These June evenings are soft-focus, green and slightly breezy, with an azure sky that can make your heart ache.
Amid the branches framing my back porch are cherries, dark and juicy and mysterious.
Last weekend a gaggle of grownups and children came over bearing cherry dishes. The Librarian’s lamb with cherry-rosemary sauce. Strategy Guy’s cherry-stuffed chicken. My own cherry-olive-avocado bruschetta.
And no desserts (or so it seemed). Everyone had tried extra-hard to avoid any cherry cliches.
Two little girls climbed the cherry tree. At first, the moms hovered anxiously, but then fell into a darkly gothic yet satisfying conversation about their kids’ early years (I called it, “Tales From the Crib”).
As night descended, the little girls climbed higher and higher, plucking cherry after cherry and eating every second one.
One of the moms, The PhD Candidate, brought an orzo cherry salad that garnered rave reviews. The Gay Retiree appeared with his boyfriend and an exquisite cherry pie, purchased at a country store.
We ate that pie up, with huge mounds of ice cream.
The little girls went home with cherry stains on their faces, proud of their heroic but necessary feat.
What are you doing/cooking/eating with your cherries this season?
Orzo Cherry Salad
2 cups Orzo
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
About 10 fresh cherries
1 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. curry powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Cook Orzo until al dente, according to directions on package.
While Orzo is cooking, combine all dressing ingredients and shake or stir well.
Drain Orzo completely and transfer to bowl.
While Orzo is still hot, add the dressing. Be generous and make sure Orzo is completely coated. Add dried cranberries and stir. Serve hot or cold. Just before serving, cut in cherry halves and stir in or leave on top as garnish.