Fourth of July for me means two things. Sugar snap peas and tart cherries. Which is why I always resist traveling on this particular holiday. I swear the snap peas time it so their sugar content is the absolute sweetest four days into July. And after all they’ve been through, it’s just not right to let the peas down by not being available to pick them. Only recently have I been able to honor this commitment.
And so it was that I spent my fourth ever Independence Day at home, gorging on peas and cherries. To each their own, right? My holiday was particularly lovely this year because I had Earl to keep me company. He’s as about as quiet and reserved as I am. We’re a good match that way.
At four o’clock, I cracked a bottle of French rose and retired to the shade of the patio with Earl, a book, and a basket of peas. I should mention that Earl was looking particularly festive, sporting his new red-starred-spangled neck buff. My friend Julie surprised Earl with this chic gift when she came to dinner a few weeks ago.
I wiled away the late afternoon, indulged in my book, but still managing to keep my glass full and slip Earl an occasional pea pod. Before I knew it, afternoon turned into evening and I realized I had no plans for what to have for dinner. Until I remembered the dish of roasted tart cherries in the fridge.
Roasted Tart Cherries
1/2 pound tart cherries, pitted
2-3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons wine (rose is a lovely match, but white or red works too)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 small vanilla bean, split
1-2 teaspoons cornstarch or tapioca flour (optional)
Mix together in a small oven proof roasting pan. Bake in a 350º F oven for 30 – 50 minutes until fruit is soft and bubbly. Depending on how juicy your cherries are, and considering if you want a thinner or thicker consistency, you may want to add cornstarch or tapioca to thicken it up. This can be done before it goes in the oven, or at any point during baking. Serve warm, chilled or at room temperature, depending on your mood and the weather. This makes enough for two nice servings. Double, triple, or quadruple as needed!