Summer is one of my favorite seasons, mainly because there’salways fresh, local produce available to use. We’re lucky in North CentralWashington – with the abundance of fruit grown here, there’s always an optionfor adding something fresh off the tree to your meal.

We’re all familiar with the many ways fruit can be incorporated in desserts: pies, crumbles, cakes, etc. There’s no need to stop, there, however! I love fresh sliced nectarines or peaches with a dollop of chevre goat cheese. Blue cheese and pears are a great combination, and apples and nuts – toasted walnuts or pecans especially – are also great.

Here are a couple recipes from renowned local cooks to get you started.

The finished recipes.

Cherry Pecan Brie

In 2011 I published Savoring Leavenworth, a wine-pairingcookbook for the Leavenworth area. Kristin Wood of Icicle Ridge Winery contributed thisrecipe, which is really fast, easy and absolutely delicious. I’ve used it manytimes! I’ve even made the sauce and gifted it in jars with a wheel of Brie tofriends.

The original recipe calls for a Granny Smith apple insteadof cherries. Try it either way, or experiment with whatever fruit you havethat’s freshest!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes

Serves 8

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped

1/3 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ teaspoon lemon zest

1 wheel Brie cheese

Place all ingredients except for the Brie in a saucepan overmedium high heat. Bring to a boil for a few minutes. Pour the warm sauce overthe Brie cheese. For best results, make the sauce ahead of time and warm it upwhen ready to serve. Serve with your favorite crackers for the perfectcombination of sweet, creamy and crunchy.

Kristin recommends you pair this appetizer with Icicle Ridge Winery’s The Blondes Gewürztraminer or their chardonnay.

Cherry Pecan Brie

Apple Kale Salad

This recipe comes from Mary Weldy. Mary and her husbandDavid own Culinary Apple, a kitchenstore (and much more) in Chelan. She and Dave live in East Wenatchee; theycommute on the Link Transit Bus about three times per week, and drive the otherdays, meaning often they don’t get home until 7 p.m. They both enjoy cookingand eating healthy, which means they usually eat a late dinner. This is asimple, fast recipe Mary came up with and has become one of their favorites.The secret ingredient is using an aged White Balsamic Vinegar. The one they useand sell in their store is aged 18 years, and has a sweet, mellow flavor thatadds brightness to the salad.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serves 4

1 Fuji apple -chopped

2 cups packed baby kale

2 cups angel hair or finely shredded cabbage

1/2 cup blue or gorgonzola cheese

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Aged white balsamic vinegar to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss together. Drizzle lightly with aged white balsamic vinegar and enjoy!

Apple Kale Salad
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