Michael Symon and I are in close correspondence.
You see. Every week I write him a letter asking him for his hand in marriage.
And every week. I do not get a response.
However. We have the kind of relationship that transcends language.
You see. We’ve been communicating through food. His cookbook is full of hidden messages. Subtext. Allusion. All of which, I’m sure, were put there explicitly for me.
Take, for example, these pickled cherries.
Symon describes them as being a “sweet-sour condiment”.
The cherries being the yin to the vinegar’s yang. Just like Symon and me. Two things coming together, and fitting so perfectly that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Sigh. Who knew that such a simple phrase could be so pregnant with meaning?
I told you. We’re in love.
Relationships are about give and take, however. Compromise.
And so when I felt compelled to make chicken instead of the duck confit that Symon pairs with the cherries. I didn’t so much as concede even a speck of apology.
And rightfully so. The five spice, which has an air of sweetness to it, goes so nicely with the pickled cherries. And the whole thing is much leaner than the duck confit would have been. And seeing as how it is bathing suit season and all. I can’t imagine my betrothed really arguing with my changes. I can’t let myself go just because I’m hypothetically engaged, now can I?
And thus begins this week’s letter.
Dear Michael Symon,
Will you marry me?
Also, in very exciting news, one of my recipes is going to be posted on Frigidaire’s recipe site. I always thought of Frigidaire as being only a resource for refrigerators but apparently they have tons of other accessories for your kitchen! Check it out!
Makes about 2 quarts, adapted from Live To Cook
2 lb bing cherries
3 cups red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 strips orange zest, removed with a vegetable peeler
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp coriander elaves
1 bay leaf
1. Prick each cherry with a fork several times and put them in a nonreactive jar or container.
2. Mix the vinegar, sugar, salt, orange zest, black peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, and bay leaf in a nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
3. Pour the liquid over the cherries. When the concoction is cool, seal or cover the cherries and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
Five-Spice Chicken with Pickled Cherries
1 1/2 lb chicken thighs
1/2 cup pickled cherries, strained, with 1/2 cup of their juice reserved
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp unsalted butter
five spice powder, salt, and pepper
1. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with five spice powder, salt and black pepper. Saute until cooked through.
2. Combine the cherries, juice, and stock in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat and simmer to reduce by half. With the liquid at a low simmer, whisk in the butter.
3. Pour the cherry juice concoction over the chicken and serve with a salad or some type of grain.