Sunday, May 31, 2009

Starting Toward the End

Back in the "States" and enjoying the company of family in Virginia. Celebrated the birthday of the 'queen mother' last night, complete with a seasonal favorite, strawberry shortcake. Baker Boy helped with spreading the whipped cream, then placed and lit the candles for the grand presentation and song. There are few things as enjoyable as local strawberries at the peak of their season. These came from the Saturday farmers market and they were sweet and juicy and bursting with flavor...we really didn't need the cake or whipped cream, but 'ya gotta have cake for birthdays, right? Whipped cream is a delight anytime and anywhere.

No photos at the moment, so will do a true post once home, but also made traditional Irish brown bread of the soda bread type and a loaf of yeasted brown bread. Both recipes came from an Irish cooking school book. Will probably post about them, and more, on the Bread Baker's Dog blog in a few days. The traditional soda type brown bread was quickly scarfed down, assisted by a lavish smear of Kerry butter from a nearby grocery store...U.S. customs won't let you bring it into the country yourself. We are working on the yeasted loaf today.

More on the trip to Ireland soon, too. It may even be so much as to become boring after a while, but I took something like 700 photos! Such a gorgeous country.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Whole Lotta Green

No photos at this stage, although there will be plenty once we get home. Just imagine a gorgeous land with really green fields, and the fields are irregular in shape and broken up with lines of shrubs or trees or stone walls or all three.

Although it is a beautiful place and there are tons of ruins and ancient churches and even more ancient tombs made from rock, the most beautiful part of Ireland has been the people. Friendly, so helpful, so willing the chat and easy to be with, full of good cheer much of the time, they are also intrepid drivers on their narrow roads, made all the more interesting with stone walls at the verge on both sides in many places. In a small town in the Burren area our rented auto refused to start one afternoon. The owner of the local garage was amazing...he did all the talking to the rental company and arranged for us to ride with the car back to our B&B many miles away, then for the car to be exchanged at Shannon airport and the new car to be delivered to our B&B. Tommy and his son Jason could not have been nicer or more helpful.

The brown bread, sort of a soda bread made with whole meal flour, is very good, but the scones have been excellent!

Each B&B we have stayed in filled us up each morning with a huge breakfast which included cereal, fruit, juice, coffee, toast, brown bread, and a plate full of eggs, blood sausage, pork link sausage, bacon (closer to what we call Canadian bacon than American bacon, but quite delicious), and another type of sausage that was similar to scrapple. Nice presse coffee, too, and lots of milk. Often we've not needed any lunch, just a scone and some tea or coffee in the early afternoon.

Enjoyed some good pub grub in Ennis. Had dinner in a town called Tarbart on the river Shannon, near where the ferry that goes back and forth between Co. Clare and Co. Kerry comes in. The restaurant is called Enrights and they were extremely lacking for customers, but served some of the best salmon I've ever had, prepared very simply with a coat of flour and pan cooked in butter until golden. At the same restaurant Sweetie had a plate of delicious lamb chops. Except for the brown bread, white soda bread, and scones, artisan bread doesn't seem to have come to this area, although there are many bakeries we have not visited :)

Did meet up with some cousins in the town where my grandfather was born and had a wonderful time with them the last few days. Our older cousin is charming, with the sweetest smile, and serves a fine glass of port. We chatted with her a while on the first day we were in Glin and again the next afternoon. A younger cousin (closer to our age, but a bit younger) tells wonderful stories and has a lovely family and sweet Russian wolfhound dog. We are hoping that they (except for the dog because he is too old to travel) come to visit in America one day.

We drove today to the Dingle Peninsula on the west coast...a strongly Gaelic speaking more news later of our adventures there.

Friday, May 15, 2009

In A While Crocodile

Off to the land of a thousand shades of there will be few if any posts for a while. A little walking, a little putting up the feet and reading.
Happy end of Spring!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Welcome the Daring Cooks!

The Daring Bakers have been a roaring success, growing like kudzu, throught the efforts of the lovely and talented Lis ans Ivonne, and plenty of enthusiasm and help from their supporters and all the Daring Bakers.

Now a long held dream of our founders has come to pass in the time of new beginings, spring. The barn swallows are building their nests, the zucchini plants are putting out hopeful yellow male flower to entice the endangered bees to put them on the bee list of places to visit, lots of new beginnings come at this season of the year. Lis and Ivonne have wanted to have a companion group of Daring Cooks for many months. With the inauguration of the Daring Kitchen website, they announced the sign up for this merry group.

Daring Cooks will follow the successful Daring Bakers format, all using the same recipe and posting on the same day, with allowances for dietary and health restrictions, plus lots of room for creativity. The challenges give us an opportunity to explore new techniques, try out foods that we ordinarily wouldn't try, and to build community with the other Daring Cooks. Come join us! Just click HERE to go the the Daring Kitchen site when it is all explained.

When I was just a little too young for kindergarten, my older sister and brother were at school all day and my younger sister wasn't old enough to play with. Always content with my own company, I would spend hours in the sandbox in the back yard creating sand patties which I presented on the large maple leaves from the tree that grew over the sandbox. The patties were decorated with forsythia and azalea flower in the spring and dandelions later in the year.

This month's challenge took me back to those days. The May Daring Cooks recipe is for Ricotta Gnocchi from the Zuni Cafe. Once you have mixed together the drained ricotta, egg, melted butter and Parmesan cheese, you get to play with your food! Spoonsful of the dough are dropped on a bed of flour and then you use your floured hands to shape them into delicate ovals.

I found when I did my test simmer that if I froze the gnocchi first that they held together better for cooking, so a sheet of formed gnocchi, resting on some flour, went into the freezer until dinner time.

I chose Mother's Day to make these little puffballs of deliciousness.
It couldn't have been a better day: an extra hour of sleep was followed by Sweetie's best-in-the-world scrambled eggs. Then I got to play in the garden, take the Baker's Dog for a walk, buy paperback books for our trip, come home and play in the kitchen making the gnocchi to freeze, enjoy phone calls with my darling daughter, my lovely mother, my youngest brother and my closest sister, then more fun in the kitchen boiling the gnocchi and making the chard to go with. It would be hard for me to plan a more perfect Mother's Day (except if all the folks I talked with on the phone were here in person helping me eat the gnocchi!) and sharing this food with Sweetie and the Sharpshooter was just the best!

To go with the morsels of delight I chose to use fresh from the garden, first harvest of the season rainbow chard (if you look at the stems, you will see that they range from pale yellow to pink, yellow, orange,and red). I lightly sauteed some yellow onion in butter, washed and chopped the chard, then steamed it atop the onions. A little more butter finished it off. Being young and fresh, the chard was tender and almost sweet. It went really well with the Parmesan flavored gnocchi.

Glad that you visited this first post for me for the Daring Cooks! Hope you will visit the Daring Kitchen to sign up for next time and to check out the efforts of the other Daring Cooks. This blogroll is for the Daring Bakers, but some of them are also Daring Cooks like I am.

Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi

Source: From The Zuni Café Cookbook.
Yield: Makes 40 to 48 gnocchi (serves 4 to 6)

Prep time: Step 1 will take 24 hours. Steps 2 through 4 will take approximately 1 hour.

- If you can find it, use fresh ricotta. As Judy Rodgers advises in her recipe, there is no substitute for fresh ricotta. It may be a bit more expensive, but it's worth it.
- Do not skip the draining step. Even if the fresh ricotta doesn't look very wet, it is. Draining the ricotta will help your gnocchi tremendously.
- When shaping your gnocchi, resist the urge to over handle them. It's okay if they look a bit wrinkled or if they're not perfectly smooth.
- If you're not freezing the gnocchi for later, cook them as soon as you can. If you let them sit around too long they may become a bit sticky.
- For the variations to the challenge recipe, please see the end of the recipe.

Equipment required:
- Sieve
- Cheesecloth or paper towels
- Large mixing bowl
- Rubber spatula
- Tablespoon
- Baking dish or baking sheet
- Wax or parchment paper
- Small pot
- Large skillet
- Large pan or pot (very wide in diameter and at least 2 inches deep)

For the gnocchi:
1 pound (454 grams/16 ounces) fresh ricotta (2 cups)
2 large cold eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) unsalted butter
2 or 3 fresh sage leaves, or a few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg, or a few pinches of chopped lemon zest (all optional)
½ ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (about ¼ cup very lightly packed)
about ¼ teaspoon salt (a little more if using kosher salt)
all-purpose flour for forming the gnocchi

For the rainbow chard sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
½ medium onion, chopped
15 – 20 leaves fresh rainbow chard (or similar), rinsed and chopped (leave the water on the leaves after rinsing
salt to taste

Step 1 (the day before you make the gnocchi): Preparing the ricotta.

If the ricotta is too wet, your gnocchi will not form properly. In her cookbook, Judy Rodgers recommends checking the ricotta’s wetness.
To test the ricotta, take a teaspoon or so and place it on a paper towel. If you notice a very large ring of dampness forming around the ricotta after a minute or so, then the ricotta is too wet. To remove some of the moisture, line a sieve with cheesecloth or paper towels and place the ricotta in the sieve. Cover it and let it drain for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Alternatively, you can wrap the ricotta carefully in cheesecloth (2 layers) and suspend it in your refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours with a bowl underneath to catch the water that’s released. Either way, it’s recommended that you do this step the day before you plan on making the gnocchi.

Step 2 (the day you plan on eating the gnocchi): Making the gnocchi dough.

To make great gnocchi, the ricotta has to be fairly smooth. Place the drained ricotta in a large bowl and mash it as best as you can with a rubber spatula or a large spoon (it’s best to use a utensil with some flexibility here). As you mash the ricotta, if you noticed that you can still see curds, then press the ricotta through a strainer to smooth it out as much as possible.

Add the lightly beaten eggs to the mashed ricotta.

Melt the tablespoon of butter. As it melts, add in the sage if you’re using it. If not, just melt the butter and add it to the ricotta mixture. (I didn't use any flavorings other than the butter, egg and Parmesan cheese.)

Add in any flavouring that you’re using (i.e., nutmeg, lemon zest, etc.). If you’re not using any particular flavouring, that’s fine.

Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the salt.

Beat all the ingredients together very well. You should end up with a soft and fluffy batter with no streaks (everything should be mixed in very well).

Step 3: Forming the gnocchi.

Fill a small pot with water and bring to a boil. When it boils, salt the water generously and keep it at a simmer. You will use this water to test the first gnocchi that you make to ensure that it holds together and that your gnocchi batter isn’t too damp.

In a large, shallow baking dish or on a sheet pan, make a bed of all-purpose flour that’s ½ an inch deep.

With a spatula, scrape the ricotta mixture away from the sides of the bowl and form a large mass in the centre of your bowl.

Using a tablespoon, scoop up about 2 to 3 teaspoons of batter and then holding the spoon at an angle, use your finger tip to gently push the ball of dough from the spoon into the bed of flour.

At this point you can either shake the dish or pan gently to ensure that the flour covers the gnocchi or use your fingers to very gently dust the gnocchi with flour. Gently pick up the gnocchi and cradle it in your hand rolling it to form it in an oval as best as you can, at no point should you squeeze it. What you’re looking for is an oval lump of sorts that’s dusted in flour and plump.

Gently place your gnocchi in the simmering water. It will sink and then bob to the top. From the time that it bobs to the surface, you want to cook the gnocchi until it’s just firm. This could take 3 to 5 minutes.

If your gnocchi begins to fall apart, this means that the ricotta cheese was probably still too wet. You can remedy this by beating a teaspoon of egg white into your gnocchi batter. If your gnocchi batter was fluffy but the sample comes out heavy, add a teaspoon of beaten egg to the batter and beat that in. Test a second gnocchi to ensure success.

Form the rest of your gnocchi. You can put 4 to 6 gnocchi in the bed of flour at a time. But don’t overcrowd your bed of flour or you may damage your gnocchi as you coat them.

Have a sheet pan ready to rest the formed gnocchi on. Line the sheet pan with wax or parchment paper and dust it with flour.

You can cook the gnocchi right away, however, Judy Rodgers recommends storing them in the refrigerator for an hour prior to cooking to allow them to firm up.

Step 4: Cooking the gnocchi.

Have a large skillet ready to go. Place the butter and water for the sauce in the skillet and set aside.

In the largest pan or pot that you have (make sure it’s wide), bring at least 2 quarts of water to a boil (you can use as much as 3 quarts of water if your pot permits). You need a wide pot or pan so that your gnocchi won’t bump into each other and damage each other.

Once the water is boiling, salt it generously.

Drop the gnocchi into the water one by one. Once they float to the top, cook them for 3 to 5 minutes (as in the case with the test gnocchi).

When the gnocchi float to the top, you can start your sauce while you wait for them to finish cooking.

Place the skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Swirl it gently a few times as it melts. As soon as it melts and is incorporated with the water, turn off the heat. Your gnocchi should be cooked by now.

With a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi from the boiling water and gently drop into the butter sauce. Carefully roll in the sauce until coated. Serve immediately.

Variations: For the gnocchi, you can flavour them however you wish. If you want to experiment by adding something to your gnocchi (i.e., caramelized onion, sundried tomato), feel free to do so. However, be forewarned, ricotta gnocchi are delicate and may not take well to elaborate additions. For the sauce, this is your chance to go nuts. Enjoy yourselves. Surprise us!!!

Freezing the gnocchi: If you don’t want to cook your gnocchi right away or if you don’t want to cook all of them, you can make them and freeze them. Once they are formed and resting on the flour-dusted, lined tray, place them uncovered in the freezer. Leave them for several hours to freeze. Once frozen, place them in a plastic bag. Remove the air and seal the bag. Return to the freezer. To cook frozen gnocchi, remove them from the bag and place individually on a plate or on a tray. Place in the refrigerator to thaw completely. (I cooked mine without thawing) Cook as directed for fresh gnocchi.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Signs of Late Spring

One of the signs of spring would be Mothers Day gifts. My lovely and talented daughter is quite creative with pottery painting. I enjoy the tea set she painted for me for Mothers Day last year so much! She has a way with color and pattern.

This year she surprised me with two delightful plates one yellow with purple polka dots and one purple with yellow polka dots! They will be a great way to display some of my Daring Baker and Daring Cook creations and other delights. Sometimes it's difficult for talented people to realize that one of the best gifts they can give is something they made themselves. I know that I will treasure these plates for a long time.

Another sign of late spring is a roomful of seedlings ready to plant. Our sunspace, part of the passive solar design of our home, is a great place to grow seedlings. Year before last I grew six kinds of heirloom tomatoes. This year I stuck to three heirloom varieties, but I'm also growing three kinds of summer squash, eggplant, cucumber, chard, and green beans.

Spring is when a young at heart man's fancy turns to poetry. An unexpected gift was the following poem, dedicated to the lovely tomato. Since Poss was the recipient of some of those sunspace grown tomato seedlings, it should be fun to match up the poem with the fruits of his labors later in the season.

To May 'Toes

A gift that grows
in leafy bower,
With daily hose,
Voila! A tower.

Steadfast weeding
of the plot,
Constant heeding
Yields a lot.

Spaded soil,
A sunny sky.
Upwards toil
'Til late July.

Then gently pick,
rinse, cut, chill.
Serve up quick
Dash'd with dill

Dress up spicey,
Vinegars, oregano.
Sweet orbs slicey,
BLT, extra mayo!

Of perfect veggies
Most wishful
Home-grown 'Maters
are most blissful!

Poss Pragoff, May 09

Happy late spring to you! Hope you are finding your own signs of the season!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day from the Land of St. Honore'

Once upon a time in the Land of St. Honore’, a young girl wanted to make a special cake to welcome her mother home from her travels. She had been gone over a week and now it was Mother's Day. Liza knew her mother would enjoy something baked with love.

Liza started by preparing a Bundt pan, buttering it well and scattering dry bread crumbs over the butter. Excess bread crumbs were shaken out in the door yard and the chickens appreciated that.

Next she chopped deep dark unsweetened chocolate into small shards, then melted them in a bowl over hot water on the stove. The melted chocolate would cool a bit while she worked on the rest of the ingredients.

Strong coffee was measured into a cup and some spirits were added to make it more festive. Bourbon was her mother’s favorite, but she knew that Irish whiskey or rum would be tasty, too.

She sifted flour into a large bowl, then added salt and baking soda and stirred it well.

In another large bowl she creamed soft butter with sugar, then added some vanilla and beat it in. She added an egg, beat it in, added another egg, beat it in, and added a final egg and beat it in well. Now was the time to add that melted chocolate. Oh, the batter smelled wonderful!

The oven was hot enough, so she worked quickly, first adding some dry ingredients, then some wet, repeated that,then finished with the last of the dry ingredients.

Into her Bundt pan went the fragrant batter. A quick twist of the pan in either direction popped bubbled, and then the pan went into the oven.

While the cake cooked, she washed up the many bowls, then sat and had a cup of tea.

At last the cake was done! It seemed like forever, but had only taken a little over an hour. She let it cool in the pan, then turned it onto a fancy plate.

When her mother arrived home for dinner, she noticed how sweet the house smelled, but she was still surprised when Liza brought out the cake for dessert. Thick slices showed how moist and rich and chocolaty it was. Her smile after she took her first bite assured her daughter that the day had been well spent.

Wishing each of you the tender love of your mother. Even mother's who have died leave their love in us and even more so if your mother enjoyed baking and you do too.

I've been blesed with the best mother in the world...and she loves to cook and bake just as much as I do. I'll be seeing her soon on my way to Ireland. Sweetie and I will be driving on the other side of the road, sipping Irish whiskey and Guiness, eating salmon, hearty Irish breakfasts and brown bread and exploring the western part of Ireland. While we are there I'll see if I can figure out how to post an update now and again. Might even get to meet distant relatives who live there. Sharing upon return, at least of photos and any good stories.

Probably will do another post or two before I leave, but then it will be sparse. Won't be doing the Daring Bakers this month, but I assure you that you will want to check out our favorite Daring Bakers sites toward the end of the month!

This cake is almost the same as the 86 Proof Chocolate Cake from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, but I removed 1 cup of the batter once it had been mixed. Into that cup of batter I folded 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts that had been mixed with 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. Then I put half the remaining batter into the prepared pan, plopped spoonfuls of the walnut enriched batter all around the Bundt pan and spread it out with the back of the spoon, then poured the remaining batter on top and smoothed it out. The rest is exactly like the recipe which can be found HERE.

The original version is silky and very chocolate flavored. The version with the walnuts seems even better to me because the walnuts add crunch and also seem to heighten the chocolate experience. You could try each version and let me know what you think :) Use the best chocolate you can makes all the difference in this cake. Use a different liquor if you like for a different taste.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Somthing New for Arcadia

It’s easy to get into a rut.

Many Fridays I eat lunch with my friend Arcadia at a place that has wonderful stir frys over brown rice.

Last Friday was rainy and cool and the kind of day where it’s nice to stay home and have soup. In an effort to break out of our rut, and so she could see how my garden was shaping up, Arcadia came over for lunch. I made chicken soup and a nice green salad. It seemed like we needed one more thing, so I mixed together some cheese biscuits. Arcadia was quite taken with them and said that they were unlike any biscuits she had ever tasted…perhaps something new under the sun.

That morning I had opened my shipment from King Arthur Flour. I’d received a gift certificate and was like a kid in a candy shop when I went through the catalog and then online. So many wonderful things! One of the items that I had to have was their Harvest Grains Blend, an interesting mix of whole oat berries, millet, rye flakes and wheat flakes, plus flax, poppy, sesame and sunflower seeds. I added a quarter of a cup to the biscuits and it made such a difference!

The grains added depth of flavor and the seeds contributed more flavors and crunch. If you don’t have the blend, you could substitute two tablespoons of rolled oats, and some seeds you might have on hand, such as poppy, sesame, sunflower and/or pumpkin…about another 2 tablespoons if you have that.

The ‘surprise’ here isn’t the savory and delightful cheese, nor the seeds and flakes because you can see those in the finished biscuits. The ingredient that pulls it all together and gives it snap is cayenne pepper…just enough to lend a nice warmth. Without it the biscuits might seem too sweet.

Do try these with soup or green salad or even chili or chicken salad. I used packaged biscuit mix, but if you don’t want to do that, use your favorite biscuit recipe and then add the cheese, cayenne and seeds/grain flakes.

These were so popular that only one was left for the photo!

Spicy Seedy Cheesy Biscuits – or Something New Under the Sun Biscuits
Makes about 8 biscuits

1 ½ cups Bisquick Heart Smart mix or similar biscuit mix
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup King Arthur Harvest Grains Blend or substitution as suggested above
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon fat-free milk ( I used reconstituted fat free condensed milk)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a bowl, stir all the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the center and add the milk. Stir just until combined and soft dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead 10 times.

Roll dough ½ inch thick. Cut with a 2 inch cutter dipped in flour. Place on ungreased cookie sheet or silicon mat.

Bake 7 – 9 minutes or until golden brown. Watch carefully the last minute so that they don’t burn.

Serve hot.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Spring Coffee Cake with Cherries

Spring is fully here. The birds are everywhere singing their sweet songs. Most of the spring bulbs have finished blooming and are being followed by the first flush of roses in pink, red, white, yellow and coral. The wild flower seed I sprinkled on bare earth in January actually germinated in a few places. I’m not actually sure of their names, but they are pretty with blue, yellow, white and pale lavender blossoms showing their cheery faces.

The veggies are being planted in the garden, the grass has been mown yet again, and all of the fruit trees have finished their bloom. The blackberries along the road are in bloom now and soon the grapes will break bud as well.

Although the cherry blossoms have come and gone, it’s still a bit early for fresh cherries. Fortunately good sour cherries can be found at the store put up in glass jars in a light syrup. When you drain them, reserve the syrup for other uses…like making a cherry sauce for ice cream.

This recipe is a variation of one that my mom gave me. It used a pre-mixed biscuit mix along with yeast. You get the ease of using a quick mix along with the wonderful down home fragrance and taste of yeast. Takes a little longer than a coffee cake made just with the biscuit mix, but the flavor and tenderness are worth it. It doesn't rise very much, but the crumb is light and tender.

This is my entry in Meeta’s Monthly Mingle. It’s a cake and used a spring fruit and is delicious. Do stop by Meeta’s blog in the next little while to wish her bon voyage for a few months. Better yet, join in the Mingle!

It's also this week's entry in the Yeastspotting event, Susan of Wild Yeast's excellent collection of recipes using yeast or yeasted ingredients.

Sour Cherry Coffee Cake

1 pkg (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
¾ cup warm water (105-115 degrees F.)
½ cup sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons olive oil (I used Meyer lemon flavored)
½ teaspoon almond extract
4 ¼ cups biscuit mix (like Bisquick)
24 oz jar sour cherries, drained
Streusel Topping (see below)

Dissolve yeast in the warm water and proof (let sit 10 minutes to make sure yeast is active).

Combine sugar, egg, olive oil, and almond extract. Beat until thick and lemon colored, about 5 minutes. Stir in dissolved yeast and 3 ¾ cups of the biscuit mix. Knead until smooth, kneading in the rest of the biscuit mix as you go, about 25 times of kneading. Cover and let rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Roll out and place in a buttered 10” X 13” rimed jelly roll pan, pulling an pressing the corners to form a rim of dough.

Arrange the drained cherries on the dough in a pleasing pattern.

Sprinkle with the streusel. Let rise in a warm place 35 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 40-50 minutes. Cut in squares to serve. Serve warm or cooled.

Streusel Topping
Mix ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup flour, ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs, ½ cup chopped almonds, ¼ teaspoon cardamom, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg. Cut in ½ cup cold butter with pastry blender or two knives until crumbly.

Note: I used canned sour cherries, but if you have fresh ones that would be even better. Just make sure to remove the pit, then cut them in halves and arrange on the dough, leaving some space between the cherry halves.