Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Life's a cup of cherries

I love cherries, and cherries love me. I can tell by the way they taste so good to me.

I love cherries, and they love me. I can tell by how the treat my body so well.

I love cherries, and they love me. I can tell by how many bags I buy of them.

I love cherries, and they hate me. I can tell by how much work they make for me.

I hate cherries, and they hate me. I can tell by the way I curse at them.

Cherry season could quite possibly be one of my favorite times a year, coming in behind my birthday and "Survivor" seasons. I get so infatuated with those little fruits that I often find myself buying giant bag after giant bag just because they are $1.98 a pound. I take them in plastic containers to work where I eat them in a not-so-daintily fashion, spitting the seeds into a Diet Coke can.

This year, though, I seemed to go crazier than normal, and I found myself with a good 3 pounds on their last leg. And I mean very last leg. It was do or die, and I did - standing over the kitchen sink, prepping the cherries for the freezer. The work was quite literally the pits, and I found myself resenting the fruit I used to love so much. I was quite certain that when I was finished with the cherries that I wouldn't touch one again for a very long time.

Good thing I thought of this mid-project.

A dessert for one, inspired by a favorite summer beverage - Cherry Limeade. The flavor of (over)ripe cherries is heightened by the lime, and a crisp topping not only adds texture but makes this it like a sinful dessert. Without the sin. Of course. Feel free to serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt, freshly whipped cream or - gasp - ice cream.

Cherry-Lime Crisp for One

1 cup cherries, pitted
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 packet True Lime (or zest of a half lime)
1 packet of stevia
1/2 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon old-fashion oats
1/2 tablespoon flour
Pinch salt

Gently toss cherries with cornstarch, True Lime and stevia. Put the mixture in a mug and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for a minute to a minute and a half, until the cherries are bubbly.

Note: Start with a minute and increase time by 30 seconds until reaching the desired bubbliness. Failure to do so will cause an epic mess. Trust me.

Meanwhile, add butter and brown sugar to a skillet over medium heat. Cook until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Add oats, flour and salt to pan, stirring often, until the oats turn golden. Remove plastic from mug and top cherries with oat mixture. Microwave for an additional 30 seconds.

Allow cherry crisp to cool slightly. Top as desired and enjoy!

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