From Imitation to Authentic and Back Again: The Maraschino Cherry

Marasca Cherries (Image from wikipedia)

We came into possession of a few pounds of fresh sour cherries (Hey, so, we went a bit overboard at the U-pick, OK? Audrey's currently canning 16 pounds of strawberry jam).

I've been googling about for ideas, and came across the concept (which I've latched on to) of creating homemade, HFC and Red-5 -free maraschino cherries. Authentic ones, as sour cherries and marasca (get it? marasca => maraschino?) cherries are not too disilimar. No, not the "authentic" ones like from the stores, or as described in ye olde southern housewife's bible of preserving, the Ball Blue Book.

What we currently think of as authentic Maraschino cherries is defined by a post-prohibition editing of history as "cherries which have been dyed red, impregnated with sugar and packed in a sugar sirup [sic] flavored with oil of bitter almonds or a similar flavor" (--

Compare that to the description of the 1912 USDA guidelines for the same: "Food Inspection Decision 141, issued in 1912 under the Food and Drugs Act of 1906, stated that "maraschino cherries" should be applied only to marasca cherries preserved in maraschino. This decision further described maraschino as a liqueur or cordial prepared by process of fermentation and distillation from the marasca cherry, a small variety of the European wild cherry indigenous to the Dalmatian Mountains."

That's downright D.O.C. And further; "Products prepared from cherries of the Royal Anne type, artificially colored and flavored and put up in flavored sugar sirup might be labeled "Imitation Maraschino Cherries" or, if there was no reference to "Maraschino," might be labeled to show that they are preserved cherries, artificially colored and flavored.""

The lowly imitation maraschino cherry is now the real deal, and we somehow lost the liqueur qualities at the same time.

Would ya like some context to go with that?

My friend Esther is running a great blog on cooking, with a serious dose of political history and context over at Tex-Mix.

Taking Locavorism a bit too far?

This takes locavorism to its logical end:

This takes local tacovorism to new heights:

Arganica deal with Deals for Deeds!

If we didn't live so close to Eastern Market, we'd be ordering from Arganica pretty much every week. If you consider yourself a locavore in DC, they are the best source for a lot of the more difficult items to source at your local farmer's market, and the flour you can get from them is out of this world. Don't even get me started on the yogurt with the layer of cream on top they have. Arganica is a local business which is like a meta-CSA - you get local yumminess, what you order, delivered to your door, and support a local business who's changing the way you interact with your food. It's made of win.

And if you also support another local DC business, (think Groupon for Good), you get a 3 month membership for $40 - half off! Try it. You'll like it.

Fresh Chickpeas - Another Delicious Sign of Spring

Sauteed Chickpeas - before

Jon and I first had fresh roasted chickpeas about a month ago when spring first appeared in DC. At the suggestion of our waiter at Zaytinya, we ordered this dish which neither of us had had before. And it was delicious!!!

Today, for the first time ever, I saw fresh chickpeas for sale at Safeway (of all places), and so we got some and tried to replicate that delicious dish. The result</a href> was delicious.

Eat Local in DC: Linkdump

The Hill is Home put together a great set of links for eating locally: with a hat-tip to our favorite vendor, Arganica: . WeLoveDC takes local to a whole new level with what can best be described as lawnmower salad:

If you're road-tripping and want to keep things "local" , there's a great resource to find local favorites via boingboing

Nawlins Menu 2010

In celebration of Mardi Gras, we're focusing on N'awlins style food

Sunday: Shrimp, Chicken and Andouille sausage [[gumbo]] with dirty rice

Monday: Shrimp po-boys

Tuesday: Leftover gumbo and salad

Wednesday: Blackened Snapper

Thursday: Shrimp and grits

Greek Week (Feb 7)

This past week was a greek and mediterranean foods week. We had our favorite [[Brick Chicken]], a new lamb dish based on this roasted, stuffed lamb concept, but using the leftover grape/port reduction from this recipe, which has been taking up valuable freezer space. Regardless, the lamb didn't turn out all that exciting.

Indian food week (Feb 1)

Indian meal with Naan

We have a few core Indian dishes we've learned how to make pretty well; but they're not quite enough to fill a week. Each time we settle on an Indian food week, we try a new dish, with ... well, mixed results.

The new recipe this week was Mughal style lamb (stew) on saffron rice. We substituted fresh saffron pasta from Eastern Market for the rice. It was OK, but not really a "keeper" .

Arganica Week 5

Arganica Week 5

We decided to add a second "trial month" to our Arganica membership. We repeated some favorites from earlier weeks and tried new things too. This week we received:

Plain Yogurt (with "yogurt cream" on top ... delicious)
Red Onion
Fresh Parsley
Hydroponic Lettuce
Lemon Poppy Scone
Polyface Farms Delmonico Ribeye Steak

... and a local food magazine.

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