Thank you to California Grown for connecting me with California growers and encouraging California consumers to “Choose California Grown” when they can.
If you have been reading Sweet Potato Bites for a while, you know that I am a huge fan of locally grown produce. My favorite restaurants such as True Food Kitchen, Season’s 52 and Paul Martin’s American Grill incorporate locally grown produce into many of their dishes, and you’ll often find me shopping for fruits and vegetables at Grower’s Direct in Costa Mesa, which offers tons of California grown produce at very affordable prices.
Obviously one of the main reasons I try to buy California Grown produce is because I believe in supporting our farmers and helping the state’s economy, but another main reason is because frankly, the produce just tastes better. The fruit and vegetables are fresher, they last longer when you take them home, and you are eating food in season, which means the quality is top-notch. Admit it, fresh berries taste much better when you buy them locally and in season, rather in the dead of winter when they are shipped across country.
And if you think California Grown produce means more $$, think again! Many local farmers markets and grocery stores offer California Grown produce at very reasonable prices (like Grower’s Direct). Just be sure to look for the official CA Grown label.
Recently, California Grown sent me a giant box of delicious red cherries from Dean Devine, a cherry grower who has 175 acres of cherries in the Lodi and Modesto area. Dean is a fourth generation cherry grower who employs up to 150 seasonal workers to ensure consumers get the sweetest cherries from his farm. Dean credits the mineral rich water and perfect climate for producing cherries that are sweeter than from other states (another reason to buy from California farms!). To learn more about Dean, how he maintains his cherry farms and the importance of buying produce from California, be sure to check out his video here.
The cherries were delicious! They were nice and juicy and not tart at all. I could tell these cherries had been freshly picked since they were not mushy and still kept their firm shape.
After making my way through a few handfuls of cherries, I knew I need to incorporate them into some sort of delicious summer dessert. And what better dessert than a Cherry Clafouti a la Julia Child? (since Julia Child can do no wrong in my eyes).
I followed the recipe almost exactly, with the exception of a few modifications (I used non-dairy milk so a lactose intolerant friend could enjoy it) and added some blueberries in. The dessert ended up being light and flavorful, and the cherries definitely shined through. Even the Englishman, who claimed to dislike cherries, gobbled it right down.
Cherry and Blueberry Clafouti (adapted from Julia Child’s recipe)
1 ¼ cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (regular milk works too)
2/3 cup brown sugar, divided
3 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups cherries (use CA grown if possible!)
1 cup blueberries
Powdered sugar for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F.
While your oven is heating, slice and pit your cherries. I have yet to master the art of this but you should make sure there are no pits remaining when the cherries go into your dessert.
Using a blender, food processor or immersion blender, combine almond milk, 1/3 cup brown sugar, egg whites and egg, vanilla, salt and flour and blend well.
Spray a baking dish with cooking spray (I used a glass loaf pan) and pour about a ¼ inch layer of your batter into the dish. Place dish in the oven for 7-10 minutes until the batter begins to set in the pan but is not baked through. Remove from oven.
Add in your pitted cherries and blueberries and sprinkle with 1/3 cup brown sugar.
Pour the remaining batter on top of the cherries and blueberries.
Bake in oven for 60 minutes until the clafouti is nicely puffed and golden brown. Baking time might be slightly longer or shorter depending on how warm your oven runs.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you so desire, and serve warm with your favorite ice cream!
Thank you again to California Grown for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about all of California Grown growers. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own. #CleverCAGrown #spon