Recipe Pin: Crème de Cassis (Black Currant Liqueur)

I recently went berry picking at our favorite local farm.  Not only did I come home with the most delicious blueberries and raspberries, but I also found myself with a pound of black currants. If you’ve never had these little creatures, they are like a cross between a teeny Concord grape and a cranberry.  NOT very good for snacking on!  They are so tart! I wish I had taken pictures of our faces as we tried them.

black currants

I had never picked black currants before.  They are hard to come by in my area.  Currently in my home state, you can only plant two varieties of black currant and only with a permission in a controlled area.  They were completely banned in the early 1900s because they were seen as a threat to the logging industry.  Apparently, black currants are thought to help spread white pine blister rust.  While this disease doesn’t affect the black currants, it does have a devastating impact on white pines.  The two varieties that NH allows are resistant to this disease.  So why grow these?  Besides being quite delicious in baked goods and jams, they are supposed to have more anti-oxidant properties than blueberries and are said to have 4 times the Vitamin C as oranges. (1) (2) (3)

I had heard of black currant jam, so that would be an easy way to put these little guys to good use.  Problem is that last year, I made a ton of jam, so the very last thing I needed was more of it.  We just don’t eat enough to clear out what I can make in a summer.   I’ve tried, believe me.  I’m a big fan of Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Doritos sandwiches in my lunch.  Yes, Doritos in my PB & J.  Don’t judge!

Anyway… As I searched for black currant recipes I kept coming across Crème de Cassis or black currant liqueur.

creme de casis

The recipe that I used from allrecipes UK/Ireland is super simple…so far.  All I did was wash and dry the currants, put them in a sterilized container and pour vodka over them.  I’m sure once the mixture is ready for the next step, it will be a bit more complicated.  There appears to be a bit of basic math involved, as well as, the whole rest-of-the-world vs United States measurement thing to figure out.  I’ll be sure to give you an update in a few months.  In the meantime, my lovely, tart black currants are sitting in a cool, dry place soaking up some major alcohol.  Sounds like some people I know who tailgate on fall weekends…bah dum bum.

Crème de Cassis

 

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Super Side Pins: Greek Tortellini Salad

It’s hot and school vacation has begun. Who wants to cook dinner? Not me! Unfortunately my wallet does not match my love of dining out. Gigantic sigh!  What I needed was something easy to make that would last quite a few days, so I could keep cooking to a minimum.

I spent the morning looking through my recipes and came across quite a few pins of pasta salads. What is better than a yummy, hearty pasta salad to beat the summer heat and aid my laziness?!? Nothing, that’s what!

Several salads jumped out at me, but the Greek Tortellini Salad from Two Peas and Their Pod had all the makings of a real winner.

Greek Tortellini Salad

In addition to sweets, I am a huge cheese fan, so this recipe drew me in with the cheese tortellini and feta.  Toss in the kalamata olives and I was done for.

 

Okay.  Enough of my yammering.  Here is the recipe for your summer eating pleasure!


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Greek Tortellini Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 (20 oz) pkg. of refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 large cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, pit removed and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook tortellini in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the package directions.  Drain the tortellini and rinse with cold water.
  2. Place the tortellini in a large bowl.  Toss in tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion, and feta cheese.DSC_0239
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until well coated.

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This salad is a meal in itself!  We had it with grilled marinated chicken from our local grocery store and it was super tasty!  This would absolutely make a wonderful addition to any picnic or barbecue you attend this summer.  Only if you feel like sharing of course!

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