Healthier choices to enjoy as desserts.

    Try cherries

  • with yogurt
  • with sherbet or gelato
  • baked into oatmeal

Because of their tartness, most people will want to sweeten them, which makes them ideal for desserts.

classic latticed pie
classic latticed pie

Prepare Your Pie Cherries with Professional Quality Cherry Pitter

During the season when stone fruits are available, you may be buying fresh produce. In order to use them in desserts, it is necessary to remove the pits. If you have ever tried this, you know how much a kitchen gadget makes all the difference.

If you are going to pit lots of cherries this is a professional style of machine to make the job easy. Highly rated and recommended.

Fun for Cherry Dessert Day

Wear a cherry patterned apron, bake a cherry pie or make some quick and easy cherry cobbler to celebrate the day.
May 26

photo by Rusty Clark
Cherry cobbler | photo by Rusty Clark
Cherry Cobbler, Classic Recipe
Print Recipe
Cherry cobbler is like an easy, messy cherry pie, but that yummy topping soaking in the juices is what makes it such a well beloved dessert cousin of the cherry pie. Emeril uses cinnamon, but I suggest experimenting with mace or cardamom - two spices that complement the cherry flavor extremely well.
Servings Prep Time
8  15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Servings Prep Time
8  15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Cherry Cobbler, Classic Recipe
Print Recipe
Cherry cobbler is like an easy, messy cherry pie, but that yummy topping soaking in the juices is what makes it such a well beloved dessert cousin of the cherry pie. Emeril uses cinnamon, but I suggest experimenting with mace or cardamom - two spices that complement the cherry flavor extremely well.
Servings Prep Time
8  15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Servings Prep Time
8  15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
TOPPING:
FILLING:
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a saucepan combine filling ingredients and cook, stirring until bubbling and thickened. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until it is crumbly.
  4. Mix together egg and milk. Add to flour mixture and stir with a fork just until combined. Drop topping by tablespoonfuls onto filling.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes until browned and bubbly.
Recipe Notes

Emeril's rendition of a classic

Share this Recipe

 

 

Alternative Cherry Pitter Choice
Leifheit 37200 Cherry Pitter with Stone Catcher Container | Cherry Stone Remover Tool

Leifheit 37200 Cherry Pitter with Stone Catcher Container | Cherry Stone Remover Tool

A cherry is a fruit with a hard seed pit which must be removed before using the cherries in baked goods. There are a number of types of gadgets to do the job, which is important to own if you have a large number of cherries to prepare.

 

Cherry Delight Cake

Yield: 8

Cherry Delight Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine- melted
  • 1 egg -beaten
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen pitted tart or "pie" cherries- lightly drained (reserve 1 cup juice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts -walnut | pecans | or hazelnuts
    Cherry Sauce (see recipe)
  • 1 cup cherry juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a medium-size bowl, combine butter or margarine, egg, sour cherries, almond extract, and nuts: add to flour mixture.
  4. Bake, uncovered, in an ungreased 9-inch square pan 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cut into squares.
    Prepare Cherry Sauce.
  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cherry juice, cornstarch, sugar, almond extract, and butter or margarine
  2. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Serve the Cherry Delight Cake with Hot Cherry Sauce and whipped cream.

 

February is…

National Cherry Month

A Look at the Harvest

Cherry Cobbler, Classic Recipe

National Cherry Cobbler Day is on May 17th, just in case you wondered.

History Fact About Cobblers

“The earliest meaning of the word “cobbler” refers to one who makes (or “cobbles”) shoes. Sometime later, “to cobble” came to mean “to put together clumsily or roughly” (American Heritage Dictionary).

This second meaning is most likely the origin of the name of fruit-based dessert known as “cobbler,” in which the ingredients are thrown together with little of the precision required to make a classic fruit pie. Cobblers are thus easy to make.” – The Dictionary of Americanisms

Creamy Lemon Turkey Casserole

Turkey: Jeremy Keith on Flickr

Cooking, eating, entertaining, having a good time… it’s why I collect recipes and share them. Plus I’m half Hungarian.

Get Out Your Casserole Dish and Bake This Tonight

Casserole baked in an old style Pyrex baking dish.

My Family’s Favorite Comfort Casserole

Many years ago, a dear friend sent over a meal after I had given birth to my second son. It could be frozen for later or eaten that night.

Indescribably delicious to this nursing mother, whose appetite was ravenous!

When I asked for the recipe, was pleasantly surprised at how simple it was. Consisting of just a few common ingredients, it can be thrown together and simply heated through: a home cooked meal with almost instant preparation time.

This turkey dish became a staple at my house, a favorite of all my children, and a company dish as well. I passed on the kindness when I, in turn, made this dish for the families with new arrivals in the following years.

It is the kind of meal where an addition of a simple salad, some steamed green beans, and a homey apple pie for dessert is just about the perfect All American meal.

Vary It

You can also use this as a base for variations. Try adding some chopped, cooked onion, some steamed broccoli florets, or steamed medley of vegetables.

Serve it over mashed potatoes or stuffing, if you don’t care for noodles, or make it with the addition of rice and some sautéed garlic. There are many ways to vary this, but my favorite has always been its yummy, basic self.

Delicious with Chicken, too.

This is the perfect dish for sharing, as well as good comfort food for your family on a winter’s evening. As if that weren’t enough, it is the ideal way to use up leftover turkey from the Thanksgiving feast.

If you were wondering what to take to the potluck or wanted a good recipe for a buffet repast, start with this easy, economical, casserole dish.

Try Any Poultry

Not just for turkey- it is equally delicious with chicken.

Family Style, From Oven To Table

Corningware French White III Oval Casserole with Glass Cover, 1.5-Quart
Corningware French White III Oval Casserole with Glass Cover, 1.5-Quart

Use a good looking casserole dish to serve what is sure to become one of your favorite recipe. This white covered dish is a classic, making any food look great on the table or buffet.

I’ve used Corningware for years and they keep their good looks and work hard for you family cooks! Easy to clean, and bake up a casserole in superb style.

This is the baking dish I would use for Lemony Turkey Casserole.

What I Love About This Recipe

  • It is easy.
  • It tastes delicious.
  • It uses economical ingredients.
  • Everybody has loved it.
  • You can make it for two or for twenty.
  • You can choose what to serve it with: noodles rice, over toast, with potatoes.
  • Prep time: 20 min
  • Cook time: 40 min
  • Ready in: 1 hour
  • Yields: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked and diced turkey meat
  • 2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1/2 pint of sour cream
  • Juice of one fresh lemon (about 3-4 T)
  • 1 package Ritz crackers
  • zest of lemon, optional

Instructions

  1. Mix the soup, lemon juice, optional lemon zest, and sour cream in a large bowl; add cooked turkey.
  2. Pour into oven-proof casserole dish.
  3. Crumble Ritz crackers (I use a rolling pin to crush them) and cover the top of the turkey mixture.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until heated throughout in a moderate oven. Heat at 325 degrees F.
  5. Serve over cooked noodles.
  6. Tips:
  7. Medium width egg noodle is good for getting the sauce along with the turkey in delicious forkfuls.
  8. Healthier substitutions for condensed soup include making a “white sauce” with chicken broth base.
  9. Thin down and create more sauce with a splash of milk before adding to the chicken.
  10. More calories? Pour a bit of melted butter over the cracker crumbs.
  11. Directions for white sauce if you find the condensed soup too processed for your taste. Good substitution for Cream of Chicken soup.

<h2″>You Will Love This Recipe

Suggested Variation and Sidedishes

Because this is a favorite of my family, I plan to freeze some ahead for the busy week before Christmas. It is an ideal casserole to make ahead and have ready to pull out of a freezer and heat up in the oven on a busy evening. Add some green beans or a salad, cook up noodles, and it is all ready in about 30 minutes.

____________

Sometimes I use the zest from the lemon to add a little more lemon flavor, and will often reduce the amount of sour cream and add a little milk to make a lighter sauce. This is a very forgiving recipe, and the sour cream could be completely replaced by yogurt for a much lighter version.

Elegant Buffet Dish for a Crowd

Like I said, this is good enough to serve for company buffets and get togethers. It looks special when served in sleek buffet dishes. The recipe is easily doubled for plenty of home-cooked goodness!
Cuisinart 7BSR-28 Stainless 11-Inch Round Buffet ServersCuisinart Stainless 11-Inch Round Buffet Servers

Because this recipe is ideal to make in large quantities to serve a crowd, this server is the ideal way to keep it warm. It is an exceptionally elegant way to serve the humble casserole.

Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin, Dinner Holiday Menu

beef tenderloin

Christmas Dinner At My House

christmas dinner

Every year, and it is my hope to continue, it is our tradition to have a big family meal together on Christmas Eve.

We keep certain foods on our menu because they are something that say “Christmas” to us in a special way, but we also change around the menu occasionally to include new dishes for excitement.

I want to share some of the foods we love with you, and the menus we have enjoyed as a family.

Sharing the holiday meal together is one of the most treasured ways we have celebrated Christmas.

Toys break, sweaters get stretched out and worn, games are forgotten in a drawer, but memories of enjoying a special meal stay woven within our hearts. Foods that create a part of a celebration together are an important part of that experience.

Dream Of An Old Time Christmas?

Memorable recipes are a time honored way to create a special experience that combines tradition, nostalgic memories, and fresh new excitement into your celebration.

The act of sitting around a table that is decked out in a beautiful setting is quite an unusual thing for many of us. Making it simple, special, and homey recalls old time ways of gathering family together for a memorable meal.

Eating Our Christmas Dinner
pear/pomegranate salad
Our first course fo pear/pomegranate salad.

A Festive Christmas Menu

While it is my favorite for Christmas Eve dinner, consider this meal for special times from New Years Ever to Valentines day, and beyond. Anytime you wish to have something to impress your family and guests.
Simply customize the serving amounts.

So what’s on the menu this year?

  • Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin
  • German style fingerling potatoes
  • Pear and Pomegranate Salad
  • For Dessert: purchased cream puffs and warm fudge sauce
  • Cardamom Rolls

(The Cardamom roll recipe is long, and it takes some time to make, but it is worth it. I’ve had it online with other Christmas recipes I make….)

Why Choose Beef Tenderloin for the Main Course?

Tenderloin is very easy to cook

An expensive cut of meat, but we only have it once a year! An expensive cut of meat, but we only have it once a year!

I know this cut of meat is costly, but if you remember that it is boneless, easy to fix (hard to mess up), and everyone loves it… you might want to consider it as your Christmas dinner menu centerpiece.

It is usually accompanied with a cranberry relish for Christmas, but I sometimes skip that dish , depending on the rest of the menu.

We always have a fruit and a green salad. A side dish of potatoes, sweet potatoes, or noodles is usual; and we always always have the Cardamom rolls that I make only for Christmas Eve.

 

Follow the link for Cardamom Rolls.

Or learn more about the spice, All About Cardamom.[/one_half_last]

 

Holiday plate
Holiday colors

Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin

This has become our family’s all-time favorite, and the entrée I now make for Christmas dinner. One of the things I like about it is the ease and relatively short cooking time involved.

Make Ahead Tip

The roast can be seasoned and refrigerated up to 4 hours before roasting.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp. fennel seed, ground
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly cracked
  • 2 -1/2- to 3-lb. beef tenderloin roast, with excess fat trimmed
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. How to make…
  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, rosemary, fennel seed, salt, and pepper. Stir to make a paste.
  4. Pat the beef dry with paper towels and rub the paste all over the surface of the meat. If necessary, tie the roast at 1-1/2-inch intervals.
  5. Put the roast on a rack on a small, rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow roasting pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 120 °F for rare, 125 ° to 130 °F for medium rare,or 135 °F for medium, 40 to 50 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, mustard, and lemon juice. Season lightly with salt to taste.
  7. Transfer the roast to a carving board (preferably with a well for collecting juices) and let it rest, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes before carving it into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve the beef, passing the mustard sauce at the table.
  8. The original recipe was from Fine Cooking magazine.
  9. ————–
  10. I found it difficult to locate the ground fennel, and ended up using a spice grinder to grind up the fennel seeds, myself. since I was able to find containers of Devon cream in the store I used that to replace the crème fraîche.
Crème Fraiche

1 ½ cups whipping cream

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) buttermilk

Combine cream and buttermilk in a jar with tight fitting lid. Shake well for 2 or 3 minutes. Let stand at warm room temperature for at least 24 hours. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Besides being used for the beef:

Use it as a dessert topping, too. Very good added to vinegar and oil dressings. Delicious over fresh fruit and berries.

How To Cook A Beef Tenderloin

If you have never prepared this roast for a meal before, you may gain confidence from viewing the how-to video.

German-style Fingerling Potatoes

German style fingerling potatoes
This is an easy recipe to make, for something a bit more involved, but extremely tasty, try Fine Cooking’s Glazed Fingerling Potato Salad with Pancetta and Warm Mustard Vinaigrette. This was the original recipe I used;  if you have the time it is excellent with the beef.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30-40 minutes

Serves: 6 (6 cups)

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. halved fingerling potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp.olive oil
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • a little chopped parsley
  • bacon can be substituted for the proscuitto

Instructions

  1. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water over medium high heat until almost tender, 5 to 8 minutes, drain.
  2. Sauté prosciutto in oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat until crisp, 5 minutes -or the bacon cut into pieces. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Return pan back to burner, add vinegar and sugar and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Add potatoes, simmer 4 to 5 minutes, then stir in prosciutto (bacon bits), add parsley, season with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallions.

Pear and Pomegranate Salad

– Refreshing, Colorful, and Easy

pear pomegranate salad
Pear-Pomegranate salad

This is one of my all time favorites. It is fancy looking with its creamy white pears, ruby red pomegranate seeds, and deep pink syrup sauce, yet quite simple.

Ingredients

  • 3 pears thinly sliced – two red pears and one Asian
  • 1 pomegranate seeded
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
  • dark green lettuce leaves

Instructions

  1. Place the sliced pears and pomegranate seeds into a bowl.
  2. Toss with lemon juice to coat.
  3. Combine the brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small cup or bowl, then mix into the fruit.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to blend the flavors.
  5. Serve in individual dishes on a bed of lettuce greens, and garnish with a sprinkling of sliced almonds with a sprig of mint
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 20 min

Whole Green Beans – Simply delicious

  • 3/4 lb whole green beans
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard

Instructions

fancy whole green beans
fancy whole green beans
  1. Fill a bowl with ice water.
  2. Cook beans in a large pot of salted boiling water just until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain beans and transfer to ice water. Drain well in a colander and pat dry.
  3. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté beans with mustard and salt and pepper to taste, stirring, until heated through, about 4 minutes.

Recipe from Epicurious which is closest to how I make these simple green beans.

Pioneer Woman Talks about Holiday Foods

Some of my best holiday recipes and serving ideas have come from special holiday cookbooks. They are inspirational and come in a wide variety of cuisines to cater to every tradition and taste.

Once I found a set of menus that my family really enjoyed we rotated them through the years. We always seem to have a few things that we can’t do without for our holiday repast… usually the sweet potatoes and Waldorf salad (and of course, my Cardamom rolls).

Christmas Holiday Cookbooks


Christmas Entertaining (Williams-Sonoma)

This is a book of inspirations for all types of holiday meals and party fare. It includes the menus plus the decorating ideas and everything needed to make it a time to remember.

How to decorate the table festively and work plans to make everything happen without a hitch.

Holiday Settings – Festive Table Trimmings

Christmas Oldtime Dinner

Whether it is a few hand-picked pieces or an entire set of china dedicated to the trimmings of the season, it really brightens the table setting to have plates or serving pieces with iconic Christmas trees, bright ribbons, or snow scenes. Spode and Lennox are just a few of the companies which are famous for Yuletide dinnerware designs.

My sister has a complete set of dinnerware for the season, while I tend to pick up bowls and platters from after Christmas sales. They add a cheering note of pretty color to my all-white stoneware. When fixing a special meal like beef tenderloin, this servingware really showcases the special foods, economically.

Christmas table setting
Christmas table setting

 

Pretty dishes that are perfect for holiday dinners make the table part of the annual tradition. I always loved to see certain cups and dishes that were reserved for special family times on my grandmother’s table.

Spode Christmas Tree 12-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4

Spode Christmas Tree 12-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4

Set a festive table with this fine dinnerware perfect for the Christmas season. Made by one of the best names in fine pottery.

 

Not Christmas Yet?

 

When first writing this, it was far from Christmas time. For Christmas aficionados I know no apologies are necessary. Some people (like me!) are only too delighted for an excuse to plan the upcoming Christmas celebration.

Originally published by Ilona Erwin on 05/10/11

Gingerbread House

Christmastime gingerbread houses

Use this icing recipe to construct Gingerbread house and decorate with candies.

RECIPE FOR ROYAL ICING

Beat together:
1 1/2 cup Warm water
12 Tb. Meringue powder
Add:
4 lb. Powdered sugar
1 tsp. Almond extract

Beat until icing loses it’s shine and stands in peaks.
Beat water and meringue powder until frothy. Add as much p. sugar as necessary. Continue beating until icing stands in peaks. Color as desired.
Icing should not be stiff or house will not hold together as long. Add more water to thin the icing if necessary.
Makes enough for 2-3 houses. Can half recipe.
ROYAL ICING NOTES:
Icing will keep about 2 weeks unrefrigerated or may be stored in fridge for months. Seal very tightly so that it doesn’t harden into lumps. (Tupperware or similar container is very good container)
Requires heavy-duty table mixer*
Any bit of oil will cause this icing to become soupy and unusable.
Icing should not be stiff or GB houses fall apart a lot sooner!
You might want to add 1/4 ts Cream of Tartar for additional icing strength.

Fresh Figs


figs

I love the look of fresh figs, they are sumptuous in look and subtle in color, but it is the luscious taste that is the big attraction.

If you have access to these delights, try them in delicious new ways.

Who doesn’t love pizza? Try Pizza Bianca

From Italian Food Forever.

An appetizer I know I would love to eat.

Caramelized Figs with Crispy Prosciutto, Mascarpone Cheese & Arugula Pesto
Caramelized Figs with Crispy Prosciutto, Mascarpone Cheese & Arugula Pesto
From Fargo Monthly

Try Fargo Monthly’s Caramelized Figs with Crispy Prosciutto, Mascarpone Cheese & Arugula Pesto ? From Chef Eric.

The Moroccan Tea Glass, Symbol Of Arabic Hospitality

tea service

Tea Time, Arabic Style

Tea and Cakes

Berber Hospitality in the Form of Tea, Coffee and Cakes on a Tray

The delicate glasses are beautiful without the tea, but try this staple of Moroccan hospitality for a refreshing taste of mint.

Serve At Your Next Event

Whether you host a Hafla or want to serve a refreshing drink to your friends in an informal get together – the ubiquitous tea served throughout Morocco for all occasions is the perfect way to delight your guests.

In Morocco

It is served to guests, and it is impolite to refuse it.

 

“Mint tea isn’t just a drink in Morocco. It is a sign of hospitality and friendship and tradition. Because this drink is so popular, it is served all day long, after every meal and with every conversation. Moroccans take great pride in their tea and will often ask a visitor who among their group of friends makes the best cup of mint tea.”
-from recipe contributor ‘Sackville’
This Moroccan tea is served in a small, often decorated, tea glass. People unfamiliar with the Moroccan for of the tea glass are surprised by its small size.
By browsing through some examples of the Moroccan tea glass, let’s find out more of Moroccan tea culture, and the importance of hospitality in the Near East.

Moroccan Hospitality – Sweet Tea, Flavor, and Flair

photo by Nick Saltmarsh

photo by Nick Saltmarsh

The Moroccan Tea Glass – A small glass serving generous hospitality

The Moroccan tea glass is small compared to the American version.American tea glasses are tall and used for iced tea with lots of ice.
The ritual of this North African country is quite different from the casual sweet iced tea of our culture, and has a tea service all its own. Moroccan tea is served hot in quite small, beautifully decorated, tea glasses. Very collectible.

TO BEGIN YOUR OWN RITUAL

Or perhaps you just want to explore the Arabic culture, in any case you will need:
  • A teapot to brew the tea
  • Glasses to serve the beverage
  • A tray for the drinks and their accompanying sweets
For the tea, itself:
  • Light flavored tea such as green or white
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Boiling water
  • Sugar
“Tea is almost always made in front of the guests so that the tea set and service can be admired. Moroccan teapots have long, curved pouring spouts that allow the tea to be poured into even the tiniest of glasses from a height of 2 or more feet. Moroccans like their tea lightly flavored with herbs. The most popular herbs added to tea are mint, louisa, lemon grass, and sometimes orange blossom.
Moroccan Mint Tea is generally made by brewing a gunpowder tea mixed with mint (1 teaspoon tea per cup). Gunpowder tea is Chinese green tea rolled into small pellets, which look like old-fashioned gunpowder. The Chinese call it zucha or pearl tea for the same reason. Rolling the tea leaves into balls helps to preserve the flavor. The offering of a glass of green tea with mint is a symbol of friendship, welcome and hospitality.” -from Emeril Lagasse

Make The Right Tea

Silver Yin Zhen White Tea

Silver Yin Zhen Pearls White Tea by TeavanaOne of the finest teas, enjoyed on its own or prepared as an ingredient in Moroccan Mint. This is the type that Chef Emeril describes. This is a fine quality tea that will be worthy of your guests, and a comforting cup to enjoy any time of day.

Moroccan Tea is Served

Moroccan mint tea photo by againstthebrilliance
Teaglasses and small metal tea pot
Moroccan Tea is Served
Proper tea service consists of the special teapot, the tea glasses, and a footed tray for the tea set. A small clean white towel is used for the handle of the teapot.
Perfect pearl tea brewed inside a gracefully shaped Moroccan teapot, and served in colorful tea glasses makes enjoying a refreshing glass of tea into an event.

How to Prepare Moroccan Tea

“Fresh mint leaves and some tea leaves and a LOT of sugar are put in the bottom of the pot, hot water poured on top. After a few minutes of steeping, your hostess will pour some of the tea into a glass, and immediately she will pour it from the glass back into the pot. This is repeated until she feels the tea is perfect. Only then will she serve each of her guests a glass of hot sweet mint tea.”-Reflections from the Fence

Moroccan Mint Tea

mint refreshment

Moroccan Mint Tea

Moroccan Culture

It is idyllic to share a pot of mint tea at a small table on the side of the road. It is a ceremonial bonding experience in a private home.

Use Fresh Mint Leaves

fresh spearmint leaves
Start with some fresh mentha leaves

Fresh Mint

Be sure you have fresh mint to make the tea. Although some recipes call for dried mint. Fresh mint will add a lovely green tint, and the flavor is better.
Mint plants are surprisingly easy to grow. A pot on the windowsill, or a patch by the back door will provide you with leaves fresh during the growing season and easy to freeze for winter use.

 

  • Can Mint Tea Heal You? From pure herbal concoctions to mint infused green teas, there are many ways to enjoy the healthful benefits of the mint plant.
Antique, pretty, tea glass
Antique, pretty, tea glass photo by dukpix on Flickr
  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 5 min
  • Ready in: 10 min
  • Yields: 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Green Tea leaves, or white tea
  • 1 large handful fresh washed
  • spearmint leaves
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Boil at least 2 cups of water. Rinse a small teapot with about 1/4 cup of the water.
  2. Add the tea leaves and another 1/4 cup boiling water. Swirl the pot to wash and rinse the leaves, and pour out the water.
  3. Add the mint leaves and the sugar, and fill the pot with about 2 cups boiling water. Leave the tea to steep for five minutes or longer, or set the tea pot over medium-low heat and bring the tea to a simmer. Remove from the heat, and allow to steep several minutes more.
  4. Gently stir the tea, pour into small tea glasses and serve.

Serve Your Guests

photo by rieorie

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rieorie/
Pastries play an important role in Moroccan society because they are an essential complement to mint tea when welcoming guests into your home. -The art of Moroccan cuisine

Serve and Display – This serving tray is ideal for your tea glasses

Moroccan Tea Tray Serving Cocktail Silver Handmade Fez Large Oval High Quality

Complete your tea service with this silver tray. Lovely way to serve tea and display the decorative glasses or offer the requisite pastries.

Ideas for using your Moroccan Tea Glasses

DECORATIVE COLLECTIBLES HOLD MORE THAN TEA

“Moroccan tea glasses are tiny cups with bright POPS of color. They would look lovely as a flower display at your reception or bridal shower, as a chic dessert presentation or a unique way to light up the room with candles inside.” ` Emmeline Bride

Start Your Collection

…OF THIS DECORATIVE GLASSWARE

When you can’t make up your mind! Harmonious mix of sparkling colors give an eclectic look to your decor.
A very traditional color, Moroccan Red, makes this set of tea glasses a warm addition to any room- for tea or candles, or just to look pretty!
A cobalt blue color with metallic accents is striking. Filigree border with a stylish modern color design.

See How the Tea Is Brewed

– And poured into the tea glass – it is an art.
What panache! This would certainly impress your friends, so learn how to make real Moroccan tea and have fun serving everyone (after a little practice, of course)

 

Recipes With Health Giving Turmeric

Start Using Turmeric Today For Brain Benefits

 Source: nutritionfacts.org
Source: nutritionfacts.org

If you have read about the health benefits of Turmeric, then the idea of increasing your cooking repertoire to include more of this golden spice into your diet is a priority. The world cuisines that traditionally value the flavor of this spice provide a wide number of new dishes to try.

Spices can aid your health.

Where Can I Find Recipes That Call For Turmeric?

East Indian Foods

Indian cuisine is a highly developed and distinctive one, so it is easy to find lots of recipes of all types. Start looking at the Yellow curries, since the spice gives foods a nice golden yellow color.

Curcuma longa is grown in mainly in India which is another reason to begin our journey of discovery in the foods of this part of the world.

Indonesian Recipes

Less well known, but greatly loved by many who try it, Indonesian foods often are made with the addition of curry powder. They have their own version of curries, as do Thai foods.

North African Foods

Another richly flavored trove of foods that include the flavorings we are looking for; plus this is another fabulous regional cooking.

Health Food Stores

The well known health properties of certain spices inspire cookbooks that are geared towards an aim of wellness. Those cookbooks are often stocked in health food stores. Check to see if they have a bookshelf of cookbooks that contain recipes for teas and drinks, as well as other ways to include more of an ingredient like this.

Be Experimental With Old Favorites

Love egg salad? Chili? Macaroni and potato dishes? Try adding some healthful spices to those old standbys. You might like them even better with some of the zing that you have added.

Be Sure To Try The Curry Egg Casserole

On this page, the egg and curry dish is easy, tasty, and is great with added turmeric. So healthy if you add side dishes of fresh and cooked fruits and veggies, all on top of a mound of rice.

For British Tastes

The British developed a taste for many of the Eastern spices when they became familiar with the cuisine of their colonies. They also have sizable populations of people with Indian and Pakistani heritage. If you love a British menu, try the menu of many sorts of recipes including Turmeric.

Indian Food Finds Favor

Indian for Everyone: The Home Cook's Guide to Traditional Favorites
Indian for Everyone: The Home Cook’s Guide to Traditional Favorites

More and more people are discovering the delicious flavors of India.

Part of the good news story on this is the way spices are used in the daily dishes of this world cuisine.

Turmeric is strongly represented in many dishes. I love the flavors of Indian food and especially the home cooking of this book.

As one reviewer said, If you have room for only “one go-to book for Indian home cooking on your shelf…this is it”.

A new cuisine can seem daunting with its unfamiliar spices and ingredients, but starting simple with a collection like this is the way to enrich your diet and your repertoire.

  • BBC – Food – Turmeric recipes
    A bright yellow spice that comes from the rhizome of a plant in the ginger family. It is sometimes available fresh, but is usually sold dried and…

Tip:

WHEN MAKING CURRIES, CONSIDER ADDING MORE TURMERIC TO THE READY MADE CURRY POWDER.

Beef Curry

Curried Beef
Source: Wikipedia Commons

Entree’s

Considered As One Of The Tastiest Dishes In The World

Widen Your Culinary Horizons

The North African Kitchen: Regional Recipes and Stories

The North African Kitchen: Regional Recipes and Stories

We can add more Turmeric into our cooking if we try out recipes from those cuisines that traditionally included the spice. Indian, North African, and others often are flavored with it.

Besides adding certain ingredients, the flavorful dishes of this region are exotic enough to be something different, but full of delightful tastes that we will soon find comforting and filling. That means it won’t be just a one time recipe or two- you will be making some of these marvelous flavors as a new part of your cooking repetoire, and add to your health while doing it.

Try It In Egg Dishes

egg salad sandwiches
Source: Season With Spice blog

Easy, Fast, Egg Curry Casserole

This is my standby for a busy day.

Egg Curry Casserole
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Egg Curry Casserole
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Layer buttered casserole dish with cheese slices.
  2. In small bowl mix egg whites, sour cream, milk, and spices until well blended.
  3. Evenly space the yolks of the egg over the cheese (unbroken). Then pour egg white and sour cream mixture carefully around the yolks.
  4. Bake at 350 until set, about 30-45 minutes. Serve over toast with condiments.
Share this Recipe
 
Serve It With:

I like a side of green vegetable… steamed broccoli is my usual choice, although a salad of leafy green or kale would go nicely. Chopped cucumber salad could also be a refreshing summertime choice.

The bowls to accompany the curried eggs are according to what appeals most to you. A dab of Chutney really adds wonderful flavor to all ingredients.

Suggested side bowls:

Chopped fresh tomato
Coconut flakes
Chutney
Chopped Peanuts
Banana slices
Mango chunks
Green onion

Tips For Cooking With Turmeric

  • Add a pinch to oil in pan before sautéing.
  • Use turmeric in acidic recipes: tomato-based dishes, dressings with vinegars, lemon juice.
  • Protect your spices from light damage: keep in a dark place.
  • Add to your grilling marinades; Turmeric inhibits carcinogens.

What should I look for when buying this spice?

Remember to use black pepper with tumeric for better absorption. any fresh spice is the best.

You can look for non-GMO types. Organic or Kosher are also other designations.

Starwest Botanicals Organic Turmeric Root Powder, 1 lb.
Starwest Botanicals Organic Turmeric Root Powder, 1 lb. Bulk

Not a Cure-all

Use additions of herbs and spices as healthy supplements to your diet, don’t expect them to be cure-alls.

It Does Have Health Benefits

Make A Tea with It

Side Dishes

 Stain Warning

Cleaning:

Turmeric can stain. Careful of your clothes and counters when cooking with it.

*Try equal parts hydrogen peroxide and dishwashing soap to clean.

Spice Up Your Life: The Benefits Of Turmeric And More

Why I Added Turmeric To My Diet

The news for me is eating more spices for the health benefits.

I Started Taking “Spice Pills”

I haven’t been aging as well as I’d hoped.

High blood pressure, joint and muscle pain, and eye problems have been plaguing me for the last decade. The medications I must take have had side effects. As a result, I have been trying to find the alternative solutions for these problems.

After seeing a late night episode of Dr. Oz with guest Dr. Weil, I was convinced that I should add turmeric to my diet, not just in the curries I already enjoy, but in supplement form.

World Flavors for Health

From the spice market
From the spice market

Turmeric …And?

Turmeric is best absorbed along with black pepper, and barberry is also helpful. A pill that combines them is convenient. I decided to add this to the vitamins and fish oil capsules I’m already taking.

More Spice For More Life

But diet is much more than pills, and I wanted a “whole life” regimen that would hold the line against the ravages of aging.

I found that Italian spices are especially helpful, too. Oregano, thyme, garlic, marjoram and others. It doesn’t seem so hard to improve health and nutrition when you just need to make your foods more flavorful. This is in addition to the extra amounts I am adding through the standardized supplements I am now taking.

It makes sense to explore Indian, Mediterranean, and similar cuisines that incorporate healthful herbs and spices. Now that researchers have found to them to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, you will want recipes that bring them to your table.

The more research is coming out which touts the benefits of spice for health, the more I am convinced that nutrition is an important building block to better aging. Of course that is along with exercise, and a creative, social lifestyle. Don’t forget adding a good nights sleep to the list!

Turmeric Comes From A Plant Rhizome

 Licensed under Creative Commons
Licensed under Creative Commons

What Supplements For What Health Benefit?

Blood Pressure

  • Turmeric
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Barberry

Anti-Aging

  • Sage
  • Marjoram
  • Ginger
  • Jamaican Allspice
  • Rosemary

Arthritis

  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Tumeric
  • Cayenne
  • Black Pepper
  • Ginger

Brain Health

  • Turmeric
  • Holy Basil
  • Cloves
  • Rosemary

Spice Up Your Brain

What Helps Your Brain Health?

Everyone wants better brain health, but most of us don’t bother to change our eating habits to improve. It sometimes takes the toll of age and health problems to finally jumpstart our motivation. That isn’t necessary.

Many of the dietary changes we make can increase our energy and help us function better, plus they can make food taste better. That is the beautiful thing about using these flavorings to aid our wellbeing. Our taste buds are happier!

Which spices are good for the brain and why?

TURMERIC

This has curcumin which will improve memory and reduce plaques in the brain.

THYME

Its volatile oils increase the levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which protects against dementia.

ROSEMARY

This will help against free-radical damage in the brain, it increases circulation in the brain. “Rosemary for remembrance” takes on new meaning.

SAGE

Cumin and sage have dementia-fighting power. It boosts brain performance, is anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant.

Reduce Inflammation

New Chapter Zyflamend Whole Body, with Turmeric and Ginger - 120 ct
New Chapter Zyflamend Whole Body, with Turmeric and Ginger – 120 ct

Zyflamend is a product made by the New Chapter company. Many reviewers applaud its effect on their joint pain.

I bought it since it combines numerous helpful herbs and spices into one capsule. According to the information on the box it contains:

  • Rosemary
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Holy Basil
  • Organic Green Tea
  • Hu Zhang
  • Chinese goldthread
  • Barberry
  • Organic Oregano
  • Chinese Skullcap

After reading the list of which spices and herbs are best for anti-aging and blood pressure regulation you can see why I chose this particular supplement.

What do you think of Jamie Lee Curtis in the Activia commercials?

About Turmeric

Turmeric was used in Ayervedic medicine for centuries to treat infections, wounds, respiratory problems, colds, and liver disease.

It is known as “Indian Saffron” due to its beautiful golden yellow color. Grown from the plant Curcuma longa, which is a member of the Ginger family. The spice is made from the rhizome (underground stem food storage).

The turmeric rhizome is dried and then ground into the yellow powder which is commonly sold in grocery stores.

The taste of this spice is described as a “slightly acrid, yet sweet”, and I would call it a warming, aromatic flavor, with a slightly lingering aftertaste.

Curcumin, the principle constituent of turmeric, reduces the body’s levels of inflammatory enzymes COX-2 and LOX.

  • Studies show curcumin may reduce inflammation in the body. Curcumin is a compound in turmeric.
  • Black pepper has anti-bacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Ginger is an inhibitor of COX-2, an enzyme that makes prostaglandins which cause inflammation.
  • Cloves, which Dr. Mercola describes as “cinnamon on steroids” is good for many things including reducing inflammation.
  • Spices are thermogenic, meaning they naturally increase your metabolism.

Inflammation and Why It Harms

Chronic inflammation has been seen to be the root of many of the health problems of heart disease, arthritis, and even some cancers.

Do You Have Chronic Inflammation?

Chronic inflammation speeds aging; it is a factor in Alzheimer’s and atherosclerosis.

Inflammation is the body’s response to injury, but when there is a persistent problem, it becomes chronic. This long lasting immune response can be very damaging to our bodies.

Beneficial Supplements

Blood Pressure
Brain Health
Anti-Aging
Turmeric
Turmeric
Turmeric
Garlic
Thyme
Sage
Cardamom
Rosemary
Ginger
Oregano
Sage
Cloves

Interesting Study On Real Benefits Of Spices

Read More About The Good Effects Of Spices

The Road To Better Health

Since I just started taking Zyflamend I can’t report yet on what it is doing for me. I chose that particular product because it combines several spices together for the health benefits I am looking for, including the fact that black pepper increases the efficacy of Turmeric.

It becomes a good idea to reduce the number of pills when you want to become regular about adding them to your plan for better aging and well being.

The addition of more of these food flavors through new recipes and capsule supplements are just one of the changes I am making to my lifestyle, but one of the simpler ones.

Diet has been my biggest challenge, since up until my late forties I never had to consider it for my health! Spices are hopefully going to help me eat more of what is better for me and cut down on the carbs and sugars that I love.

Turmeric Flower
Turmeric Flower

Purchase Easily Online

Starwest Botanicals Organic Turmeric Root Powder, 1 lb.
New Chapter Zyflamend Whole Body, with Turmeric and Ginger – 120 ct

Dr.Oz Weighs In

© 2014 Ilona Erwin

Mamas Hungarian Cooking: Lemon Kossuth Cookies

Hungarian Kifli

Kifli simply means “crescent” and there are many types of this form of baked good. Rolls, cookies, filled pastry cookies, all called “Kifli” …the shape is about the most that they have in common. The crescent shape commemorates when the Bakers of Budapest foiled the impending attack of Turks by sounding an alarm in their early pre-dawn working hours.

I have several kifli cookie recipes I like to bake, but this one is my mother’s very favorite. It is a light, lemon-nuanced cake, with lots of air incorporated into them. I think one of the things my mother liked so well was how easy it was to whip up a batch for appreciative members of the family.

General Louis Kossuth was a revered hero, and like many things in Hungary, this cookie was named in his honor. Reputed to have been his favorite, as well as my mom’s.

What The Lemon Zest Adds

American cooks of my mother’s generation loved to use extracts, and lemon extract does give a good flavor as well as being one of the few natural flavors of this kind of flavoring. Real lemon zest, the scrapings of the yellow pell of the fruit give more.

If you have a tools that scrapes the shreds of the rind without the bitter white pith, it will add oils that are redolent of fresh lemon and give depth to the taste of the cookie.

Don’t skimp on the Lemon Zest!

 Source: L.Krisztina
Source: L.Krisztina

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: two dozen

Ingredients

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 8 egg whites, beaten stiff
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 lemon rind, grated zest
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup walnuts, ground

Method

  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beat thoroughly after each. Add salt, lemon zest, (or other flavoring like vanilla), mix in.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder together, add to egg mixture. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour into greased and floured 12 by 18 inch pan. Sprinkle with ground nuts evenly over batter.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until done. Cut into crescent shapes with sugared drinking glass or crescent cookie cutter. (You could also score into diamond shapes). When completely cooled, sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Ground Walnuts

Adding the nuts will give depth to flavor and add to the nutrition value. Only those with allergies should forego this dessert. The rest of us can enjoy a quick treat.

Another Type Of Hungarian Kifli

Remember, there are lots of types of Kifli. The Kossuth lemon cookies are among the easiest, and have a wide range of appeal for any season of the year.

Variations On Kossuth Cookies

I think the lemon flavor is the best way to enjoy these treats, but if you wish to vary them, there are traditional recipes which have cocoa or vanilla added instead of the lemon zest. I’ve also seen a variation with cinnamon sugar, as well.

Whip up a batch next time you want something special for guests, or for a quick family dessert.

© 2013 Ilona

These Items Will Be Handy For Baking In Your Kitchen

Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet

Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Half Sheet

This is the perfect size for family use. A jelly roll pan that combines the heat conductive properties, easy cleaning, and never rust characteristic of aluminum. I use this pan for all sorts of things, from baking cookies to heating up sweet potato fries. The brand is one I’ve learned to trust, I also own a Nordic Ware bundt pan that has lasted me more than twenty years.

Grated Lemon Zest for Flavor

Microplane 40020 Classic Zester/Grater

Microplane 40020 Classic Zester/Grater

High quality cooking tool with 18/8 stainless steel with grating edges. I love that it has a handle, which saves your fingers. I need to have lemon zest for baked goods and some entrees, and it adds a pretty garnish, too.

Grab this for ginger or hard cheeses, also; it will prove itself useful.

Cool Refreshing Cordials

What Is A Cordial?

cordial intro
summer elderberry cordial

“Cordials are a fruit or herbal flavored syrup that you add to cold or hot water for a drink (and are very popular in England, frequently called ‘fruit squash’). I like cordials because they’re easy to make, keep for a long time, and you can be really creative. To use cordial, just add a finger or two of the cordial to a glass and top with hot or cold water. They are also brilliant for making cocktails in place of simple syrup.”

-so writes Amanda of vintagesavoirfaire.com, who is living presently in England.

That is the way many Europeans enjoy the drink they call a “cordial”, for most Americans, cordials have a little more “spirit” than that.

Cordials are also alcoholic distillations which later evolved into what we now know as “liqueurs”. Some very old recipes for well known liqueurs were what was referred to as a “cordial”. Alcohol fermentation was once a way to preserve fruits and juices, and was used medicinally. Less so, now.

Can you make cordials? The answer is “yes” to both types of drink, non-alcoholic and the more spirited type.

In this post the sundry facts and interesting trivia of cordials iw presented along with some flavorful and historical recipes to make your own summer refreshments.

In The UK

Cordials are non-alcoholic fruit or herb essence drinks. Pour over ice in a tall glass for summer refreshment

.

Elderflower cordial – make yourself a refreshing European-style beverage

cordial bottles

Belvoir Fruit Farms has a lovely website to showcase their cordials.

Belvoir Elderflower Cordial. Case of 6x500ml- Fast
Belvoir Elderflower Cordial

Cordials are popular enough that you can find commercially bottled elderflower water, or a few other selections of popular flavors. Sold in a case of 6.

Making Cordial in Your Kitchen

making cordial

Cordials from Your Kitchen: Easy, Elegant Liqueurs You Can Make & Give
Belvoir Elderflower Cordial. Case of 6x500ml- Fast

Learn to make your own at home, using a book full of recipes.

How to Make Elderflower Cordial – Quite Properly!

Making Your Own Cordials? – Use a bottles

Libbey 33.8 Oz Water Bottle w/ Wire Bail Lid 684402
Libbey 33.8 Oz Water Bottle w/ Wire Bail Lid 684402

 

 

 

Anne Of Green Gables made Cordials Famous

..for generations of girls

Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables …and the raspberry cordial

“I can just imagine myself sitting down at the head of the table and pouring out the tea,” said Anne, shutting her eyes ecstatically. “And asking Diana if she takes sugar! I know she doesn’t but of course I’ll ask her just as if I didn’t know. And then pressing her to take another piece of fruit cake and another helping of preserves. Oh, Marilla, it’s a wonderful sensation just to think of it. Can I take her into the spare room to lay off her hat when she comes? And then into the parlor to sit?”

“No. The sitting room will do for you and your company. But there’s a bottle half full of raspberry cordial that was left over from the church social the other night. It’s on the second shelf of the sitting-room closet and you and Diana can have it if you like, and a cooky to eat with it along in the afternoon …” –L.M. Montgomery

What happened afterward is all the result of Anne confusing the non alcoholic cordial and the “home remedy” that Marilla had on hand. Edwardian mishaps for Anne of Green Gables, yet again!

Non-alcoholic Cordial – Rose’s Cordial Mixer Grenadine

Favored by the English, this is also known in the USA as a mixer for flavoring mixed drinks. Grenadine is a red colored cordial whose name comes from the French word for pomegranate.

Rose's Grenadine, 1 L bottles (Pack of 12)
Rose’s Grenadine, 1 L bottles (Pack of 12) Made with real pomegranate and cherry juices, Rose’s Grenadine being one of the better and most popular of the Grenadine syrups, or cordials.

Health Claims for Cordials

cordialhealth

Can raspberry cordial kill stomach bugs in contaminated water?

A: Yes. Raspberry and blackcurrant cordials can kill bacteria that cause some stomach bugs.

“Microbiologist Dr Heather Cavanagh, whose research found some raspberry juice and blackcurrant juice cordials can kill at least 12 different types of nasty bacteria responsible for stomach bugs, including E. Coli and several strains of salmonella.” “Cordials that had the best antibacterial properties contained at least 35 per cent raspberry or blackcurrant juice, and worked when diluted down to one part cordial in 10 parts water.”

Get Yourself Some Free Labels

Download a PDF of a pink label printed for your own cordials. Or festive fruit drink labels,here.

What you may not have known about these old fashioned drinks

by Darren Larson
by Darren Larson

History of cordials

“Most cordials were of European origin, first produced in Italian apothecaries during the Renaissance where the art of distilling was refined during the fifteenth and 16th centuries.” (Wikipedia)

A cordial set of crystal bottles and goblets
ODD FACTS

“Rosa Solis or Rosolio, probably originating in Renaissance Turin was derived from the carnivorous sundew plant.”

“Royal Usquebaugh (an Irish cordial) was a spicy concoction containing flecks of gold leaf thought to capture the sun’s golden radiance. It was usually flavoured with aniseed, liquorice and saffron and sweetened with fruit sugar extracted from figs and raisins”

“Many cordials were also considered aphrodisiacs”

Cordials were often sold in apothecary bottles by chemists.

Well Known (or not!) Alcoholic Cordials

Set Of Four (4) - Romanian Crystal Barware - Cobalt Blue Swirl/Stained Glass Pattern - Milano Design - 4 Oz Cordial Glasses
Set Of Four (4) – Romanian Crystal Barware – Cobalt Blue Swirl/Stained Glass Pattern – Milano Design – 4 Oz Cordial Glasses

Cobalt Blue Swirl/Stained Glass Pattern. Beautiful Romanian glass.
St.Germain- an elderflower cordial

Flavors?

Grand Marnier -orange flavored liqueur

Amaretto Di Sarrono -almond-flavored cordial

Chambord -black raspberry liqueur

Frangelico -hazelnut flavored liqueur

Cointreau -orange flavored liqueur

Bénédictine -secret blend of 27 herbs and spices

Drambuie -heather honey and flavored with herbs

Jagermeister -a German bitter liqueur that is a complex blend of 56 herbs, fruits and spices.

Cordial Dictionary Facts

Today, little differentiation is made between a cordial and a liqueur. Hardly more than a semantic distinction and the terms are now pretty much interchangeable.

Generics are liqueurs of a particular type that can be made by any producer.

Crème de Cacao or Curaςao

Proprietaries are liqueurs with trademarked names, made according to a specific formula.

Kahlua, Grand Marnier

Bitters are the modern-day descendants of medieval medical potions and are marketed as having at least some vaguely therapeutic value as stomach settlers or hangover cures. They tend to be flavored with herbs, roots, and botanicals, contain lower quantities of fruit and sugar than liqueurs, and have astringent notes in the palate.
~from tastings.com

Elderberries and Their Flowers

They come from the same plant, Sambucus nigra, but render different flavor and color to a cordial made with them.

 

Amanda’s Elderberry Cordial

redcordial

by Becka York
by Becka York

Demerara sugar is an unrefined sugar with a large grain and a pale to golden yellow color; you can buy it at many health food and grocery stores.

Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs elderberries
  • Demarara sugar
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Lemon
Instructions
  1. 1.In a saucepan, cover the elderberries in water (just enough to cover them). Bring to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes. The berries will become very soft and the liquid will be dark red.Strain out the berries, reserving the juice.
  2. 2.Measure the amount of juice. Pour juice back into empty saucepan. For each 2 cups of juice, add 2 cups of demarara sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, and the juice from 1/2 lemon.
  3. 3.Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 15 minutes, stirring regularly (to ensure all the sugar is dissolved). Remove cinnamon sticks. Let cool while you prepare the bottles.
  4. 4. Fill prepared clean bottles with cordial, cap, and store in the fridge. Will keep for at least 6 months.
  5. 5.Serve a few fingers of cordial with hot water (and a splash of brandy)

 

Mikasa Cheers Cordial Glasses, Set of 6

A cordial water of Sir Walter Raleigh – Circa 1655

From Carol Hanson comes this rendition of a cordial recipe from berries for SCA events.

Ingredients
  • 12 oz. frozen blackberries
  • 12 oz. frozen raspberries
  • 16 oz. frozen strawberries
  • 1 quart 80-proof brandy
  • simple syrup: 2 c. white granulated sugar to 1 c. water
Instructions
  1. The frozen fruits are put in a glass jar and covered with brandy, then left for 5 days and stirred each day. The solid material should be strained out and squeezed through cheesecloth and the liquid then poured through a fine nylon coffee filter.
  2. A simple sugar syrup is added to the proportions of 1 cup of syrup to 2 cups of liquor (there was about 4-1/2 c. and added 2-1/4 c. of syrup).
  3. The result tastes the same as similar berry cordials made over a longer time: very smooth and very good.

Sour Cherry Cordial – European Refreshment

After you make the cherry syrup:

1 teaspoon of sour cherry syrup

5 ounces of ice water

ice cubes

Prepare your cordial by adding the syrup to the water and stir. Add ice.

Ingredients
  • 2 3/4 pounds of fresh sour cherries
  • 7 1/2 cups of granulated sugar 7/8 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Wash the cherries well. Remove stems and pits carefully, keeping cherries intact. In a wide pot, lay the cherries in layers, covering each layer with sugar, until all the cherries and all the sugar have been used. Set aside for 3 hours.
  2. Add the water to the pot and bring the cherries and sugar to a boil over high heat. Skim off foam as it rises to the top with a slotted spoon. When the syrup thickens, add the lemon juice and allow to boil for another few seconds. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. When thoroughly cooled, place in airtight glass jars to store.

Cordial Recipe List

cordialbottles2

Liqueur or Cordial?

Only liqueurs have alcohol by definition. Cordials are sometimes alcohol-free and may enjoyed alone or used as a mixer.

Make Your Own Alcoholic Liqueurs

Famous People of Hungarian Descent

There are many well known celebrities and people of accomplishment who have Hungarian roots. Wonder who they are?

famous Hungarians

Hungarians – They Might Surprise You

There are many more famous Hungarians than you might think, and some of your favorite celebrities might be Hungarian in descent. Look through the lists and learn about a few of them.

You might notice the large contingent of Jewish Hungarians, since Hungary had a long history of Jewish, Turk, and Christians living together with tolerance, there being both periods of toleration and oppression. With notable exceptions of persecution in history, including during the World War 2, when many Jews fled or were forcibly transported from the country.

All histories are biased to some extent… here are a few to read to give some context to the understanding of Hungarian people:

All part of the tragic history and land that has produced some very illustrious people.

Who’s Who?

Who are the famous Hungarians?

American Revolutionary War Hero
Michael Kovats de Fabriczy, “founder of the American light cavalry”.

Actors and Actresses

Jessica Szohr
Jessica Szohr

 

I didn’t know they were Hungarian!

Jessica Szohr

Goldie Hawn

Nick Bakay

Mariska Hargitay

Mickey Hargitay

Rachel Weisz

Don Adams

River and Joaquin Phoenix
Drew Barrymore

Jamie Lee Curtis

Tony Curtis

Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hungarian Born American Actress

Eva, Ava, and Magda Gabor

Mitzi Gaynor

Robert Hegyes

Leslie Howard

Ernie Kovacs

Peter Lorre

Bela Lugosi

Paul Newman

In Pursuit of the Common Good: Twenty-Five Years of Improving the World, One Bottle of Salad Dressing at a Time
In Pursuit of the Common Good: Twenty-Five Years of Improving the World, One Bottle of Salad Dressing at a Time

In retrospect, it is an odd thing that Paul Newman’s  film charisma seems almost eclipsed by the food business his name represents now. From salad dressing to spaghetti sauce and a number of fairly wholesome products in between, His politics and good taste combined in a business. Interesting story to read.

Directors and Film Media

George Cukor

 

William Fox – Hungarian founder of Fox Studios

Who’s Who

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
Albert Szent-Györgyi

 

In Science

People of Hungarian descent

Donat Banki – co-inventor of the carburetor

James Csonka – Co-invented the carburetor

Les Besser – “Father of microwave computer aided design.”

Charles Simonyi – Computer scientist

Jozsef Szabo von Szentmiklos

Albert Szent-Györgyi

Leó Szilàrd

Edward Teller “the father of the hydrogen bomb”
Dr. Bela Schick, a Hungarian-born American pediatrician discovered a cure for diphtheria. His “Schick test”, given to newborns tested for susceptibility to diphtheria.

Dr. Roy A.E. Bakay -the leading authority on surgery for movement disorders

Sports Figures

The Greatest Soccer Player
Ferenc Puskàs “The Galloping Major” (1927-2006), regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, the “Mighty Magyars”

Famous Athletes of Hungarian Descent

  • Joe Namath, American Football Great
  • Monica Seles, Tennis Superstar Athlete
  • Joe Theismann, famous football player.
  • Ferenc Puskás, one of the greatest soccer players of all time.

In Music

Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt

People of Hungarian descent

 

Franz Liszt

Béla Bartók

Zoltán Kodály

Transylvanian Roots: The True Life Adventures of a Hungarian-American
Transylvanian Roots: The True Life Adventures of a Hungarian-American

How do you say “Famous Hungarians” in Hungarian? “Híres Magyarok”

In Art – Artists of Hungarian Descent

Women of Eger by Bertalan Szekely

Hungarian-descent Artists:

Albrecht Durer

 

Willy Pogány – Artist and Illustrator

Hungarians

A Blend of People and Culture

Hungary stood at the border of many conquests, and in such situations there are groups of people who settle and contribute their culture and influence; additionally some of the conflicts so decimated the population of Hungary that other groups were invited in to resettle the land. And so the fascinating blends and historical distinctions of the story of Hungarians takes place.

This resulted in groups of Magyars, of Germans known as Swabians in Hungary, Turks, numerous other culture and ethnic groups, and Jews.

The Magyars, considered the native people, were themselves invading conquerors. Later the Turks (Ottomans), displaced in rule by the Austrians, with the invited Swabians (Germans) to repopulate the land after the horrendous effects of the Ottoman wars. [1]

 

 

The Hungarians: A Thousand Years of Victory in Defeat
The Hungarians: A Thousand Years of Victory in Defeat

Budapest, Hungary by Julia Thorne

 

Other Disciplines and Accomplishments – More Famous Hungarians

The Famous Houdini

Harry Houdini, Magician was born in Budapest.
The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero
The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero

Barbara Palvin – Fashion Model

Barbara Palvin - Fashion Model
Barbara Palvin – Fashion Model

The Truth Is Out There

When Nobel Prize winner Enrico Fermi was asked if he believed in extraterrestrials, he replied:

“They are among us, but they call themselves Hungarians”

Looking At Long Ago

Inventive

Have Fun Watching

Entertainers

Gene Simmons of Kiss fame was born in Israel – both his parents, however were born in Hungary.

Hungarian History

Find Out More About Famous Hungarians – elsewhere on the web

…in a Nutshell

Jews in Hungary

Find Your Rubik’s Cube – And go play with it awhile 🙂

Yes, this was a Hungarian invention.

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