Yesterday Mike and I went to a different farmer’s market than usual. Normally we go to the Ferry Plaza farmer’s market, but this week we decided to change and go to the Alemany farmer’s market. And hey wow, there was a stand selling SOUR CHERRIES! This is the first time I’ve ever seen fresh sour cherries being sold in California – the climate is generally too warm here (they have stringent chill requirements) – but there they were, one of my culinary dreams!
So, needless to say, I snapped up six pounds of them (anything worth doing is worth overdoing 🙂 ) and spent most of today pitting them and making brandied cherries and cherry pie.
(If you’re not familiar with sour cherries, by the way, they’re the standard pie cherry. If you’ve ever wondered why the Bing cherries don’t taste anything like cherry pie cherries, it’s because Bings are a sweet cherry variety and cherry pie is made with sour cherries – tart and tasty. Sour cherries are soft-fleshed and juicy, almost like a berry, where sweet cherries are firm and dense. Totally different – they might almost be two completely different species. I love them both, but in different ways.)
Anyway, aside from making one very delicious pie (which took almost six hours, including time waiting around for the pie dough to chill, etc. – not for the faint of heart), I’ve also made four quarts of brandied cherries – 3 quarts of brandied sweet cherries (2 different recipes) and one quart of brandied sour cherries. It’s all part of my secret plan, to try making chocolate-covered liqueur cherries this year as part of the frenzied chocolate rampage. Since I flatly refuse to put maraschino cherries anywhere near Valrhona chocolate (everyone has their limits 🙂 ), there’s nothing for it but to make my own brandied/candied cherries. So I made four batches, left the stems on, and hopefully it’ll be possible to make some tasty brandied-cherry-chocolates come November.
(Incidentally, I now own a cherry pitter and think it’s the coolest thing ever. I had been pitting the cherries with the recommended hairpin, and it was a pain in the butt; the cherry pitter does a beautifully neat job. If you are ever confronted with six pounds of delicious sour cherries, I recommend arming yourself with one before tackling the job.)
Website-wise, I’ve decided to purchase some Flash gallery software. While I think I could cobble up something basic in Flash, I had a sudden vision of myself trying to maintain a bunch of manually-coded XML files, manually resizing photos, … umm, with well over 1000 photos on my site, I realized that maintainability and migratability was going to be a major factor. So I’m buying some gallery software for $60 (cheap at the price) and will be using it instead.
This leaves me with the blog template and the actual creation of pages (as opposed to templates). I’m working on the site architecture a bit and will probably generate placeholder files so I can finalize the footer links, the navigation bar, and the homepage. It’s all complex and fascinating and I can hardly wait to see what comes next!